Memorize the Latin endings?

Students ask me all the time.  “Should I memorize the Latin endings?”

I say what no Latin teacher ever says.  “Maybe.”

There is nothing at all wrong with memorizing all of the Latin endings.  Some of my best students are from the Classical Conversation world.  They have most of the Latin endings memorized.  

However, it is a bit strange to meet students with all of the Latin endings memorized who cannot read in Latin.  I run into that often.  It’s odd.  If you memorized the technical manual to your car, it would be impressive.  But, it would be strange if you had memorized the manual, and could rattle off the names of every gadget under the hood, but still did not know how to drive.  

In all of my classes, I flip the order.  I have students start reading in Latin.  We learn the endings as we go.  Some students memorize the endings, some don’t.  As we read, they all end up learning the endings in the end.

Instead of memorizing the endings, I would recommend more reading.  

Read Lingua Latina.  Read Cornelia.  Here is a reading list from my book, Via:

For Beginners:

1.  Cornelia by Mima Maxey

2.  Carolus et Maria by Marjorie Fay

3.  Julia by Maud Reed

4. Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg

For Intermediates:

1. Ora Maritima by E. A. Sonnenschein

2. Fabulae Faciles by Francis Ritchie

3. De America, by Herbert Nutting

4. Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg

5. Viri Romae by Charles Llomond

For more advanced students:

1. Gospel of Matthew by St. Matthew

2. Roma Aeterna by Hans Orberg

When you have finished this list, visit the Latin  There you will find more Latin than you will ever read… and it’s all free.

If you do decide to memorize the endings (and it does not hurt to do so), I have a series on YouTube that may help:

And finally, I think the easiest thing you can do is simply keep the endings nearby as you read.  I have compiled all the Latin endings in one location.  Originally, this was going to be a Folder for my students, but, it never made it.  Since it was going to be a folder, I condensed all of the endings into four pages.  Print it out and keep it nearby as you work.  When you get stuck, simply refer to the charts.  Find the ending you need and compare it to what you are reading.  It will take time and practice, but it will come.   

Here are the charts:

Let me know if you need more help!