I didn’t have this ready Saturday, so I am showing up in your email on Monday.
It’s October. By now, quite a few of you are struggling with Latin. Especially Henle Latin. I know. I get the emails.
Just so you know, I take students through Henle Latin every year. And, you can join my classes anytime. So, if you are struggling, and you need some help, feel free to jump in.
Also, just so you know, if you are struggling… and feeling dumb, it might not be you. It might just be the method.
In a fight between the Grammar method of teaching Latin (Henle Latin, Jenny’s Latin, Latin for Americans, Latin for the new Millenium, Wheelock’s Latin, and just about every other Latin book out there) and the Natural Method of teaching Latin (Lingua Latina), who would win?
Well, first you have to ask yourself… “What is the goal?”
My goal is simple. When I teach Latin, I want my students reading the New Testament in Latin within 18 months.
So. In a fight between the Grammar method and the Natural method, who would win?
I have taught (and still teach) using both methods. The answer is easy. The Natural method wins.
What these two videos. Or, at least watch a bit of these two videos. The second one is rather long.
In the first video, students are taught a bunch of Latin endings. This is pretty typical of the Grammar method. Nothing wrong with it. But, as C.S. Lewis mentions in his autobiography, students often memorize long lists and charts and never get within sight of a Roman author.
In the second video, the teacher has some six or seven-year-old kid reading and responding in Latin. They are reading Lingua Latina, by the way.
I have students ask me all the time. “I studied Latin in school for six years, so… why can’t I speak Latin?”
The answer is simple. Almost every school uses the Grammar method. And… it really doesn’t work. If you want to speak Latin, get a copy of Lingua Latina and start reading. If you are using the Grammar method, don’t be surprised when you reach the end of three or four years of Latin… and you still can’t speak Latin. And, most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t convince yourself that you are not good at languages. You do not have a learning disability. The school system has a teaching disability.
I am teaching myself Italian right now. I am using the Natural method. It’s working. I am now able to read at an intermediate level in Italian. For grammar, I listen to Coffee Break Italian, and for practice, I spend time on DuoLingo every day. It’s all free. You can do the same if you like.
Next, I plan to tackle French. I will use the Natural method there as well. I already have the book and am ready to go. Just waiting until I can read Italian at an advanced level.
Just remember, if you are feeling inadequate in Latin (or, any other language you are learning in school), be encouraged. It might not be you. In fact, I would bet lots of money it isn’t you. It’s the method.
In a fight between the grammar method and the natural method, the natural method will win every time.
What I am reading these days:
I read a lot. In many ways, it’s my job. But, I don’t spend all of my time reading about dead Greeks and Romans (though I really enjoy reading that stuff). This week, I am reading a book that is not for everyone. It is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the easily offended. In case you did not catch all of that, this book is offensive. I am not entirely sure what I think about it yet. So far, it is full of hard-hitting, no holding back business and life sense. But, since I have not finished it yet, I can’t fully warn you. Anyway. The book is available as an audiobook on Scribd. (I am a big fan of Scribd, as you know). The book is The 50th Law by the rapper 50 cent. It is co-authored by Robert Greene. Here it is on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ROYYqC
I usually don’t read a lot of books by rappers, but this one, so far, has been captivating. Shocking, too. Just remember, I warned you.
You don’t have to wait until next school year.
Classes are in full swing now. I am uploading 28 new videos every week. If you find yourself stuck in a Latin class and need help, you can still join. I have built my site in such a way that you can join anytime. You don’t have to wait until the beginning of a school year.
Just go here: https://dwanethomas.com/join/