My students an I just finished another trip through Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata, by Hans Orberg. Today was the last day of a Latin class that began several years ago.
Since we bogged down in the book, class was off schedule. I promised students we would continue until we finished the book.
Every time I read this book, I am amazed. I am amazed at how well it teaches Latin. And, I am amazed at how hard it is.
Lingua Latina is hard.
Hans Orberg wrote Lingua Latina in Latin.
That’s right. If you have not seen the book yet, it is completely in Latin.
There is no English explanation. There are no sidebars with English notes. There are no grammar points in English at the end of each chapter. Most shocking to my students, there is no “Latin to English” dictionary at the back.
Lingua Latin: Per Se Illustrata means: The Latin Language Illustrated through itself.
In other words, Latin will teach you Latin. The reader will use the Latin he knows to learn the Latin he does not know.
Chapter 1 begins with pictures of new words and a map of the Roman empire. Students read: Roma in Italia est. Looking at the map, students see that Rome is in Italy. This simple sentence just taught four words in Latin. Each sentence, paragraph, and chapter from this point forward will add to your knowledge.
At the end of the book, chapter 35, students read Latin poetry, Latin wit, and a few Latin jokes. If you can understand jokes in another language, you are either fluent or almost fluent.
Lingua Latina takes the reader from completely ignorant in Latin to near fluency. Keep that in mind. When I tell you that this is one of the hardest books you will ever read in your life, I am not kidding.
If you are plowing through Lingua Latina and you are struggling, be encouraged. You are supposed to struggle. Push through.
Soon you will be able to read in Latin.
That, my friends, is worth the struggle.