There were all sorts of words that I didn’t know. But you’re dealing with a tiny span of time and history. Kennedy was, I think, a Latin master in Liverpool. The Ancient Language Institute offers the fastest Latin language learning program in the world. I’m all for Latin being taught in a jolly, funny way. Why would anyone want to? It explains that until about the 3rd century BC, Latin was spoken in a tiny area of Italy in Latium, the modern province of Lazio, near Rome. This book and lots of others that are useful for language learners are available on VitalSource, a great place to check out if you’re into e-books. November 6 2018 . Asterix in Britain is an extremely good book. It is difficult to learn properly, but I do think people patronize children. I would suggest that eventually anyone who is a big Latin fan get it. Wow, you’re hardcore. This book does a wonderful job at breaking Latin … I'm currently a medical student, grateful for this book that helped inspire a passion for the language. So if you’re pleased with yourself you can congratulate yourself on translating the Latin to English. My father told me that because every year whole new generations of school children bought the book, the borders of Lake Geneva were filled with huge villas lived in by people like Kennedy, Hillard and Botting — all these people who wrote Latin grammar books before it had this great decline. Harry Mount is the Editor of the Oldie, and an author and journalist who regularly contributes to a range of national newspapers, including the Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian and the Spectator. This compendium of 4,250 Latin phrases and quotations will clarify previously encountered phrases and introduce a plethora of new ones. It’s extremely funny in English and actually the English version has some very, very good Latin jokes in it. You could’ve been taught English grammar. You think about the gap. 4 Before we get to it, I’d like to talk about the value of learning Latin. Do you know this book? This site has an archive of more than one thousand interviews, or five thousand book recommendations. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books (or even just what you say about them) please email us at editor@fivebooks.com. So I’d like to mention, English Grammar for Students of Latin. That’s the time to force the mind full of these things. Texte latin avec introduction, notes et lexique des noms propres (Latin) (as Author) Taylor, Samuel H. (Samuel Harvey), 1807-1871. Read. Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. So while I’m with you and agree Oulton’s method is better what do you do to counteract the boredom? Mary Beard represented the Romans, Boris represented the Greeks. Covid Safety Holiday Shipping Membership Educators Gift Cards Stores … I disagree with the premise of your question. Let’s go on to your next book, which is a guide to how to learn the language for young pupils, or even adults, maybe. It is the Bible because it has all the conjugations of the verbs and the declensions of the nouns. It has passages from each of those people — a page or two. He’s talking about people who are obsessed with ancient history, and how all his conversations with an old friend came down to how the ancient this, became the modern that. Find a huge variety of new & used Latin language books online including bestsellers & rare titles at the best prices. That’s what the Nick Oulton book does. Read So you would be the candidus, the candid one, the white, pure, unvarnished one and ultimately the candidate. It was completely packed out, 1000 people, voting one way or the other. Have you tried any of them? We publish at least two new interviews per week. It was there, on and off, in different countries, for varying from 700 to 1000 years. Moving beyond that, Latin is the basis of all Romance languages in Europe. They don’t want their children to have a particularly enjoyable time, they want them to know stuff. You naturally think about the journey of the language, the history, the culture, the politics, the architecture, all the rest of it. I have here Kennedy’s Shorter Latin Primer though I imagine you recommend the full-length version? There’s a great line in a new book by A.N. Listeners who’ve seen the Life of Brian will remember the extremely funny scene with John Cleese and Graham Chapman and the badly spelt graffiti. Educated at Oxford and the Courtauld Institute, he is the author of the international bestseller Amo, Amas, Amat... And All That. Like all great children’s books, the English is simple and so the Latin is simple. That speaks for itself. Because it’s extremely expensive and it’s enormous. Harry Mount (and Katie Walker) recommend the best books for learning Latin—the language of a small, central Italian tribe that managed to conquer … If you want to do that, learn French or German. A lot of it is quite straightforward Latin and they have very good vocabulary lists, as well, in the book. You can go from zero Latin knowledge to being able to read the great Latin texts fluently much faster than you think.. I believe they’ve translated Harry Potter and Winnie-the-Pooh and other such classics into Latin too. In chapter one or two, there’s an example of something that’s written on the threshold of a house belonging to a merchant in Pompeii. Greek is, if anything, even more sophisticated, with thousands more word endings. So the headmaster got in the Latin teachers to teach them English grammar. I just fundamentally disagree with the idea that the learning of it should necessarily be pleasurable. Is there a passage that you would recommend? It’s very sophisticated. We ask experts to recommend the five best books … There’s a great Philip Larkin poem called, “Church Going,” about what will happen to churches when no one goes to them anymore and they fall apart and we all become secular and atheist. Perhaps not all, but a lot of children quite like difficulty. It’s about things that are useful or things that later on bring incredible pleasure by knowing them. On to your next—your fifth and final—book, am I right? All Romance languages are descended from Latin, and the Germanic languages … About. It’s not fun. Harry Mount (and Katie Walker) recommend the best books for learning Latin—the language of a small, central Italian tribe that managed to conquer most of Europe. When I studied Matisse and Picasso at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York, my professor, who was a modernist and hadn’t studied Latin, couldn’t get over the amount of classical content even in the painting around the 1910s. By all means break them for fun, but they are completely inviolable and it’s extremely enjoyable and useful to learn them. Latin was the language of the ancient Romans, but it was also the lingua franca of Western Europe throughout the Middle Ages, so Latin literature includes not only Roman authors like Cicero, Vergil, … Why should you bother to try and read about it in Latin? Oulton is in the middle. It’s funny, I was asked the other day by a middle-aged person, ‘What’s a good book for English grammar?’ I replied that I’d never been taught English grammar, I did Latin and Greek. There's a problem loading this menu right now. There’s another straightforward bit of graffiti from Pompeii which says ‘Marcus Spedusa amat,’ which means ‘Marcus loves Spedusa.’ Anyone knows that should be Spedusam. So looking at your list: for anyone who is starting from scratch the books they should get started on are Kennedy’s Latin Primer and the Oulton. I would like to give an example of what you’re describing in action, Harry. Jeff Kaplan Archivist. And the graffiti at Pompeii is fantastically obscene, a lot of it. It has lots of jolly bits of history, nice pictures done in an easy-going way, but all the proper rules are there: the declensions, the conjugations, properly taught, in the right order. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language … It’s a huge library, all the prominent works of Greek and Latin are in Loeb’s and it would cost a fortune to have them all. Döderlein's Hand-book of Latin Synonymes (English) (as Author of introduction, etc.) Latin; In subsections: Books nearing completion. Latin language. Read. It’s the same with Latin. It’s quite boring, but it’s extremely useful. I see you’ve brought it along tonight, Katie, shamefully. ... Latin for Beginners Language: English: LoC Class: PA: Language and Literatures: Classical Languages and Literature: Subject: Latin language … Created on. James Loeb was an extremely interesting figure, an American. There is a famous cliché that you should learn Latin because it teaches you English grammar— the implication being because they’re very similar. Perhaps the opening lines of the Aeneid, Virgil’s great epic about the defeated Trojan, Aeneas, going to Italy to try and found Rome. By the very fact that it’s so ancient, the mind naturally thinks about the gap between 300 BC and now, and the journey of those languages over 2000-odd years. So it squares the circle. Read It’s an incredible work of scholarship, and because Latin dominated Europe for so long, the words changed their meanings massively. by Nicholas Ostler I suppose the reason the Cambridge Latin Course was introduced in the first place is because if you learn code, it’s very dull, so you risk turning a lot of children off. You’re not constantly looking back to a dead subject or dead language of 2000 years ago, you’re looking at a tradition that’s changed and morphed right up until 50 years ago. This is probably the most difficult thing to do, but it’s always made easy because you’ve got the translation on the other side of the page. He did two things for me. I am not going to say you become an expert on all those things, but it’s the perfect introduction to 2000 years of western European history. I find it comparable—when I’m translating a paragraph—to an episode of Sherlock on TV. Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. But I’m afraid the brutal truth is that learning stuff is quite boring. He thinks of himself as an agnostic, I think, but he says that there is a hunger for seriousness in all of us. He very much frontloads a child’s learning of Latin with grammar. The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the third and eighth centuries. The difficulty varies with the subjects but overall we've tried to keep it at an intermediate level. It’s the ultimate rulebook of Latin. It’s so economical. There’s also brilliant stuff on how Latin mutated into Italian. 1 Like you, I was lucky enough to have a Westminster School and Oxbridge classical education, but someone that helped with my Latin language immensely was Reginaldus Foster, who was the Pope’s Latin secretary. It says, ‘Salve, Lucru.’ So you can imagine a merchant coming home. People don’t expect, when you’re teaching maths and learning long division — no one’s suggesting that that should be fun. They are a subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European language family.The five most widely spoken Romance languages … I found Lewis and Short very comforting, because it gives you answers and solutions to everything. Learn Latin with Latinitium's videos on subjects ranging from literature and history to particular expressions. The only one that sold at all well was this one. 3 There’s nothing particularly magic about Latin grammar, but just because, for historic reasons, it was taught in a rigorous way, you then learned what a noun, or a verb was — and you naturally thought for yourself about the differences. by NRR Oulton I wouldn’t do it now, but as a little boy I would. It also has, in very concise form, practically all the rules of grammar and syntax. Hear about sales, receive special offers & more. You could have been taught some other form of grammar rigorously—you could be taught Spanish grammar rigorously—it’s just that on the whole British schools don’t. I think the books are a really good introduction into Rome, the Roman Empire, Roman Gaul, and also Roman Britain. Mary Beard won, but they were both brilliant and the audience was largely under 30. Asterix Gallus, the Latin version, has good, easy Latin and, particularly if you’ve read Asterix the Gaul in English first, it’s a really good way of learning your first proper Latin sentences. One thing I like to do with children—which is a bit along the lines of Asterix—is if they look really tired and the parents have gone out, I switch on Gladiator. I didn’t know the Latin for boar was ‘aper, apri.’ And he’s obsessed with carrying menhirs, big stones. Which helps learning by the ear. It wouldn’t be in my top 5 million. Asterix Gallus book. Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin It doesn’t go that far, but I’ve written seven books and six of them have sold two copies. So, again, you have this idea of a universal key into European culture. Because it’s been treated as this grand language, we have this crazy idea that the Romans were always talking in very high-minded ways, but of course they used Latin to swear, to say how much they loved their girlfriends, or to bet on Ben Hur in the 3.30 at Circus Maximus. I liken it to a concertina: you open up the concertina when you go from Latin to English and you close it when you go from English into Latin. One that he asked me to learn off by heart, Horace’s speech for the poet Archias, I absolutely loved, and did indeed help me with the structure of sentences. There are an awful lot of parents who learned Latin and Greek who are concerned that their children no longer are. I still think it’s very depressing how standards have slipped, but there is a great contemporary boom in translations and English books about classical culture. It’s my favourite book. There is no English equivalent of the ablative absolute. So buy Oulton, but it’s maybe also worth considering—if I’m allowed to suggest something, I know this is a bit unorthodox—English Grammar for Students of Latin, the 3rd edition, by Norma W Goldman. In the latest and narrowest philological model its use spanned the Golden Age of Latin literature – broadly the 1st century BC and the early 1st century AD – possibly extending to the Silver Age – broadly the 1st and 2nd centuries. … Read You could learn Latin from those books plus Kennedy’s Latin Primer. I’m afraid I’ll have to mention it: the Cambridge Latin Course would never be in my top five in a million years. I didn’t find it particularly entertaining learning 100 words of vocab every night when I was 10 or 11. If you've enjoyed this interview, please support us by donating a small amount. Parents bloody love it. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Ancient Rome and surrounding areas, and through the Roman conqeust, it was spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. So that’s what you’re talking about, the dropping of the ‘m’, the consonant, at the end of the word. Very, very funny too. Harry is just as keen on low-brow Latin as he is on the high-brow stuff he’s just mentioned. It had an absolutely massive effect on those countries, and still has a massive effect today: on their language, on their culture, on their history, on their architecture, on their art. I really was a lot worse than Harry at Latin at school. I’ll be honest, the books are more enjoyable in English. An Answer Key to Latin for Beginners by Benjamin L. D’Ooge; In … They’re the two books that they’d buy first? There’s a very precise—perhaps limited—reason, which is that it is extremely beautiful, in and of itself, to read some of the greatest works of western European literature in the original language. Best of all the entire book is in audio courtesy of the Latinum podcast. But also, because it was studied so intensely, it was constantly referred to, imitated, mocked, satirized in art, in literature, right up until the 1950s and 60s. It makes it very easy to read, because they’re just little excerpts. Like all cartoons, there’s only one or two sentences in each speech bubble. It’s also the one time—I don’t know about you, but when I was a small boy, I did things dutifully—when if you’re asked to learn 100 pages of vocab, you go and do it. Sophie Roell, editor of Five Books, takes us through her personal choice of the best nonfiction books of 2020. It’s something we think our children should know. Kennedy is very concise, but it has the answer to every problem in Latin in it. The reason why that word is what it is is that if you were standing for an election in Rome, you would sprinkle yourself with chalk dust — to be the prominent person in the market place. Classical Latin is the form of the Latin language used by the ancient Romans in Classical Latin literature. You can just read the translations if you want, but it’s a very good way of gradually increasing your power of reading Latin. It’s comforting that Pompeiians also had problems with the accusative. It’s massive and it hasn’t been reversed. Read. Even if they hated it, they have a memory of this serious and difficult subject. You can be funny, but you can teach the rigorous stuff at the same time. Books every Chinese Language Learner Should Read, How England Made the English: From Why We Drive on the Left to Why We Don't Talk to Our Neighbours, Harry Mount's Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus, High School Teachers Recommend Books by Subject, a new book by A.N. Probably not to the same level of rigour. The same applies to Roman or Greek history. It’s just a brilliant, brilliant book explaining how and why Latin became the European language and the ultimate world language, in a way. Does Oulton do enough? by Benjamin Kennedy Latin is often attacked for being a dead language. There’s a book I brought along tonight and it might well be of interest for our American readers. First of all, he recommended that if your really want to get to the heart of Latin, you should learn passages off by heart pretty regularly. Italian unification was one of the great political dramas of 19th century Europe, transforming a patchwork of territories speaking different languages into the nation-state of Italy. I think that’s why Amo, Amas, Amat did well, although it’s delivered in a jokey way. There’s an incredible appetite. It’s incredibly popular. Most programs and methods treat Latin … Now, less about my suggestions, and on to your next book. You can do it by being an amusing, good teacher. How many tutees have stayed with you, Harry? How do you keep their attention? Here, historian Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti discusses the people and ideas that brought it about and how its disputed legacy continues to impact Italy today. The number of state school students doing Latin has doubled in the last 15 years and for the first time, possibly ever, there are now more state school students doing Latin than are doing it in grammar schools or private schools. But, by learning the earliest incarnation of all these languages, you naturally start to think about the journey from its original form—in, say, 300 BC—all the way till now. The first line is probably the most famous line in Latin: ‘Arma virumque cano,’ — ‘I sing of arms and of the man…’ If you start learning the first line, not only will you know the most famous line of Latin, but you’ll also begin to get an understanding of Roman history and actually how very close the Aeneid is to the Iliad. 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