Speaking Latin

#102 · 🔥 118 · 💬 89 · 9 days ago · psyche.co · neonate
As a professor of Classics at the University of Oxford, I had quite forgotten the thrill of understanding spoken Latin when, in 2016, a group of students from the Accademia Vivarium, an institution based in the beautiful Villa Falconieri just outside Rome, paid a visit to the UK with their professor Luigi Miraglia. Among them were students of Dutch, Hungarian, Finnish and South American origin; but one could hardly tell their nationalities apart because, in addition to using Latin names, they spoke in fluent and elegant Latin and in one case, Attic Greek. Dante began composing his Divine Comedy in Latin before opting to write in vernacular Italian; Petrarch and Boccaccio wrote equally fluently in Latin and Italian, and 15th-century poets and Humanists such as Poliziano and Ficino, and Erasmus of Rotterdam, were equally at home speaking Latin as their native tongues. The abolition of Latin as the universal language of scholars and the introduction of the petty provinc­ialism of national literatures have been a positive misfortune for the stock of human knowledge Latin authors are quoted in a German translation. The growth of translations hastened the demise of students' ability to understand Latin in an unmed­iated way, and cemented the more mechanical and unimaginative styles of teaching ancient languages; but Latin continued to be actively spoken, if only by small numbers of people in scattered areas. Since most Classics students are required to know some Latin if not Greek, the aim of the Oxford Latinitas Project is to enhance the teaching and learning of the ancient languages for begin­ners, intermediate and advanced stud­ents through active speaking and discussion. The default approach to teaching Latin has been the grammar-translation approach, [which] takes a language that was once spoken comfort­ably by people of all backgrounds, social classes, ages, etc throughout the world and renders it into a complex linguistic jigsaw puzzle that requires an elite mathematical mind to decipher using a comprehension-based approach, with no direct grammar instruction, all of my 7th-grade students were able to read novice-level chapter books in Latin by the end of the year.
Speaking Latin



Archive | Send Feedback | WebAssembly Version (beta)