Re: latin

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Apr 08 1997 - 06:29:16 EDT

At 10:15 PM -0500 4/7/97, Bart Ehrman wrote:
> Wheelock! I've personally used it to teach myself Latin on four
>different occasions over the years. :-)
> (The second time was the summer before my first graduate seminar at
>Princeton Seminary, a class on the canon with Bruce Metzger; I had been
>forewarned that on the first day of class he would hand out the Muratorian
>canon and ask us to translate it for next time. He did, and mentioned to
>my newly arrived colleagues, who hadn't been so forewarned, that Latin was
>being offered in evening school at the local high school! It was a
>painful week for a couple of my friends...)
>-- Bart D. Ehrman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
>On Mon, 7 Apr 1997, Lynn A Kauppi wrote:
>> Some of us need to learn Latin. Can anyone suggest a good text for self
>> study?

Of traditional-type textbooks there's no doubt that Wheelock, now in its
5th edition and redone by Rick Lafleur of U.Ga., is one of the best. As a
self-teaching text it has a very nice and extensive set of self-testing
exercises with an answer-key. I happen to be using it in a Beginning Latin
course right now that I had to take over from a colleague. Still, I
wouldn't have chosen it for the primary reason that it teaches by using the
context-less sentence as the unit of discourse for practice and for ancient
texts to read until pretty late in the sequence of things, whereas I think
one needs to start reading paragraphs of connected discourse right away; it
also doesn't introduce the subjunctive until 3/4 of the way through the
course, although the subjunctive is indispensible for ordinary Latin
discourse and needs to be introduced early, as is done by Moreland and
Fleischer, _Latin: An Intensive Course_, U.Cal. Press; this is the book
used in the 8-week intensive courses at CUNY and UC-Berkeley. It has keys
too and it also has much fuller grammatical explanations--and it introduces
the subjunctive in the third lesson. Probably one of these two is the best
bet, although if I were beginning my own course right now with a class, I'd
use the JACT textbook, _Reading Latin_ published by Cambridge UP. There's
no simple right answer on this one; I would say that if you have two or
more languages other than English already, it may not make much difference
which textbook you use.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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