Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Comprehensible input resources for Latin

I also posted my previous post, asking why classical educators ignore findings from modern language acquisition research - especially that language acquisition requires a LOT of exposure to comprehensible input in the target language (well accepted when it comes to modern languages) - when it comes to the classical languages, on the WTM boards. One theme that quickly emerged was that the parent is not fluent, does not have access to someone who is fluent, and that there is a general lack of easy Latin input available, so while an immersion environment might be ideal, it is impossible for them to provide. Some Latin is better than no Latin, so they do what they can.

Perfectly rational and understandable. However, thanks to the Internet, there are tons of resources for Latin available - many of which are free! More than enough to provide sufficient comprehensible input so that those of us who aren't fluent in Latin ourselves can still approximate an immersion Latin environment - for ourselves and our kids.

Here are just a few:

Use other beginning texts for additional readings: I picked up complete sets of CLC and ER texts for under $20 each on Amazon. As well, Latin Book One, including audio, is online, CLC has their stories online, and here are the stories from ER I and II online.

Google books has tons of readers and beginning books available, as does the Internet Archive. Here is a list of links to easy Latin readers.

John Piazza has many comprehensible input resources on his site, including a history reader and mythology reader compiled from readings from OOP beginning Latin books, as well as an introduction to everyday Latin.

Evan Millner's Latinum podcast has thousands of hours of Latin audio, including recordings of the entirety of Adler's"A Practical Grammar of the Latin Language," provided explicitly to give all Latin learners access to an immersion environment.

Laura Gibbs has provided thousands of Latin proverbs, verses and fables online.

Many Latin teachers have gotten together to write Latin readers, and have posted them online at Tar Heel Readers.

Diederich's research into the frequency of Latin endings and vocabulary showed that a mere 18 endings comprise the majority encountered in literature. Learn those first, and their basic grammatical meanings through a grammar overview, such as Harris' "The Intelligent Person's Guide to the Latin Language," and a vast amount of Latin will be open to you - you don't have to wait till you have gone completely through the grammar to start reading. As well, his vocab frequency lists show what words to focus on to get the most bang for the buck. (Edited to add: A better link to Diederich's research.)

And these are only the resources that came to mind right off the bat!


Bob Patrick said...

Outstanding! I hope you will be pleased to know that there is a growing number of Latin teachers throughout the US and in other countires (Evan Millner et al in the UK) who are teaching Latin as a living language. TPRS and the issues of language acquisition and comprehensible input are inserting themselves into every Latin teaching conversation on the net. And in conferences. And in school systems. It's a good time to be a Latin teacher.

Bob Patrick

Laura Gibbs said...

Thanks so much for your blog post about Latin teaching materials, including the Tar Heel Reader project! For anyone interested in participating in creating their own Tar Heel Readers - in Latin, or in any other language - you can find more information here at this blog dedicated to our Latin Tar Heel Project: Libelli Latini. Although the Tar Heel Reader project was not created with the needs of Latin students in mind (it is actually a project to promote English literacy), we sure are making good use of it, being able to now easily provide abundant illustrations to go along with easy-to-read Latin materials. Thanks again for your post promoting Latin that is easy to read! :-)

Laura Gibbs said...

P.S. If people are interested in seeing a new "Tar Heel Reader of the Day" in Latin (along with various proverbs and fables of the day), I've got a daily blog that is going strong here, Bestiaria Latina - it's a fun and easy way to keep track of what's going on at Tar Heel Reader, since I'm profiling a reader in each of those blog posts. :-)

Anonymous said...

Where on the link to Diederich's research can one find which 18 endings are the common one? I don't really perceive how the database is suppose to work or help on that score...

Joshua W.D. Smith