Tag: latin


Recent Book Purchases

The reading pile grows. First of note is the Cambridge Latin Course Bk 2 – I previously mentioned that this year I’ve started to learn Latin. Well, I’m almost at the end of the first book, which feels very satisfying indeed. The Cambridge Course is fantastic – I can’t praise it enough. Instead of being hammered with verb tables and the like, it actually takes you step by step through learning the basics of the language, but how it functions in context, too. You gradually layer up your understanding of the various cases, declensions and so on.

From the rest of the books from writers such as Seneca (Six Tragedies), Plutarch (The Fall of the Roman Republic), Juvenal (Sixteen Satires) and Terence (The Comedies), you can see my mind is still very much focussed in the ancient world. It’s stopped being overt research long ago – I mean, I’m not writing about it explicitly in the new series anyway, I’m invoking it. Aside from classical city structure, architecture and so on, I’m now very much intrigued by the mindset of writers at the time (Juvenal in particular is biting and very funny), in order to glean anything useful.


Romanes eunt domus?

I’ve been learning Latin for the past five months and I’m enjoying every moment of it. Don’t ask me to say anything, because I barely can on request. With help from my partner (she went to a fancy school and knows it already), I’m learning from the Cambridge Latin Course, which is fantastic. The way it builds up your understanding of the language in the context of a family in ancient world (Pompeii) is effective, and marvellous fun. The first book concerns itself mainly with simple translations at the moment, copying sentences out, finding the right verb/noun/tense and so on. Apparently in future books, there’s more going from converting English into Latin, but overall I’m finding it much better than memorising declensions right off the bat. And certainly better than the above…

What’s impressed me the most about learning Latin, however, is how it helps you understand the structure of language, even in English. You start looking at the way words fall on the page in completely different ways. It’s not the reason I wanted to learn it, but it’s certainly a fascinating afterthought. The main thing, however, is that it’s simply nice to be learning another language – even a dead one.