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August 2017

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I have been thinking a lot about Rusticatio lately. I’m wishing I could be there for one, but also trying to examine in my mind things that were happening and things that we were doing and what I could have done differently to be a better learner.

In all honesty, my mind is pretty scattered these days, skipping from one project to the next, whichever is more convenient for me to work on based on location (home or at my son’s / ex’s house), mood, and energy. I am building my own “can-do” statements that are aligned with ACTFL’s proficiencies and Texas’s TEKS, but also geared toward what I want to do this year in Latin 1. In addition I’m working on a little Latin story, but haven’t gotten very far with it. I’ve written a fair amount, but I’m just exploring my characters. I want to illustrate it myself, because, I dunno, I’m an idiot. I’ve been playing with ibisPaintX, which is fun, but it’s not getting me that much nearer to meeting any of the goals I’ve set for myself. It does make me ask myself what exactly I am after.

So what am I after? My first reaction to that question is not to have a repeat of last year. Yes, there were many things that went well, but I keep coming back to the face of one boy who kept repeating “Latin is so hard!” anytime he was asked to do the simplest thing. He wasn’t a slacker; he just had really low self-esteem. And because we were doing so much orally and (at least I felt that) the grading seemed fuzzy, nothing felt concrete or clear. For some students—the majority of students—what we were doing was clear enough. I was asking questions, prompting repetitions of vocabulary and such, and most students were fine, even if they weren’t the best performers. But I’ve always prided myself on trying to find ways to help students who have special needs of some sort, to buoy them up, to help them find a way to learn too. Last year I bombed at this. That was when I threw on the brakes and finished the last 6 weeks more like how I was accustomed to teaching. I still worked in more oral work than in previous years, but it was not at the forefront. And it may have appeared that I totally ditched it... even though that was not the case.

Which takes me back to Rusticatio, and how I was not the best student there in retrospect, although I was always eager. That is, I unintentionally, inadvertently got in my own way of learning all that I could. I was just trying to comprehend, participate, and do what was expected. It seems silly now to realize I didn’t understand how best to help myself. Then again, I always marvel at the teachers who will mutter things like “students don’t study.” Ok, some students don’t. Others would if they understood what you wanted them to do to study. They think “study” means “memorize” which is why just memorizing an isolated list of vocabulary is rarely enough. When I create materials to help students study and prepare for quizzes and tests, some students admittedly (and unfortunately) are still just memorizing. However, my goal is for students to see vocabulary and grammatical concepts in the context of sentences. I want them reading and rereading the sentences—especially those with the same pattern or construction—until the concept finally solidifies. (Ok, or solidifies enough. Probably more like jello than hard chocolate.)

So here I am now designing kind of an overarching reward system, where students can earn “coins” / “stamps” for a “time-travel passport,” each step of which will help develop proficiency skills needed for a big project during second semester that involves buying and selling merchandise in the forum. What I have in mind for some of the coins/stamps will be some little dialogues which students can record on their own time via Seesaw (app) that will help students get more comfortable with the conversational skills necessary. These can’t just be simple dialogues, but have three things which I think will help build good language learning habits as well as being a step in the right direction for developing a mental representation of the language.

1)     Repeat what a person says to reinforce the answer.
“My name is Spartacus.”
“Your name is Spartacus.”
“Yes, my my name is Spartacus.”

2)    Practice “make me say yes/make me say no” or offering two choices (circling).
“My name is Spartacus.”
“Your name is Sextus?”
“No, my name is Spartacus.”
“Your name is Sextus or Spartacus?”
“Ah, so your name is Spartacus.”

3)    Say the same thing but in as many ways as possible with different vocabulary and perhaps even constructions.
“Leave from this room! Exit the room! Get the heck out! Go and be gone!”

I also look at these three features as ways to fatten up a conversation. There is nothing worse in my mind than feeling like you have absolutely nothing to say and people are expecting you to talk, especially when you are new to a language. “Hi, my name is Joe. What’s your name?” might be all you know. How do you make a lengthy conversation out of that? How do you get the shy students and the low self-esteem students to buy into trying to stay all in Latin during class without risking them totally checking out?  (I am the queen of song-and-dance, of dramatic readings, crazy gestures, etc., but when I was all Latin--even what I considered well-supported/highly comprehensible Latin, there were a few I could just not keep engaged and would thus check out. And if they check out, they get behind.)

Before “mental representation” entered my vocabulary, I always thought of language learning, especially speaking, to be a lot like muscle memory. When I first started to play soccer in my late 20s, I had to concentrate on hitting the ball correctly with the instep of my foot. I was lucky if I made a solid pass to an open person 10 feet away. As I improved, I no longer had to think about how to strike the ball; I could focus on which open person I might want to pass it to up the field while dodging the defender coming at me. Muscle memory allowed me to do that. Muscle memory of a sort allows me to rattle off very familiar phrases without even thinking about those phrases, like replying “dī tē ament” when someone sneezes in class. I now have to think to use English when not in class.

So I want something that can be that beginning stepping stone, which can help begin the process of building that muscle memory.

Here’s an example of the first dialogue I’ve written:

dialogus I.A

1: salvē!

2: salvē! ego sum Lūcia.

1: tū es Livia?

2: minimē! ego nōn sum Livia. ego sum Lūcia.

1: esne Livia an Lūcia?

2: ego sum Lūcia.

1: tū nōn es Livia? tū es Lūcia?

2: ita vērō! ego sum Lūcia. mihi nōmen est Lūcia.

1: optimē! tū es Lūcia. tibi nōmen est Lūcia!

2: quis es tū?

1: quis sum ego?

2: ita vērō! quis es tū?

1: ego sum Quīntus.

2: tū es Quārtus?

1: minimē! ego nōn sum Quārtus. ego sum Quīntus.

2: esne Quārtus an Quīntus?

1: ego sum Quīntus.

2: tū nōn es Quārtus? tū es Quīntus?

1: ita vērō! ego sum Quīntus! mihi nōmen est Quīntus.

2: optimē! tū es Quīntus! tibi nōmen est Quīntus.

1: ita vērō! ego sum Quīntus et tū es Lūcia.

2: ego sum Lūcia et tū es Quīntus. sed quis est Quārtus et quis est Livia?

1: nescio! sed tū nōn es Livia et ego nōn sum Quārtus!

2: valē, Quīnte!

1: valē, Lūcia!


dialogus I.B (Supply your own names.)

1: salvē!

2: salvē! ego sum _______(2).

1: tū es Livia?

2: minimē! ego nōn sum Livia. ego sum _______(2).

1: tū nōn es Livia? tū es _______(2)?

2: ita vērō! ego sum _______(2). mihi nōmen est _______(2).

1: optimē! tū es _______(2). tibi nōmen est _______(2)!

2: quis es tū?

1: quis sum ego?

2: ita vērō! quis es tū?

1: ego sum _______(1).

2: tū es Quārtus?

1: minimē! ego nōn sum Quārtus. ego sum _______(1).

2: tū nōn es Quārtus? tū es _______(1)?

1: ita vērō! ego sum _______(1)! mihi nōmen est _______(1).

2: optimē! tū es _______(1)! tibi nōmen est _______(1).

1: ita vērō! ego sum _______(1) et tū es _______(2).

2: ego sum _______(2) et tū es _______(1). sed quis est Quārtus et quis est Livia?

1: nescio! sed tū nōn es Livia et ego nōn sum Quārtus!

2: valē, _______(1) (in the vocative)!

1: valē, _______(2) (in the vocative)!

Yes, of course, if everything is like this students will soon get bored—unless they see that there’s a point. And that point will be when they have to fill out their Time Travel Passport application with a partner who has to do all the writing. Thus, developing a certain comfort level will make that task go more smoothly.  (The following stage will be a job application in ancient Pompeii, and ultimately having to converse while buying and selling goods in the forum.) Coins/stamps will be earned, which will be part grade and part spending money when we finally have the forum project. Plus I'm thinking each dialogue will be targeting something I will list in the Can-Do statements for Latin 1. There will be no vagueness about the direction we are going and what we are accomplishing and how it fits into the bigger picture. 

Ideally, we will get to a point where the creation of dialogues won’t be necessary. All that will be necessary will be using the three things listed above. (Clearly I need to simplify and name my little list.) Oh, and providing some motivating overarching task (like my forum project).

This is just the beginning of my thoughts on this, thoughts which are rather rambling at present and not well focused. And I know that identifying ways that students can extend a conversation even though they know very little will also increase their writing. I can't help but wonder, though, if I had at all times at Rusticatio, been trying to work these three things--especially in a learning environment where everyone would have understood what I was doing and no one would have minded or thought that I was purposefully being obtuse--that maybe my own conversational skills would be further along today. I'm just hoping that next year that I won't feel like I've let any students fall through the cracks because I didn't understand enough about what I was doing.

I put this document together back in 2006. Patrick Owens took a cursory look at it last year (2016) when he was busy and made a couple of edits. When he sent it back to me I had to put it aside because I was busy.

Anyway, I was thinking that besides having a PDF file that I could simply post the contents here so it is more handy for people. Enjoy!


Interjections! Show Emotion! Halleluia! Amen!


Lists of interjections can be found on the internet and elsewhere, but usually they contain nothing more than a list of the words. I have tried to gather examples of usage when provided from Lewis and Short’s A Latin Dictionary, so that we can begin to employ these interjections in our own classes in a more accurate fashion.


ā/āh – (an exclamation of pain or grief) ah! ha! oh! āh nescīs quam doleam; (of entreaty to avert an evil) āh, nōlī!; (of indignation or reproach) āh stulte! āh rogitās?; (of admonition) āh nē mē obsecrā; (of consolation) quid? āh volet, certō scio.

aha – (of reproof or denial) aha! aha, tacē

ai – (denoting grief) ah!

apage – go! scram! apage, istās ā mē sorōrēs

atat/attat/attatatae/atatte – (an exclamationi of joy, pain, wonder, fright, warming) oh! ah! alas! lo! strange! attata, cavē cadās amābō

(h)au – (an exclamation of pain or grief) ouch! au, nūllan tibi lingua’st?

babae/papae/tatae – (an exclamation of wonderment of magnitude) (in delight) great! wonderful!; (in pain) ouch! how painful!; (in astonishment or surprise) wow! papae! iugularās hominem; (dialogue from a play:) Sa: fac tū hōc modō, St: at tū hōc modō, Sa: babae! St: tatae! Sa: papae! St: pāx!

ēcastor/mēcastor – by Castor! (for women usually) ēcastor vērō!; salvē, mēcastor, Parmeniō!

ecce – (with the accusative) see! look! here! quid mē quaeris? ecce mē!; ecce odium meum! (with the nominative) ecce homo!

eccerē – (ecce plus – ablative of rem) there! see there in fact!

edepol/pol – by Pollux! indeed! pol, mē miserum, patrōne, vocāres!

ehem – (expressing pleasant surprise) ha! aha! ehem, optumē!; ehem, pater mē, tū hīc erās?

ēheu – (expressing pain, often followed by quam) oh! oh no! ēheu, quam ego nunc tōtus displiceō mihi!

eho – (often expressing rebuke) look here! see here! eho puer!

ehodum – look here now!

ei/hei – (expressing fear or dismay) ah! oh!

ēia/hēia – (expressing joy or surprise in admiring an object) ah ah ha! good! (gentle remonstrance or persuasion) hēia, mē Iūnō, nōn decet tē; (in strong affirmation) ēia, crēdō; (expressing haste, often with age) quick! come on! ēia age!

em/hem – (expressing joy or surprise in a good or bad sense, in offering some object or fact to s.o., often followed by a dative) here (there) you are! hem! quid ego audiō?; hem, Pamphile, optimē tē mihi offers; hem tibi maledictīs prō istīs

ēn/em – (in questions) really? (in commands) come on! (to call attention) hey! (with nominatives) ubi rōrāriī estis? ēn sunt; ēn crīmen, ēn causa; ēn quid agō

eu – (sometimes ironic) fine! great!

euax – (expressive of delight at some tidings or events) hurray!

euge/eugae/eugepae – terrific! bravo! euge, euge, perbene!

euhoe (shout of joy at the festivals of Bacchus) euhoe euhoe euhius

phew! (at a bad smell) fī fī fītet!

fu/fue/fūfae – (expression of disgust) yuck!

ha/hahae/hahahahae (expression of joy, satisfaction, or laughter) haha! thank heaven! hahae, nunc dēmum mī animus in tūtō locō’st; (exclamation of laughter or derision) Chr: hahahe! Me. quid rīsistī?; hahahe, iam teneō, quid sit

(h)ercle/mehercle/mehercule/mehercules (expressing strong feeling, used by men as an oath) by Hercules! neque, mehercules, hoc indigne ferō; vērē, mehercule hoc dīcam

heu (expressing pain or dismay; absolute or with accusative) oh! ah! heu mē miserum

heus (to draw attention) say there! hey! heus, Traniō, etiam nē aperīs?

huī (exclamation of astonishment or admiration) wow! trīginta? huī percāra est!

io (expressing joy) (NB: two syllables - the i is not a consonant) ho! iō triumphe / triumphāle!

medius fidius/mediusfidius (fidius - surname of Jupiter; medius - from deus) by the gods of truth! most certainly! nē ille, medius fidius

(only joined with personal pronouns ego, , and with ille, iste, and hic; also connect with other affirmative particles hercle, edepol, mecastor, medius fidius) indeed, certainly, surely! nē ego homō īnfēlix fuī; nē tū hercle; nē ille hercle; edepol nē ego

ō (the commonest expression of joy, astonishment, desire, grief, indignation; usually with vocative or accusative; often 3 times) oh! ō pater, ō patria, ō Priamī domum; ō soror, ō coniunx, ō fēmina sōla; ō Romule; ō Tite

oh/ohoho (expression for the most various emotions of the mind, for surprise, both joyful and painful; for great pleasure or sorrow) oh! oh, iniquus es; oh periī; oh probus homō

ōhē/ohē whoa! ohē, inquam sī quid audīs

oho (an exclamation of surprise or joy) oho! aha! oho, amābō, quid illūc nōn properās?

oi/oiei (an exclamation of complaint, of one weeping) oi! alas!

papae (see babae above)

pāx quiet! enough! pāx, abī!

pol (see edepol above)

prox (comic representation of a fart) dum etinor, prox! iam paene inquināvī pallium / as I struggle to my feet, bang! I darn near soiled my clothes!

st shh! sst! st st tacēte, quid hoc clamōris?

tat/tatae (see babae above)

tuxtax (a word meant to imitate sound of blows) whack, wam; tuxtax meō tergō erit

vae (an exclamation of pain or dread, often with dative) woe! vae miserō mihi; vae victīs

vah/vaha (exclamation of astonishment, joy, anger) ah! oh! vah! apage tē ā mē! vah! periī!

This list was originally compiled by Ginny Lindzey, Dripping Springs High School, Austin, TX, 2006; revised 2017.

I have been pushing myself this year to fully invest in using Google Slides and to move away from PowerPoint. As such, anytime I'm setting up a new Google Slide presentation I try to think of new ways to do things. I had a "stulta" moment the other day when I realized that if I embedded a movie for the movie talk IN a slide and did NOT enlarge the screen when showing it, that I could ALSO have vocab words on the same screen.

The last two days (we are on block schedule) I have been doing a movie talk in Latin 1 with Pixar's "Piper."  This is what my screen looked like:

We have just nominally started CLC Stage 6, but my colleague wants to begin Brando Brown Canem Vult soon so I'm busy trying to let go of wanting to do stuff in the book. Then I remembered "Piper" and knew I could really work tenses with this story. .

To keep students awake and prevent the groups that like to talk with their buddies from talking as much, I have students shift after each question. My room is arranged a bit like a theater with three sections, and each section has three rows (the side two at angles) with three desks in each of the first two rows and two seats in the last row. So, after watching the whole video, we started over and we'd watch a bit then I would stop and ask a question in Latin. Students were to discuss the answer in their little group of three student (or two on the back rows), after which I would pick on a row to answer. Then I would indicate for students in the right chair (sella dextra), left chair (sella sinistra), or middle chair (sella media) to get up & switch (surgite et mutate). So each time there would be one new person in the group. Block classes are long and this helps to fight against restlessness too.

When students would answer in Latin, they would usually start in the present tense. We had been practising tenses with gestures (as Nancy Llewellyn teaches), so I would flip their sentence into the imperfect, complete with gestures. I wish I had time to detail how class went, but suffice it to say I felt participation was better because the "helps" were on the screen right with the movie. We got a lot of repetitions in, lots of uses of the subjunctive, etc.

On Monday/Tuesday of next week, we will review and then in groups they will compose their version of the story. I believe we will have time to exchange stories and do some peer editing. If we don't, that's ok too. For the next class I'm hoping to have used their compositions to rewrite the story, this time incorporating postquam, quod, tum, and subito. Or maybe we will combine sentences together.

If you even need help with Google Slides, feel free to contact me. I know most teachers are too busy with the job if teaching Latin (et al) that they often don't learn more than the bare basics of presentation software.
There was a big twitter discussion about Latin pronunciation today, to use macrons or not to use macrons, whether to teach pronunciation to students or let them pick it up by listening to you and other input (trusting the quality you provide), etc. I felt the discussion beginning to spiral in its usual fashion of pros and cons. Back when the Latinteach list was active, this discussion came up numerous times. And often if I replied, I also posted a copy of my reply on this blog. I just read through them, and in some I was quite passionate--one, even a bit out of line. If you would like to read those older posts just click on the PRONUNCIATION tag in the right margin.

So in many ways, there's no need for me to repeat what I've said before, except for the fact that we have a couple more issues now that we didn't really have then. First, there are a LOT of people (well, a room full of 50 at ACL--that's 1/6 of the participents) who are interested in trying to use more techniques to make their class a Comprehensible Input classroom. That requires a LOT of oral work. It is the idea that you can get in more repetitions and in a more engaging and compelling way orally. Yes, reading still plays a strong role but there is a LOT of emphasis on the oral part.

Second, it is less likely that a new teacher will have had formal instruction in accentuation and syllabification if they learned Latin in high school using a reading based text like the Cambridge Latin Course (which I do love) because it does not include a pronunciation guide. From this point, as I've stated elsewhere, the discussion begins to go round and round on who to blame--that is, who should have taught pronunciation (high school teacher/first teacher) or who should have polished pronunciation (professors/person in charge of methods of teaching Latin course)? And that's all mute. Finger pointing never got anything done.

In 2005 I even had proposed initially via the CAMWS Newsletter something called "Fluent Latin 101". The title of the article was "Teacher Prep: New Ideas, New Approach" (page 9). This was way before the Comprehensible Input surge in Latin circles, but at a time when I was really frustrated by the lack of quality pronunciation among fellow teachers at Certamen events. I was also trying to address in the article issues that some teachers had brought up about not having studied AP authors during their undergraduate career and thus not being properly prepared to teach.  But that's another story. I published this article in the CAMWS Newsletter because I was hoping to reach the professors who could have some influence on addressing these problems which future teachers faced. Naturally it fell on deaf ears.

Last year I discovered on a blog post entitled Driving with Dido on the Indwelling Language blog. It is mainly a post--and a good one--on reading extensively in Latin, and how the author, Justin Sloacum Bailey, went on a quest to develop fluency in Latin, even though he began with a grammar first text book (Wheelock's). Anyway, at some point in the post, he gives a list of things to help with fluency, and one of them is to "record yourself reading Latin and listen to your recordings in the car, while doing chores, while shopping, etc."

This has stuck with me even though admittedly I have yet to do it. The idea was to record yourself reading a passage that you have interpreted/translated so you know what it's about, and then work on developing your own listening skills.  As I see it, the way to ensure this works well is to be extremely conscientious about your pronunciation as you read that Latin. This is not only about making sure you are pronouncing long and short vowels correctly, but that you are dividing and accenting words correctly. You are creating your source of INPUT. That is the key.

To develop your sense of quality pronunciation you need lots of INPUT, but if you aren't around speakers of Latin, you don't get the input you need. In addition, if your own teacher/instructor was apathetic with regards to the pronunciation of Latin, you need enough quality input to unteach incorrect pronunciation.

So... I guess the first thing you need to do is to decide that you need to improve your pronunciation if you know you need to. If you cannot write sentences/vocabulary from the textbook you use (assuming you are using a textbook) complete with macrons without double checking 98% of the time, then you probably need to work on pronunciation. Because, really, what we are talking about is not "pronunciation" but whether you have internalized the SOUND of the words, whether you truly OWN the words.

Why is this so important? If you are going to be telling stories orally, you have to OWN your own Latin. And if you want your students to pick up their pronunciation mainly through input, your OUTPUT must be excellent.

OK, so now maybe you realize you need to "learn" your macrons.  Really, you are working on "owning" your Latin vocab by SOUND because the macrons merely represent sounds. First make sure you know your basic rules of dividing and accenting words (see the front of a Latin dictionary or my pronunciation guide for CLC), and then practicing dividing and accenting words that are three syllables or more, followed by saying those words aloud several times. You may find words you thought you knew are really pronounced differently. You may discover you are sloppy with o's and i's. You may discover which words are mispronounced due to related words in English. (Off the top of my head, novem, 9, is a SHORT o, not a long o like in November; toga is a short o as well, not long as it is in English.)

Once you feel like you can divide and accent anything, find a passage you like (could be from your textbook series or AP or whatever), divide & accent all the words in it just to make sure you really are saying all of the words correctly, and then record yourself reading it. Now put away the text away and get a clean sheet of paper. Use your recording for dictation and see whether you can write exactly what you read previously--macrons and all. If your pronunciation is clear and accurate, you should have little problem doing this. TRUST the sound that you hear. If you hear long, write it that way. Likewise, think about where the accent is on the word; sometimes that can help you with a short a versus a long a. Practice this a bit.

Now, try finding something that does NOT have macrons. If you were to trust your "ear", could you add macrons to most of the words? Try it to see. Do any of the missed macrons change the placement of the accent on the word? Or does where you KNOW the accent of the word goes help you with deciding whether you have a long or short vowel? I know, for instance, that I pronounce "they heard" as au-di-VE-runt, so that e has to be long.

The truth is that there is no magic fix. You have to work at it. You have to realize the importance not just to your own learning but to that of your students. You have to see the bigger picture of language acquisition. And you will find that the more you work at it, the more you realize you do know, and the easier it becomes. But it all starts with you having a crystal clear idea of pronunciation.

I often think about Spanish students who will complain that one of the Spanish teachers has lousy pronunciation. Students notice.  Students care.  Students will think less of you and your expertise if they see this deficiency. Your colleagues will think less of your expertise as well. (Yes, I have thought less of professors and teachers....)  And maybe that seems arrogant... But I'm also going to pick the Shakespeare instructor who tries to do restored pronunciation over the one that recites with a heavy Texan accent.

And finally, I do believe we need to teach our students the rules for dividing and accenting words. I've always made it extra credit on one of the types of quizzes I've used in the past. I reiterate the importance of knowing the rules so you can decide how a new word sounds without my being there, but I do not punish students for having difficulties with the concept. I do grade oral recitations which we practices because that is based on hearing/speaking and not artificial rules of dividing and accenting. Nevertheless, I want my students to be armed to read extensively, and to hear the Latin in their heads or to be able to say it aloud.

It's about the input. I can provide a lot of it, but some of it will need to be experienced on their own--and I just want it to be the best experience possible.
So I've been reading a fair amount of Latin this year.  Fair amount for me.  Pleasure reading. Latin.  NOT A LOEB. Not rereading favorite Catullus poems or Martial epigrams, not rereading favorite passages of Vergil. Harrius Potter et Lapis Philosophi, Winnie Ille Pu, Commentarii de Inepto Puero, etc. Reading QUANTITY.  Reading for FUN.

And yet.... yesterday morning, as I relaxed on my apartment balcony with one cat on my lap and another at my feet plus my copy of Domus Anguli Puensis, I had this thought:  was I truly acquiring language, was I truly benefiting from all of this input I've been so proud of? After all, I have been reading WHOLE BOOKS of Latin, not a chapter here or a chapter there from an ancient work, or only  x number of lines intensively. I have been letting go of needing to know everything even though we Latin teachers/students have always been about every single detail. I've been enjoying the story. But... I had to ask myself to be honest--was I acquiring more language?  I'm not sure.  But I felt that nothing was leaping into my active use from having seen multiple instances in context. <sigh> Once again I'm on the slower learner's track, I thought.

I feel like I'm always on the slow learner's track. I'm at a workshop for my GT/gifted & talented update today and thinking about the difference between gifted & talented versus high achiever. I'm the high achiever that can occasionally be GT. In college, I was a top Latin student, making A's in all of my classes, but no one encouraged me to go to grad school. (Yes, admittedly still a sore spot.) Then again, I myself didn't think I was grad school material. Why?  Because it took me HOURS to prepare my Latin assignments for class.  I didn't know about Dexter Hoyos's Rules for Reading, or metaphrasing, or any of the reading tools that are in my toolbox now. I was decoding; painstakingly considering every word, every case, every item as something that was part of a secret code. I would be surrounded by books--grammars, dictionaries, translations--to help me get through it all. Latin was not for me a language that I could read fluently. It was work. But I was up to the challenge.

All the reading methods I incorporate now have made me a much better reader. A few years ago I audited a Caesar class at UT and I know I was probably the top reader in class, always being fully prepared for our intensive sessions (long reading assignments), scoring well on quizzes and tests, and producing probably the top paper for the class.  By golly, all of my focus on improving my reading skills had truly paid off in an academic setting!

Then earlier this year Justin SB pointed out that using the Rules for Reading and all the rest are nothing more than coping strategies.  I didn't want to hear it, but I knew it is true. These rules still have their place, I truly believe, as they do help you to read texts above your true level of proficiency. And when we are in academic situations that make us force students to leap frog into reading Latin that is way above their comfort zone, we need coping strategies. (Can you say AP Latin?)

So is that part of my problem--that I'm still using coping mechanisms? I don't think so. I don't feel the grammar/structures of what I am reading or even the vocabulary is above my proficiency level except... except I think we have to be VERY CAREFUL on how we identify proficiency levels especially for Latin readers when almost all of their life with Latin has been about HOW TO TRANSLATE IT INTO ENGLISH. That is, there is a difference between something I can, when I read it a time or two, TRANSLATE versus something that I can read and not think twice about. I know for a fact that Latin teachers in general think that our students read at a much higher proficiency level than modern languages--but I think we are dead wrong. No one is reading Vergil in their comfort zone. Taking 15 minutes or more to "read" (translate! decode!) one long sentence of Caesar is not true reading. But I suppose that's another discussion for another time.

HERE'S my problem: I realize that unless I'm really concentrating on hearing the Latin words in my head or reading aloud, my brain is still translating. I'm having a very difficult time turning that off. I think I'm doing fine because I'm reading left to right (not hunting the verb or decoding), and moving along at a comfortable even if slowish rate. But here's what I realized I was doing.  This sentence came up this morning: '"eamus quia Dies Iovis est," dixit.' Before I could hear myself say the words in Latin in my head, my brain already shouted out, '"Let's go because it is Thursday," he said.' I didn't just see the Latin and move on; my brain had to shout out the English.

(I'm also aware that I'm noticing vocabulary, analyzing it, thinking about how it is getting used--why censeo and not puto? why decerno? why ominor? But analyzing isn't the same as acquiring.)

How do I turn off my English translator?

Yes, ok, I think I *have* to start reading everything aloud. But maybe there's some other language learning trick I don't know about. When I tweeted about it, language experts (Krashen! Gaab!) both said it (the reading) just needs to be HIGHLY COMPELLING.  Hey, I'm finding this compelling, I'm engaged, I want to read more... but my English translator won't turn off. Maybe modern language learners do not have this problem to the extent that Latin learners may have (because there are significantly fewer of us teaching using Comprehensible Input), but this may be a problem that is not being addressed, a problem that is slowing down able students in ALL LANGUAGES.

And you know what else I think? This English interference issue is part of the reason why I haven't progressed as much as I would like with spoken Latin. I have attended numerous SALVI immersion events (mainly Rusticatio), but I'm still nervous anytime I see someone from Rusticatio because I struggle with small talk, and always feel like I don't know enough vocabulary to reply satisfactorily. I feel like I'm always starting over, at least to a certain extent. My last summer at Rusticatio I figured out at least one thing I was doing that was detrimental: on breaks I would often go off on walks by myself and my thoughts would be in English. To correct this, I made myself talk aloud to myself when on walks--the things I would see--and sometimes I would practices Rassias style things: papilionem video. quis papillionem videt? ipsa dico me papilionem videre. quis rogat? ipsa rogo quis papilionem videat. Maybe it would have been easier if I had just stopped going for a walk on my own! Maybe there should have been a buddy rule....

So, I don't know what else to say. I think ENGLISH really impedes my Latin learning, and yes I am still learning. I've always thought that this is one thing that makes me a good teacher. Yes, I'm totally enthusiastic about Latin and all the rest. My students respond very positively to my class and I want my high achievers to bypass me on their way to greatness. But I also have deep empathy with the struggler, especially the bright struggler who maybe doesn't get why he/she is lagging behind peers. So I'm not afraid to identify and analyze my weaknesses.  For me, right here and now it is about how to turn off my English translator when I am reading. And I bet some of your students have this problem too.
So I've been listening to a lot of Tea with BVP lately, having lots of deep thoughts but not being able to pause and write.

A bunch of topics have come up that have had my head spinning but this one really caught my attention: Are languages "subjects" to be taught or something to be coached?

Now, I definitely believe that Latin should be treated fully as a language because it is WITHOUT QUESTION a language. I think the more we teach in the target language, the more we use more modern techniques to provide Comprehensible Input, the better. But...

But... I have had this question personally for a long time: Why Latin?  Students sign up for my class because of me not necessarily Latin. My enthusiasm is contagious, I know, and we have a good time. But secretly I feel like I do not have a good enough reason for arguing that students should take my class over another modern language.

I know I love Latin, even obsess over it in my own way, but I truly cannot explain WHY--outside of thinking that maybe buried deep in my genetic make-up is a Latin speaking Roman ancestor. I do NOT want to hear arguments about benefits to the understanding of English grammar, developing broader English vocabulary, and the like. Let other people say that is the reason for teaching Latin. Ok, I do use it from time to time but secretly I think it's a wimpy argument. I prefer to argue that I feel like I have direct communication with Vergil and Caesar by reading their original; I like to know exactly how they expressed themselves in order to feel a stronger connection with them. Yes, western civilization is indebted to the Romans (and the Greeks), and by studying ancient authors we are broadening our understanding of our own culture. But in general for drawing wisdom from the ancients, well, we can do that in translation, can't we? It isn't the strongest argument when we have so many good translations available these days.

Let me come at this from another direction. In general people who study Latin in college either become teachers or professors or go on to another field. If they go on to another field, they rarely read Latin again. Most students who take Latin in high school do not continue it in college unless they have more language hours required for their major. I took Latin because I didn't want to take Spanish because my brother and sister did. (I have an independent streak.) I continued with Latin because I had fun teachers and professors that made it interesting. I majored in Latin because I thought teaching would be a decent occupation and no one encouraged me to do something that would earn a better paycheck. (But ok, I am a good teacher and I do think this is where I am meant to be even though I am tired of being stressed out over finances.)

One does not study Latin in order to communicate when traveling to foreign countries, or to be able to put bilingual or trilingual on a job application. It is not a language taught in the military to use when serving abroad. A bachelor's degree in Latin does not indicate that one has true fluency of any sort with the language. It DOES indicate a certain ability to translate choice selections of mainly golden age Latin accurately, but it doesn't indicate reading fluency in the same way one would talk about reading fluency in a modern language. Latin is read by the line or by the page. Modern languages are read by the chapter or by the book.  A degree in a modern language can be useful in many other professions. In this country, Spanish is useful in business; it is good to be bilingual if you are a doctor, lawyer, journalist, whatever. Latin helps with understanding medical terminology, but NOT with communicating with someone in need of something (medical help, legal help, etc). Latin is seemingly a means to one end: reading Latin, mainly that written by famous Roman authors. Modern languages are used to communicate to find out all sorts of things from people around us.

So should we teach it as a language or a subject, and does it matter?

I think it does matter--greatly. Right now in general we treat Latin as a subject (even if we think we are treating it as a language--this is something I see myself being guilty of). Our goal is NOT proficiency if we are honest. It isn't; not around here. Our goal is to learn forms and function so that we can then use a variety of coping mechanisms to leapfrog over real language ACQUISITION in order to translate selections Vergil, Caesar, Cicero, Catullus, Ovid, etc. And our goals in these courses are about improving analysis skills more than developing any real proficiency in reading. It is about making the grade of an A via translation, spot grammar analysis/explanation, and writing a paper in English that analyzes some aspect of Latin grammar or a theme in the target author's work.  Make the grades and that's it. We know--we KNOW--this is exactly what AP Latin has us doing.

Consider textbooks for Latin. We like to have discussions about the various worth of the grammar/translation approach versus the reading approach. I was originally taught via the grammar/translation approach. The textbook would introduce a new declension or a new conjugation or a new tense, we'd practice going from singular to plural, Latin to English, English to Latin. Simple enough. Vocabulary lists were memorized, nominatives given and we had to supply genitives, gender, and meaning or, with verbs, principal parts. We all *hated* the day where we had to try to translate the sole story in the chapter. We hated reading Latin because it seemed difficult. It was cracking a secret code. (Ok, I came to like decoding; it was like solving a good algebraic problem.)  When we got to real Latin in level 3 after two years of grammar being shoveled into us, all we did was write out translations in English. That is not reading.

Textbooks like the Cambridge Latin Course, which I use and admittedly love, are reading approach. Ideally they are using repetition and illustration to establish meaning. Grammar is addressed in a section called "About the Language" but they do try not to get too technical. The ultimate goal is to develop reading skills because our goal is solely to read the Latin of dead authors. BUT... unless you are constantly rereading or reinforcing by other means, it just isn't enough input. I personally have created numerous materials focusing on various aspects of the grammar that are demonstrated in the text, bringing them all together in one place so that the multiple examples, which are often spread out in the text, can be seen in one place and thus the concept more fully understood.

Last summer I took great pleasure in combing CLC for examples of certain grammatical structures (ablative of description and ablative of respect among them) so that I could put them all in one place and demonstrate to students that we had seen examples and we could thus now understand this construction, and indeed recognize it when met in Vergil. That is, it would not become another new grammar feature met in AP but one that indeed was there in CLC, met many times, just waiting for analysis and understanding. I took great joy in how brilliant CLC is, how rich with all the grammar we needed in this reading approach even if it is not expressly discussed in the textbook. It's there! It's brilliant!

In fact, when I have heard colleagues state that they think certain passages in CLC are really too difficult and perhaps need embedded readings for students to use as a scaffolding, I have thought to myself, "Well, if you were using my reading methods, if you were training students to read in word order, to metaphrase, to see participial phrases as chunks to be metaphrased, etc etc, then these passages would be doable." Arrogance. Arrogance because what I have been teaching are coping mechanisms that aide in leap frogging true acquisition. Students aren't acquiring mental representations of the language; they are acquiring coping mechanisms for reading/translating. When it comes down to it, I'm still explicitly teaching grammar. It's not in isolation but given in context, but that doesn't mean this isn't still explicitly teaching grammar.

Is teaching explicit grammar necessary? Maybe. That is, it is if we are teaching AP Latin as the culminating Latin experience OR if we expect our students will continue in college and we want to make sure that they will have the skills (i.e., grammar) that professors expect. Or at least that's how it feels to many of us who are currently teaching Latin. I know that the reason why I continue to teach and test grammar concepts (in context) is because of my fear of what the next teacher or professor will think of my student and whether my student will be able to succeed in their classes. It certainly isn't because I think it is the best way to teach Latin.

What we demand of a Latin student is so different than a modern language student. If we do demand output, as in the grammar/translation approach, that output is usually in the form of translating a specific English sentence into Latin and everything must be grammatically correct and spelled perfectly. (And this is why Latin was reserved for the elite for so long and considered something that trains you in precision and logic.) It is rarely any freeflowing composition of our own choosing, in great measure because few of us want to write about fighting and killing, wars, and slavery. Ok, we could use the vocabulary of love poetry, but unless we're writing a commentary on the war against Isis, the language of Caesar may not help us much. We don't learn the vocabulary of our everyday lives so we have little output about such things.  And with the reading approach, there is no real Latin output. Almost all communication in Latin is one-sided: dead Latin speaker to live modern person.

Let's face it: the current design of almost all Latin programs is to get students to a point where they can "read" (too often analyze & decode) ancient authors as quickly as possible. With Spanish, it could be to enjoy reading Spanish novels, or to communicate when you travel, or to be bilingual and thus more employable in any field. Proficiency levels can vary for your needs. It is more welcoming to all. Latin sometimes feels like either you made the Olympic team or you didn't. So long, nothing else for you to read at your level, at least your English grammar and vocabulary improved; glad you had fun.

There is no intermediate or graded material in Latin generally available. We don't send our Latin students home with summer reading assignments or suggestions to watch tv shows (like Spanish can do) or listen to music. Ok, there's plenty of Latin music out there from centuries past, but most choral groups use ecclesiastic pronunciation which is NOT what is generally used in school. Thus it can be impossible to listen to. Even Japanese can encourage students to watch more anime. ha. Summer assignments for Latin generally have been reserved for AP students, and even then it's been about reading an ENGLISH translation of the Aeneid.

Honestly, it had NEVER occurred to me to point my students to extra reading for pleasure. (What is WRONG with me?)  Then again, no teacher of mine ever encouraged me to read extra Latin outside of class.  Latin was something you studied IN CLASS because it was complex with what seemed like an endless list of vocabulary to learn and more complex writing styles with every author. I made A's in Latin in college but that was because I spent hours decoding every single word assigned for class and then going over it all a second time before class. I had dictionaries, grammar books, and translations nearby as I decoded. It took HOURS. That does not make one feel capable of just reading for pleasure. I liked what I was studying, but it wasn't the sort of stuff you could read in bed holding a book in one hand and petting your cat with the other. It was my SUBJECT.

And I hate to confess that it wasn't until this year that I really ventured forth to truly READ FOR PLEASURE in Latin. I read Harrius Potter, Winnie Ille Pu, Commentarii de Inepto Puero, and I'm currently reading Domus Anguli Puensis. When I'm somewhere without a book I have accessed The Latin Library via my phone to read some medieval Latin.  What have I been afraid of?  Extensive reading? Not knowing some of the vocabulary? I'm learning to get over it. I would say that MOST Latin teachers I know that are traditional high school teachers with JCL programs and the like read very little Latin just for the fun of it. We weren't taught how to read extensively or that it was ok not to know every single word. We were taught that being precise mattered and to not demand precision is sloppy work not worthy of a classicist.

And perhaps I'm digressing.  But my point is that we have been teaching Latin as a subject that can only be studied in a school setting.  Maybe we didn't mean to do this or realize that we were doing this, but that is what we have done.  The teachers before us did the same, and probably the teachers before them.

We know--we KNOW--that speaking Latin is part of the natural acquisition process, it activates our passively learned knowledge (forms and functions, etc), and broadens are abilities with the language. And that is from the point of view of someone who learned the grammar first. Friends who are teaching in Georgia using entirely Comprehensible Input are having incredible success with students who, in large numbers, continue on to 4 or 5 years of the language, can speak, write, and read. And most importantly TAKE GREAT PLEASURE IN THE LANGUAGE.
We are about to shift to proficiencies for ALL languages in our Texas standards. And although Latin's proficiency requirement in spoken and written language isn't nearly as high as our reading proficiency level, we will still have them. It's time for us to decide--do we want to continue teaching Latin as a subject that has grades slapped on for perfection, or is it time to treat it as a language? Do we really need to rush to Roman authors, or can we take a little more time to actually help students acquire the language, to build mental representations, and read medieval and humanist authors along the way? I have been to several Latin immersion workshops and have learned and participated in lots of comprehensible input. I know in my heart of hearts that this is the way to go, but I'm having a hard time leaving, even partly, CLC. But I also had a hard time facing that my wonderful reading methods which I have built the whole of my teaching career around, are still nothing more than a coping mechanism for not having true acquisition of the language.

I am not fluent in Latin. Yes, I can read Latin, but not with the kind of fluency that I would like. Picking up a new author can be intimidating. Teaching reading skills for the last 15+ years has made it significantly less intimidating and rather empowering, which is perhaps why I'm suddenly reading more in Latin for pleasure. But I'm not fluent though and I know it, and I read more slowly than I read English. Even still, I am finally comfortable with my proficiency level because I'm beginning to understand why I am at the level I am at. Latin was always a subject, even when I thought I was treating it as a language.

It took me several years of attending Rusticatio (a SALVI event) to develop decent listening proficiency. My speaking proficiency is still not where I want it to be as well because one week of immersion a year is not enough. And any time I have tried to have days of speaking entirely in the target language at school, I have discovered there is still a lot of vocabulary that I need and don't know.

Next year I want to start using Comprehensible Input in my level 1 classes because I want to teach Latin as a language not a subject. I'm excited and terrified. It took me 16 years to develop the quia materials, the quizzes and tests and everything that I use with CLC. I was all about reading methods; I thought that was being about the language, but textbook Latin isn't enough input, even with the best of books. It's not meaningful enough, it isn't engaging enough, and it lacks that quality of purpose that BVP describes so well in his "tasks." (See Episode 24 - Principle 5: The Nature of Tasks.)

I want to teach Latin as a language. I want a deeper, more meaningful relationship with all those who came before me who wrote in Latin for centuries, not just a handful of dead Romans from around the time of Christ. I still can't answer "Why Latin?" to my satisfaction, but that's ok.  Maybe I will discover that along the way.

So I was listening to Tea with BVP, episode 2 I think, and a teacher was saying how she was having great success with a pure Comprehensible Input classroom with students she saw everyday but with the young children she only saw once a week it wasn't working. She felt like she had to do too much reteaching in order to be able to move forward.

Now, I haven't shifted to a Comprehensible Input classroom myself. I am still learning.  I do give a fair number of instructions in Latin, we read aloud a lot in Latin, and other activities.  Admittedly I am still pretty tied to my textbook, the Cambridge Latin Course, but I do try to work in a number of oral/aural activities. One that I like is "musical pairs." You need something students can read in pairs--like a dialogue between two people--and music.  You play the music while students mill about.  When the music stops they have to pair up and read the Latin dialogue. If they get to the end before others do, they start over.  When the music starts again, students stop reading and mill about again.  Repeat a few times.

I have used this with embedded (simplified) readings of dialogues coming up in the day's story to preview it. I make sure the Latin is simple enough with only a couple of glossed words at most. My best students (admittedly, this year's 1st period class) would become quite dramatic at reading these and even my lowest functioning class would get something out of this activity.

Doing these reminded me of a box stuffed in my storage cabinet from when I taught middle school students a decade ago.  The box contains class sets of little mini-dialogues. One was on introducing yourself, another on asking to go to the bathroom, another on answering questions starting with ubi or quis. I was looking at these last week, and thinking that they would be good to use as a mini-warm-up.  And in thinking about this teacher's question on BVP, it might have been a good solution for reviewing from the previous week before jumping into something new.

No question that if you only teach once a week you will HAVE to spiral and review.  And you will have to develop a VARIETY of ways to do this.  I'm not saying I would use these little dialogues for every class.  There would have to be other little things. Or other motivational tasks with a purpose for reviewing something learned for that one day, like "How many people can you introduce yourself to in Latin between now and next week?"  It could be a competition for a prize. Then, the next week, meet students at the door and they cannot enter until going through greetings. In that moment, before even seeing whether students took part in the little competition or not, you will be able to tell how much reviewing you will need to do. But don't make it blatant reviewing.

If numbers are learned, then find things to count. Do surveys the following class of how many people have dogs for pets or cats.  Each time everyone is counting the hands raised (thus reviewing from the previous class lesson on numbers), but maybe you are also adding, "Aemilia canem habet. tu canem habes? ego canem non habeo. ego felem habeo. feli nomen est Julia." That is, you might begin working in 1st, 2nd, 3rd person with a useful verb (without all the grammatical nonsense) plus a direct object/accusative.  Then add to that a little review on "mihi nomen est___" with a bit of a twist by providing the dative for dog or cat. (Remember, shelter vocabulary, not grammar!) Maybe by the 4th week you can tell a story TPRS style. A little one. But maybe a full story will be a few more weeks away.  Are you teaching something that interests the students, keeping it personal? (Yes, their pets, their names, how many.) Maybe it won't be story time until Halloween--and what a treat it could be by that time!

So, I guess what I would have liked to have heard on Tea with BVP would have been something more along the lines of learning how to spiral and how to tie in more closely whatever was learned in the previous lessons. It might seem like you would cover less material over time but in all likelihood it will be of a much better quality and better retained the more you spiral--and most importantly, students will have more joy in the class and stay excited about language learning.

I had a ballroom dance instructor, Richard, who reassured students in the class (all older adults) that we would likely retain only 10% of what he had taught that night over the length of the week, but that it was ok because he would thoroughly review before moving on. Which was true--and he was the best ballroom dance instructor I had. Sadly, he no longer teaches and the other instructors are just not equal to the task at all. The key is that Richard KNEW most people would forget and he taught NOT to the exceptionally talented individuals who would go home and practice but the whole class. He knew the importance of spiraling and building a solid foundation. He believed there was great joy in social dancing (as opposed to ballroom competitions) and that he could teach anyone how to lead and follow and enjoy the music. Other instructors which we have had since have expressed frustration at the amount people would forget... and yet even with their trying to push us farther, they taught us less. (They are not true teachers.)

So I guess the real question is, how realistic are your goals for what you want to accomplish with young children?  We should always be focused on not how much we "cover" but how much they can retain, not to mention how and why they do retain it.

So, next year will mean changes for me one way or another.  My high school is going on block scheduling and I'm hoping to have the Latin 1s back... or... I'm hoping to be teaching exploratory Latin full time to 5th graders in a totally different school district.  Either way, I want to start moving into doing more Comprehensible Input. It's a tricky thing if I stay because I feel like it will also mean dismantling all I have built for the last 10 years--16 years if you count the 6 years I taught middle school Latin.  That was when I began my adventures with the Cambridge Latin Course, began building materials of detail and quality, and began developing my reading methodology. And if I begin using Comprehensible Input more than the textbook at my high school, it may mean going it alone... I'm not sure my colleague has any interest in it.

And maybe that will be a moot point because maybe I will get this other job teaching exploratory Latin.  And either way, I can continue to study everything I can about Comprehensible Input so that I will be ready.

So I've been listening to the Tea with BVP podcast  I only discovered it a couple of episodes before the end of the season, so now I'm starting over. This morning I listened to episodes 1 and 2.  At some point, I believe in episode 1, there was a question about whether to teach pronunciation. The basic answer was no because your students should be able to pick it up by hearing you speak or other native speakers, etc, in a natural way.

I, however, have always said that I can't just ask Cicero how to pronounce a word I have never come across before because he's dead. No one local to me seems interested in speaking Latin conversationally. (I have had to go off to SALVI events like Rusticatio to have quality exposure to spoken Latin in a large quantity--that is 24/7.) The authentic communication I have is in reading what the dead wrote in great measure. We do know how golden age Latin was pronounced (see Vox Latina), so that is not at issue. I have always felt it important to teach pronunciation, syllabification, and accentuation in Latin (but only to count it as extra credit on quizzes--not for a real grade) because students will at some point need to be able to read and hear words (at least in their heads) that no one has pronounced for them before. Perhaps I'm influenced by my phonetics education as a child. Perhaps this is just my own neurotic need that I shouldn't force on others. (Here is a pronunciation guide I created to go with the Cambridge Latin Course.)

In teaching high school, one of my goals with expressly teaching the dividing and accenting of words is so that when we hit poetry meter will be easy and not challenging. Another goal is simply that they can decide how to say a word without my having to say it for them.  And yet...  Have I been wasting a lot of time?

It's not that there aren't other ways in which my students are picking up good pronunciation.  First and foremost, I read everything aloud to them.  With gusto! With dramatics! Students read with me in unison as well.  We also have recitation passages--short snippets from an important story in the chapter/stage which we then use to practice pronunciation. (These are also used to target new grammar in the chapter/stage.) Later each student recites/reads this passage for a pronunciation grade. I would say 98% of students do this really well.

We also have "jobs" at the beginning of class that include reading the agenda which is mostly written in Latin, reading the date (which includes yesterday, today, and tomorrow), as well as being the daily weather person.

(I can't recall why it was foggy and dirty at the time I took this picture, but I believe there was either dust or ash from a fire in the air at that time for some reason that was making the fog weird in the mornings. And yes, it probably should have read decimo sexto for the date and not sedecimo!)

I don't correct too often when students are doing jobs; many self correct or just improve as the year goes on. Many are conscientious of macrons and the role they play in pronunciation, a few admittedly lack interest and are just getting through their job for the day. Most, however, really like doing the jobs. At an awards banquet the other night I overheard one student, when asked to say something in Latin, rattle off, "salvete omnes! vaticinatrix hodierna sum. mihi nomen est Octavia. sol lucet!"

I think... I think if I teach pronunciation in the future maybe I'll just let the students discuss and figure out from previous input and exposure what the difference is between short and long for each vowel, and maybe even accentuation rules. And syllabification is really only necessary for teaching poetry in all honesty, right? And even then, only if you have to expressly teach meter because of AP or IB.  The truth of the matter is that my expressly teaching the rules for pronunciation, syllabification, & accentuation aren't the real reasons why my students have good pronunciation and aren't afraid of reading Latin aloud.  They can do that because we read aloud all the time, because I make my class a place where Latin is heard. They get extra credit points on dividing and accenting words on stage quizzes because I expressly taught the rules.  Big whoop.

I'm not going to give up my personal obsession for macrons on all materials because I want to learn how to say a word the right way from my first encounter with it if possible. Can I read Latin well without macrons? Yes of course. I like picking up my copy of Harrius Potter and rattling on at a natural speed as if I'm reading English and not Latin. There are no macrons; there are often a lot of new vocabulary for words Caesar never new (he never had an automobile after all) and I can guess from experience what is the most likely pronunciation--but I can only do that because I put the demand on myself for careful pronunciation with macrons at all other times.

Perhaps that seems a bit much--but as I said before, Cicero is not here.  I can't just say to someone in the next room, "hey, how do you pronounce nihilominus?" So for Latin, especially when you get to a point when you are in total control of your input (which is often just print material), pronunciation is important. Understanding how it works is important. But maybe as a teacher--especially as a teacher of beginning students--it really isn't a critical topic.  Surely I can use that time better than spending the better part of a class going through my pronunciation sheet (see above)?!

Just another thing to consider when planning for next year.
I have spent the better part of this weekend not grading quizzes as I should be but buidling a new set of online quizzes for reviewing and understanding Ablatives of Description, Comparison, and Respect.  During this time I'm watching friends post from the Living Latin Institute put on by Paideia in NY and feeling not only a little jealous but admittedly a bit defensive about what I've been working on.

But I'm not currently teaching via Comprehensible Input, I'm using the Cambridge Latin Course and focusing, as I have done for a long time, on reading strategies. The two are not, of course, exclusive. In fact, I am looking for ways to bring the two together in the future. And it may one day be that I will be totally CI in my approach, but for now, I'm a CLC girl.

CLC often gets complaints about not having enough grammar, but truly it's all there.  Sometimes it is discussed in the ABOUT THE LANGUAGE sections, but other times it isn't. Sometimes it is discussed in the LANGUAGE INFORMATION section in the back of the book, sometimes it isn't.  In the case of the Ablatives of Description, Comparison, and Respect, one can find very minimal information of them in the back of the book. One doesn't get a sense of how often one sees them in the text.  Certainly the students have no idea about what they are seeing. CLC would like students to discover patterns for themselves and/or to internalize new constructions after having experienced them multiple times.

However, there are times when the examples are spread out to just a few here or a few there. Sometimes explanations aren't really needed. But there does come a time when students start feeling that there are hundreds of exceptions to how to translate or understand something. And while I often feel more problems are caused by worrying about what would sound "right" in an English translation which could be avoided if we kept our focus IN the Latin, we have to understand the situation from the student's point of view.  That is, sometimes it is worth pointing out exactly what is going on grammatically, especially if we can back it up with multiple examples.  And when we start hitting ablatives that sound better translated with things other than "by" or "with" (the two standby's we learn with declining), to me that is the time to point out the new guys.

I give tests every couple of stages, for the most part, and usually pull together samples just from those stages of whatever needs targetting.  In this case, I decided we needed a closer look at Ablatives of Description, Comparison, and Respect. Combined together I was able to make two 18 question online quizzes regarding identifying the construction and translating.  (They use the same 18 sentences in each.)  While it may seem to the student and other users of these two new quizzes that I'm merely hammering home grammatical features, what I really am trying to do is to force students to read and reread these examples more times than we would have met them just in class.  In class I can count on them seeing the constructions in full context with their work groups (three people each) a couple of times, plus one more time when we go over it again all together in class.  That's maybe three times, four if I'm lucky. With the online quizzes, which I end up using to prep and preview for tests, I hope to force them to see these same sentences at least 2 more times, more if they review them again on their own time at home. I doubt more than 4 or 5 questions will actually make it to the test.  After all, Stages 36 and 37 cover present subjunctives and more on indirect statements--big ticket items. But sometimes it is frustration with the smaller items that can put off students, especially when examples are spread out and one feels you are learning something new each time it comes up.  Hence the need for repetition in context with similar items to focus and engage the students.

So here are the two new items.

1. CLC Stages 36-37: Identifying Ablatives
2. CLC Stages 36-37: Translating Ablatives

Unit Four isn't to be feared; it's to be mined for its wonderful depth of information. Join me in embracing it.

(Originally this was posted on the CLC list earlier today....)

My Latin 3’s are currently in the middle of Stage 37.  Today they began cōnsilium Domitiānī I. There are several things that I like about this story (besides the story line), or rather that I like about the way CLC sneaks stuff in.

There are a couple of ablative of descriptions in this story.  Of course, it isn’t critical that one even talks about them expressly except that they do come up in AP and instead of feeling like you have to cover so many little grammar topics then, why not point them out when they first start appearing?  It’s not like we have to quiz everything.

The thing about these ablative of descriptions is that they’ve been hiding out like ablative absolutes: noun and participle in the ablative—what more does a student look for?  Ok, sometimes set off by a comma but not always, as we well know.  And perhaps you are like me and for the sake of simplification teach students only a couple of ways to translate ablative absolutes (until they truly have a handle on them).  I use “after X had been done” (depending on the time frame of the main verb, naturally), which serves us well.

However, there are times when saying “with X verbed” just sounds better. I had wondered why in the back of my head until one day I realized that there were always parts of the body mentioned.  (I know I made detailed lists of these things this summer, but that is on my personal laptop at home.)

So consider:

dum senātōrēs anxiī inter sē colloquuntur, ingressus est Domitiānus vultū ita compositō ut nēmō intellegere posset utrum īratus an laetus esset.

“with a face composed (in such a way)” or this one:

Cripsus diū tacēbat; superciliīs contractīs quasi rem cōgitāret, oculōs humī dēfīxit.

“with his eyebrows contracted/furrowed” – ablative of description. So how far back do these go?  It seems to me one of the earliest ones was in Stage 31 in salūtātiō I in this sentence:

omnēs, oculīs in iānuam dēfīxīs, patrōnī favōrem exspectābant.

“everyone, with their eyes fixed upon the door,” sounds a whole lot better than “after their eyes had been fixed upon the door.” Yes, I know, the teacher’s manual does encourage us to explore a variety of different ways we could translate ablative absolutes with our students, but I usually follow a bit stricter translation for the simple reason that ablative absolutes are unique. Once you truly understand how they work and how things unfold in a Latin sentence (actions appearing in the order they happen), you can’t help but admire them. But students... well, they need something a little easier to grab onto.

And maybe it’s not worth pointing out the ablative of descriptions that have occurred as if it is critical to know the difference in the same chapter that ablative absolutes are taught (Stage 31).  However, by Stage 37, students are more or less fine with ablative absolutes and sense when something doesn’t seem quite right.  Therefore I did mention that the first two items above from Stage 37 are ablative of descriptions and how translating them is a bit different.  (And, yes, of course there is overlap with ablative absolutes.)

There is something else kind of interesting going on with the first sentence in cōnsilium Domitiānī as well.  Let’s look again:

dum senātōrēs anxiī inter sē colloquuntur, ingressus est Domitiānus vultū ita compositō ut nēmō intellegere posset utrum īratus an laetus esset.

Look this time at the result clause (ut nēmō...esset). I think, and I could be wrong because I’m rushing to finish this before my conference period ends, that this may be the first time we have a result clause not governed by a verb, but instead by a participle (compositō).  This is part of the compacting that I like seeing throughout CLC.  Once a new concept has been given enough time for mastery, it is combined in another concept.  For instance, my Latin 2’s are in Stage 26 and have this sentence from adventus Agricolae in their recitation packet:

mīlitēs, cum Agricolam castra intrantem vīdisset, magnam clamōrem sustulērunt.

We have a nice participial phrase (Agricolam castra intrantem) nested inside a cum clause. Having a result clause governed by a participle is just another normal step up towards classical authors. And this isn’t the only participle governing a clause in the story. Take this sentence:

veritus tamen nē Domitiānum offenderet, verbīs cōnsīderātīs ūsus est:

A little tricky, this one, because it is maybe only the second fearing clause we’ve met, and it’s governed by veritus (not timeō or vereor). In fact, even that second sentence I originally mentioned has a little clause that is dependent on a participle:

Cripsus diū tacēbat; superciliīs contractīs quasi rem cōgitāret, oculōs humī dēfīxit.

I did not mention to my students that the quasi rem cōgitāret is displaying a “contrary to fact, present time” condition; totally unneeded. But it is nice (to me at least) to see quasi hanging off of contractīs.

The bell’s about to ring.  I just wanted to share some observations from today.
A conversation came up on the Cambridge list regarding SALVIOI ROGANTI in Stage 40.  Many had replied, and of course this is definitely the correct answer, but I felt there was more to add.  So here it is:


>>Re line 5: "Salvio roganti" is a dative that goes with "suadebant": different people were recommending different things
to Salvius [who was] asking what should be done.

Actually, there's a little something more here.
One of the things I tell my students to watch for is a dative case when in the midst of conversation. It develops over time in the text, beginning in Stage 11 when we start seeing the dative with respondit and dixit:

  • Marcus Quarto dixit "Afer candidatus optimus est."

  • "minime! Holconius candidatus optimus est," Quartus fratri respondit.

In Stage 23 we are met with this:

  • deinde Memor, qui iam tremebat sudabatque, alteri sacerdoti, "iubeo te," inquit, "omina inspicere."

The "inquit" is buried in the quote, which appears in the next paragraph in the text, so it appears that we have just a nominative and dative (Memor...alteri sacerdoti) without the "said" or "replied" or similar.  It does show up, but at first it doesn't appear to be there.  Admittedly alteri sacerdoti is difficult for students to pick up as dative without pausing to parse unless they are reading with expectation. The expectation is that we have a conversation going on, therefore someone will be speaking TO SOMEONE.
By Stage 32 (and probably sooner) we have datives being moved to the front of the sentence in a conversation. And in this case, we have a qui correlative in the dative:

  • "nemo nisi insanus laborat."
    cui respondit Euphrosyne voce serena, "omnibus autem laborandum est."

And then again:

  • huic Baebii sententiae omnes plauserunt.

And applause is a type of reply.  (And I like the genitive nicely nested inside the dative phrase.)
In Stage 39 we find one of the first (I think) datives with a participle:

  • Publio hoc narranti Domitianus manu significat ut desistat.

Dative up front again, in a conversation of sorts, and we get this wonderful snapshot of the action perfectly. Publius is still reciting his version of the Ovid they were studying and while he is doing this Domitian raises his hand and we end with an indirect command (without a "verb of the head" but certainly it's being communicated).
In fact, it is interesting as we move through the stages how CLC condenses and combines what we know.  In the case above, present participles, datives in conversation, plus an indirect command.  In Stage 40 it is condensed more:

  • Salvio roganti quid esset agendum, alii alia suadebant.

Dative in conversation (though we don't realize we have a conversation sort of thing going on until we get to suadebant, which of course, also takes a dative), present participle which is also a "verb of the head" governing an indirect question, and that indirect question also includes a passive periphrastic.  So cool.
I know I have skipped a lot of examples that would show the progression and development in the way datives are used, but this gives you a small glimpse.  These progressions are interesting to me to chase down, but a bit time consuming.
Don't forget once you are reading Vergil, you have plenty of examples of datives up front, sometimes with participles, and you have to keep in mind that there is a conversation of some sort going on:

  • talia iactanti stridens Aquilone procella / velum adversa ferit (1.102-103)

Anyway.  There's more to Salvio roganti than just accidentally confusing students with something that appears to be an ablative absolute.  It's not that at all. It's about datives, it's about conversations, it's about developing those reading expectations that are critical to moving forward in Latin.  And it's up to us teachers to truly understand what our textbook is doing, to ask these questions, to look for and follow the progressions, and show them to our students so they will develop the skills necessary.
So, I'm in over my head these days, just feeling my way along what I am doing with my Latin 4s, determined, if nothing else, to consider ENJOYING THE LANGUAGE a priority.  Thus this semester we are reading Harrius Potter, chapter 3.  This is the chapter where the letters start arriving.  We are about 5 pages in, and have had some productive days and some not so productive days, which is what happens when you have seniors 7th period.

We have had some good discussions on WHY the translator, Peter Needham, chose the phrasing which he chose.  Today I wrote to a colleague more knowledgeable than I, but in the process discovered a few things.  This is what I wrote to him:

Here are a couple of things we noted yesterday and I would be interested on your take:
Page 27, midway down:

Harrius epistulam suam, quae in membrana gravi eiusdem generis ac involucrum scripta est, explicaturus erat, cum repentino motu Avunculi Vernon e manu erepta est.

I know I have not read broadly enough to judge certain things, but I kept feeling that this sentence would have been helped if ILLA had been used in the cum clause (cum ILLA repentino motu...) to indicate that we had changed subjects.  (And since I had taught explicare as "explain" earlier this week to Latin 2, I had to think twice to realize he's using it for "unfold" here.) Is it just not provided because the quae clause has scripta est and it is parallel to that, thus making ILLA unnecessary?
Also on Page 27, but few paragraphs farther down:

Dudley epistulam captabat ut ipse legeret, sed alte sublatam ab Avunculo Vernon non attingere poterat.

In this sentence, Dudley is purposefully kept as the subject throughout, but in the English original it reads:

Dudley tried to grab the letter to read it, but Uncle Vernon held it high out of his reach.

We understand it, of course, but wondered why the translator went to the trouble to keep the focus on Dudley. Then again, occurs to me know that Caesar purposefully kept the same case for an item-- that is, in the case of Pullo and Vorenus, in book 5.44.  Line 13ff

transfigitur scutum PULLONI et verutum in balteo defigitur. Avertit hic casus vaginam et gladium educere CONANTI dextram moratur manum, impeditumque hostes circumsistunt.

So, do you think it's THAT sort of thing that the translator was after?  Except in this case it was EPISTULAM...SUBLATAM.  Huh.  Well, if that IS this case, do you think it was a good choice or maybe over the top in translating a modern story?
I have yet to get a reply, but decided to show the letter to my students anyway. One even thanked me (how lovely!). And I told them I think we need to read the seen with Pullo and Vorenus in Caesar before the year is out.

As for the structure of what I'm doing write now... well, in some ways it is too loose for comfort.  Before we begin each day I do make them read aloud with a partner what we read the day before.  And as we are reading through and discussing the day's reading, I keep circling back and rereading the paragraph(s) we are working on.  We've also had some dictation (a "nightmare" that combined elements from Harrius Potter) which worked some vocabulary items a bit.

Anyway.  This was more of a thinking out loud post than anything else.
I must confess that I am disappointed that the Simon's Cat videos that I have been adding Latin subtitles to have been blocked on YouTube. I had, as I said, sent an email to (I guess) Simon, asking for permission or his blessing, providing a link, etc--being very up front and honest.  While I am sad that he never actually replied, I see now the response via the blocked videos. I respect that; I don't have to like it to respect it. I'm sure it seems like I'm interfering with his livelihood, and taking advantage of his art. And for that, I publicly and sincerely apologize.  But as you know (you few teachers who read this), I am but a Latin teacher with no ulterior motives for profit. Just trying to help provide usable materials for Latin teachers.

In any event, the Simon's Cat videos can be used without the Latin subtitles I provided. I encourage you to find them on YouTube, or better yet, go to the website at to support the creator directly. (I myself purchased one of his books this Christmas for a friend who has already opened the present and raved about how funny it is.)

So, in all honesty I was adding the Latin subtitles mainly for me, to make myself simplify what I'm seeing/what's being told in the story, and to make sure that I myself know the vocabulary so that I can do my best when trying to use them in the classroom. This ain't Caesar or Vergil after all. I realized that using the Simon’s Cat videos is one way of introducing some common daily vocabulary that we might need to discuss things around us versus what is introduced in the textbook (Cambridge Latin Course). For instance, I realized, as did my students, that we had never learned the word for “drop” before, yet in “Snow Cat” the dog drops his stick. I was able to contrast this with the stick falling down from the snow cat and the snow cat falling onto the cat. And it really isn’t necessary to have the Latin subtitles. Perhaps it is a crutch as we learn to go from a “dead language on the page” to something with more energy and life. Then again, it saved me time from having to write words on the board that were unfamiliar. And I could have gone from the version of Snow Cat with the Latin subtitles (it is probably blocked--OR TRY HERE through my Google Drive account) to the original without. The possibilities are endless.

I knew that doing a “Movie Talk” for the first time would not be perfect, especially because I am unpracticed at circling. However, I requested that my school’s instructional facilitator film the class so that I could critique myself, study problem areas, and work on ways to improve things.  It’s not brilliant; look to other people’s blogs for brilliant examples of things. But if you would like to see it, you should be able to go here to view it.  (You may have to join, but that just takes a minute.)  The Movie Talk begins around minute 11.

I have been a student/participant at Rusticatio for several years and have experienced circling and TPRS storytelling. I became aware that there was a mix of questions to prompt yes or no answers, etc, but I hadn’t studied it from a teaching perspective.  I thought that perhaps using the latest video which I added Latin subtitles to, Snow Business (here’s a link to the original without the subtitles), I could practice circling by writing it out here. I am using the circling template provided on Susan Gross’s TPRS website.

The sentence under question is a simple subject verb object sentence. Here are the basics from the template. It begins with a statement using a student as the subject and a proper noun or cognate as the object.  In this case, Lana finds a Rolex.

Circle the subject:

  • Wants a YES Answer: (Does Lana find a Rolex? Yes, Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Provides a CHOICE: (Does Lana find a Rolex or does Pat find a Rolex? Right, Pat doesnʼt find a Rolex, Lana finds a Rolex)

  • Wants a NO Answer: (Does Pat find a Rolex? No, Pat doesnʼt find a Rolex, Lana finds a Rolex)

  • Open Ended / Answer Not in Question: (Who finds a Rolex? Thatʼs right, Lana finds a Rolex.)

Circle the verb:

  • Wants a YES Answer:  (Does Lana find a Rolex? Yes, Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Provides a CHOICE: (Does Lana find a Rolex or does Lana eat a Rolex? Lana doesnʼt eat a Rolex; Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Wants a NO Answer:  (Does Lana eat a Rolex? Of course not, Lana doesnʼt eat a Rolex; Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Open Ended / Answer Not in Question: (What does Lana do? Lana finds a Rolex.)

Circle the complement / object:

  • Wants a YES Answer: (Does Lana find a Rolex? Yes, Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Provides a CHOICE: (Does Lana find a Hummer or does Lana find a Rolex? Lana doesnʼt find a Hummer, Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Wants a NO Answer: (Does Lana find a Hummer? How ridiculous, Lana doesnʼt find a Hummer; Lana finds a Rolex.)

  • Open Ended / Answer Not in Question: (What does Lana find? Thatʼs right, Lana finds a Rolex.)

Thus for us Latinists, we are talking about nōnne, aut/vel, num, and quis/quid questions, perhaps with a rectē, a certē and an est ridiculum thrown in for good measure. I suppose what I didn’t fully think about when I was doing my circling with Snow Cat was WHAT I was targeting—nominative, accusative, verb. I also didn’t have good alternatives to offer (like a Hummer instead of a Rolex in the examples above). I was doing well to just remember to try to question.

So, time to see what I can do with preparing to use Snow Business after the holidays. (This will all be thinking out loud sort of stuff, be warned!) I also want to create follow-up materials to get students writing. Here is a screen capture from Snow Business with Latin subtitles (OR TRY SEEING IT HERE!).  (Here is the original without).

I have a compound sentence here; I thought nothing of it when I wrote it. But if I want to circle anything here it would be useful to focus on either the first part or the second part.

So here's what perhaps I would circle: avis pilam niveam facit.

Circle the nominative:

  • nōnne avis pilam niveam facit? ita vērō, avis pilam niveam facit.

  • avis aut fēlēs pilam niveam facit? rectē, fēlēs pilam niveam nōn facit; avis pilam niveam facit.

  • num fēlēs pilam niveam facit? est rīdiculum! fēlēs pilam niveam nōn facit; avis pilam niveam facit.

  • quis pilam niveam facit? certē, avis niveam pilam facit.

Circle the accusative*:
(*Do we want to emphasize the accusative by moving it up in the sentence, since we can in Latin? Why not!)

  • nōnne pilam niveam avis facit? ita vērō, pilam niveam avis facit.

  • pilam niveam aut hominem niveum avis facit? rectē, pilam niveam avis facit.

  • num hominem niveum avis facit? est rīdiculum! hominum niveum avis nōn facit; pilam niveam avis facit.

  • quid avis facit? certē, pilam niveam avis facit.

Circle the verb**:
(**Although we could also move the verb up in the sentence, I’m not going to. Students will truly need to learn to listen for/watch for accusatives coming first in a sentence; it is far less common to have a verb first in a sentence.)

  • nōnne avis pilam niveam facit? ita vērō avis pilam niveam facit.

  • avis pilam niveam facit aut invenit? rectē avis pilam niveam facit.

  • num avis pilam niveam invenit? est rīdiculum! avis pilam niveam nōn invenit; avis pilam niveam facit.

  • quid agit*** avis? certē avis pilam niveam facit. (***I usually use quid facit for what is he doing but clearly with facit/making being targeted, this will not work.)

The alternatives I used here, hominem niveum (snow man) and invenit (find), are not exciting alternatives. Not as engaging as something more unusual or unexpected.  A Rolex and a Hummer will keep the attention of a student. However if I’m daring and think the students are able, I could follow with quō modō avis pilam niveam facit?

But that would be a big leap because the answer would require an ablative of means. That would better be modeled in a sentence first. And I guess I could circle it something like this:

  • avis pilam niveam ālīs aut rostrō facit? or ālīs aut rostrō avis pilam niveam facit?

...and maybe follow that with

  • vīdistīne avis vēra pilam niveam facit? est rīdiculum!

The good aspect of doing this would be making it a personalized question—getting direct student involvement and engagement at a personal level.

In reviewing what I have written for circling the nominative, it is worth noting that a moment later in the video the cat does make a snow ball too.  Thus it will be worth all of the circling so that pila nivea becomes internalized or at least comfortable.

Having hominem niveum for an alternate for the accusative is nice (even if not terribly exciting) because it is masculine and thus we have a different ending on the adjective. And while invenit is fine for an alternate for the verb, looking ahead to this next picture makes me realize that perhaps the alternate verb should have been portat.

In fact, if I had been thinking about how I would teach with this video, I might have used portat instead of habet, as I have above. Also, considering the big cat imprint in the picture (the bird hits the cat in the behind with a snow ball and he lands deep in the snow), I could have used angelam niveam as well as hominem niveum. Then perhaps we could have joked that he made a fēlem niveam when he fell.

So, if I have really circled early on in the video with NOM ACC VERB, I can still continue to do similar things, or I could consider other constructions worth targeting. In this second screen capture, the bird has a huge snowball. I could work adjectives in some sort of circling fashion, I suppose.

Circling positives:

  • nōnne pila nivea est magna? ita vērō, pila nivea est magna.

  • estne pila nivea magna aut parva? rectē pila nivea est magna.

  • num pila nivea est parva? est rīdiculum! pila nivea nōn est parva; pila nivea est magna.

  • quanta est pila nivea? certē pila nivea est magna.

Circling comparatives:

  • nōnne pila nivea est maior quam avis? ita vērō, pila nivea est maior quam avis.

  • estne pila nivea maior quam avis aut fenestra? rectē pila nivea maior quam avis.

  • num pila nivea est maior quam fenestra? est rīdiculum! pila nivea nōn est maior quam fenestra; pila nivea est maior quam avis.

  • quae est maior? (Not sure if this is really doable, since for a comparative you can’t really have something open-ended—after all, you are comparing two things!)

I could return to the earlier snowball, but maybe that is best left for the superlative:

  • quae est maxima—prīma pila nivea,  secunda pila nivea, aut tertia pila nivea avis? certē tertia pila nivea est maxima!

The bird, however, does miss when he throws this huge snowball. I suppose we could develop a line of questioning of which is more accurate, the larger snowball or the smaller one? Unfortunately, off the top of my head I’m not sure what I would use for “more accurate.” A quick look at a dictionary tells me that we could use accūrātus, -a, -um (nice and easy!);  more accurately is adverbial, which would be good to work in since it uses a different ending from the comparative adjective.

  • quae pila nivea accūrātius iacitur—parva pila nivea aut magna pila nivea?


  • quis pilam niveam accūrātius iacit—avis aut fēlēs?

This latter could lead to an interesting discussion towards the end, because at 1:47 (thereabouts) the cat hits the bird while it is flying—a moving object—and the bird then ends up stuck to the window. Some other questions come to mind now, which are admittedly getting away from circling, but that’s ok:

  • quis plūs pilārum niveārum iēcit? (Tense change, plūs + partitive genitive)

  • quis pilās niveās celerius fēcit? (Tense change plus another comparative adverb)

From here, I could work infinitives:

  • nōnne fēlēs avem edere vult? ita vērō fēlēs avem edere vult.

  • fēlēs avem edere aut laudāre vult? rectē fēlēs avem edere vult.

  • num fēlēs avem laudāre vult? est rīdiculum! fēlēs avem laudāre nōn vult; fēlēs avem edere vult.

  • quid fēlēs facit? certē, fēlēs avem edere vult.

  • (quō modō scīs fēlem avem edere velle? quod fēlēs ōs aperit!) (indirect statement!)

I could see side comments worked in as well:

  • fortasse fēlēs avem laudāre vult quod avis magnam pilam niveam fēcit.

And if I keep the video frozen on this particular screen, I could also ask students what they think will happen next. But first, maybe we should recap:

  • prīmum fēlēs in nive lūsit. tum avis et fēlēs pilās niveās iēcērunt. nunc avis ad fenestram adhaesīvit. quid proximē accidet?

Perhaps that is too open-ended. Maybe offer some choices (and work the future tense)?

  • fēlēs avem edet?

  • avis advolābit?

  • avis rostrō fēlem pulsābit?

  • fēlēs fenestram franget?

  • ūnā hominem niveum facient?

To sum up, there’s a lot to be said about working out much of your circling in advance, especially if you are new to it as I am. I certainly saw some different avenues I could take that I think will be fruitful, many of which I wouldn't have seen on the fly. Even now, it occurs to me to think about the level of questioning with regard to ACTFL's Proficiency Ratings as simplified in WAYK speak as "Travels with Charlie" or "Tarzan at the Party":

NOVICE (Tarzan at the Party / Sesame Street)

  • memorized words and phrases

INTERMEDIATE (Get to the party / Dora the Explorer)

  • question and answer

  • full sentences

ADVANCED (What happened at the party last night? / Larry King Live)

  • past/present/future tenses

  • paragraph narrative

SUPERIOR (What if parties were illegal? / Charlie Rose)

  • lengthy discussions of complex issues

  • structured arguments

  • hypothetical speech

Basically we are operating in the intermediate level, albeit low because the circling is pretty leading. But we are modeling full sentences in the questions and answers. We are tiptoeing up to advanced by using different tenses. I might even be able to squeeze a little superior level in if I were to ask something along the lines of "What if snow balls fights were illegal?" (haha)

One last thing I want to do, as I mentioned earlier, is to create a follow-up written assignment. Yes, I could do a timed write, but since my students didn't learn timed writes from Latin 1, I think that could spook them. Instead, I think I will make some more screen captures, maybe without the subtitles, include them on a worksheet with maybe a word bank, and let them write using the pictures as prompts. I have some ideas.... But perhaps that should be for another blog. 
I have been experimenting a bit with making Latin sub-titles for very short little videos called Simon's Cat.  Simon's Cat has been around for years and are distributed via Facebook, YouTube, etc.  Perhaps you are familiar with them.

I had seen a demonstration last fall of using a Simon's Cat video with what at first I thought were Latin subtitles.  Actually, the individual had two programs open at the same time and had the text in one and the video playing in the other. Once I saw that, I thought that there had to be a relatively easy way to actually add subtitles. Enter Windows Movie Maker.

Windows Movie Maker was a program already on my school laptop. It's pretty straight forward and intuitive to use and I highly recommend everyone take a little time over winter break to play around with it. There are lots of short videos on the internet these days that would be easy enough to use in a Latin classroom (or any foreign language classroom).

So, first find the video you want on YouTube. Copy the URL and then paste it into (a handy website):


You will see a thumbnail of your video above your choices of video quality. Choose the highest format (first option).

Next you need to open Windows Movie Maker (WMM). You wil see a button on the toolbar for importing the video. Click, import, and save.

Because I'm a total nerd regarding using macrons with Latin, I like to open a Word document next to WMM so I can type my Latin subtitles with macrons (I have key combinations scripted so I can easily include them). I then begin to watch the video, pausing every few seconds to think up and type a new caption:


As you can see from this image, WMM is open on the left and Word on the right. In the WMM window, you have a split screen with the video on the left and what are, I guess, movie segments or chunks on the right. There is a black bar that shows you where you are in the film. This right part of the screen will be important later.

Once you have your text typed up, you are ready to begin adding it in as subtitles or captions.


In the picture above in the menu bar you can see where "Captions" is highlighted. When you click that button, a textbox appears on the screen where you can paste in your Latin text.


The default for the text is white.  I immediately change it to blue and bold. I then add a couple of other effects. Of the four large bluish buttons in the menu bar, I just the second, which sets the text to fade in. On the right end of the menu bar I choose an outline size (narrow) and outline color (white). This helps to set off the text from any black lines in the animation that the text might sit upon.

You can move the text block around on the picture; I like to center mine at the bottom though I have put text at the top before too. In the middle of the menu bar you can see a "Text Duration" setting. Its default is 7.00 (seconds). I usually reset it to 3 or 4 seconds and adjust it as needed once replay the section I'm trying to add subtitles. On the right side of the screen you can now see little pink boxes under the video "chunks". These are showing where the text is lining up. You can move these around in order to start a subtitle sooner or later in the video.

You can NOT have multiple text windows or captions on the screen. I'm sure you'd need more sophisticated software for that. But for what this software does, it does simply and efficiently.

It does take some time to do a video.  Start with something short--no more than 2 minutes.  Type up your Latin with macrons in a Word doc and paste it in. You do have to play and replay and replay to make sure you are getting the timing just right for the appearance of your subtitles. And, admittedly, there often truly isn't enough time to even read the subtitles, so keep them simple. Your "Movie Talk" discussions in the Latin in class can utilize more sophisticated Latin. For instance, you can change tenses, turn things into ablative absolutes, or create indirect statements. Just because the subtitles are simple doesn't mean your discussion has to be. But let it start simply and comfortably and work up.

When you have finished, you have to use the "Save Movie" button in the main menu (see Illustration 2 or 3) and then save in a high definition format. From here you can upload it to YouTube (you'll have to make a channel) and share with others.

I am VERY careful not to edit the video in any way. I am respectful of the copyright and do not intend to infringe upon it.  I have tried to contact the Simon's Cat people via email through their website to get their blessing for adding Latin subtitles but have received no reply.

This was my third Simon's Cat video. I know I am not personally using these to their full potential yet, though I did do a "Movie Talk" using "Snow Cat."  (This one was "Snow Business.")

This is the final result... but it may be blocked???

Enjoy, if you can.
The instructional facilitator at our school sent a few of us an email at the end of last week.  She wanted to pilot a new website/program which allowed for the videotaping of a class and then being able to constructively talk about it afterwards. I warned her that the last week or two before semester exams probably would not yield the best results.  I wasn't doing anything creative or new worth filming.  However she really wanted to try it out NOW.  So I consented.  I'm game.  And I'm not afraid of criticism.  That's how you learn and grow.

Now, let me just add that there's nothing in the lesson that I did that is grand.  I think it is competent. If you use the Cambridge Latin Course it will probably be worth watching. It shows an average day from start to finish.  You will see:

  1. "jobs" - Students doing beginning of the class jobs which include reading the agenda (which is in part or all in Latin), reading the date in Latin (this includes what yesterday and tomorrow are, and neo Latin dating, not ancient Roman dating), being the "weather person" (in Latin), and general announcements about stuff happening on campus (in English).

  2. warm-ups - "praeparationes" which I do via PowerPoint to target grammar constructions or issues that will be met in the day's story

  3. vocab flashcards (yes, yes, not currently the best pedagogy, but it is what I do at this level)

  4. reading the story - In this case we are reading it chorally.  But I do talk about metaphrasing at one point plus I model left to right reading, etc. (Stage 23, epistulam Cephali)

  5. The relationship I have with these students.

Watching the whole thing may not be for you.  Like I said, I don't think it is anything great or brilliant.  Funny at times, perhaps, but that's it.  However, if you create a account (takes a minute), I *believe* you can see this and you may even be able to make comments.  I don't know for sure; I only just got permission to share. You will see a screen like the one below with the video on the left and comments WITH TIME STAMPS on the right.  This is the feature I like.  These time stamps, which the program does automatically when you start to write a comment, allows you to go straight to a section you want to see.  That is, if you read through the notes and find where I talk about metaphrasing, you can then get the time so you can find that place easily in the video.  Or, if you have a question about WHY I do something in the video, you can start typing in the comment box and it will automatically time stamp it for you so I can see what you are asking about.  So easy, so useful.

I am not certain, but I think there is a way you can request permission to comment.  The current comments are just from the person who filmed this (my instructional facilitator) and myself.  But I have no problem in using this for teacher training purposes.  What I would really like to see are vialogues of my friends who are teaching via TPRS/CI so that I can learn more and shift into a more student-centered, Latin immersive (or at least comprehensive input) environment. My personal pedagogy has been on reading theory for so long that I know I will have a difficult time totally shifting over to what is seeming like a better pedagogy--a more inclusive, more complete pedagogy. Thus if you are reading this and you use TPRS or CI, please try out this website/program so there's more for us to see and learn from!

Anyway, here is the link.  It may not work until you create a account.  However, I think you will find it worthwhile just to use yourself.

Or if that doesn't work, try this one (I think it is specifically a link for sharing the video):
I am all about vocabulary in context.  My preference is to find every occurrence of the word in a passage--but sometimes one is pressed for time, especialy when teaching. I constantly feel a strain between what I think would be truly good teaching, and the reality of dealing with the 50 minute hour.  Yes, I rely too much on flashcards, and often feel guilty for using flashcards.  But I'm not at a point where I can more totally away from flashcards and go total TPRS (with a few new words a day). It doesn't fit with the rest of what I do. I need a compromise, and a good one.

I like it when a good idea comes along, one that helps students internalize vocabulary and energizes the class.  We (world language teachers) had an OWL workshop (see earlier post) on Monday.  A lot of this workshop was about getting students in circles and doing things in energetic ways.  Lots of movement.  And apparently kinesthetic connections to vocabulary create one of the strongest links in the brain. I don't doubt that at all. So I'm totally game for everything we are doing in the workshop.

Now today it's Friday.  I wanted to liven things up.  Latin 2s had a new set of vocabulary (my "A" list for Stage 21 in CLC) and I thought it was time to experiment. I got the students in a circle and handed out one vocab flashcard (mine are large--5"X8") to each student. Here's the vocabulary list in question:

  • ā/ab - by

  • barbarus, -a, -um - barbarian, barbaric

  • circum + acc - around

  • dēiciō, dēicere, dēiēcī, dēiectus - to throw down

  • fōns, fontis (m) - spring, fountain

  • gravis, gravis, grave - heavy, serious, grave

  • haruspex, haruspicis (m) - soothsayer, diviner

  • hōra, -ae (f) - hour

  • iubeō, iubēre, iussī, iussus - to order

  • morbus, morbī (m) - illness

  • nōnnūllī, nōnnūllae, nōnnūlla - some, several (not none!)

  • oppidum, oppidī (n) - town

  • perītus, -a, -um - skillful

  • plūs, plūris (n) - more

  • pretium, pretiī (n) - price, worth, value

  • sapiēns, sapiēns, sapiēns (gen: sapientis) - wise

Each student then had to come up with an action for their vocab item. If they were really stuck, they could ask for help from the group. You would start by saying your Latin word (and holding it in front of you), saying what it meant in English, then doing the gesture. Once the gesture is established, no more English. I started with plūs, and did a gesture as if I were piling up something on my hand. Not brilliant, but it served its purpose. We practiced it together a couple of times, and then went to the next person. Some of the best ones were pretium with a gesture of "raining money" (I think that's what it's called); gravis, physically dropping a little lower with each syllable; and haruspex, with grunting noises as you made imaginary cuts to open up where your liver is and then a "hmmm" (in an examination sort of tone) as you look down at your imaginary liver. (We call the haruspex the "divine liver inspector" instead of just a soothsayer or a diviner.)  For oppidum, we made a peak over our heads with our hands and moved it around with each syllable of the word to symbolize the many houses in a town.

Every time we learned a new word we went back around the circle doing all the previous words.

It was HIGHLY engaging, energetic/kinesthetic, and everyone enjoyed it.

I am doing this every time from now on for the first day of a new list of vocabulary.  I know ideally, certainly in a Comprehensible Input/TPRS classroom one is learning fewer words a day and not using flashcards, but I'm not there yet.  I have to find something that works for me, works for the students, works for my curriculum, etc.

Try it.  It feels great--worthwhile and not gimmicky.

OWL Workshop

Oct. 5th, 2015 08:13 pm
ginlindzey: magistra laeta (Ginny)
So today my LOTE department has a special trainer in doing a workshop.  OWL stands for Organic World Language.  It's tying into a lot of what I've learned at SALVI events (Rusticatio), where we use a mixture of comprehensible input, TPRS, and WAYK (Where Are Your Keys?).  This has been wonderfully high energy (except that I'm having serious problems with my Achilles tendons lately and all the activity is aggravating severely them).

There are many activities or means of grouping that I will steal and share with my SALVI peeps right away. So, with OWL you are always up and moving (at least in what we've seen so far) and either you are in a circle, or you are paired or grouped up in some way.  If she calls out 2, we get in pairs and play Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner dances disco, the loser dances salsa. THEN the instructor actually gives the prompt for discussion. (Topics may be listed on the board.) If she calls out 3, you pose for Charlies Angels (three people, posing with finger guns). If you have a person left out, that person decides the topic (from the list). If she calls out 4, it's for Pirates--two prisoners with wrists crossed, two pirates standing behind doing pirate sort of things. If she calls out 5, it's for Zombies--two people lie on the ground, the other three act like they are eating the two that are down.

All of the goofy activities have a useful purpose besides simply being fun. Doing something goofy with your body lowers the affective filter and thus they don't stress as much over speaking. There's also this reassuring aspect that it's just all play--as all good learning should be.

At one point we were grouped into threes, and then did an activity called Microlab. Each person would have a chance to speak with NO interruption from the other two about whatever the topic was. A little monologue. If that person doesn't fill the whole time, that's ok. Transitions between turns happen when the teacher calls out (in the target language) to raise your hands (both), and then calls the number of the person who is to talk next.  Beforehand, the instructor had numbered each person in the group and then asked all the 1s to raise their hands, then the 2s, then the 3s.  After each person had their turn to monologue, we were given a new question. She assigned a new order (3s then 1s then 2s, for instance), once again asked all the 1s to raise hands, 2s, then 3s. And each transition between speakers was done with "raise your hands" (in the target language).

Any time we start to drift off topic, the instructor immediately gets us back by telling us in the target language to touch our heads, touch our elbows, raise our hands, etc. As the day wore on, we were more inclined to digress, so this was done a few times. :-)

There was a discussion on most learning happening as "brain sparks" at the beginning and end of class with a big sagging wave in the middle, and that by changing the class to a more kinesthetic environment that you create a bunch of little waves and thus more "brain sparks."

Another discussion was regarding vocabulary: FULL, PARTIAL, & CONCEPTUAL.  Vocabulary lists are kept on white boards for her classes, and as students move through and acquire vocab, old words are erased and new ones added.  FULL are words that are internalized. Partial are those that are in the process of being acquired. Conceptual are new words that have yet to work their way into active use.

There is a great emphasis on SOCIAL interaction, and social interaction creating the driving need for language acquisition.  We had discussed that we all experienced ownership of the language when in an immersion situation and had to be able to communicate.  Of course, there was lots of discussion about mistakes being made along the way and that that's how we learn.

I also liked the idea that it's necessary to DEUNITIZE. That is, we shouldn't keep topics separate. We should find ways to connect everything, because the more connections that are made with vocabulary and concepts, the quicker those words are internalized. She did a great word web example with CAT in the middle, surrounded by all sorts of related words; then started taking each of the related words out through their various connections. It was amazing to see all the digressions, and how some of those digressions actually ended up with similar vocab. I wish I had taken a picture.

We kept coming back to the theme that CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING. Hearing this repeated so many times made me feel very positive about the things I've done with the Phaedrus poems (see previous post). Having the time to set up context, to build upon previous knowledge, to understand the background--all those things I think have aided in our enjoyment of the Phaedrus poems. And it also emphasizes that language doesn't occur with lists of vocabulary in isolation.

Late in the afternoon we were working with ACTFL proficiencies and types of questioning. I really enjoyed the activities we did because if nothing else, it demonstrated to me that understanding exactly the level of questioning I use (novice, intermediate, advanced) is not as simple as it looks.  I was reassured when the instructor said that questioning is the hardest skill to master. Maybe this is why I balk at asking a story (something I know I want and need to do with my 4s at least).

OWL has five goals for students:

  1. to speak L2 exclusively

  2. to not be afraid of the L2 environment

  3. to take risks and break down affective filter

  4. to be able to infer and circumlocute

  5. to participate in and be part of a community.

Anyway, these are only the bare bones of what went on today. I'm afraid that if I don't take time to process all of this now that I will be too busy to do it later.

One thing that keeps going through my mind when I consider OWL, WAYK, TPRS, etc is that underlying realization that traditional methods of language instruction have failed this last century. The US in its paranoia at losing English as its "only" language has meant language study has just not been taken seriously. Our forefathers did not fear learning other languages--English, French, Latin, and Greek. Surely some Spanish too. But too many feel like everyone else should learn English instead of embracing opportunities to learn other languages.  And Latin's out-of-date focus on its benefits for SAT scores has killed us. That, and that it's the ideal language for people who are afraid of the oral aspect of modern languages.  My friend, John Kuhner, just today has published a wonderful article about Rusticatio and Latin's place in the spoken Latin world. The Latin Speakers of West Virginia. This last summer I couldn't afford to go to Rusticatio and I missed it desperately. It is a magical place. But I realized when I saw that list of 5 goals--I missed it because Rusticatio, for me, has been the only place where all five of those goals were in play for me.

When we were asked today at what point did we feel we really owned our language, I fudged it and said it was when I dreamed in Latin at Rusticatio. In truth, I still don't own this language. I can't pick up just anything in Latin and read with total fluency and comfort, though I am far closer now than I was when I got my degree.  To use a WAYK term, I have massive holes in my pocket.  Massive.  But I love this language. I can't tell you why, I just do.  My roommate asked me last summer what I would do if I could have my dream job.  I'd still teach, but significantly fewer hours, for higher pay so I could get out of debt.  LOL.  And I would find time to be a student.  I think in a past life I must have been a Roman. I can't explain any other reason for why I do what I do. Why I obsess over pronunciation, why I abandoned my moderately successful AP Latin program for level 4 to do what I'm doing now. And to constantly be questioning even now what I am doing.
So I got sidetracked from writing lesson plans to post in my various Google Classrooms and whatnot by the delightful discovery of a new reader for Latin! The book is called Pluto: fabula amoris.  Read more about this here:

However, I was disappointed.  No macrons.  This is a book meant for level 1 Latin students and yet no macrons.  Well, instead of my rewriting all my thoughts on the topic, let me just copy and paste from the rants I had on the Latin Best Practices list:

This is terrific except....

OK, I'm sorry, but I'm going to be a pain in the ass here.  WHY aren't there macrons?

When I learn new words I really like there to be macrons because Cicero isn't around for me to ask, "Hey, how do you pronounce this?" and I certainly don't want to slow down my reading by looking stuff up in a dictionary.  I had this argument some years back with an editor at Bolchazy-Carducci.  She said that at some time we are all weaned off macrons and certainly you're not going to find them in serious author texts.  True.  I pointed out that I didn't need them for endings.  I knew my noun endings.  It was the new vocabulary words that I was meeting in context and therefore could construe meaning but didn't know how to pronounce the word--thus to be certain I wanted macrons.  I want to hear it in my head as if I am saying the word aloud, which I may well be doing.  (Reading aloud keeps me from translating into English/keeps me in the Latin.) And I certainly don't want to discover later that I've been pronouncing a word wrong and have to UNteach it.

And let me say again that I am totally THRILLED to see a novella, at a good price for a school purchase, at Amazon.  And may there be many, many more.

But no one is setting type by hand anymore. There is no good reason to avoid including macrons (unless we ourselves are unsure of our pronunciation--and that is another issue altogether). We are in a glorious digital age which allows us to type our documents with macrons (I have MS Word keys scripted so I can type ALT and the vowel and get my long marks that way). And we as teachers should be learning and teaching our vocabulary with accurate pronunciation so that when we go to write the word we know where the long marks go because we are saying it correctly.  Know what I mean?

This isn't about memorizing where the macrons go.  This is about tasting the words when you speak them and knowing them intimately because of that.  This is OUR language!  We are the keepers of this language and we should be doing our utmost to deserve this honored position as guardians.

Let me add that I don't count off for long marks if my students don't use them, but I encourage them to learn them, and I explain that if you just listen to how you say the word and have learned the word, you can write the word accurately because you have internalized what is long and what is short.

So can I please encourage the use of macrons because they are not a crutch; they are our secret way to have Cicero whispering in our ears on how to pronounce new words when we meet them.

Thus endeth the rant.

Oh, and congrats to our budding authors!


[Then I felt the need to reply to a comment on this, on why we really need to teach them, on what value they have in the overall acquisition of the language.]:

As TEACHERS we should know exactly how words are pronounced as best as our knowledge and evidence allow. How a word is pronounced is represented by long marks.  Those macrons aren't learned separately from the word.

Consider when Nancy/Annula Nostra is teaching: she ALWAYS writes with macrons because they represent the correct sound of the word.  We don't have to demand this from our students; they will understand why we do it (or we can explain it to them). I don't require it of my students but I do encourage it. When I do Patibulum/Hangman I use it--just as Annula does.  When I did dictation recently with my Latin 4s I was impressed with how well they did, especially with vowel quantity. I demand high quality from myself (which I do work at conscientiously) and when they are transcribing what I write, it is because they are hearing it and understand it is part of the language.

I can pick up a text without macrons and feel like I can read most of the words accurately--only unsure of those words that are new to me. It provides a pleasure of the mastery and the sound of language. Why would we not want this for our students?

Read what Rick LaFleur says in Wheelock's Latin.  Off the top of my head, I believe it goes something like: Vowel length is important because it is the difference between cape and cap (that silent e), <something else>, and sheet and sh*t....  Vowel length can change the whole meaning of a word!

Consider sōlum vs solum.  One is “of suns” while the other is “the ground.” It may look very similar on the page but is sounds different.  There are so many others that are similar.  People think they are hard to distiguish, but if said correctly they are not hard to distinguish at all. Not at all.

Why should we only be picky about a few endings versus all of them?  Why does the base of the word not get consideration? After all the endings are easy enough to master, internalize, and apply.  But what about the bases of all the new vocabulary?

Let students make mistakes!  Mistakes are how we learn.  But shouldn't we hold ourselves to a higher standard? EVEN IF IT MEANS WE HAVE TO RETEACH OURSELVES so that we can set a good example?

That my Ille Hobbitus and Harrius Potter don't have macrons doesn't bother me.  I mean, I would rather they had macrons because there is so much vocabulary to acquire. But it is of a level of Latin that I don't expect macrons.

However, anything we make for students--anything--should have macrons.  We should always be modeling the best Latin that we can.  It is the only way we can have that great seance with Cicero, Caesar, and Vergil in the same room!

And just because you were never taught formal pronunciation in school--high school or university--is no excuse.  If we started not teaching something just because it wasn't in our Latin Methods/Ed courses, well, we'd have to throw out most everything we do.


In closing, let me add that I purchased the book from Amazon before I ranted.  I am so pleased to know people are writing books.  I think I need to be writing Latin books.  I certainly have started novels in English that never went far.  A story in Latin might be a totally doable thing for me.  Put my money where my mouth is.
Although my Latn 2 and 3 classes will be taught via CLC this year (Latin 1 and some Latin 2 classes are taught by my fellow teacher), Latin 4 will be whatever I want.  It's not worked out.  I don't have a syllabus.  I'm flying by the seat of my pants. I'm not sure how I'm going to be grading / assessing them yet. I'm running out of time and I will figure out the basics (at least of how I will grade them!) very soon. I do know I'm going to be using as much CI (Comprehensible Input) and TPRS as I can.  Yet I've never "asked a story," and never really felt comfortable circling questions.  hohum. minor details.... (not)

With that said, I do have a vision and a couple of goals.  I want to make this year a year of consolidation and internalizing all that we have learned before.  I want students to take the SAT Latin exam in December, and the ACTFL Alira in May.  Those are my goals.  My vision is a year where we explore passages from a wide variety of authors from different time periods, where we have hands-on experiences with the language, where we lose our fear of writing or speaking. And we recognize that Latin is more than a means to better verbal scores.

I have spent the summer on two projects. The first was the CLC grammar stuff from previous posts.  The second was trying to pick passages I wanted to start with, analyzing them for certain concepts I want to include, and for things I can build towards--that is, concepts I can teach a different way earlier in the week which will seem unconnected at the time but will all come together to make reading the targeted passage seemless with the end result that we can spend more time talking about the heart of the passage--the author's intent--and anything else. I want it to be a pleasure to read not a chore. I want them to learn to love Latin for Latin. Right now, I'd say they love Latin 90% for me, 10% Latin. And that's ok. Most of the things I've enjoyed studying over the years was not about the subject, but because the teacher was just so damned enthusiastic about it that it was contagious. But I want them to be able to love Latin without me.

The first passage which has basically been calling out to me is Catullus 13. I have been making a bunch of notes and annotations for myself, which I will try to copy and include here:

Cēnābis bene, [GL1] Fabulle[GL2] [GL3] , apud mē
paucīs, sī tibi dī favent[GL4] , diēbus[GL5] ,
sī tēcum attuleris [GL6] bonam atque magnam
cēnam, nōn sine candidā puellā[GL7]
et vīnō et sale [GL8] et omnibus cachinnīs.
haec sī, inquam, attuleris, venuste [GL9] noster[GL10] ,
cēnābis bene; nam tuī Catullī[GL11]
plēnus sacculus [GL12] est arāneārum.
sed contrā accipiēs merōs [GL13] amōrēs
seu quid suavius elegantiusve[GL14] est:
nam unguentum [GL15] dabō, quod meae puellae[GL16]
dōnārunt Venerēs Cupidinēsque,
quod tu cum olfaciēs[GL17] , deōs rogābis,
tōtum ut tē faciant, Fabulle, nāsum.

[GL1]Use vocative of student names with mī from the beginning. ō Marce, mī Marce, quid agis hodiē?! etc.
[GL2]Is he writing a letter? Running into Fabullus in the street?
[GL3]Where do you think this takes place? In the street? in a letter? in the public toilets? at a fast food counter? HAVE PICTURES
[GL4]Surely I can start using this phrase with football games.  We will win sī nōbīs deus favet.
[GL5]Use paucīs diēbus and the future tense leading up to the day we read this.
[GL6]Find ways of using the forms of fero so much that it is second nature.
[GL7]Make sure you have looked at pictures of Romans in frescos first, especially at dinner parties, and discuss that the woman is fair and the man is tan.  (What’s tan in Latin?) (What’s darker vs lighter when referring to color?)
[GL8]If looking at a picture of Romans at a dinner party, can we see these things on the table?
[GL9]QUID SIGNIFICAT? venustus = lovely, charming, pleasing, elegant
[GL10]Royal We? ō Marce, mī Marce; ecce, amīcī, Marcus noster adest!
[GL11]How will I work genitives in front in?
[GL12]have a picture of a Roman with a purse on his him or the arm band purse to talk about what a “sacculus” is
[GL13]How will I work in merus = pure, unmixed, unadulterated. Maybe ask earlier in the week what they drink?  Maybe mix a drink in front of them.  Lemonade? Could be the same day I do smells.  Smells and tastes? (sī cum aquā ius limonis miscuerimus, limonadum faciēmus.)(Find out what lemonade really is in Latin.)
[GL14]neuter comparatives; how will I work these? OH, when discussing the Orberg reading!
[GL15]was perfume highly prized? was it a liquid or ointment? Find out.  Is it in the Latin wiki?
[GL16]Is she giving it away?  Does it really stink?  Is Catullus allergic to it?
[GL17]work in advance about animal smells (olet) versus us smelling animals (olfacit)

So, those are just some brainstorming notes.  I have plans for activities for several days before we read this so that when we read it should read fairly smoothly. For instance, to have their brains set and ready for the vocatives, I need to just make a big deal about using the vocatives of their names. To make sure they understand venuste noster--or at least noster used with the vocative--I intend to work that in when using the vocative with students. That sort of wonderful royal we. So that's small and easy. I just have to remember to do it.  And if possible, I can work in adjectives in the vocative too.

I want to work in plenus with the genitive during the week.  I also want to work in some classroom Latin.  So I'm going to get some paper lunch bags (sacculus) and fill them with different things: fibiculae chartarum - paper clips, gluten - glue (sticks), forfices - scissors, etc.  Then we can discuss what's in the little sacks - what they are full of - and then WHOSE bag has what (to work in the genitive).  sacculus Marcī est plēnus forficum.  I intend to use circling (questions with yes answer first, then no, then a choice, then open ended, etc).

I'm thinking about having perfume in one of the little sacks.  But I was thinking about whether the perfume would have been liquid or ointment or either.  I have bought fragrances in the past that were more of an ointment.  In fact, I probably will do that.  THEN maybe I can work in a discussion of olet vs olfacit. All in Latin. And from there I could work in some body parts.  You smell with your nose, and that could lead into maybe a song of Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in Latin.

I have some materials (not directly related to this activity) which students will need to assemble, so learning terms for paper clips, glue, scissors, stapler/staples, etc, could be immediately put to use. If we have time that day.  It's possible.

I also intend to use Orberg's Lingua Latina as an easy reader to begin to develop the idea of extensive reading. Depending upon what we're told at in-service about required things we have to do, I intend to assign reading the first chapter Monday night and discussing it in class the next day. It's the chapter on geography. I thought I would review comparatives while talking about different things mentioned in the text (which island is larger? smaller?) etc.  I need to make sure I work in neuter comparatives so that the neuter comparatives (suavius et elegantius) will be no problem when we get to Catullus.

And either before or on the day we do the Catullus reading, I want to show some frescos of dinner party scenes (probably before) so the concept of a candida puella can be understood. I want to be able to discuss content not grammar, not how it all goes together. I want to discuss different scenarios beside Catullus just sending this in the form of a letter or published poem.  Can they imagine him running into Fabullus on the streets of Rome? Where? There's Martial's epigram (which they read last year) about the guy who hangs around in public toilets trying to get invites to dinner. I also am still trying to understand the perfume bit--is he only giving away the smell of the perfume? That is, you have to come over and sniff my girl to smell it?  Or what? Or is he saying that his girl naturally smells amazing because the gods have made it so?  (I'm sure I have a text at school with commentary on this.) But how fun to actually have a discussion, hopefully most of it in Latin but ok if we have to switch to English, about all of these issues, instead of spending the whole period just "translating" word for word.

So, I have all of these ideas.  They are probably too much and too out there in some ways, but I think back to Rusticatio and all the things Nancy would teach us which she would then combine rather seemlessly later on. And of course she had a plan; it couldn't have been coincidence.

Somewhere in all of this I will probably do some dictation.  And afterwards I may even do a substitution drill of some sort, maybe with conditionals. If I were Fabullus, I would.... well, I don't know.  Haven't worked that out.  Or maybe, because indirect statements were the last things we were working on last year, I could do a dictation afterwords that is made up of indirect statements.  Catullus dixit Fabullum bene cenaturum esse. etc.

Anyway.  Enough of brainstorming in the blog.  I need to get it all organized tomorrow.  Make some serious plans.  But all of this DEFINITELY beats read/translate into English.
So, I will confess that I’m not sure that I had ever really heard of Subjective or Objective Genitives before this summer.  Perhaps that’s an indication that you really need to know the details of grammatical terminology; or more likely it means that I’ve been sloppy for far too long, especially since I’m the teacher.  While I’m not necessarily convinced that it’s worth understanding the difference between the Possessive and the Subjective Genitive (which will be for another post, I hope), I feel that understanding the Objective Genitive is worthwhile, if for no other reason than sometimes you don’t use “of” to translate it. I had this “I should have had a V8” moment—and wondered why I had missed this for so long. There was no need to be “winging it” as I felt I was sometimes in explaining why some genitives just didn’t sound right with “of.”

Truth be told when I think of what my grounding in grammar was, what my go-to reference was before daring to open Gildersleeve and Lodge in college, it was what certamen players rely upon: good old Amsco.  My well-worn Amsco 3-4 only has four things for the genitive: possession, description, partitive, and with certain adjectives (cupidus, perītus, imperītus, and plēnus). And sadly too many of us use texts like this to guide students (at least for certamen) on which grammar items are important instead of what is actually being used in our texts and in our stories. There is no in between, no grammar reference that has an intermediate range of information. After all, reading Gildersleeve and Lodge isn’t for everyone—that’s for sure!

Anyway, let’s look at what the grammarians say first, then the list of those sentences from CLC (17-40) which I think probably are Objective Genitive, and why we should care.

3.      objective genitive denotes the object of the activity implied by a noun or adjective (metus hostium)

Genitives, Bennett’s new Latin Grammar
195. With Nouns the Genitive is the case which defines the meaning of the limited noun more closely. This relation is generally indicated in English by the preposition of. There are the following varieties of the Genitive with Nouns:--

Objective Genitive, denotes the object of an action or feeling: metus deōrum, the fear of the gods; amor lībertātis, love of liberty

Genitives Gildersleeve and Lodge, p230ff
363. When the substantive on which the Genitive depends contains the idea of an action (nōmen āctiōnis), the possision may be active or passive. Hence the division into
1.The Active or Subjective Genitive: amor Deī, the love of God, the love which God feels (God loves)
2.Passive or Objective Genitive: amor Deī, the love of God, the love toward God (God is loved).
Remarks: The English form in of is used either actively or passively: the love of women. Hence, to avoid ambiguity, other prepositions than of are often substituted for the Passive Genitive, such as for, toward, and the like. So, also, sometimes in Latin, especially in Livy, and later Historians generally: voluntās Servīliī ergā Caesarem: the goodwill of Servilius toward Caesar. Odium in bonōs inveterātum, deep-seated hate toward the conservatives.

Genitives, Hale & Buck p 180ff
354. The Genitive may be used to express the Object or the Application of a Noun, an Adjective, or a Participle used adjectively.
The list of nouns is very large. The adjectives are especially those denoting desire, knowledge, skill, memory, or participation.
rēgnī cupiditāte, by desire of sovereignty
cupidum rērum novārum, desirous of a revolution
cōnscius iniūriae, conscious of wrong-doing
amantissimōs reī pūblicae virōs, firm friends of the state
reī pūblicae iniūriam, the wrong done to the state
excessū vītae, by departure from life
cui summam omnium rērum fidem habēbat, in whom he had the greatest confidence in all matters
praestantiam virtūtis, the preeminence in virtue
a.       Instead of the Objective Genitive depending on a noun, prepositions with the Accusative are often employed, especially ergā, in, and adversus, toward, against.
in hominēs iniūriam, wrong to men; deōrum summō ergā vōs amōre, by Heaven’s great love toward you.
b.      In Ciceronian Latin, only a moderate number of adjectives, mostly expressing or suggesting Activity, take this Genitive. With nouns it is more freely used.
c.       Freer poetic and later Genitive of the Object or of Application. In poetry and later Latin this Genitive is used with greater freedom.
fessī rērum, weary of trouble
integer vītae, upright of life
poenae sēcūrus, safe from punishment
indignus avōrum, unworthy of my ancestors
ēreptae virginis īrā, wrath at the loss of the maiden

Ok, here are the sentences that I think probably contain Objective Genitives.  Some may be wrong but I think most are correct.  You can decide for yourself.  I’ll discuss a few below.

·         20  mandō Quīntō Caeciliō Iucundō cūram fūneris meī.
·         21  multī medicī, ad aulam arcessītī, remedium morbī quaesīvērunt.
·         21  rēx Cogidubnus hūc venit, remedium morbī petēns.
·         23  Memorem ē cūrā thermārum iam dēmōvī.
·         25  Valerius nōs vult custōdēs carceris esse.
·         25  ūna est spēs salūtis.
·         28  Belimicus, spē praemiī adductus, mīlitēs Rōmānōs adiuvābat et incitābat.
·         28  aliī, spē praedae adductī, inter sē pugnāvērunt;…
·         28  mandō C. Salviō Līberālī cūram fūneris meī.
·         28  Belimicus, prīnceps Cantiacōrum, spē praemiī adductus, Salviō summum auxilium dedit.
·         28  Belimicus, metū mortis pallidus, surrēxit.
·         28  Belimicus, venēnō excruciātus, pugiōnem tamen in Salvium coniēcit, spē ultiōnis adductus.
·         29  nūlla spēs salūtis nōbīs ostenditur.
·         29  amōre līberōrum meōrum plūs quam timōre servitūtis afficiēbar.
·         29  amōre līberōrum meōrum plūs quam timōre servitūtis afficiēbar.
·         29  illūc multī senātōrēs, spē favōris Domitiānī, conveniēbant. * two gens
·         30  itaque ambō humum rediērunt, alter spē immortālitātis ēlātus, alter praesentī pecūniā contentus.
·         31  cēterī autem, oculīs in vultum praecōnis dēfīxīs, spē favōris manēbant.
·         31  …aliī spē pecūniae dēiectī invītī discessērunt.
·         32  etiam eī quī spē favōris cēnās magistrātibus dant, rē vērā labōrant.
·         33  labōribus cōnfectus atque spē sacerdōtiī dēiectus, ad vīllam rūsticam abierat ut quiēsceret.
·         34  Epaphprodītus “nōn modo ego,” inquit, “sed etiam Imperātor poenās Paridis Domitiaeque cupit.”
·         34  scīlicet falsa fuerat epistula, mendāx nūntius morbī!
·         34  nunc dēnique intellēxit quis esset auctor exitiī Paridis.
·         35  nūper ego et aliī senātōrēs ab Imperātōre cōnsultī sumus dē poenā illārum Virginum Vestālium quae incestī damnātae erant.
·         36  dīcis amōre tuī bellās ardēre puellās / quī faciem sub aquā, Sexte, natantis habēs. * love for you (your love = amōre tuō)
·         37  ibi mīlitēs nostrī, spē glōriae adductī, victōriam nōmine tuō dignam rettulērunt.
·         37  …omnēs scīmus Galbam cupīdine imperiī corruptum esse;…*or does cupīdō need a genitive?
·         38  est mihi nūlla occāsiō fugiendī.
·         38  est mihi nūlla spēs fugae.
·         40  subitō extrā cūriam īnfestae vōcēs sunt audītae clāmantium sē  ipsōs Salvium interfectūrōs esse sī poenam scelerum effūgisset.
·         40  eīs magnō auxiliō erat L. Mārcius Memor, haruspex et Salviī cliēns, quī, socius quondam scelerum Salviī, nunc ad eum prōdendum adductus est, spē praemiī vel metū poenārum.
·         40  eīs magnō auxiliō erat L. Mārcius Memor, haruspex et Salviī cliēns, quī, socius quondam scelerum Salviī, nunc ad eum prōdendum adductus est, spē praemiī vel metū poenārum.
·         40  patefēcerat enim Myropnous pūmiliō Salvium auctōrem fuisse exiliī Domitiae, Paridis mortis. *split from governing (?) noun (predicatively)
·         40  patefēcerat enim Myropnous pūmiliō Salvium auctōrem fuisse exiliī Domitiae, Paridis mortis. *note chiasmus, double genitive
·         40  quis tam stultus est ut crēdat mē mortem rēgis octōgintā annōrum efficere voluisse?
·         40  intereā Rūfilla, Salviī uxor, dum spēs eius firma manēbat, pollicēbātur sē sociam cuiusque fortūnae futūram esse.
·         40  intereā Rūfilla, Salviī uxor, dum spēs eius firma manēbat, pollicēbātur sē sociam cuiusque fortūnae futūram esse.
·         40  invidia Salviī aucta est suspīciōne Cogidubnum venēnō necātum esse.
·         40  subitō extrā cūriam īnfestae vōcēs sunt audītae clāmantium sē  ipsōs Salvium interfectūrōs esse sī poenam scelerum effūgisset.
·         40  …ille tamen, fīliī salūtis memor, hoc cōnsilium rēiēcit. *two gens

These two sentences, from Gildersleeve and Lodge, offer the kind of explanation that I think would be so helpful to students (since it was so helpful to me):

The English form in of is used either actively or passively: the love of women. Hence, to avoid ambiguity, other prepositions than of are often substituted for the Passive Genitive, such as for, toward, and the like.

And here I thought it was just more of, “eh, sometimes ‘of’ just doesn’t work.”  This is being more specific about WHEN it doesn’t work and WHY it doesn’t work.  And what we are looking for “denotes the object of an action or feeling.”

And when looking for an example of a “feeling,” why not look to spē praemiī adductus? I was never keen on “driven by the hope of a reward,” but hear how much better it sounds when we translate it as “driven by the hope FOR a reward”! There are 16 examples that I’ve pulled which have a form of spēs. I think each and every one of them sounds better with “for” (and remember from a previous post, spē is not really Ablative of Means but Cause/Reason). Here are some examples:

·         25  ūna est spēs salūtis.
There is one hope FOR safety.
·         28  Belimicus, spē praemiī adductus, mīlitēs Rōmānōs adiuvābat et incitābat.
Belimicus, driven on account of his hope for a reward, was helping and inciting the Roman soldiers.
·         28  aliī, spē praedae adductī, inter sē pugnāvērunt;…
Others, driven on account of their hope for loot, fought among themselves;…
·         29  nūlla spēs salūtis nōbīs ostenditur.
No hope for safety is shown to us.
·         31  …aliī spē pecūniae dēiectī invītī discessērunt.
…others disappointed in their hope for money left unwilling(ly).
·         40  eīs magnō auxiliō erat L. Mārcius Memor, haruspex et Salviī cliēns, quī, socius quondam scelerum Salviī, nunc ad eum prōdendum adductus est, spē praemiī vel metū poenārum.
For a great help to them was Lucius Marcius Memor, diviner and client of Salvius, who, as a one-time ally of the crimes of Salvius, now was driven to betray him, from the hope for a reward or from the fear of punishments.
·         40 intereā Rūfilla, Salviī uxor, dum spēs eius firma manēbat, pollicēbātur sē sociam cuiusque fortūnae futūram esse.
Meanwhile Rufilla, the wife of Salvius, while hope him was staying strong,was promising that she would be his partner of whatever fortune.

This last one (with eius) I was never able to translate smoothly into English, even though I understood the Latin just fine, or so I thought. But maybe my lack of understanding about the Objective Genitive and its translations other than “of” was the real problem. Moreover, I like learning that the Objective Genitive has to do with actions and feelings, so that when I see spēs and mētus (and timor) I can already understand that in all likelihood we are dealing with something different from possession, something where “of” might not sound best. Surely the original authors of CLC would not have included so many examples, repeating and repeating the concept, if this weren’t one we were supposed to take note of and help our students to understand. If we just let them guess until something sounds right, it makes Latin seem arbitrary and and even a little vicious to the learner.

Another example which benefits from understanding what the Objective Genitive is would be the Martial epigram about Sextus: dīcis amōre tuī bellās ardēre puellās / quī faciem sub aquā, Sexte, natantis habēs. If tuī was functioning as possession, it actually would be the adjective tuō to modify amōre (“your love”).  That these girls were burning with “love of you” or even “your love” always sounded so wrong to me. But, put in “FOR you” and this epigram totally makes sense, because Sextus can’t be the object of love if he has a face like someone swimming underwater (an image I’m still trying to figure out—are his cheeks totally puffed out like he’s holding his breath or what?).

Looking for a “cure FOR the illness (remedium morbī) sounds so much more logical than a “cure of the illness”—even though it is comprehensible. After all, how many times have you asked for a couple of ibuprofen “of your headache”? No! It’s always “for your headache”! So even though remedium isn’t denoting the object of an action or feeling; it is, however, an “object or application of a noun.” The cure would be applied to the illness, right? What about all the times poena is used—wouldn’t this be about who the penalty was applied to? Consider this sentence: nōn modo ego sed etiam Imperātor poenās Paridis Domitiaeque cupit. The emperor desires punishments FOR Paris and Domitia—he wants the punishments to apply to them, he wants them to be the objects of the punishments.

Of course, ideally we should be trying to teach our students to stay “in” Latin—that the goal of learning Latin is not to translate it into English but to understand what we are reading in Latin through Latin. But I am also a realist; I know how the local big universities teach their classics courses (sadly) and I know that AP wants students who understand and can translate Latin literally.

So, maybe I wouldn’t put this one in the About the Language section, but I think I would certainly include it in the Language Information section at the back of the book, especially if you are going to include the Genitive of Indefinite Price/Value which could be included under Genitive of Description, according to some of the grammarians (see previous post).  I’m not sure I would bother Latin 2 students with this concept, but the Latin 3 students usually have higher aims and crave clarity and information, so I probably will show them.  And the 4s will definitely have this information.