Latin Language Learning

Learning style is different for everyone but it sometimes takes a while to find what works for you, so here are just a few study habits which have proven useful to me with the study of languages and which might prove useful to others.

For studying languages, I find it helpful to make my own grammar tables. Somehow, I find it difficult to find grammar tables which fully respond to my needs. Tables I make go from simple to more complex ones, along with the study of the language, it’s a process. The advantage is that it takes active effort to design your own table. For example, below is the final version of my grammar tables for Latin verbs, but before these, there were many others. With these tables I tried having all tenses on one sheet for each conjugation, which helps identify patterns. I store such tables and vocab lists in a neat folder, together with palaeography resources.

Sample table:

Tables are downloadable as an archive containing .doc files.

For vocab, I started making lists by conjugation/declension, but eventually opted for the two lists posted by CMS: http://medieval.utoronto.ca/latin/resources/ . Of course, without practice through translations, vocab learning is useless. I never used flashcards because it takes too much time to make. I just go through lists again and again, and cross off words I know and highlight words which are trickiest. The hardest vocab is always propositions and conjunctions. I tried making diagrams with the meaning of each proposition expressed through their actual position, but this does not work too well for words like “therefore”. I guess one just needs lots of practice on those.

At some point I made a silly game, The Magical Deck of Grammar, pictured above, which works like this:

  • Pick a verb at random from your verb list

  • Draw 1 Blue card and 1 White card

  • Conjugate verb according to Blue card

  • Recite the theme from White card

So Blue cards contain tense/voice/mood and White cards contain difficult themes. If this sounds like fun, it is downloadable.