Learning Latin, sans school
January 8, 2016 10:29 AM   Subscribe

What are your suggestions/resources for learning Latin independently, outside of school? I am a beginner, with access to a well-resourced library and the Internet. I'll keep this question brief and general, since I am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks!
posted by delight to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
The Oxford Latin Course worked well for me. Bought the student and teacher editions and worked hard on not cheating.
posted by Fezboy! at 10:34 AM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Years ago, I used Wheelock's Latin to teach myself Latin. It worked well, although I didn't keep up with it. The book has been updated, of course, and now there's a supporting website.
posted by holborne at 10:50 AM on January 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Lingua Latin per se Illustrata. Make yourself flashcards with a spaced repetition system.
posted by Tanizaki at 10:59 AM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Strongly seconding Lingua Latin per se Illustrata. It's fantastic, and has supplementary workbooks and audio.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:30 AM on January 8, 2016

I took 4 years of Latin in High School. It's almost 15 years later and I remember 20-30%. History was my favorite portion. It helped me gain context and understand a complex ancient society.
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History is worth the $10. You can treat this as an audio text book.HBO's Rome is decent if you are more of a visual learner but they may only reference things which makes it harder to identify key issues. It's an easy way to gain context.
I would also recommend the letters of Pliny the Younger describing the events of Mt. Vesuvius. Use them as your translations or final projects. I have to admit it's really confusing to translate the satirists. It's hard to tell when they're making a joke so sometimes it looks like gibberish.
Before you get to all of that, you will have to begin working on your vocabulary, declensions and conjugations. This is a hard repetitive drilling and memorization at first. This is why I suggested the history podcast and TV show. You'd otherwise be miserable.
There's and enormous sense of satisfaction when it comes to translating a paragraph or a letter. Latin's etymology continues to help me to this day.
This would be a good place to start. I hope that was helpful, good luck!
posted by Bridymurphy at 11:36 AM on January 8, 2016

wayback machine: kids like mine: free latin

Some links are likely dead. (My old, defunct site which only exists on the way back machine.)
posted by Michele in California at 12:00 PM on January 8, 2016

I'm a fan of Learn to Read Latin. It combines the pedagogical strengths of grammar-based approached like Wheelock (i.e., here's the whole chart for this piece of grammar: memorize it, practice it, and move on; as well as being comprehensive in its instruction and its ability to explain things (for instance, languages change over time, often in a reductionist way. A grammar-based approach is free to explain what's been hidden over time by this reductionist process. For instance in Greek, there are a set of endings you don't have to memorize because it's far easier to just derive them from an original set of endings you already know based on a certain linguistic reduction that happened with the Attic Greek dialect. There's no way you're going to learn something like this from a Lingua Latina sort of book which is entirely in "Latin", or at least in the beginning faux Latin.)), but it also addresses the weaknesses that a student usually develops from this method, which is typically a nonexistent vocabulary and poor reading capability. It does so by hefty inclusions of authentic Latin passages at the end of every chapter, with the vocabulary list of each chapter based on the readings at the end.

LtRL is based on Latin: An Intensive Course, which is the textbook used famously by the intensive summer Latin programs held at CUNY and Berkeley, and is used by a number of other prestigious programs. So you could also consider that one.
posted by Dalby at 12:01 PM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Latin Study mailing lists are still up and running -- they usually have at least two groups of Wheelocks running, along with Oxford latin.
posted by gsh at 1:02 PM on January 8, 2016

See if your public library subscribes to Mango Languages.
posted by bentley at 2:05 PM on January 9, 2016

I spent a year teaching myself basic Latin using the excellent Lingua Latina book. I'd also recommend getting the Teacher's Material book.
posted by schrodycat at 10:10 AM on January 10, 2016

I bought Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone (Sorcerer's Stone - philosophi lapis) in Latin to rekindle my school love of the language. I have the English version as well so I can flip between the two instead of using a dictionary. I haven't done it yet, despite owning the book for a number of years but I will do at some point. Actually, you've inspired/reminded me, so it'll be by next book I read on the bus...

It's not "learning" as such, but it's a fun way of increasing vocab and reading fluency.
posted by guy72277 at 1:20 AM on January 11, 2016

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