Key stone anniversary and learning Latin

Today is the anniversary of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799.

The ancient Egyptian “Rosetta Stone” has the text of a decree of Ptolemy V in 196 BC in three languages/forms of writing, hieroglyphs, demotic script, and Greek. Having the three forms of the same text gave scholars a key to read Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Speaking of Rosetta Stone, did you know that the Rosetta Stone software has a Latin program?

I haven’t seen the Latin version, but I have seen Rosetta Stone software, which seems very useful.  Any Rosetta Stone vets out there?  Comments?

I thought about Rosetta Stone for Mandarin.  Eventually I decided that (if I had a massive surge of donations) I would probably subscribe to Chinese Pod.  But I digress… Latin is more germane.

I get often questions from people about resources for learning Latin on your own.  I usually recommend Wheelock, because there are lots of aids for it by which you can supplement your study without a coach.

Otherwise, in the classroom, if you are unable to get a teacher trained by Reginald Foster, I think the Lingua Latina series by Oerberg is very useful.  It worked for me.  But I also had years of Foster down the line.

No matter which series or tools you use, the keys to learning any language are

  • do as much of your work as you can out loud, because getting additional senses involved help you remember
  • do something, at least something without fail, every single day
  • repetita iuvantrepetitio est mater studiorum repetitio est mater discendi
  • read literature and learn about the culture, the people who spoke the language – actual people used the language – get to know them and the language becomes more interesting and you are reminded that they, who were not rocket scientists could speak it, then so can you

You might have your own tips.

Parents: One of the great gifts, one of the best tools of learning you can give your children, is to require them to study Latin.  Give them Latin.  It seems now almost a cliché to say that Latin is useful for shaping the mind and opening up English language skills.   Okay. So it’s cliché. Give them Latin, Latin and more Latin.

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63 Responses to Key stone anniversary and learning Latin

  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    And for those parents who are motivated entirely by low ambition . . . .
    Two years’ study of Latin is worth 2 or 300 points on the SAT verbal.
    With the recent alterations to remove the notorious ‘analogies’ section and dumb down the vocabulary, this may be less true than it was in the past.
    It worked for me in the dim dark past, and it worked for my daughter.

  2. medievalist says:

    “Give them Latin, Latin, and more Latin.”

    Da mihi vinum bonum aut libros bonos et linguam Latinam!

  3. ScholaLady says:

    My 7th grade daughter and I both tried out Rosetta Stone Latin this past school year. It was a lot of fun to use. It’s like playing a computer game where you actually learn something. It is an immersion program, you figure out what things mean by context and pictures. So if you don’t do it every day you’ll forget what you learned very quickly.

    My biggest complaint is that the Rosetta Stone people didn’t seem to know what to do with Latin. The language is presented as though you are going to travel to a country where you will need to order coffee (potio arabica) in Latin. There is also a lot of time spent on modern words like “computer” and “television.”

    We haven’t finished it yet. So far it has been fun, but not much help with reading a missal.

  4. Like many who have studied Latin, I have slogged through Wheelock. But I wonder whether the best way is not the most time-honored way of acquiring a language–reading the Bible in that language.

    This works especially well with Latin, because the Douay-Rheims English is virtually a direct word-for-word translation of the Clementine Vulgate Latin, which is very easy Latin, as compared with the classical Latin of the collects, for instance.

    Because of its format and typography, my recommendation for a start is the Loreto Publications Latin-English New Testament, in which the corresponding Latin and English for each verse are carefully aligned. [ Enter "new testament loreto" at either amazon or google.]

    You will need a Latin-English dictionary. The best for the Bible is Stelten, Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin–contains the Latin vocabulary of the Bible, but small enough (at the opposite extreme from the gravitationally impressive Lewis & Short) and designed for quick handy use. [ Enter "stelten" at amazon.]

    Look up a Latin pronunciation guide somewhere, then just start. One verse at at time. First read the verse silently in English, then aloud in Latin, carefully noting the correspondence of words.

    Read in this way at least one chapter a day. If you never ever miss a day, then after a year or so you may have learned functional Latin, enough to help enormously with the liturgy–which, after all, is mostly scriptural (apart from the collects)–in much the same way as a child learns a language, without conscious effort otherwise.

  5. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Henry, you are right. I decided I would do better at my lectio divina if I slowed down to medieval speed rather than “reading for content” as modern people do so I decided to read the Gospel of John in Latin with English by the side. I read the Latin, try to figure it out and then read the English. It is working great.

    For the real beginner, McInerny’s Let’s Read Latin is good, it uses all the common prayers and has an audio CD with it.

    I looked at Rosetta Stone Latin and decided it was a waste of time. I don’t need to know what “ball point pen” is in Latin. I need to know ecclesiastical Latin, Bible Latin, Latin prayers.

  6. Taylor says:

    “It seems now almost a cliché to say that Latin is useful for shaping the mind and opening up English language skills. Okay. So it’s cliché. Give them Latin, Latin and more Latin.”

    And Greek!

  7. Mike says:

    Both of my sons study Latin, and one also studies Attic Greek. The oldest will be going to college in August as a freshman Classics major. Yes!

    It definitely has helped them write well, and analyze concepts with more accuracy. As for the SAT? The oldest did fantastically well on his verbal score.

  8. Pachomius says:

    If anyone’s wondering what’s on the Rosetta Stone, from what I remember, it’s a tax exemption for priests.

    Tangentially, one of the people to try to crack hieroglyphs (before the Stone was found), was Fr Athanasius Kircher, the 16th Century Jesuit polymath, who also proved that the Tower of Babel couldn’t have reached the moon, and was among the first people to connect plague with micro-organisms.

    On learning (any) ancient language, Fr. Z’s advice is very good. I’d only add: Translate back into the language, and do a lot of it. Don’t skip these exercises.

    However, I do have to disagree with Fr. Z on one point: don’t just give them “Latin, Latin, Latin” – give them Greek, French and Spanish, too!

    On Latin specifically, for grammar I generally use Kennedy’s Revised Latin Grammar, but I don’t know if that’s available outside the UK, and as a learning tool (rather than a reference), it’s pretty useless.

  9. SaintJude6 says:

    My family received Rosetta Stone Latin as a gift from a well-meaning relative. I have used it, as have three of my children. I think it does a good job of getting the vocabulary into your head through a great deal of repetition, although it is mostly conversational Latin. My son, who was too young at five to learn much Latin other than prayers and songs, could use the Rosetta Stone program, because it is so visual. It uses the classical pronunciation, so I listen when my younger children are on it and remind them how we say those words. It is nice to have as a supplement if you have many people who are going to be using it, but otherwise I couldn’t see spending the money. For our homeschooling purposes we begin formal (requires writing) Latin studies in second grade with Prima Latina, then Latina Christiana, then the Memoria Press First Form Latin (First through Fourth = 4th through 7th grades), and then Henle I – IV.
    And to all homeschoolers/prospective homeschoolers: Teach your children Latin. It exercises their intellectual skills in a way that no other subject will, ties in well with history studies, and will help them score higher on standardized tests and be able to decipher unknown words in English, French, Spanish, Italian, etc…. And when people who are doubtful of your abilities to teach your own children find out find out that they are studying Latin beginning in the primary grades, they will back off without further concerns. This is part of our Catholic heritage. Pass it on.

  10. B p g: For the real beginner, McInerny’s Let’s Read Latin is good, it uses all the common prayers and has an audio CD with it.

    Yes, McInerny is a wonderful complement to the Bible. I frequently recommend it as the fastest Latin start of all, then the Bible.

  11. templariidvm says:

    Is Lingua Latina still around? I used it when I was in the high school seminary. Just thinking of that makes me feel OLD! :)

  12. BenFischer says:

    I’m working on Rosetta Stone Spanish now and it’s pretty good. It’s expensive compared to other language software, but cheaper than taking a class at a local college. Once I get through level 3 Spanish, I’d like to try Latin.

  13. AnAmericanMother says:

    Henry Edwards,
    You’re on to something there.
    C.W. Eliot, who was president of Harvard back when that actually meant something, always recommended the Bible for learning a new language.
    Of course, this also was back when people knew the Bible much better than they do today!

  14. albinus1 says:

    I’ve taught Latin at the college level for over 20 years now, on and off, mostly out of Wheelock. I’ve also done Fr. Foster’s summer program and a weeklong spoken Latin workshop with Terence Tunberg and Milena Minkova. I’m sympathetic to the spoken-Latin movement, and have enjoyed speaking it on those occasions when I’ve been able to (the first time you hear an ablative absolute come out of your own mouth is a truly magical moment).

    Having said that … A student of mine recently lent me the Rosetta Stone Latin level 1 package. As ScholaLady observed, RS treats Latin as it would a modern language, for conversational ability. Again, I’m a supporter of the living Latin movement, but this approach is really not very helpful for anyone learning Latin for the reasons most people learn Latin — i.e., reading texts, whether classical or later. At the same time, I can see how the Rosetta Stone approach would be very helpful in learning to speak a modern, spoken language, and I might use it myself to learn a new one or brush up on one that’s gotten rusty or was learned imperfectly to begin with. (I have found that one consequence of being a classicist is that I tend to treat modern languages as I do classical ones, and just learn them for reading.)

    The basic problem with learning a language by the immersion method is that you really do need to immerse yourself in it for an extended period of time.. After you finish, e.g., Rosetta Stone French, you can watch French movies, listen to French radio or TV programs on the Internet, converse with a French-speaking friend, or go to a French-speaking country to keep developing your skills. But you need to keep immersing yourself in French in order to retain and build on what you learned. Once you finish the Rosetta Stone Latin course, however, there are very few place you are going to be able to go, unless you get a job working with Reggie Foster or Terence Tunberg and Milena Minkova, where you are going to be surrounded by spoken Latin all day. The Rosetta Stone Latin package might be a useful and interesting adjunct to studying Latin the traditional, grammar-centered way, but it really wouldn’t work as one’s primary approach. (I also found the pronunciation of the speakers a bit odd in places — for example, they pronounced “puer” as one syllable — “pwer” — whereas the evidence from classical verse scansion is pretty clear that it was two syllables — “PU-er”.)

    I love Wheelock — I often joke that my attitude towards teaching Latin is, “There is no Latin but Wheelock and I am his prophet” — but I would strongly urge people to look for the old, pre-LaFleur, unfortunately-now-out-of-print 3rd edition. It’s much more straightforward, less overwhelming in terms of vocabulary, better in some of its pedagogical choices (e.g., presenting the perfect before the imperfect), and blessedly free of those awful jokes that LaFleur stuck at the end of every chapter of his revision. (I figure that, as the teacher, it’s my job to inflict my own bad jokes on the students, not make them suffer through someone else’s.)

    I second the comments about reading out loud. A friend of mine used to work as a long-haul truck driver. He recorded tapes of himself reading from the Vulgate and used to listen to them while driving. It really helped get Latin in his ear. He later spend a year studying with Reggie Foster.

  15. carl b says:

    FWIW, our Latin is taught out of Collin’s Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin, published by CUA.

  16. contrarian says:

    Father Z,
    Regarding your digression. You are right to choose ChinesePod over Rosetta Stone when it comes to learning Mandarin. The Rosetta Stone for Mandarin is kinda…meh. But ChinesePod rocks.

  17. William A. Anderson says:

    Thank you for this referral to Hans Oerberg’s publications. However, the Amazon link from your post is not very helpful, since it lists only used copies with no previews and no reviews.

    I googled around a bit and found that Mr. Oerberg died in February last year, but that course materials based on his methods are currently available from his publisher, Focus Publishing, at — which includes some free samples, including audio supplements and interactive flash cards and quizzes.

    My wife and I introduced a Classical Languages & Culture program at Christ the King School in Los Angeles several years ago. We started with a “select volunteer” group of 7th & 8th graders who were willing to come to school at 7:15 a.m., twice a week, to learn a bit of Greek. The program is now more centered on Latin and is part of the regular curriculum for the 6th, 7th & 8th grades. Thanks to this posting, we may start using the Oerberg materials — which seem to be very reasonably priced. My wife was already using some of his methods without knowing it.

  18. MarkJ says:

    I’m currently working through “A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin”, by John F. Collins (CUA Press). It seems pretty thorough and I like that it is focused on “Church Latin”. It’s helping me a lot in my daily “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and of course at Mass, too. Once I get a little more into it, I plan to start reading the Bible more in Latin.

  19. albinus1 says:

    The ancient Egyptian “Rosetta Stone” has the text of a decree of Ptolemy V in 196 BC in three languages/forms of writing, hieroglyphs, demotic script, and Greek.

    This is nitpicky (but readers of WDTPRS expect no less), but technically the Rosetta Stone inscription is in two languages, not three. The Egyptian text is written twice, in two different scripts — hieroglyphs and demotic are two different ways of writing Egyptian. So, yes, it’s in three different scripts, but two different languages. (My first teacher of Akkadian hammered into us the difference between a language and a writing system.)

  20. Theodore says:

    Rosetta Stone is very good for Nihon-go.

  21. Mariana says:

    I’ve worked through Oxford Latin Course I and II at University, will continue with Latin next term, and am reading Winnie ille Pu and Father Z’s slavishly literal translations and explanations during the summer! There is also a Tintin i Latin, De Insula Nigra!

  22. Tom in NY says:

    I’ve seen the Rosetta Stone demonstration for French. It is the modern computerized version of the successful St. Cloud method for learning French, which appeals to “right-brained” as well as analytical learners. The diction and intonation are perfect. My French teachers had me and the class repeat the tape after seeing the pictures in the film strip. Later, we moved to written French. The Rosetta demo, like the St. Cloud method, shows the pictures and has the student repeat the phrase. The student then repeats into the voice recognition. The software decides whether the student can move on further. I found the software was more demanding than my teachers in high school and college.
    It appears to me that Rosetta has removed its carts from shopping malls, so I’ve not seen the Latin demonstration. Perhaps it’s available elsewhere. If Rosetta follows the St. Cloud method for Latin, it adds the step of speaking Latin to the analytical approach I (and others) followed in high school and college. I did very well in high school Latin and went on to a Latin and Greek degree without reading aloud a lot of Latin.

    Another Latin language promoter adds lots of podcasts to his URL. Following his example and the St. Cloud-Rosetta techniques, I would include choral reading to a Latin class to make sure the students heard Latin every day. I’d even make my own recordings as needed. Ut dicitur, repitita juvant.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  23. William A. Anderson says:

    Better links to Hans Oerberg’s publisher are: or

    The link that I provided in an earlier comment connects directly to online courses, with no clear way to navigate backward to the printed materials.


  24. By all means read as much as you can of easy Latin (e.g. the Vulgate, the Breviarium Romanum, or the Liturgia Horarum — all available on line). And don’t forget the Purple Virgil! See: HERE.

    [That's the edition we used in my third quarter of Latin at the U of Minn.]

  25. donantebello says:

    Fr. Z and all, after experiencing Rosetta Stone, it’s not that great. I would recommend Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, as well as the plethora of free language learning podcasts. I would also recommend My fluency in Spanish, French, and Italian has increased by leaps and bounds using this website. It’s phenomenal. They have Chinese on this site as well as 13 or so other languages.

  26. I studied Spanish in high school, and more Spanish plus French and Italian in college (if you know one Romance language, the others are easy boosts for one’s GPA). I regret not having studied Latin, though. A two-semester course was offered, but I squandered the opportunity.

  27. alec.brady says:

    I like Henry Edwards’ suggestion of reading the Vulgate – but then I did Latin in grammar school, so for me it’s about refreshing my knowledge, not creating it de novo.

    But you don’t need to buy a copy of the Vulgate and another of the Douay-Rheims: just go to;DRA

  28. don Jeffry says:

    Evan der Millner:

    He has over a thousand lessons on iTunes.

  29. Lepidus says:

    I second don Jeffry’s comment about Evan. I just started his series, but I’m using his youtube playlists where he has some props and an interesting method of memorizing declensions using joints in your hand / arm….

  30. cmcbocds says:

    Twenty years ago give or take, I began learning Latin with these books:

    Reading Latin (Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises) ISBN 0521286220
    Reading Latin (Text) ISBN 0521286239

    by Peter V. Jones and Keith C. Sidwell which are published by Cambridge University Press. (Not to be confused with the Cambridge Latin Series.) They now also have another book out that would have really been useful when I started:

    An Independent Study Guide to Reading Latin ISBN 0521653738

    which contains a translation of all the texts and answers to the exercises in the two books above.

    Having somehow managed to get through all of my school years without ever having to learn another language, I had no clue about how other languages were constructed. (What? You mean it’s not like English? ) I spent a lot of time in Powell’s Book Store (Portland, OR) going through all the learn Latin books and found the explanation of how Latin is constructed to be easily understandable in these.

    From there I went on to study another book by Keith Sidwell (one of the authors above) called Reading Medieval Latin ISBN052144747X. It is divided into three sections:

    I Foundations of Christian Latin (Litrugy, Divine Office, Scripture, Church Fathers),
    II Early Medieval Latin
    III From the end of the Ottonian Renaissance (1002) to the Concordat of Worms (1122)

    When studying Church Latin specifically, I used the already mentioned above “A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin” (liked it very much too) and found helpful the following two dictionaries:

    Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin ISBN 1565631315
    By Leo F. Stelten

    Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary ISBN 0814658806
    By James T. Bretzke, S.J.

    My two tips to offer in learning latin are:

    1. Do any written exercises with pen and paper, not on the computer. I tried using the computer to do everything, but found I retained a lot more when I used pen and paper. YMMV, of course.

    2. Flash cards are your friends! There is a lot of software out there for generating them on the computer or hand held devices. Being on a Mac, I’ve been using iFlash as there is a matching app for the iPod Touch / iPhone.

    Haven’t used Rosetta Stone software, but did try the Latin Now! software when it first came out in the 90’s Might be my age, but I didn’t take to learning that way at all.

  31. Paulus says:

    I make use of the Latinstudy mailing list:
    There are several groups active, either grinding through Wheelock’s or Collins, reading the Vulgate, Cicero, the Psalms, Venerable Bede, St. Augustine, Caesar, Tacitus, et cetera. Having weekly “assignments” encourages me to do a little Latin daily, and I get to compare my translations with those of the other group participants. What’s more there’s a lot of people on the list willing and quite able to answer questions. It’s really a great resource. To get the Latin “in my ears” I bought the “Cursus Linguae Latinae Vivae” course from Familiae Sancti Heironymi and play the tapes whenever I’m driving. These days the course comes on CD-ROM, and they sell other CD-ROMs of readings in Latin of the Vulgate and other religious works.

  32. Is there life after Wheelock? Looking back, I’m amazed at how little I knew after working my way through Wheelock. Although it’s probably the best textbook available, it’s only an introduction. You’ll be able to understand the Mass and read much of the Vulgate, but that’s easy Latin.

    So what comes after the introductory textbook? Most universities will have their students, still wet behind the ears, start “decoding” straight-up Ovid and Horace, looking up every other word in the dictionary. It’s no surprise that they never achieve fluency.

    My advice to any serious student wishing to go beyond the Vulgate is to read tons of classical prose. More specifically, read all of Cicero and all of Livy. A simple and effective way of becoming really proficient in Latin.

    You’ll also need a real dictionary. For continuous reading, I suggest Lewis’s Elementary Latin Dictionary. It’s complete enough to understand any passage, compact enough to take it anywhere, and not so exhaustive that you search indefinitely for the right meaning within a single entry. The OLD and Lewis & Short are fine, but more appropriate for scholarly study. Beyond these three dictionaries (Elementary, OLD, Lewis & Short) there is nothing in English, so don’t bother.

  33. BobP says:

    @AnAmericanMother, speaking of Harvard,

  34. Rose in NE says:

    My son enjoyed four years of high school Latin. He was fortunate to have a couple really good teachers. One of the teachers even held an extracurricular ‘before school class’ once a week in Ancient Greek for my son and a couple other interested students. That was the only morning of the week I didn’t have to prod him to get out of bed–he never wanted to miss it! He’ll be a freshman in college this fall and will double major in Classical Languages and Spanish.

  35. Andrew says:

    For those interested: this coming August: a monastery in Alabama: 7 days of liturgy, prayer, lectures, study, conversations – all in Latin.

  36. Tom in NY says:

    All of “Tully”? That’s a lot of reading. Worthwhile, but a lot. If it was good enough for the American preacher Cotton Mather or Wilfrid Laurier, it’s good enough for me and you.
    ( p.32, v. 1, via, Skelton, Oscar Douglas, Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Toronto: S. B. Gundy, OUP, 1921. Mather: Trout, Robert, “The Aesthetical Education of the Americas”,

    I came late to Livy, despite years of Latin in HS and college. While I didn’t get through the ten books (it wasn’t needed for my goal), it was a delight. For me, the college course which lifted my Latin was Prose Composition. It was a tutorial with a serious scholar, now of blessed memory.
    NT students can enjoy The Reader’s Greek New Testament–it has most of the vocabulary at the bottom of the page.
    Tibi salutationes.

  37. Latin rossetta stone isn’t that great. It’s ok but not for the price they want. It should cost about $25, 35 tops.

    As for other suggestions, I would say never be satisfied with what you have. Always look for another book, another course, another person to talk to. It’s hard with so much paganism stuff that atheist Latinistts seem to like but NERVER GIVE UP. There is plenty of Christian (that is Catholic) Latin out there.

    Language is a tool for communication so go communicate with someone, preferably someone who can’t speak your language but can speak Latin.
    Learn one new word everyday. It isn’t enough to learn grammar, that part believe it or not is easy. You need vocabulary and lots of it. You need at least 2000 words but really 5000 would be better.

    Let the language sink in. Your brain needs time. Language acquisition isn’t so much a matter of study, though there is that, but training. Spend time with the language, Using the language not learning About the language, everyday.

  38. KAS says:

    I appreciate the many suggestions on learning Latin.

    I went ahead and ordered a Wheelock, a NT in Latin and English, and one of the suggested dictionaries. Sounds like a good combination and the books will be useful when the Little Tiger is grown enough to begin to learn a bit of Latin.

    This has been a great thread.

  39. Jenice says:

    We have used Fr. Henle’s excellent series in our homeschool. Personal opinion: his scope and sequence is near flawless, and once he introduces something he never lets go of it. My husband has taught Wheelock and didn’t like it at all. I’m using PEL for my own study and like that quite a bit, but haven’t gotten very far down the road. Here’s my advice for all parents: start teaching your children Latin in about 3rd-4th grade and do it every year, just like math.

  40. Former Altar Boy says:

    I must echo donantebello regarding Pimslauer. I only used it for Spanish and thought it was VASTLY superior to Rosetta Stone. Unless you are someone who can sit still without interruptions for 15 or 30 mimutes or longer each day, Pimslauer works best in the car. It is a hear and repeat program that keeps building on the vocabulary you’ve already learned.
    I never took Latin but will say this, just reading back and forth in my English-Latin missal for eight years of daily Mass at Catholic school, I picked up enough Latin that it actually helped me (due to cognates) in high school Spanish. So Latin is a good jumping off place for any future study in a Romance laguage.

  41. TravelerWithChrist says:

    Prima Latina for younger children and Latina Christiana for older. This comes with a dvd and book so that the children can sit as if in a classroom and hear and see the teacher. My kids loved the first, and will be doing the next version in the fall.
    These are for Catholic families, so the children learn prayers and such, also phrases you might hear at Mass. They do also learn for everyday conversations.

    Learning Latin early could have helped me learn the terms used in medicine and science.
    As someone pointed out, it can also help in learning other languages.

  42. KAS says:

    Prima Latina and Latina Christiana– are published by what publisher?

  43. How clever my readers are!

    Good work!

  44. jfm says:

    We had a very good 20-30 page grammar guide by a Rev. Hammer. Our Latin teacher called it Hammer’s Handy. Does anyone recall this? I have done searches and cannot find it. It was actually very helpful.

  45. mwa says:

    Memoria Press. They are putting out another series as well, which is supposed to be high school level, though I am trying it on my rising 6th grader who has 2 years of Latina Christiana and some tranlating at this point.

  46. great scot says:

    This past year I took an intro course in Latin at my university, it took time and effort but it was all well worth it. Prior to taking the course I had attended EF Masses, done a fair bit of reading English-Latin side-by-side texts and while these things helped a little I was far from being proficient in the language. I would suggest that it is far better to learn Latin (or any other language for that matter) with people and from someone whom both loves the language and is enthusiastic to teach it. From what I have seen, professors who teach Latin are:
    a) very keen to pass on their knowledge
    b) often are qutie flexible in accepting people of various backgrounds into their classes (my class contained high-school, undergrad, and grad students, et al.)
    c) quick to either personally assist people learn or refer people to good tutors.

    These professors are great resources to students of Latin and sadly their office hours are usually poorly attended. If anyone is interested in learning Latin I would suggest simply contacting these people. I loved going through Wheelock’s, but if I was left to my own devices I think that I would never have corrected some mistakes and I don’t think that I would have learned nearly as much as I did. Computer programs and self-study books are poor substitutes for real, live, well-versed teachers.

  47. Shoshana says:

    Memoria Press’s First Form Latin is my recommendation. I’m an older adult, have wanted to learn Latin all my life, tried Wheelock several years ago, was soon overwhelmed and quit. Then I discovered this course by Memoria Press. First Form is the first year of high school Latin, and there are further courses after that. The program uses ecclesiastical pronunciation, and has a supplemental translation program of hymns by Aquinas, etc. Right now I don’t want to spend the time getting to the point where I can read Ovid. I want to read the Psalms and other liturgical materials. So this program is perfect. Also, the pacing is great…it’s not too fast and not too slow. I’m very impressed by the quality of Memoria Press’s materials.

  48. I have a copy of the Rosetta Stone Latin. Very nice! Helped me a lot. Lessons still ongoing. I have added French into my lessons.

  49. kiwitrad says:

    I’m teaching myself Latin. I began with a very simple book called “Getting Started with Latin” which was great fun and EASY. This year I progressed to Lingua Latina which I find challenging but fascinating, as though I’m reading about real Romans. At 74 I love learning Latin.

  50. The real point of learning modern Latin words like “televisorium” or “telephoniolum gestabile” (cell phone) is that such words make it possible to have ordinary conversations in Latin of the same kind we have every day in English, and that THAT experience, if repeated and extended, causes true language acquisition to occur in the mind. Acquisition, however it be achieved, is a prerequisite to reading any text with true understanding, whether the text be Caesar, the Breviary, Scripture, etc.

  51. JeffTL says:

    Father, be sure to check your local public library and see if they offer Mango. It’s a less expensive, but approximately as awesome, system (which includes Mandarin and many other languages) that works much like Rosetta Stone, and might be worth a try. Since it’s less expensive, more libraries are likely to have it than Rosetta Stone (which some do have).

  52. Tricia says:

    My homeschool children use:
    Greek & Latin flash cards in 3rd grade
    Prima Latina in fourth grade
    Latina Christiana I in 5th grade
    Latina Christiana II in 6th & 7th grades
    Fr. Henle Latin First Year in 8th & 9th grades
    Fr. Henle Latin Second Year in 10th grade
    Available at : (my favorite source)
    Then Rosetta stone for spanish for the last 2 years of high school along with Wheelock in Latin.
    (The military academies do NOT accept Latin!)
    One son wants to be a military chaplain so I am trying to cover all my bases!

  53. @Tom in NY: All of Cicero may seem like a lot, but when you get addicted like me, you wish he had written more! Only the first 10 books of Livy? You’re missing the Hannibal invasion in books 21ss, the most captivating of all. It’s all available on Perseus for free in multiple editions.

  54. GoZagsGo says:

    “…I love Wheelock — I often joke that my attitude towards teaching Latin is, “There is no Latin but Wheelock and I am his prophet”…” Hahahhahahahah I love nerdy latinist jokes!

    I learned out of the Jenney series in gradeschool, then as we grew out of them we went on to Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, St. Augustine.. and some others thrown in :)… assisted by the Henle Latin Grammar. The text book we used in Highschool was Lettres Latines, a giant french collection of Latin Texts. I like the Jenney series, and now teach out of them as well, although I did take a couple semesters of Wheelock at University. Perhaps I’m biased from so many years of the same book, but I find Jenney a bit easier to understand for young students and closer at relating Latin grammar to English grammar. I find Wheelock to go a bit quickly, with less of a grammatical foundation early on…
    The Langenscheidt Pocket dictionary is one I like, although I mostly use my Oxford Latin Dictionary. That puppy saved me!

  55. Lepidus says:

    @RomeontheRange (or anybody else) – Do you know of anyplace online that lists some of the vocabulary for the modern words such as you mentioned? Thanks.

  56. Stephen D says:

    By law, all places of public resort in the UK, including churches, have to display a ‘No Smoking’ sign, I noticed our today – it’s very small with a cigarette in a red barred circle and written underneath is “Nullus fumarium”.

  57. ipadre says:

    Here is a course on DVD in Ecclesiastical Latin. I purchased it a while back, now, I need the time to study.

  58. ipadre says:

    PS: I have begun putting the whole series on my iPad. Have iPad, will travel!

  59. benedetta says:

    This is a very helpful thread for me starting out and for the needs of all in the household at different ages and stages.

  60. JonPatrick says:

    Very interesting comments. In my youth I attended a Latin School and thus received 4 years of Latin education (classical rather than ecclesiastical) although I admit I found it very tedious as my main interest at the time was in Math and Sciences. I also had 5 years of French which I tolerated as I perceived it as being more “useful” than learning the “dead language”. I now find 45 years later that I have probably used my French about twice, most recently failing miserably ordering coffee in a Tim Horton’s in New Brunswick, whereas attending the EF Mass for the last year and a half, wish I paid more attention to the Latin. Trying to rectify this omission, I recently obtained the Collins primer, which I find very readable even for someone like myself who is much more comfortable with computer “languages” than real ones.

  61. Anne C. says:

    I started first grade in 1958 at a Catholic school, where I attended a lot of daily Latin Masses! For those who think Latin and/or chant is “too difficult” for young people, I was singing it at the age of 5!

    I then took Latin for 2 years at my public high school (with its confusing pronunciation, and the study of Caesar and the Punic Wars) . . . I don’t remember the titles of the books we used, but I can still picture them after needing to erase all my notes at the end of the year!

    Our entire high school class, as juniors I believe, took the Readers Digest Vocabulary test (in English), and I, having had a hard time with vocabulary tests during the years up to that point, received a score of 117 out of 120, completely due to my study of Latin!!! (I still remember that one of the words was “pugnacious” . . .)

  62. Patruus says:

    Collin’s Primer is an excellent choice for the adult learner who is comfortable with the traditional grammar-based approach and who wishes to plunge straight into ecclesiastical Latin without the preparation of classical Latin. Its utility for the autodidact is further enhanced by the availability of a separately published Answer Key (ISBN 0813214696).

    On graduating from Collins, one can progress to Scanlon & Scanlon’s “Second Latin” (ISBN 0895550032) which is subtitled “Grammar, Vocabularies and Exercises in Preparation for the Reading of Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law”.