How should I learn two years of Latin in two weeks?

Actually, I don’t want to learn Latin, I want to re-learn it or do some heavy-duty reviewing.

I took two years of Latin in high school my freshman and sophmore years. Now that I am going off to college, I need to finish a third year to graduate. So I signed up for a third year Latin course (I can drop back if I need to).

Now, how do I do well in this course.

I liked Latin back in HS, although not the instructor (why I dropped), and felt I was pretty strong.

So now, how do I catch up on what has fled my brain?

Specifically, what texts are there out there that I could use to self-study from to get to the end of third year Latin?

My Latin course this fall will use The Oxford Latin Course (Part 3) and the Oxford Latin Reader.

Thank you.

Find something short and sweet that is just tables and lists. This is the quick-and-dirty way to learn any language… I can’t particularly help you with Latin though, I only just bought myself Wheelock today and he ain’t quick :slight_smile:

mensa, mensam, men… You’re pretty screwed. On the other hand, the Oxford Latin Course is so much simpler than any textbook I’ve seen used here in the States.

Just pay attention to Quintus’ (Horace’s) expressions.

My high school Latin education was an utter joke. After five years, students didn’t know pronouns, demonstratives, or the subjective, which pretty much ruled out reading any original text and left them with only the abridged selections in the crappy textbook.

This is true for many school districts in the US, so if all you took were two years of HS Latin, you’d essentially be starting from 0 when it comes to learning the language. I can only suggest you get three things.

  • A textbook like Gavin Betts’ Teach Yourself Latin,

  • A copy of Caesar’s Gallic War - over the past several hundred years the traditional first reading for Latin students - and make sure it doesn’t have the English translation within. Otherwise you’ll be tempted to look at the English.

  • A solid dictionary like Collins Gem Latin Dictionary**

Alternatively, you can get old public domain textbooks for free at Textkit. Because Latin education was much better 100 years ago, giving the student a good basis in which to actually read original texts, these I’d highly recommend.


Well, I had no trouble re-learning enough Old English to pass my PhD exams in a matter of weeks, so it’s certainly do-able. Of course, I had a pretty good idea which texts would turn up on the exam…

Accordingly, my suggestion is to cheat like mad. Ask somebody who has taken the class before which selections from the reader are the prof’s pet favorites, and concentrate on learning to read those texts and those texts only. Look up vocabulary and grammar as you need it, but don’t try to memorize all the tables – there’s only so much your mind can take in over a short period of time, and in any case, once you get used to the language and style of a specific writer, you’ll find that you can “intuit” most of the constructions even if you don’t know exactly how they work.

The worst thing that can happen is that this year’s course has a new professor or new assignments, and even if that does happen, your language skills will have gotten a good workout. However, classics professors are notoriously traditional, so the course syllabus is unlikely to change at all from year to year.

Be careful with this one. As a Prof. I would highly not recommend cheating etc…etc… If you can go back and take Latin II as you third year agan do it that way. Otherwise bump up on your conjugations and be straight with your prof. I had a student come up to me a few years back for a psych stats 303 class. He said something similar to what you are saying. Basically he needed my class to graduate but it had been 2 years since he took a math or stat course. He was right. He was not a very good student grades wise in the class. He had no idea how to work a probability until a week before the final. But he bulled through it put in the extra effort and had a weekly tudor. So when his semester grade came in a 68. I bumped him to a solid C because I knew he was a good student and worked his ass off.

I would suggest something more along this route.

Ahh my spelling is wondrous this morning… :rolleyes:

Well, what I’m suggesting is not cheating per se; I prefer to think of it as informed prediction. Is there a chance the class will end up reading different texts or authors? Yes. Will the student really be hurt if they do? No – wrestling with original Latin texts is going to teach you a heck of a lot about the language, regardless of whether you end up reading those particular texts again in class.

But apart from that, your suggestion of talking to the prof and seeking out tutoring is a good one.


Many thanks, that TEXTKIT website looks like a great resource. I’ve popped open one of those 289 page Latin texts (Bennet) and it looks like it has everything that I need to get back into the swing of things with Latin.

Also, thanks for everyone else’s advice regarding pre-reading likely candidates for tests.

Thank you,