Learning Latin in a Year
Blogged by James Preece on 14th February 2013
Is it possible to go from knowing absolutely nothing about Latin to being ready to sit a GCSE exam in less than a year? I'm going with yes. But you have to really want to do it...
A friend told me he was really enjoying learning Latin and finding it both easier than expected and also more useful. That seemed unlikely. Still, he suggested a book called "So You Really Want to Learn Latin" and after reading some reviews about how it was a terrible, old fashioned book that puts latin teaching back in the 1950's I couldn't help but order a copy.
Which I duly left on the shelf until I was interested.
I'm not sure what latin teaching looked like before it was put back in the 1950's but this terrible old fashioned teaching consists of telling you things that you ought to know and then getting you to answer questions based on the knowledge you just acquired. Gasp. I know. It's awful.
Anyhow, to my suprise I discovered that it was nothing at all like learning a language at school and more like a sort of puzzle game which appealed to me because I'm a nerd. Somewhere around chapter three I realised I had been doing a chapter a week simply for fun and I thought to myself "hang on, if I keep doing a chapter a week then in thirty weeks I will have learned Latin!"
Yes, well... it didn't quite work out like that. Week thirty has just finished and I'm only on chapter twenty-six. Still, pretty good going and I have learned a lot. In fact, it's gone well enough that I have booked myself in for a GCSE Latin exam (actually, four one hour papers) in June this year.
It hasn't been all sunshine and giggles. The interesting fun puzzle feeling wore off pretty quickly and there were weeks when I just didn't want to do it at all, but I pushed on. Being a dad has been good training for doing things I don't want to do. Getting up in the night, changing a nappy, conjugating a verb. It's all the same really...
So there you go. It is possible to mostly learn GCSE Latin in a year...
But you do have to really want to.