I want to teach myself Latin how do I study it and what texts should I learn

hi and this is Evan here also known as

Molly and Denarius and in this video I'm

going to answer the question how do I go

about learning Latin now unless you are

in a very privileged situation and that

is that you are a school student in one

of the very few schools that still teach

Latin to an advanced level or you are

one of the very few students on the

planet who are enrolled in a higher

level Latin course at university you are

stuck firstly these courses are located

in very specific geographical locations

and secondly they are expensive there's

another problem in that many of these

courses are aimed at teaching Latin

grammar and decoding Latin but not in

teaching Latin in the same way that you

would for example learn French or German

or a modern language this presents a

problem the main problem is that

students that come out of these courses

are very slow readers and have to render

their Latin into their own language

first in order to understand it and only

after a great many years of exposure to

language they start to develop an

internal system where they just read the

Latin without having to translate so the

question is how do you if you're not in

such unique situations as being at

school or on one of these very rare

university courses how do you go about

learning Latin and there are a vast

number of people all over the world who

have taught themselves Latin and who

learn Latin by themselves fortunately

there are more resources available now

than there probably have ever been at

all for somebody who wants to learn

Lattin by themselves two things are

responsible for this one is that Google

went out and started to scan all the

books in the world's libraries and these

scans are now available on Google Books

and also on the website called or you can also access them

through another interface called open

library the European Union has a similar

one called ero piranha where you can

also search for books in European

library so there's a vast amount of

material books that haven't been seen

for hundreds of years have suddenly

reappeared and this is very useful the

other thing that Google did was Google

scanned this book now this is my version

of it which I made for myself at the

very beginning when the scan first

became available and this is Adler's

practical grammar of the Latin language

and what Adler does is he takes a 19th

century language teaching book which was

trying to teach Latin language in a

modern way as a spoken language the the

book itself was originally written by LV

Ohlendorf and there were a great number

of these we look up Ohlendorf

o ll en dor FF and is even a word in

English Ohlendorf e'en which was coined

to describe this this method of language

learning which is extremely repetitive

thorough but oral which is its great

benefit here when it comes to Latin and

he translated it into Latin and died at

the following year so very very few

copies of this book existed and it was

never very popular because the method of

studying Latin at universities and in

the schools at the time was not aimed at

being able to speak the language Adlai

himself could speak Latin and when he

arrived in New York from

Germany he found that the other

professors at the University of New York

who were teaching Latin could not

converse with him in the language they

could read it but they couldn't hold a

conversation he believed that you had to

have some kind of a gut knowledge of a

language it's not enough to know the

Lang the Grandma etcetera in fact you

could learn the language by exposure to

it if you had enough exposure without

knowing much grandma this is how people

learn languages when they go to live in

foreign countries they hear the language

around them all the time they start

using it the first few months are very

painful the first year is painful and

then eventually the language knowledge

starts to build up and after a few years

you have good language knowledge now if

you are studying at home the main

problem is direction direction and

perseverance you need something to pull

you through so that you will complete

your studies now what I've done is this

I take an address book it's just

enormous with immense amounts of

practical exercises and I've turned it

into an audio course this took me two

years of pretty much full-time work I

was working on it about 6 to 7 hours a

day for 2 years and what I did was

firstly I went through Adler's book with

a dictionary and checked the quantity of

every single word this is an issue when

you're speaking Latin in what's called

the restored classical pronunciation the

ancient Romans made distinctions between

long vowels and short vowels we like ah

pull Apple like to put an English

example so the long a in the short a and

hate hat

we have this distinction in English I

had hat so we have this in Latin too

Marnell and muddled so I went through

that that took some time and then I

started recording very very slowly so at

the very beginning of my book the the

recordings I the plantation is very slow

very studied so if you do know Latin

it's going to sound extremely slow but

if you listen to English audio

recordings for students who just

beginning to learn English you will find

they do it the same way the language is

extremely well enunciated and almost

over pronounced so what I do is I

accentuate the long vowels I extend them

slightly this is to help you develop a

memory for the pronunciation so when you

do start to speak yourself and you can

start to read and speed up you will

retain the pronunciation now what using

Adler will do is other will pull you

through if you persevere all you need to

do is have the textbook and you need to

listen intensively to the Adler what I

did was this I recorded the grammar

sections of Adler in separate audio


I gave extended audio expositions of the

grammar so where you have a verb table I

will go through the entire a verb table

when I have a new noun I will go through

the declare the the the declension of

the entire new noun and so there are far

more examples hundreds and hundreds and

hundreds of more examples in my audio

course than in the actual book and the

book itself is extremely thyroid so some

600 pages of a very small type so if

this was a modern book it would be twice

if not three times the size in addition

to that I recorded the exercises in


these are question answer question

answer question answer exercises and the

answer is contained in the material of

the question I recorded those in Latin

and then in English and then in Latin

again so you can listen to them these

are in Part B of each lesson and then

Part C of each lesson is simply all of

the Latin material in that lesson

recited in Latin only so the grammatical

sections and also these series of

questions and answers in that and only

example do you have a hat yes I have a

hat do you have a blue hat yes I have a

blue hat

do you have my uncle's blue hat no I do

not have your uncle's blue hat but I do

have his yellow bowtie these are the

kinds of questions and answers you will

find in Adler a very thorough little bit


Adler did not make up the examples he's

using he simply took the examples that

were formulated by Ohlendorf in his

language method and translated them into

Latin the advantage of this is that as

you go through the course the vocabulary

build steadily the grammar isn't

protected to the same degree it is in

some modern books is this the complexity

of a sentence structures increases and

grammar is sort of taught alongside sort

of parallel with with what's going on so

you're doing these exercises in Latin

English Latin simply listening to them

in Latin is I believe enough as long as

you listen to them intensely and try to

answer the questions yourself and then

you hear my answer and see whether or

not you're on track it's important to

engage not just to passively listen but

to try to answer these questions as well

and then you listen to my answer in


and try to translate as you go a norm in

your head and then see check my

translation as I say it out loud and try

to do as much as you can

orally if you do use Adler it will

probably take you two to three years to

get through in other words as long as it

would take you to get through the

language if you're doing a full time

University course I've had very advanced

students use my course so it's quite

popular with master students and PhD

students who've been learning Latin for

many many years but have never activated

the language so to speak and made it

work for them in terms of having an

internal thought process in Latin the

goal is that you can pick up any book

pretty much and read it obviously you

will need a dictionary for four words as

you're a second language student and so

you will continue to need a dictionary

but less and less if you look at my

website at latinum org

you care you're find that not only are

the Adler lessons then but there's also

a series of lessons by this chap here

John our most common use and this is the

audible sense ooh a Lyon pictus which is

an extremely useful book for example

let's have a look at at one of these

things here for example this chapter

here what he does is he gives a picture

here every part is numbered and then in

a parallel text the Latin and then here

the English translation and what is

interesting is the English translates

the English alternates between italics

and a normal typeface and so there's the

matin and so you can see which section

in the English relates to which section

in the Latin by the typeface I went

through this text as well with great cap

and marked up all the quantities so the

when I read it

loud I'm reading with correct quantity

which will then give you this

instinctive ability to read with correct

quantity there are people that say it's

impossible don't bother trying to learn

the restored classical pronunciation

because you'll never be able to acquire

a ear for the correct quantity the

length of the vowels in Latin words

however if you use the oral method that

I developed you will end up with an

instinctive ability to to read Latin

with correct quantity most of the time

obviously you they're going to be issues

here in there and some words academics

argue about what the correct

pronunciation of the those words was but

there is very great consensus in the

academic world of about how Latin was

pronounced in the time of the the later

republic because we have an enormous

amount of evidence that helps us to

reconstruct the pronunciation and that's

what I've used so if you want to learn

Latin by yourself it's not enough just

to get a textbook and learn the rules

and go through it in a rule-based way

very few people can learn a language

that way maybe one or two percent of a

general population can learn the

language by studying the grammar most

people have to learn by hearing the

language that means hearing stories in

the language hearing conversation in the

language etc etc now Adler gives you

thousands and thousands and thousands of

examples of scripted conversational

interactions and then you have things

like Comenius you have the scripted

conversations of Cordero's which I also

recorded those are aimed at school boys

and then once you've done those you can

go on and read Erasmus and we with and

the thousands of other scripted

conversations that were written in the

Renaissance by teachers to try to get

their students up to a higher level of


ruins it of course Merkin fluency was

very important because if you went to

university anywhere in europe in the

1500 in the 1600s the courses and

lectures and texts and textbooks were

all in latin if you went in Germany went

in England Scotland Spain Italy it

doesn't matter where you went to

university you were expected to be able

to function in the Latin language so if

you want to learn Latin by yourself I

would suggest that you get hold of my

audio materials and use those as a goad

to drive you forward in your studies

because if you just have a textbook and

work your way through that without

sufficient oral input your the Latin you

acquire will I think be defective

certainly in terms of your ability to to

read with reasonably good pronunciation

and to have an instinctive knowledge of

the language as opposed to a grammatical

analysis of the language which is a

separate thing Latins are very

attractive in terms of that because it's

its grammar is regular to some degree

it's got lots of exceptions lots of

weirdness but it has a lot of regularity

so it's not some mathematical language

it's as weird as any other language but

it has lots of systems and lots of

patterns which render it very attractive

to people that are interested in that

kind of thing but even if you learn all

those things off by heart it's not going

to give you that instinctive knowledge

of a language that you need languages

after all are primarily about

communication and our brains formed to

deal with language primarily through

spoken interaction through hearing and

listening and speaking and the interface

of text came much

later and that actually adds another

barrier level between acquisition text

is useful you need to be able to write

and with Latin of course you need to be

able to read because in the end although

the method for learning is oral the goal

is to be able to read written text but

that comes later we don't start off

beginning students by throwing

Shakespeare at them or Milton at them we

start them with very basic materials and

very basic texts and so it should be

with Latin the great heights of Roman

literature if you are learning this

language will have to wait no one in

their right mind would consider starting

to learn English and expect to be able

to attend the Shakespeare play after 12

months of studying English and know

what's going on even many native English

people struggle with that so that that's

it really so if you want to learn Latin

I would highly recommend to go firstly

on my youtube channel and have a look at

the the various Latin course materials I

have here on this channel which will

supplement your learning but these

materials are not complete in and of

themselves but they will certainly start

you along the way

so the London Latin course or the course

on Latino which is taught in Latin only

an experimental course that I put up

here on YouTube which teaches Latin

through the medium of Latin they're

about 300 lessons in that course have a

look through the playlists on on my

channel and the channel is called Evan

1965 or I think you can also find it

under my name Evan and Evan Milner

or if you search for Latino or if you go

to Latino dot org dot uk' and search

there for the YouTube in index although

I haven't updated it recently enough of

that material is there and there's an

index of a large number of my youtube

videos probably a thousand of them are

indexed there

that that's already good luck and any

questions about learning that and please

do ask Wiley goodbye