Latin was a mysterious language, even though my mother language derives from it. It has a reputation for being hard, and well…dead.
But it turns out the language is very much alive. Hiding perhaps, but very much alive in plain sight. 60% of words in English are derived (or exactly the same) as in Latin. Here’re a few examples: dental, agriculture, nautical, puerile, insatiable, amicable, affiliation, and thousands more.
As we entered the COVID-19 dominated world, I was committed to come out of it better. And one of the things I started learning is Latin.
I started with DuoLingo (which has a beta version of the course) and I’ve kept the discipline of doing a few lessons every day for now 80 days non-stop!
I started with some fear, and low expectations, but over the last weeks I have loved it. I actually loved it so much that I have bough Wheelock’s Latin (7th Edition) and the corresponding workbook.
DuoLingo was very good to get me started, but Wheelock’s book is more comprehensive and formal, with lots of information, phrases and practice.
It is a true wonderful feeling to read the words on a paragraph in a new language and make sense of it. It is as if an entire new brain popped inside you.
After weeks of practice, I was able to read this paragraph. My first full one in Latin:
Maecēnās et Vergilius mē hodiē vocant. Quid cōgitāre dēbeō? Quid dēbeō respondēre? Sī errō, mē saepe monent et culpant; sī nōn errō, mē laudant. Quid hodiē cōgitāre dēbeō?
The fragment is from Roman poet Horace. Also from him, was my second paragraph:
Agricola et vītam et fortūnam nautae saepe laudat; nauta magnam fortūnam et vītam poētae saepe laudat; et poēta vītam et agrōs agricolae laudat. Sine philosophiā avārī virī dē pecūniā semper cōgitant: multam pecūniam habent, sed pecūnia multa virum avārum nōn satiat.
I came to appreciate the compactness and logic of the language, and interestingly enough, I learnt even more about English and Spanish.