Best Way to Start Speaking Latin

By Phillip C, in 'Speaking Latin', Dec 18, 2016.

  1. Phillip C New Member


    I have just finished chapter 20 of Wheelock's latin and am able to read most of the exerciatationes and sententiae antiquae well, however, when it comes to speaking I have no idea where to start. The thought of automatically conjugating and declining sentences in my head in order to speak seems almost impossible. Any thoughts on how to get started? Should I wait until I get further along in Wheelocks? What should I be practicing? Any resources specifically designed for speaking?

  2. rothbard Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    You may want to take a look at the dialogues in this book.
    Aurifex likes this.
  3. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    There are some useful nuggets in there to store away for future use:

    Every one of you shall be whipped - vapulabitis indiscriminatim omnes.
    I think you have a paper skull - credo tibi caput esse testaceum.
    These meadows are enamelled with a thousand fine flowers - haec prata sunt mille pulchris variegata floribus.
    What sweet notes the nightingale doth warble! - Quam suaves praecinit Philomela cantiunculas!
    If I do so again, kill me - Si aliam (sic) unquam admisero occidito.
    Godmy, Callaina and rothbard like this.
  4. effi New Member

    There's also this, which I've found to be quite a good book.
  5. Terry S. flamen

    • Civis Illustris

    Ah, the good old days... :smack:

    "Gawd, I miss the screaming." Mr. Filch, 'Harry Potter and the Tawdry Flagellum'
  6. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    Here is a link not requiring a microsoft live account.

    Just taking a quick look, I think it is probably better than Traupman.
  7. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    I thought I would describe in short how I started speaking Latin and ultimately came to some kind of "fluency" in the Latin "idiolect" that me and people I often communicate with use*:

    1) I double-translated almost all chapters (= lots of Latin text) in my textbook back into Latin (first into my language and then back to Latin) as many times as needed (before I stopped doing any serious mistakes and I could reproduce the original faithfully). It helped though that besides being a Latin fanatic I was always quite obsessed with typing / typing fast.

    2) Having gained these skills to compose Latin sentences almost always correctly (given a good choice of vocabs) I learnt to chat with people (= a written instant communication) quite quickly also. (see my forum signature)

    3) Anytime we decided to have a Latin voice chat, I didn't attempt to just try grasping at random words that came to my mind which often results in faltering and constantly broken and slow speech - a very painful and uncomfortable experience for the beginner, since speaking was for me so much different than an instant written chat, but I devised a trick: I either closed my eyes (if I had to) or I did not and I imagined that anything I wanted to express in the spoken conversation I wrote first - I wrote it first in my mind and then I kind of "read" it as I wrote it in my mind. And since my mind was already able to conjugate & decline and compose Latin sentences quickly during writing, I could "fake" quite some fluency sine the early stages even though the mental process was incredibly straining.

    4) More often I did this, less I needed to use the trick described in 3 and more my brain adapted to speaking that kind of Latin. In the end I came to a stage where it is not much different to my brain than speaking English in an actual conversation. The only difference is sometimes that one needs to be more creative when it comes to description of some obscure modern stuff (which may have its used neologism, but I may not know it at the moment).

    ^I just thought someone might be interested :) + It's been a long time since I wrote anything useful in this part of the forum ; -)

    * We, of course, try to adapt as classical Latin as possible, though it exhibits itself a little bit better in writing than speaking, where you can use some 'ornate' styles more easily.
    Last edited by Godmy, Jan 3, 2017
  8. John Cook New Member

    In which way do you want to ultimately speak Latin? Basically, there is the church pronunciation, and the reconstructed Classical, which aims to sound like Cicero's. For a pretty good hearing of both, you can find very much on youtube.
  9. Medicus New Member

    This seems like the place to mention this. I'm taking a private online Latin class with Dr. John Pepino who teaches at the FSSP Seminary in Nebraska.

    It uses Orberg' s book Familia Romana and is taught mostly in Latin. He very successfully teaches five of us via live, face to face webinar twice a week. We're in our 12th week and I can highly recommend it. He is an excellent and engaging teacher.

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