Advice for an autodidact

Maulrus

New Member
I'm not sure if this should be here or in Language Resources; it didn't really seem to fit there.

Anyway, I'm a high school sophomore, relatively new to Latin, studying completely independently using Wheelock's Latin, its workbook, and 38 Latin Stories (if you don't know, it's basically a very short story corresponding to every chapter in Wheelock's). As an aside, I DO have three years of middle school Latin that I'm sure has helped me a little bit in these early stages, but I had forgotten any concrete info (and, of course, in such a beginner's course, we learned virtually none of the nitty-gritty grammar that I love now), so I don't expect that it's had much of an impact.

I've been for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour every night (sometimes I'm lax on weekends, but I try to at least get some review in every day) since around the beginning of 2011, and currently I'm on Chapter 8 of Wheelock's. At the rate I've been going at, I cover a chapter of Wheelock's every three days or so (give or take a few days depending on the difficulty of the chapter; I spent at least double that time on the chapter introducing third declension nouns). I do all of the available exercises in both the textbook and the workbook, as well as several online exercises tailored to each chapter, and I tend to feel pretty secure in my knowledge of the information by the time I'm done.

This brings me to my first problem. I was considering joining a LatinStudy email study group for Wheelock's, until I was shocked to discover that they cover a chapter every two weeks. Now, it's obvious that part of this is due to the implicit casualness of any email-based group, but nevertheless I found the disparity concerning. Am I possibly speeding through the chapters? I only move on once I'm done with the whole chapter and its exercises, but it's still going alarmingly quickly.

And now, my second question. I always do all of the exercises here, as well as the ones in the book, but obviously more practice can only help. I'm planning on getting another textbook such as Latin Via Ovid or Lingua Latina (I haven't decided which yet, but that's a decision for another argument) once I'm done or approaching the end of Wheelock's, but that won't be for a while. Is there somewhere I can go for additional practice, preferably based around Wheelock's?
 

Cinefactus

Censor
Staff member
If you have done Latin before, you may well advance quite rapidly.

After finishing I would suggest going straight into reading ancient authors.
 

Nikolaos

schmikolaos
Staff member
I wouldn't say you're going too fast - studying alone, you aren't locked at a pace intended for large classes in which everyone has different needs. Instead, you slow down only when necessary for you (such as the third declension), and quickly regain time. I personally try to do a lesson of Adler every day that I have time - the exercises take up most of that time.

I don't know anything about Wheelock, but you can try to go straight to the Classics as Cinefactus suggested, and there is always our forum (which has a Latin only section).
 

Decimvs

Aedilis
Staff member
I can happily recommend the following books (these specific versions);

Caesar: De Bello Gallico I

Wheelock's Latin Reader

Scribblers, Sculptors, and Scribes: A Companion to Wheelock's Latin and Other Introductory Textbooks

Beginning Latin Poetry Reader: 70 Passages from Classical Roman Verse and Drama

Vergil's Aeneid: Selections from Books 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, and 12

All are very well put together for beginners and intermediate readers. There are lots of glossed words and commentaries that are helpful.
 

Decimus Canus

Civis Illustris
Maulrus dixit:
This brings me to my first problem. I was considering joining a LatinStudy email study group for Wheelock's, until I was shocked to discover that they cover a chapter every two weeks. Now, it's obvious that part of this is due to the implicit casualness of any email-based group, but nevertheless I found the disparity concerning. Am I possibly speeding through the chapters? I only move on once I'm done with the whole chapter and its exercises, but it's still going alarmingly quickly.
If you're doing the chapters as diligently as you say I think it's unlikely you're going too fast. I suspect the average member of the e-mail study group is very unlikely to be taking their study as seriously as you are. There is a definite benefit to be had from group study but you can probably get much of that by joining in here without it deflecting you from your current pace.

What you could to to reassure yourself is to make every fifth or sixth chapter a revision one. Go back and redo an earlier chapter chosen more or less at random. You will soon get a feel for how thoroughly the material has stuck. Even if you know it very well there is a positive benefit from continual revision. At the rate you are studying you will still be going miles faster than the study group.
 

Maulrus

New Member
Derp. I wanted to thank everyone for their contributions to this topic back when I posted it, but it slipped my mind. In any case, I appreciate all of the suggestions; I decided to continue on that path, and with the exception of a couple of weeks dedicated to school holiday at various points in spring, I've been studying from Wheelock's pretty diligently. I'm now more than halfway through it, and while each new chapter brings complex new concepts, I'm miles ahead of where I imagined I would be. The third declension which so troubled me about 15 chapters back (and to which I notice I made reference in the OP :p ) is now as easily usable as the first, and the prepositionless ablative uses I've learned so far become more and more familiar each day; no great feat, to be sure, but looking back at where I was even when I posted this topic, it feels like quite the accomplishment.

And thanks for the reading list you posted, Decimus. I plan to move on to Wheelock's Latin Reader (if only for the continuity from the textbook) followed ideally by De Bello Gallico if I'm ready.

I have to say, I am astounded by how my budding knowledge of Latin has improved my English grammar. I've always considered myself quite proficient with English, but the amount of translation I've been doing has opened my eyes to shady areas such as relative clauses. My essay writing has improved thanks to what I perceive as better constructed sentences, and naturally my vocabulary has increased as well. Latin really is astounding.
 
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