Help with learning Latin

I’ve been trying to learn Latin on my own. My spiritual director suggested a few textbooks, primarily Wheelock’s Latin, even though that teaches Classical Latin. I also have the New College Latin Dictionary. I practice pronunciation by making recordings of myself and then correcting any mistakes. I was hoping a few of the veterans of Latin here could give me some help.

First of all, I’ve drilled myself over and over again, but I just can’t roll the letter ‘r’. I am used to English and German, so the trilled r in the Romance languages is quite unnatural for me. Any advice here?

Also, I am confused about accent. I have been given contradicting advice that Latin is properly spoken in an Italian or French accent, or (in one case) a reconstructed archaic accent similar to Italian but with a more nasal sound. Can anyone give me clarification here?

And finally (for now) are there any textbooks anyone can reccomend that are helpful for learning Ecclesiatical Latin?

Don’t sweat it. There are Italians and Spaniards who can’t roll an R either. :slight_smile:

A standard modern text (not much pronunciation help) is [post=1691929]John F. Collins’s A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin[/post].

A self-study text with 13 pronunciation cassettes: [post=1691925]The *Cursus Linguae Latinae Vivae *(Course in the Living Latin Language) from the *Familia Sanctae Hieronymi *(Family of Saint Jerome)[/post].

Lots of other recommendations can be found around those two links. :wink:

What other books did your director recommend, if you don’t mind my asking? (Always on the lookout for more resources)


I second tee’s recommendation of Collins’ book, but I’d add that you should get the Answer Key book, too, if you are doing self-study.

I am thinking about learning latin, not just for religious reasons, but also because it is the foundation of many modern romance languages and I heard that it improves your ability with English.

Is it hard to learn, especially given the fact that so few people actually speak it nowadays? Has anyone on here learned to speak Latin fluently by teaching themselves?

It is definitely something that I would be interested in learning.

If you really wish to learn Latin, I point more obviously to a threadful of tools I alluded to above: [thread=121562]LATIN: Language Study Resources[/thread].

If you wish to improve your English grammar, then I would recommend you study English grammar specifically (as, indeed, I recommend in the first post of the above thread). Latin helps with English grammar only in so far as most Latin courses are grammar-based, and you need to either understand grammar or fail to learn anything at all. But IMHO, studying Latin will not improve your grasp of grammar per se.


Here are excellent resources:
*] Simplicissimus, an excellent, free, online Latin course from the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales
*] Lewis & Short’s A Latin Dictionary, the famous Latin dictionary accessible for free online
*] Perseus Word Study Tool, a morphological analysis of inflected Latin words
[/LIST]It is great you want to learn Latin. Read what the Baltimore Catechism says about Latin:

Q. 566. Why does the Church use the Latin language instead of the national language of its children?
A. The Church uses the Latin language instead of the national language of its children:[LIST=1]
*]To avoid the danger of changing any part of its teaching in using different languages;
*]That all its rulers may be perfectly united and understood in their communications;
*]To show that the Church is not an institute of any particular nation, but the guide of all nations.

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