LATIN: Language Study Resources

A few weeks ago I posted a [post=1603994]list of my favorite self-study resources for Latin[/post], and though I bookmarked it for future reference, I got to thinking it might be more useful as a devoted thread (especially for people who come to the forum looking for such).

So: This is a thread for people to contribute resources to aid in the study of Latin. (Hopefully, if it is useful enough, it will be tagged sticky :wink: )

My first advice to those who would study Latin is: Make sure you know English grammar (or whatever your native tongue) before you try to learn Latin. You will never understand the Latin use of participles, gerunds, the pluperfect tense, the subjunctive mood, nor a hundred other constructs if you do not understand those grammatical concepts first in your L1. From my hobnobbing with Latin teachers, I gather this is one of the major hurdles to the language these days.

I did not recognize it at the time, but I now realize that when I first studied Latin, half a lifetime ago in a minor seminary (ie high school), the freshman English curriculum was designed to do just that. (Whether this was in service of the Latin or whether that was just a side-effect of giving the diverse body of incoming students a common ground I cannot say – Only that it worked).

That said, I have not needed to use it myself, but I know there is a book titled English Grammar for Students of Latin. There are also books along the lines of English Grammar for Dummies, or you might consider a community college course or private tutor, if you think you would benefit from such a refresher course.


1 Like

**LEARN LATIN by Peter Jones

I wrote above that I studied Latin in high school. Stupidly :banghead: , I allowed that practice to lapse in the years following, When I tried to re-kindle my Latin many years later, I approached several of the resources I shall list below. None was particularly successful until I chanced across this book: Learn Latin: A Lively Introduction to Reading the Language. I found this to be, by far, the very best refresher for my lost Latin. Based originally on a twenty week series of newspaper columns, and containing answer keys, it is ideal for self-study. The goal is to learn enough Latin to read selections from the poems of Catullus, the Carmina Burana, the Bayeux Tapestry, and the Vulgate Gospel of St John. It was only after reading through this work that I was able to tackle Wheelock and other texts listed below. I still love to go back and re-read this book from time to time. There is a claim in the book that a pronunciation cassette is available, but it is undoubtedly the restored Classical pronunciation (Dr Jones being a Cambridge educated (and later educator) Classics PhD)

(In fact, I liked this book so much that I also picked up *Learn Ancient Greek *by the same author. Quite enjoyable, though I’ve not devoted anything like the same amount of time to it.)


The Cursus Linguae Latinae Vivae (Course in the Living Latin Language) from the Familia Sanctae Hieronymi (Family of Saint Jerome) is a text and set of 13 audio tapes. It is also designed for self study. While it teaches Ecclesiastical pronunciation, it teaches both Ecclesiastical and Classical grammar (something I didn’t really appreciate until I studied a Classical Latin text later). Each chapter is divided into sections on:
*]The language of ancient Rome (Classical syntax)
*]The living language of the Church (Ecclesiastical)
*]Daily, conversational Latin
Perhaps the most fun part of this course is my tendency to imitate Fr Siedl’s baritone when practicing pronunciation with the tapes. :stuck_out_tongue:


John F. Collins’s *A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin *(CUA, 1991, ISBN 0-8132-0667-7). Perhaps not the best text for a beginner, but absolutely essential for anyone interested in Ecclesiastical Latin. One thing I found frustrating at first, but have come to value over the years: The Latin-English glossary is arranged by roots, rather than being strictly alphabetical. So for instance you won’t find *trado, tradere *(to betray, hand over) under T, but rather under *D *as a componded entry under *do, dare *(to give – *trado, trans + do *is literally “to give over or across”) – This arrangement is a fantastic vocabulary builder. :thumbsup:

An answer key for this text is currently being published by CUA.


Among other resources, when I embarked to recover my lost Latin, I inquired with one of my former teachers. His wise advice: “Get a Vulgate and read the Gospel of John – You already know the story, and John repeats himself an *awful *lot, usually giving you two or three chances to figure out what he’s saying.”

Vulgate bibles can be had from a variety of sources and a variety of prices. Perhaps the least expensive source is the Clementine Text Project, which is free online, and offers an inexpensive hard copy. Another is available through the American Classical League (published by *Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos *Madrid, Spain), These are both editions of the Clementine Vulgate, which was the official Latin Bible of the Church for approximately 400 years.

Sometimes reasonably priced hard copies can be found on used book sites. (Search for “biblia vulgata sacra”)

The (New) *Nova *Vulgata is the current Latin Bible of the Church (since 1979).

If it is important to you when seeking a Vulgate, try to get one of those two editions, rather than the Stuttgart Vulgate, which is commonly available on the internet, but is a critical attempt to reconstruct Jerome’s Vulgate. This can, of course, be valuable in its own right, but it has never been an official text of the Church.

**WHEELOCK’S LATIN GRAMMAR Richard LaFleur, editor

Wheelock’s Latin Grammar is the standard college level text. It is, of course, Classically oriented, but also naturally covers the language quite thoroughly. And it doesn’t hurt to get the Classical slant on the language and culture. Being so prominent and a respectable, there are a lot of supporting materials for this text too (including the Official Wheelock’s Latin site), which can be helpful.

LATINSTUDY mailing list

LatinStudy is an open mailing list dedicated to the study of Latin, including Classical, Medieval, and Neo-Latin authors. Both beginners and experienced Latinists will find something of interest there.

LatinStudy is a collaborative, cooperative system. Wheelock’s seems to be the bread and butter of the groups, but there is also an ongoing Vulgate translation group, and for the last three years groups have worked through Collins’s *Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin *(in previous years this group has begun on March 17, St Patrick’s Day :irish2: – Keep an eye out then if interested).


A wonderful way to begin using your Latin is to incorporate it into your prayer life. *Thesaurus Precum Latinarum *(A Treasury of Latin Prayers) has hundreds of places to start. :gopray2:

For a selection of prayers a little less daunting, perhaps concentrate on those recommended in the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church%20COMMON%20PRAYERS").


- How to pronounce Latin*PHONETICA LATINÆ * I haven’t investigated thoroughly, but seems to be a good source for Ecclesiastical pronunciation sound files.

(I probably ought to have mentioned the pronunciation files at the Official Wheelock website above as well)

I’m trying to learn the prayers in Latin, and I find I’m a bit confused. On the Adoremus site, the Ave has this: “et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.”

Yet, when we sing the Ave Maria, in all of its various arrangements and compositions, we sing it:

“et benedictus fructus ventris tui,* Jesu,” *with no “s” on the end.

Which is it? And is the first pronounced “Geesus” or “Yasoos?” The second “Gesoo” or “Yasoo?”

**Wow, thanks for starting this thread, Tee! I’m taking my first year of Latin this year. I’ve been having a blast! It’s such a fun language. :thumbsup:

The pronunciation guide is particularly helpful, as I am a home-educated student. :yup:

Thanks again!**

Keep Up With Current Events

*Nuntii Latini *- News in Latin - is a weekly review of world news in Classical Latin, the only international broadcast of its kind in the world, produced by YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Every Friday (save for a break during the summer).

There is also a Latin Language Forum at that site.

Another (print) news source is the web periodical, *Ephemeris *


Pray Some More

…With Vatican Radio



Artes Latinae is possibly the best Latin course I’ve ever seen. It treats the language just like it would any other, teaching students to speak and understand as well as read and write. It’s a bit expensive, but it is perfectly suited to self-study and worth the price if you can afford it. The only additional caveat is that you have to be willing to put in the time as it’s not for the casual learner. As a linguist this is the first course that I recommend. If you want a supplement, Wheelock’s Latin is decent but still somewhat flawed.

all of these shared links look helpful…
I’m just getting started … I’m interested in knowing enough Latin to better understand Church prayers. Do I need to study Ecclesiastical Latin or Classical Latin:confused:


Other things being equal, if you’re just looking for a quick start, I would say start with Ecclesiastical. Not only will pronunciation be more straightforward, but the word-order of Ecclesiastical Latin is generally more like modern English.* However: Once you’ve studied one, the other ought not be too difficult to pick up as well.

(* The epistles of St Paul, the run-on sentence king, excepted in any language)

I am new in town. I am a Vietnamese but I learned Latin for a few years in high school. I have forgotten many lessons. I agree with all of you Latin is not hard to study but not easy to grasp however it was a language with precision.

I have posted AND2 MARY EVER REMAINED PURE and cited Nova Vulgata. Hope you will read it and need your input.

I will be discussing the imperfect tense used by Matthew (in Kata Matthaion) and John Paul II (in Nova). In my native tongue, the use of imperfect tense is very loose.

Another issue: according to Kata Matthaion : JOSEPH BEING RAISED but St Jreome and John Paul must have read RISING UP FROM DARKNESS, JOSEPH IMMEDIATELY PERFORMED…

Have a happy new year of the Pig

Found on Fr. Z’s blog, WDTPRS (What does the prayer really say?):

I have received a tip that Peter Needham has translated another Harry Potter book into Latin. Here is the book review. The first was called ***Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis***. I am not sure about that “Harrius” for “Harry”. When I am in St. Paul, Minnesota, where the Archbishop is named “Harry” (that is his baptismal name) we use Latin “Henricus”.

There is a review (in Latin, of course) with a link to an English tranlation.

Another resource is It is primarily for teaching younger kids and I’m getting it shortly to begin teaching my 5 year-old. I also like the focus on a classical education.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit