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Comprehensible Input is important - but even more important, I think, is input per se - whether comprehensible or not. It is the sheer volume of material that helps your brain get to grips with new structures and word /sound patterns that are not present in the native language morpheme set. One needs to re-hear, or be re-exposed to sets of language data many hundreds of times for the information to become hard wired in the brain.

I suspect it is the INPUT aspect of comprehensible input that is the most important part of Krashen's method. Obviously, more pleasure is involved in taking in that input, if there is comprehension.......but comprehension will come, as long as there is context (either provided in realia, or via translations or other more or less artificial methods language teachers use such as acting out, TPRS etc etc)

After all, "colourless green ideas sleep furiously" is perfectly grammatical, but meaningless. Meaning is not required for information to be extracted.

I would encourage your students to listen to hours and hours of Latin outside of class time, and there are increasing numbers of sources online for doing so.

Encourage them to keep a log of their language listening. Indeed, you could even make this into a class enterprise. It would then be interesting to see if you can correlate results with number of hours of audio input reported. This could be the makings of a nice little academic paper.


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Comment by Laura Gibbs on December 22, 2009 at 10:34am
Hi again, Evan - my own experience with Latin was not so much listening to lots of it (since there was not a lot to listen to when I was doing Latin back in the 80s), but reading lots and lots of it out loud, whether I not I understood it. To help students overcome their hesitation in reading out loud, there are some good sources

1) read the Roman breviary, which has accent marks for the stressed syllable throughout - the complete Roman breviary is ENORMOUS because it contains lives of the saints and all kinds of useful material; a good online source is breviary.net

2) read texts where the macrons are marked so that it's easy to determine the word stress; the New Gradatim is just one of many old readers at GoogleBooks with the macrons marked - and at my Ictibus Felicibus blog I've got 200 fables already, with many more coming up!

3) read dactylic hexameter poetry - it is very easy to learn to scan dactylic hexameter at sight, even without macrons marked, given the relatively few number of Latin words where syllable weight is determined solely by a long vowel (and not by position), and the extreme predictability of hexameter verse; a big part of how I learned Latin was reading Ovid and Lucan out loud for hours and hours and hours at a time

4) read texts where the prose has been segmented into pieces - I've been doing that in many of my blogs and web publications, and there are some good books for that also, such as Gardner's Porta Latina where he uses an interpunct to indicate pauses in the prose text

So, in addition to listening to lots of Latin, I would urge students to read lots and lots of Latin out loud - even if they do not understand all that they read, so that they can get the sound patterns and word shapes of Latin in mind. :-)
Comment by Latinum Institute on December 22, 2009 at 10:47am
Hi Laura, I agree - reading is the way to go - and as we both agree, quantity is incredibly important - what is listening, other than a form of reading? Using texts is absolutely imperative. Listening alone won't do the trick.

All the resources you have posted are excellent. There is such a wealth of material available.
I like your advice about dactylic hexameter - brilliant.
Comment by Latinum Institute on December 22, 2009 at 10:48am
quantity, so not as to muddy the waters, being the sheer amount of Latin, ( not vowel length, that is another thing entirely)
Comment by Latinum Institute on December 22, 2009 at 11:10am
Laura - what is the principal url for access to all your resources - I want to put a more prominent link to your stuff on Latinum
Comment by Laura Gibbs on December 22, 2009 at 11:26am
Hi Evan, the permanent hub for everything is the Bestiaria blog:
That's where I include links to ongoing projects as they evolve, plus the sidebar has links to other useful materials (including a list of all the active Latin-related blogs that I know of!)
I found an AMAZING Aesop resource at GoogleBooks the other day, by the way: Charles Utenhove's version of the fables in elegiac meter - even easier to read than dactylic hexameter. I'm transcribing it over the winter holidays! I have never seen a reference to this book anywhere -it's got about 150 fables in elegiac couplets, including fables from Abstemius, not just the classical fables. Whoo-hoo!


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