eLatin eGreek eLearn

More wired than a Roman Internet café

Still working hard on the podcasts. I've re-jigged most of the images for Latinum, giving the site a new look. I've used my photos from Berlin and Potsdam, for the most part.

While looking for material to make a Latin-French version of the Latinum podcast, I came across a book by Jean Manesca, which apparently served as the model for Ollendorff. Manesca's appears to have been the first 'intuitive' language course written - the grand-daddy of them all. Ollendorff follows Manesca very closely indeed, although Ollendorff's method is more user-friendly. Nowadays, I reckon Ollendorff would have been sued.

Adler's Latin textbook, is, of course, simply a Latin Ollendorff - and I now have a copy of Ollendorff's original French-Latin edition, made somewhat earlier than Adler's American edition. Adler's is far superior, both in the grammatical expositions in each chapter, and in the quality of the Latin examples as well. I find it fascinating that ther were serious attempts to teach Latin as a living language, well developed textbooks covering the entire language in some detail, in 1840. After all, to read what some proponents of living Latin have to say now, you'd think that this was something radical, and unusual, and that the value of spoken Latin needs to be justified somehow. Perhaps our predecessors were more open minded, or had a more practical view of things.

I am now working on a French podcast as well, in addition to the Latin one, structured in the same way as the Latinum podcast. It is much easier for me to produce, or course. Getting the Latin as precise as I can - especially the vowel quantities and the tonal accents - takes a bit of preparation before each recording, and I mark up each text laboriously before reading it out.

However, I am finding that my ear for vowel length has been sharpened considerably as a result of making the podcasts, and marking up unmarked unaccented texts is relatively fast and automatic now. On the topic of accenting, I notice that few recordings of Latin I have listened to, incorporate the use of the accents.

The accenting makes the Latin sound so much more alive and vivacious, and to my ear, more natural, when the tonal accenting is used.

Bennett is of the opinion that the accenting is authentic, not a grammarian's figment. Certainly, when you say a word like "habesne" with the circumflex pronounced, it sounds very plausible. Also, the "orum" endings of the genitive plural have a fuller, richer sound when the circumflex is pronounced. I also find that using the circumflex and acute helps distinguish the cases, and the singulars from the plurals, as they can sound quite different. Pedagogically, (putting arguments about historical authenticity aside) - I can see very strong reasons for teaching Latin using the accenting. It simply makes the language more intelligible, and much easier on the ear.

-Evan.

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