eLatin eGreek eLearn

More wired than a Roman Internet café

I did my undergraduate studies in New Zealand. In my first year at University, a group of Maori started up a programme, calledTe Kohanga Reo - which translated loosely as "Maori Language Nests". A big political debate raged around this at the time.

Maori as a language was on the verge of extinction. The idea - a brainwave - was to set up kindergartens where the immersion language would be Maori. These kindergartens were for ages zero and up to around 5 or six.

I recently received an email from a parent teaching their child Latin. This child is 5. I know of another family in Vietnam who are teaching their infant daughter - now around 2 years old - to speak Latin. Why not simply take these isolated 'events', and build them into something a bit more substantial?

I know several Latin teachers who try to use a bit of Latin with their kids.

For those of us with an interest in spoken Latin, this is the obvious way to go. Similar schools exist for other languages. What makes the kohanga Maori interesting, is that in the beginning, the activity was, in many of the 'nests' entirely artificial - even the helpers at the kindergartens needed to learn the language, or had only a very imperfect knowledge of it.

Setting up such an organisation should be easy - Firstly, it does not require much initial fluency on the part of the organiser - those people who work in such a 'nursery' will themselves be using Latin every day, and will, one presumes, advance more quickly than their infant charges.

I know this sounds a bit like a pipe dream - but there are definite opportunities here - I expect such a nursery would be attractive to many parents, and would therefore provide a livelihood. It could be an ideal project for a retired Latin teacher to set up, even initially in their living room.....

For those with an interest in spoken Latin, this is certainly an idea worth at least thinking about.


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