You want to learn Latin. DO IT! Let’s get you started today.
In order to design a course you will learn from and keep going with, you should match your strategy with the ways you learn best. This whole website is devoted to helping you design a program of study for yourself, but in this post I will give more specific suggestions on how to use the presented ideas.
That said: Do you really learn best with a teacher? Finding a class or online coursework might actually be best for you. This option will almost certainly cost money, though--so those on a budget might have to get creative. Classical Latin, although different in some ways from Church Latin, will provide a fantastic foundation for studying Church Latin, and many high schools and universities still offer Classical Latin coursework and programs. Perhaps there is an opportunity in your area. There are also, of course, online courses and apps for Classical Latin...knowing yourself and your budget, find a way to study with a good teacher if that's how you learn best.
Can you learn by yourself with a book? Make sure you have a good book with answers. I have reviewed several texts to help you make a decision regarding your textbook/learning style fit:
- the Scanlons’ Latin Grammar,
- Collins’ more recent Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin,
- Getting Started with Latin By William Linney,
- and, Fr. William Most’s Latin by the Natural Method (see more below for this one!).
What study aids help you best?
- Visual learners, try Idea Mapping and flash cards.
- Auditory learners, use a recording device/app on your phone to record and play your vocab lists, etc.
- Kinesthetic learners, use a whiteboard and dry erase markers, and try to show off what you learn every day to someone–anyone who will listen!
For everyone, the best tips for Latin studying success are to pace yourself well and persist: 1) Make study a short, simple habit and 2) keep that habit going daily, making it fun and tracking your progress!
My Favorite Latin Study Resources:
- Pronunciation guide: print out this post and keep nearby
- Textbook: Print out full copy of Latin by the Natural Method
- Answer key: At the same site as the textbook is the answer key in the Teacher’s Manual
- Flash Cards: Printable flash cards for Lessons 1-10 of Latin by the Natural Method, Vol. 1
- Audio exercises: After reading each chapter, do the Pattern Practice Exercise with the recording
- Measure Your Progress: Latin Study Habits Tracker
Go all in, and go in for the long haul. Remember, even Romans didn’t learn Latin in a day–and Catholic Europe taught Latin diligently to students of many languages for more than a thousand years, giving them each several years’ study and practice to achieve proficiency. Even with only a single year of study, you yourself will be immeasurably richer.
Have fun, stick to it–you can do this! If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail or comment!