I’m Tired of Latin Intimidating People

Y’all, I am not “Oz, the Great and Terrible” on some kind of vast Latin throne, which only a select few of the most intellectual people in the universe may dare to approach. Ha! No–please don’t be afraid to contact me, or to enroll in a Latin class if you really are interested in Latin. I am a normal human–yes, definitely a nerdy one!–and I really like other normal humans, and I want them all to love Latin.

Love it in a, “These cool words are just how I talk and write” kind of way. Because that can happen. Yes, it can happen for you.

Like any other language, Latin is meant for expressing things: capturing and transmitting meanings, declaiming poetry, cracking jokes, airing aspirations, putting forth wishes, uttering holy thoughts, and prayers. So like any language, naturally it is for everyone. Particularly it is for everyone who is Catholic. And I want people interested in our sacred tongue to think of Latin study as getting used to the language. Not “learning” Latin, but getting used to it.

How do you get used to something? By spending a lot of time with it. A lot. This is the secret to fluency in any other language, and it is the key to Latin fluency just as well. I recommend that students pair a daily prayer routine, featuring something like the Little Office of the BVM or even just an hour of the (Traditional) Divine Office, with a slow, persistent pace through Fr. William Most’s Latin by the Natural Method. With constant exposure and continuous, graduated reading practice, you will indeed get used to the Latin language, just as you got used to your native language. Such a program gets you accustomed to the flow of Latin words and phrases, and to pulling out the many ideas in them as they flow by you while you listen, or as you read. This can happen to normal people, just like you. It only takes the right amount of persistence, enthusiasm, and a good method that works for you.

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