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Reading Latin: Text Paperback – Aug 29 1986
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This course introduces Latin to students in the final years of high school, and especially in colleges and universities. It integrates the teaching of classical Latin with the history of the language and its crucial influence upon European languages and culture. A special feature is the attention paid to medieval Latin literature.
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Top Customer Reviews
Pace Ryan Friesen, teaching the deponent verbs first is BRILLIANT; it's FAR easier for a student to get comfortable with deponents simply as an alternative form of the active verbs (which in a way they are), and THEN tackle the passive. Jones and Sidwell point out (somewhere) that traditional grammar books are based on description, not on how best to present the language to learners, and their whole approach is to get at what the student needs to learn and practice, and then build on that intelligently. (Other examples: they spread the ablative absolute and the subjunctive, and even nonne and num, over DIFFERENT chapters, presenting the easiest aspects first and then moving logically to the harder ones).
The book is not intended as a reference grammar, and it certainly can be difficult to find the right page for the explanation you want. But this is an unavoidable consequence of the (I think) intelligent choice to approach the language from the student's point of view. Wheelock is opposite: very concise, and thus very usable as reference, but you do not emerge with any abilty to read the language (deponents come as a final last-minute chapter, and thus remain a problem for students long afterwards).
The one downside of their approach is that the student reads relatively little "real" Latin. But the fact of the matter is that there are very few easily readable Latin texts that are very worthwhile, and it is far better, in my view, to present texts that give the student lots of practice with the most relevant constructions.
The book is not perfect, and I have long hoped for a second edition (with workbook, and perhaps computer exercises and audio cd). But it is the best I have ever seen. I have never met either Sidwell or Jones, but remain indebted to them.
With these three books (i.e. the grammar, vocab. and exercises, the text, and the independent study guide) and a pronunciation aid (Latin Now or another), you should have everything you need to progress to a "lower"-intermediate level in the language. To add some context to what I mean by that, I, for example, am able to "struggle" through parts of the Aeneid (I am using Pharr's edition). I say "struggle" because while I take great enjoyment in following this course and learning latin, it is important to maintain realistic expectations. You will not be leisurely perusing your way through unadapted texts by Cicero or Virgil upon completing this course.
I have not reviewed Wheelock's latin course, and have nothing else with which to compare Jones and Sidwell's course. However, I can say that this course worked very well for me.
Please also note, however, that the language (and this course) require a significant amount of attention and dedication. As stated, I have been following the course for 11 months while also working a full-time job (40 - 80 hours a week). While my life did not change dramatically, I did find that completing this course in a year required me to: (1) watch significantly less TV, (2) spend virtually no time reading other books, (3) find creative times to study latin (e.g. studying on airplanes, flashcards on the walk into work, etc.), and (4) put up with abuse from friends and coworkers who can not understand why.
This course follows the format of the same authors' Reading Greek, but it is a pity that there is not the Independent Laearning Guide that you can get with the Greek course, which contains translations of the extracts. I did the first half of the course by myself, and the second half through a second year Latin course at the University of Western Australia. You can learn Latin by yourself with this course, though you definitely benefit from having an instructor to explain the subtleties.
I've tried several approached to Latin over the years, and this is the one that worked for me. A major reason is that the course is constructed so that you can feel yourself making progress, and the extracts themselves are inherently interesting, as well as providing an introduction to Latin literature.
Most recent customer reviews
Do yourself or your students a favor and FORGET SIDWELL.
This cancer on the body of Latin education has impaired and imperiled students for too long. Read more
I think the book is excellent for beginners; it is much better than the books I used when first learning Latin in high school. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2001
My review of Reading Latin (No better way to learn Latin) expressed disappointment at the absence of an independent study guide for the course. Read morePublished on Jan. 18 2001 by Bob
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