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Reading Latin: Text [Paperback]

Peter V. Jones , Keith C. Sidwell
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 29 1986 0521286239 978-0521286237 1
Reading Latin is a Latin course designed to help mature beginners read Latin fluently and intelligently, primarily in the context of classical culture, but with some mediaeval Latin too. It does this in three ways; it encourages reading of continuous texts from the start; it offers generous help with translation at every stage; and it integrates the learning of Classical Latin with an appreciation of the influence of the Latin language upon English and European culture from Antiquity to the present. The text, richly illustrated, consists at the start of carefully graded adaptations from original Classical Latin texts. The adaptations are gradually phased out until unadultered prose and verse can be read. The Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises volume supplies all the help needed to do this, together with a range of reinforcing exercises for each section, including English into Latin for those who want it. At the end of each section, a selection of Latin epigrams, mottoes, quotations, everyday Latin, word-derivations, examples of mediaeval Latin and discussions of the influence of Latin upon English illustrate the language's impact on Western culture. Reading Latin is principally designed for university and adult beginners, and also for sixth-formers (eleventh and twelth graders in the USA). It is also ideal for those people who may have learned Latin many years ago, and wish to renew their acquaintance with the language. Its companion course, Reading Greek is one of the most widely used mature beginners' courses in the world.

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Book Description

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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Titus Macc(i)us Plautus probably lived from c. 250 to c. 180. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Reply to Ryan Friesen's negative review Oct. 27 2003
Format:Paperback
I have taught Latin 1-2 using Jones and Sidwell for at least ten years and continue to think it's the best text available, especially for self-study.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Success story May 27 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This has been an excellent course (including the text and study guide) for me; well structured, clear and concise. I have been following this course, unassisted by a tutor, for the past 11 months and have completed over three-quarters of it. For pronunciation, I am using Transparent Language's "Latin Now" CD, which is okay, but not great (but after all, with how many people do you converse in Latin anyway?)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for beginners and former students Feb. 27 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I think the book is excellent for beginners; it is much better than the books I used when first learning Latin in high school. However, the course is also excellent for those who want to refresh their Latin. By using the running vocabulary as mandatory instead of optional and reviewing the grammar points, a former Latin student can quickly regain his/her proficiency in the language. In addition to covering major aspects of grammar such as the subjunctive, use of deponent and defective verbs, and future passive participles, there is increased focus on the reasons why cases (not just the ablative) are used in the ways they are. The text is engaging and slowly increases in difficulty, and best of all, unlike most Latin courses, the vocabulary is not merely setting you up to read De Bello Gallico, perhaps the most boring book ever written in Latin.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No better way to learn Latin (update) Jan. 18 2001
By Bob
Format:Paperback
My review of Reading Latin (No better way to learn Latin) expressed disappointment at the absence of an independent study guide for the course. In fact, The Independent Study Guide to Reading Latin has just become available, and I strongly recommend it for those using this course for self-study.
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