Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gladiator Sandals Are The Summer 2008 Fashion Statement

The New York Times reports on shoe and sandal fashion this week, advising that gladiator sandals are very, very in.

You can get a simple pair of Gladiator Sandals at Old Navy for about $19.95. Piperlime, a San Francisco-based accessories company, also carries a wide selection of caligae-inspired shoewear in a range of prices.

Top Shop, a British-based clothing and fashion chain, carries a knee high version for 50 pounds, or approximately $100.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Speak Latin and Impress a Knight!

A Latin quote from last weekend's episode of Robin Hood on BBCAmerica. The gang is looking for the Thesaurus Patriae ("Treasure of the Nation", a take-off on "National Treasure") Djaq, the female Saracen warrior, translates the meaning of the phrase and a rather impressed knight declares, "She speaks Latin! WHAT A WOMAN!"

On a previous episode ("Get Carter!") Robin Hood has seemingly been slain by an assassin, who prays in Latin over the outlaw's apparently dead body, as Robin's friends carry him into the city of Nottingham. Upon arriving at the castle, the Sheriff of Nottingham dismisses the retinue, growling "Enough with the gobbledygook! Exeunt!")

You'll also occasionally hear some Latin on the new series of Doctor Who, so it is possible that many of you Latin and Classics majors may have a future with the BBC! Keep studying!

Friday, July 11, 2008

New AP Latin Teachers Guide Available!

Susan Bonvallet (Wellington School, Columbus, OH) and Dawn LaFon (White Station High School, Memphis, TN) have written a new AP Latin Teacher's Guide, which is available for download from the AP Central College Board Latin website. The advice on syllabus design is targeted at AP Latin teachers of course, but teachers of beginning and intermediate Latin will benefit from reading and studying this new guide.

Consider downloading it even if you do not teach an Advanced Placement Latin course. The AP Latin Teacher's Guide includes over 200 pages of teaching strategies, activities and resources, which teachers can adapt and customize to their own classrooms. The authors have included ten sample syllabi from experienced classroom teachers along with rubrics, timetables, assignments, activities, guidelines for translation and sight reading, bibliographies, web resources, ideas for incorporating the Classics standards, lists of curriculum distributors, professional opportunites, networking ideas, and much more.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Free Webinar: Latin for the New Millennium

LeaAnn Osburn, series editor for Latin for the New Millennium, will be leading a free, informational webinar -- a live, online conference -- about the books and ancillaries on Tuesday, July 22, from 2-3 PM Central Time. Latin for the New Millennium is a newly published introductory Latin course for high school and college students. (See the Scope and Sequence and sample pages.)

The online session is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about this new curriculum choice, which combines the reading approach and the grammatical method, as well as incorporating optional conversational material. Participants will be able to ask LeaAnn questions in real time.

(Bolchazy-Carducci has started offering fee-based continuing education webinars this summer. as well. See their Webinar schedule for upcoming online discussions and presentations. The free Latin for the New Millennium webinar seems like a great way to get an idea how a web seminar works.)

If you would like to participate, please e-mail Andrew Reinhard at, who will send you the link to the meeting. Webinars require that you have a telephone (the call is toll free) and something faster than a dial-up Internet connection to your Mac/PC.

Latin as an Employment Benefit!

If you worked for Galore Park publishing house, you could learn Latin over your lunch hour! Galore Park was featured in a BBC News video story this week as well as in the Daily Mail. (Doctor Who fans will especially enjoy the BBC clip!)

Galore Park publishes Latin Prep and So You Really Want to Learn Latin (Books I-III) as well as Greek: A New Guide for Beginners. They also publish a book of Latin puzzles (written by Julian Morgan of J-PROGS) as well as workbooks and review/revision materials for students who plan to take the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education, a set of qualifications often required before taking A-levels, which are prerequisite for entrance into the British university system) or the Common Entrance exams (typically required for entrance into senior level independent British secondary schools).

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Which Aeneid?

A.N. Wilson of the London Telegraph begins a summer read of the epic poem, the Aeneid, by comparing 3 modern translations. Which one will he choose? Robert Fagles? Frederick Ahl? Sarah Ruden?

Find out by reading Virgil through Modern Eyes.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

State of (Conservation) Emergency in Pompeii!

Of particular interest to those who teach Latin using the Cambridge Latin Course...

BBC News reports in a two minute video that, due to neglect and ever-increasing crowds of tourists, the ancient city and archaeological site of Pompeii is in a state of emergency.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

AP Latin Still in the News!

On the front page of the Washington Post this morning, it is reported that Italian American Groups Speak Up to Save AP Language Test. This article is primarily about efforts by prominent Italian-Americans and Italian cultural organizations to save the AP Italian exam, but considerable mention is made about the soon-to-be-discontinued AP Latin Literature exam. Classics professor Ronnie Ancona of Hunter College is quoted in the article.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Aeneid: A Summer Read

Interesting article in the London Telegraph: Rediscovering Aeneid: The Epic of the West. It sounds as if the author would like to write further columns devoted to Vergil's poem.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What's the Word?

Those who are just starting out learning Latin often want to know what vocabulary is most important to learn. Every textbook uses a different list.

Here are a few sites with high-frequency word lists for Latin students.

  • Latin Teaching Materials at St. Louis University An incredible site that you will want to bookmark and refer to often. You'll find a list of high frequency Latin word forms, organized vocabulary grids correlated to Wheelock's Latin, advice for learning and retaining vocabulary, and much, much more. There are also loads of grammar and syntax charts, diagrams, synopses and exercises, elementary readers, timelines, essays, and even some software. Designed and maintained by Claude Pavur.
  • Anne Mahoney's Two Hundred Essential Latin Words An organized list of the most important words to learn in Latin, accounting for nearly 50% of the words in a typical prose text. Also see Anne's list of Resources for Students of Latin which includes acompilation of the 1000 Core Latin Words (created using the Perseus Latin Vocabulary tool described below) and her method for using flashcards to organize words.
  • The Latinum Podcast On Latinum you will find a section labelled 'GCSE', which is the vocabulary for the UK GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) Latin exam. This is a vocab of around 350 words, and is a good starting place. The words are presented in audio format, so the students learn correct quantity from the word go.
  • OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations) maintains vocabulary lists for students seeking qualifications in Latin.
  • Professor Robert W. Ulery of Wake Forest has several vocabulary lists of words everyone should know.
  • Professor Emerita C.A.E. Luschnig's Vocabula Course in Vocabulary Building Organized in 5 parts including basic vocabulary, prefixes, verb formation, noun formation, adjective formation and review.
  • The Latin Library has a wonderful collection of Vocabulary (and Grammar) handouts. Particularly useful vocabulary lists include compilations of Verba Parva et Difficilia, prepositions and the "Q" words. There are also vocabulary lists keyed to specific curricula.
  • The Independent Schools Examination Board administers the Common Entrance exam, which is an examination taken by British students at the ages of 11+ to 13+ for the purpose of placement into independent schools. See the Classics syllabus for the required Latin and Classical Greek grammar, syntax as well as vocabulary lists.
Don't forget the Perseus Vocabulary Tool which allows you to make tables and comma-delimited files of vocabulary words in selected Latin texts. You can sort in alphabetical order or by frequency or make key term lists. There are all sorts of things the Perseus Vocabulary Tool can do!

Of course, the best tool for learning vocabulary is a good Latin dictionary. If you have a lot of spare change and plan a career as a Classicist, the Oxford Latin Dictionary is highly recommended. However, at nearly ten pounds, it's not exactly portable. C.T. Lewis' Elementary Latin Dictionary, at about 1.8 pounds, is a bit lighter, but still not a book you'd want to carry around in a backpack or briefcase. The Bantam New College Latin and English Dictionary, by John Traupman is in its third edition and is a very nice, mass-market sized paperback dictionary that I use all the time. You can generally find it in most bookstores for about six dollars.