Friday, August 22, 2008

Now I Know My Latin!

In most modern language classes, one of the first lessons is how to pronounce the letters of the alphabet. Most teachers teach an alphabet song, much like the English alphabet song most of us learned as children.


W-X-Y-and Z!
Now I know my A, B, Cs,
Next time won't you sing with me.

Here are a few versions taught by Latin teachers...

(Posted with the permission of the authors.)

Jacque Myer's Latin Alphabet Song

Jacque has written her own variation on the English a-b-c song...The tune is basically the same, but the "line" divisions are a little different:

a, be, ce,
de, e, ef
ge, ha, i, ka
el, em, en, o, pe
cu, er, es,
te, u, ix
upsilon, ze-e-ta

Dennis M. McHenry II's Latin Alphabet Song

Dennis' alphabet song goes like the traditional English alphabet song (but without the pauses that normally follow g, p, s, v, x, & z):

a, be, ce, de, e, ef, ge, ha,
i, ka, el, em, en, o, pe, qu,

er, es, te, u, ix, y graeca,
zeta: haec sunt elementa.

quae possumus recitare,
visne nobiscum cantare?

Dennis reports that, "My students at all levels loved it, which surprised me."

He goes on to describe the Elementa.

"...the letters of the alphabet, the elements of the language, and I've worked in a question, a relative clause, some infinitives, cum with a personal pronoun ... what more could you want? I had all of my students learn the song and reproduce it on a test, which nearly every one found to be an easy way to earn some points."

"If it seems like a mouthful without the usual pauses, you can have kids trade off lines by gender, by seating arrangements, by legions, etc."

Ginny Lindzey's Alphabet Song (To the Tune of "The Barney Song")
Also available from The Latin Zone.

(CAPS for long vowels)

A, bE, cE
dE, E, ef
gE hA I

kA el em en

O-pE-cU (fast) er es tE

U et ypsIlon

zEta now our song is done

Robert Patrick offers 2 alternative endings for Ginny's Lindzey's song:

...zEta carmen factum.


zEta carmen factum'st.

Robert suggests really punching the "st" for fun. (Factum'st is a contraction for factum est.)

Laura Higley's alternative ending for Ginny Lindzey's song:

zeta. carmen nostrum iam.

Laura's ending almost makes it rhyme.

Enjoy your singing. Cantate!