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Getting started on classical Latin
Getting started on classical Latin

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1 Learning Latin: study techniques

If you have studied classical literature in translation, at the OU or elsewhere, you will be used to the demands of extensive reading of set books, note-taking and preparing essays. However, the ‘tools of the trade’ for learning a classical language are somewhat different, and you will need to develop new skills, of which the most basic are actually the most important, since they underpin everything else that you do as you progress your studies in the area.

To study Latin successfully, students typically find they need to develop a study pattern suited to their lifestyle and to the demands of this type of language learning. ‘Little and often’ is best; however, you may not be able to set aside an hour or so each day. This course will give you the opportunity to try out various study patterns and find out which suits you best.

You will also be able to find out which aspects of language learning come easily to you, and which seem more difficult or more time-consuming. For example, some people find dealing with grammar difficult. Others may worry about memorising words, although with practice many people find that they can develop techniques to help with this. As you work through this material, you might like to experiment with different ways of learning vocabulary – for example, writing out the Latin words and/or saying them aloud; thinking of English words which are derived from, and therefore similar to, the Latin words you have learnt; using flash cards; getting a friend to test you; recording vocabulary items and listening back to them; or a combination of these strategies. If you can set up the habit of learning just a few words each day, you will benefit enormously.