Journal & Travels

Study Review : Latin Language


For the past few months I have been studying Latin language. Usually, the question that immediately follows are, “Why?” and “What for?” Well, to me it is really simple to answer : why not. What for? Well, I am not entirely sure what learning Latin would be useful for at first, I just know that I am quite drawn to learning this language.

So I bought Hillard & Botting Elementary Latin Exercises from Duckworth. And I had to smile when I read the Preface “… is meant to be used from the time when a boy begins Latin.” Well, tough, it is the 21st Century and even a girl could now learn Latin. The joke soon came back to me though since I am now quite in my adult age and about two decades too late to pick up Latin.

I am halfway through the book now and I figure I need to review what I learn so far. I learn that Latin is language of precision, perhaps this is why it is widely used amongst scientist, theologians to name a few until late 19th Century. The Latin I am learning at the moment is Contemporary Latin. The book itself was first published before WW I in 1910. I also learn how much I’ve been ignorant to using language and how great this tool that we have, to communicate and express ourselves. I suppose now that I learn a bit more about Latin, I try to be more thoughtful about what I read, write, speak and listen.

I also learn that it is a common misconception that Latin is a dead language  as it is very much alive.  Apart from the obvious words in many languages we use has Latin root, there are few radio station like YLE and Radio Bremen has a special news section broadcasted in Latin. I think that is pretty cool.

These are the list of things I have exercised on :

  • Present and Future Tenses in Latin and English
  • Past Tenses in Latin and English
  • The Perfect, Pluperfect and Future Perfect Tenses
  • Nouns 1st declension
  • Nominative and Accusative Cases
  • Agreement of Verb with its subject.
  • Nouns of 2nd Declension in –um
  • Nouns of 2nd Declension in -er
  • Nouns (Consonant stems) of 3rd Declension
  • Gender
  • Nouns (I stems) of 3rd Declension
  • Adjectives of 3rd Declension
  • Passive Voice
  • Exceptional Nouns of 2nd and 3rd Declension
  • Nouns in -us of 4th Declension
  • Nouns in -u of 4th Declension
  • Nouns of 5th Declension
  • The verb -sum
  • Regular Comparison
  • Personal Pronouns
  • Reflexive Pronouns
  • Possesive Adjectives
  • Demonstrative Pronouns

I still have plenty to do from this exercise book. While I don’t have particular target for my Latin learning, I do intend to complement it with reading and listening in the coming months. Perhaps even singing – I just found a list of music with Latin vocals. How curious!

Florence Fuller, Inseparables, 1867 – 1946



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