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Learn Latin: A Lively Introduction to Reading the Language (1997)

de P. V Jones

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524534,081 (3.15)3
Learn Latin presents in handy book form the brilliant QED series of teach-yourself Latin articles which have captivated thousands of readers of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph. In twenty weeks, these readers were able to learn enough Latin to read from the Bayeux tapestry, the love-poet Catullus, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, St. Jerome's Vulgate (the Bible in Latin) and much else. If you have ever hankered after a basic introduction to this great language, which covers just enough to read the real thing (and no more), this is the book you have been waiting for. If you have ever wanted to know what lies at the heart of languages like French, Spanish and Italian, today spoken by 600 million people all over the world, or if you have ever been fascinated by the workings of language and the richness and precision of English (half of which is Latin), Learn Latin will prove a rich source of enlightenment and pleasure.… (més)
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Lively indeed. For a poor uneducated person like myself, it was amazingly informative. I thank the author. ( )
  Steven_Burgauer | Nov 23, 2016 |
Latin is by default an odd language. No speaks it anymore, but knowing it is considered a sign of erudition, and the countless books for learning Latin out there speak to a demand for learning the language. One of the many problems with Latin is that it is incredibly compact and nuanced. Changing the order of the words, the endings of verbs, or even missing a single letter changes the entire meaning of what is being said. Peter Jones’s Learn Latin is a rather interesting approach to learning the language that deserves a closer look.

First off, Jones understands the mild insanity that learning Latin entails, and to that end, he takes a more humorous approach than most textbooks. He presents twenty lessons that the reader is supposed to work through over the course of twenty weeks. Each week covers a different aspect of the language. From basic conjugation to parts of speech to different tense and cases, this book covers the fundamentals of learning Latin. With that in mind, don’t read it straight through in two days like I did. For something that requires as much attention to details like Latin, a crash course will do nothing for long-term retention.

Jones’s lessons are interesting, illustrated well, and intended for those who know a little bit about the fundamentals of other languages. He makes interesting connections between Latin and modern English, French, and Spanish. This guide helps the reader make their way through some basic texts and understand the reach of Latin into the modern day. If you’re at all interested in learning Latin, then this book will do fine for you. Just take your time with it, and it will come. A very fun book. ( )
1 vota NielsenGW | Jan 4, 2015 |
3 stars -- it's average. I'm getting a decent overview of the language, and for that I'm grateful. It was unfortunate to get to Carmina Burana, only to have a long list of new vocabulary thrown at me. It would have been much more efficient to gradually introduce at least a few of the words during the preceding 7 chapters. Also there are an embarrassing number of typos; hopefully those got corrected in later editions. ( )
  FangAili | Nov 4, 2010 |
This is a simplified approach to a fairly complex subject. You'll learn just enough to get a general understanding of Latin -- not enough to feel like you've mastered the language by any means. That's actually a plus in my book, since learning a new and uncommon language is challenging at best; sometimes general overview is the way to go.

What this book does to alleviate some of the difficulty is focus on a target text or three, and instruct you on only what you'll need to know to read those texts. Certainly, then, numerous grammatical fine points and plenty of vocabulary are left untouched, but that's okay. This is an introduction to Latin, and should be taken as such.

Other high points of this book are the to-the-point lessons, numerous exercises, and amusing yet useful examples. Of course, it's not a perfect book. There's a fair bit of grammar terminology used in the lessons, and if you haven't studied grammar or other languages before you may be a little overwhelmed at first by terms like accusative case and perfect passive tense. Also, I would have preferred it if Jones had introduced new verb vocabulary by emphasizing the infinitives rather than the "I" form conjugation. Perhaps that standard practice for Latin instruction ... I don't know, but I found it frustrating and less helpful.

So, in summary, I doubt this is the best book on Latin instruction but it is a good place to start. Especially if you've ever flipped through Wheelock's Lation (lauded by many reviews as THE book on Latin) and felt intimidated. Use this book as a introduction before graduating on to something more in-depth. ( )
1 vota TheBooknerd | Aug 2, 2010 |
Ik zelf redelijk taalgevoelig aangelegd, maar toch ben ik met beide pogingen na een week afgehaakt. Ik weet niet of dit aan Jones ligt, ik denk het niet, maar ik vond het wel apart. Zijn schrijfstijl is erg grappig en de oefeningen zijn in het begin niet moeilijk, maar als die conjugaties komen wordt het opeens wel erg pittig. Het is echt een simpele beginnerscursus, maar je moet wel oefenen en je aandacht erbij hebben, anders is een boek snel even weggelegd om vervolgens niet snel meer opgepakt te worden.

NBD|Biblion:
In dit vlot vertaalde en geestig geschreven boekje wordt voor absolute beginners in het Latijn en voor mensen die hun kennis willen opfrissen, een basis-cursus Latijn geboden voor zelfstudie. Het doel is een niveau waarop de ijverige student de Carmina Burana (dertiende eeuw) kan lezen, de teksten op het tapijt van Bayeux (elfde eeuw) kan ontcijferen, enkele gedichten van Catullus (eerste eeuw v. Chr.) kan begrijpen en de Latijnse vertaling van de bijbel door Hieronymus kan lezen. Deze doelstelling toont al meteen de originele aanpak van de cursus, die niet uitsluitend de bekende Latijnse 'school' auteurs op het oog heeft, maar een bredere interesse in het Latijn ten toon spreidt. Het boek komt voort uit een doe-het-zelf cursus Latijn in wekelijkse krantenafleveringen en is er op gericht een brede groep mensen enthousiast te maken, en te houden, voor het Latijn als taal, en zijn invloed op de moderne talen, en voor de Romeinse cultuur. De lessen zijn volgens een vast patroon opgebouwd: grammatica, oefeningen (met antwoorden ter controle), een korte beschouwing over een aspect van de Romeinse geschiedenis of cultuur, en een 'taalspel' over de invloed van het Latijn op andere talen (o.a. het Nederlands). ( )
  JeroenBerndsen | Jan 24, 2008 |
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The purpose of this little book is to provide its users with enough Latin to read some poems of Catullus (1st century BC) and the Carmina Burana (13th century AD), and prose selections from the Bayeux tapestry (11th century AD) and St Jerome's version of St John's Gospel (4th century AD).
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Learn Latin presents in handy book form the brilliant QED series of teach-yourself Latin articles which have captivated thousands of readers of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph. In twenty weeks, these readers were able to learn enough Latin to read from the Bayeux tapestry, the love-poet Catullus, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, St. Jerome's Vulgate (the Bible in Latin) and much else. If you have ever hankered after a basic introduction to this great language, which covers just enough to read the real thing (and no more), this is the book you have been waiting for. If you have ever wanted to know what lies at the heart of languages like French, Spanish and Italian, today spoken by 600 million people all over the world, or if you have ever been fascinated by the workings of language and the richness and precision of English (half of which is Latin), Learn Latin will prove a rich source of enlightenment and pleasure.

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