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Wheelock's Latin

de Frederic M. Wheelock

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Sèrie: Wheelock's Latin Series

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3,54392,598 (4.07)23
"The classic Latin text, with grammatical explanations and readings based on ancient authors, self-study exercises with answer key"--Cover.

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For generations of American students, "Wheelock's" is the Latin textbook they remember from their schoolyard days. And indeed, if you had a charismatic teacher who could convey his/her love of the language, these 40 chapters contain almost everything you'd need to know about the language. But if your teacher is mediocre, your extracurricular syllabus is annoying, or if you're learning on your own... you'll need a bit of backup.

The more I use Wheelock's, the more I acknowledge that it's a damn thorough textbook. If you read each chapter in detail, and do all the exercises (both in the chapter, in the supplements, and preferably in the additional Exercise Book) you should have a thorough grounding of how to use Latin. The book features edited excerpts from real Roman texts in each chapter, so you also get a sense of the variety of usage when the language is actually placed in context.

If there are problems, they're simply that this isn't the most innovative of texts. It's a top-down approach, itemising a few grammatical concepts each chapter and then parading examples in front of you. The examples use the same nouns over and over again, which helps to cement your focus on the grammatical item du jour, but makes things a little repetitive for sure. It's rote learning (which, don't mistake me, is necessary for an inflected language like Latin) but it relies so much on a passionate teacher. This is probably why many kids come out of school with dreary memories of their Latin classroom!

I highly recommend the enjoyable, narrative-based Cambridge Latin Course (which, to my mind, introduces the concepts in a more logical sequence) or - if you're an adult learner on your own - Reading Latin, by Peter V. Jones, which focuses on translation. They're both far more immersive in both Roman culture and the language, and will be a lot more fun. At the same time, I've finally committed to doing the Wheelock, and I must admit it works well. I'd probably recommend a combination of any 2 of the above. If you're going with the Wheelock, I recommend finding Dale Grote's companion book, or even his lectures which can sometimes be found on line. He goes through all of the supplementary questions and details how the language works. It's a thoroughly engaging way to approach Wheelock. On your own, you may have the concepts down, but it's a heady tome that offers little in the way of mental stimulation.

I realise this is an ambiguous review (particularly when I've gone with 4-stars!). I guess in closing: Wheelock's is a textbook best as a support to either the Cambridge or Reading Latin. At the same time, its generous use of real Latin, combined with 40 chapters of thorough material, means that a seriously committed student will take a lot away from it. It's a shame so many kids these days are taught by underwhelmed literature teachers or dull curricula from the '70s! ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
My review of the 6th edition of Wheelock's was ambivalently positive and I would say my feelings about the 7th are cautiously joyous.

This textbook was designed so that, in a sense, any teacher can teach Latin. It's comprehensive, straightforward, and treats the language rather like a maths textbook, with the formulas, the practice equations, and the answer key. For schools just wanting to teach the language and get the students through the exam, great. But, paradoxically, to instill a love of Latin using this method requires not just any teacher, but a passionate and well-read teacher. For this reason, I will probably always prefer the Cambridge Course with its broader emphasis on history and culture, and its narrative-based lesson style. (My preference would be to use selections from the Wheelock's text and exercise book to supplement that course, but that would become cumbersome in a classroom environment.)

But those complaints are clearly personal biases, and shouldn't be taken too seriously! This is a wonderfully comprehensive first-year coursebook. The inclusion of "real" Latin from so early in the course has a beneficial impact. If used in tandem with the three other books in the series - the Workbook, the Reader, and Scribblers, Sculptors, and Scribes - you can't go wrong. And the light-heartedness evident throughout (even if it's in a "dad joke" kind of way) is appreciated. A vibrant refresh of a classic textbook. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
I love this book! I've taken Latin in several different settings, with a variety of curriculums, and this book is by far the best. The approach is intuitive and easy to grasp, and the lessons build on each other at a great pace for learning and retention. I rented the copy I've used this past semester, but I'm contemplating purchasing my own copy for future reference. ( )
  KLmesoftly | Nov 20, 2009 |
"Wheelock's Latin, 6e by Frederic M. Wheelock (2000)"
  krisiti | Jul 1, 2009 |
The gold standard in Latin learning. While i didn't manage to learn Latin, that has more to do with my lack of ability (or commitment) than this book. For those serious about getting the language of the Romans under their belt, this is the place to start, with explanations, exercises and all the grammar you need ( )
  ForrestFamily | Nov 19, 2008 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Frederic M. Wheelockautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Lafleur, Richard A.autor principalalgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wheelock Taylor, Deborahautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wheelock, MarthaPròlegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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I love the language, that soft bastard Latin, Which melts like kisses from a female mouth.
George Noel Gordon, Lord Byron; Beppo
I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honor, and Greek as a treat.
Sir Winston Churchill; Roving Commission: My Early Life
He studied Latin like the violin, because he liked it.
Robert Frost; The Death of the Hired Man
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The genesis of, and inspiration for, Wheelock's Latin was the 1946 G.I. Education bill which granted World War II Veterans a college education upon their return from service. “Why would a vet, schooled on the battlefields of Europe and Asia, want to study Latin?” asked our father, then a Professor of Classics at Brooklyn College. What could this language say to those who had already seen so much reality? How could a teacher make a “dead” language become alive, pertinent, and viable? How could one teach Latin, not as an extinct vehicle, but as the reflection of a lively culture and philosophy? This was the challenge our father undertook.

[From Martha Wheelock and Deborah Wheelock Taylor's "Foreword"]
Welcome to Wheelock's Latin, seventh edition! After almost a quarter of a century since our father's death, Wheelock's Latin and the classical tradition are current and alive. Frederic Wheelock's original intention for this textbook was the instruction of Latin in the contect of Roman writers. To this design and classic text, revision author Richard A. LaFleur has brought modernity and invigoration through new by ancient and enlivening material; he has also shepherded Wheelock's Latin into contemporary media and arenas. We express our heartfelt gratitude to Rick LaFleur for his enterprise, his intelligence, and his loyalty.

[From Martha Wheelock and Deborah Wheelock Taylor's "For the Seventh Edition"]
Why a new beginners' Latin book when so many are already available? The question may rightly be asked, and a justification is in order.

[From the "Preface"]
When Professor Frederick Wheelock's Latin first appeared in 1956, the reviews extolled its thoroughness, organization, and concision; one reviewer predicted that the book “might well become the standard text” for introducing college students and other adult learners to elementary Latin. Now, more than a half a century later, that prediction has certainly been proven accurate. A second edition was published in 1960, retitled Latin: An Introductory Course Based on Ancient Authors and including a rich array of additional reading passages drawn directly from Latin literature (the Locí Immútátí); the third edition, published in 1963, added Self-Tutorial Exercises, with an answer key, for each of the 40 chapters and greatly enhanced the book's usefulness both for classroom students and for those wishing to study the language independently. In 1984, three years before the author's death, a list of passage citations for the Sententiae Antíquae was added, so that teachers and students could more easily locate and explore the context of selections they found especially interesting; and in 1992 a fourth edition appeared under the aegis of the book's new publisher, HarperCollins, in which the text was re-set and re-designed.

[From Richard A. LaFleur's "The Revised Edition"]
Your appreciation of the Latin language can be considerably increased by even a limited awareness of the background sketched in this Intróductió. The paragraphs on the position of the Latin language in the Indo-European language family provide some linguistic perspective not only for Latin but also for the Romance languages and English. The brief survey of Latin literature introduces the authors whose works are excerpted in the book's Sententiae Antíquae, Locí Antíquí, and Locí Immútátí and provides a literary perspective which the student may never otherwise gain. And, or course, no introduction to the language would be complete without a discussion of the Roman alphabet and pronunciation.

[From the "Intróductió"]
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