The New Love of my Life

Did I get your attention with the headline? Great!

I think I fell in love with a language. An ancient one, a dead one, but one that’s still very much sought after in academics. I’m talking about Latin, which was still alive and well as language of the academics and clerus until the Middle Ages even though the Roman Empire disappeared centuries earlier.

I’m currently trying to learn Latin with the help of Wheelock’s Latin 7th edition, and so far I’m very pleased with the book (although it would have been nice if the print book included the translations of the exercise sentences). While I’m not far yet (so this impression might change), it is fairly easy for me up to now. I know three daughter languages of Latin to some more or less advanced degree (French, Spanish, Italian), and I have a linguistic background so the six cases don’t really shock me (Sanskrit has eight, and I need to learn that for university). Plus, English has a lot of words that are loaned or derived from Latin words, so taking all that together, reading and understanding Latin comes easily. I’m still struggling with pronunciation, but I expect that to get better with practice (so hubby will be subject to my tries to read aloud sample texts and poems as I continue through Wheelock’s Latin).

A poet that caught my attention through the sample text in chapter two is Gaius Valerius Catullus, who seemingly wrote a lot of love poetry (and some more raunchy pieces, from what I’ve gathered from reviews). I already checked, there are compilations of his poetry complete with annotations and translation, and they don’t even cost much, so he might be one of my first Latin authors to read in the original outside of my textbook.

Now I’m even more excited about the Coursera course on Roman Art and History that I’m currently enrolled in 🙂

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