Although I had studied Latin before, the Veterum Sapientia Latin Immersion Workshop was a whole new experience. The workshop aimed to create a weeklong bubble of Latin in order to let us learn by listening and communicating in Latin, as we might learn any other language. As you might imagine, this was at times challenging, especially for a rusty Latin student—try carrying on table conversation while trying dredge out of your memory Latin words like ‘last year’, not to mention the perfect of disco, all the while realizing that you never learned the word for ‘cup’, and can’t remember how the number ‘two’ declines! In spite of this, by the end of the week, I was carrying on simple conversations in Latin. Speaking also gives you an opportunity to use some of those first and second-person forms that you might otherwise ignore—such as ‘vocāris’ or ‘loquebāmur’. The teaching methods at the seminar were excellent, and used a bit of sign language, gestures, written words, pictures, activities, and other methods to help our memories and to accommodate varied learning styles. While some classes were held in common, we also spent part of the day divided into groups according to our proficiency level, allowing everyone to improve their skills, wherever they might be starting from. One of the tenets we learned in the introduction was to remember ourselves “inter amicos”, and this was certainly true. Everyone tried to help one another learn, with a lot of patience for the beginners!
I would recommend the seminar for those who want to deepen their knowledge of Latin and to learn not only to read, but also to listen, understand, speak and write it themselves.
Sr. Mary Micaela Hoffmann, RSM