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CLASSICS 110: ELEMENTARY LATIN

SYLLABUS INFORMATION

 

Required Texts (available in the Skidmore Shop):

  • Wheelock & LaFleur, Wheelock’s Latin (6th rev. ed.; New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2005)
  • Groton & May, 38 Latin Stories (5th ed.; Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 1998)

Suggested Study Aid (available on amazon.com and elsewhere):

  • LaFleur and Tillery, Vocabulary Cards and Grammatical Forms Summary for Wheelock’s Latin (Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, 2003)

Course Objectives:

Along with Classics 210 (Intermediate Latin), Classics 110 aims to develop (1) a thorough acquaintance with the fundamentals of Latin grammar, (2) a good basic Latin vocabulary, and (3) beginner’s-level proficiency in reading Classical Latin. Students who have successfully completed both Elementary and Intermediate Latin will be able to begin reading Latin texts independently with the aid of a dictionary.

Program of Study:

Classics 110 will cover the material in the first twenty-seven chapters of Wheelock’s Latin. This includes the conjugational systems of all regular Latin verbs in the indicative mood; the declensional systems of all nouns, pronouns and adjectives; formation of participles and infinitives; and vocabulary consisting of several hundred essential words and phrases. Most importantly, regular written exercises and readings will develop the student’s ability to read, comprehend, and compose Latin sentences.

There will be daily homework assignments and weekly quizzes. Achievement of the course objectives requires continuous application. Failure to constantly practice reading Latin while reviewing vocabulary and grammatical forms will lead to disaster. Consistent attendance is vital.

We will pause each week in our study of the Latin to look briefly at aspects of the society and culture of Ancient Rome; these will include names, the calendar, houses, the City, the family, religion, slavery, law, government, war, and the Empire.


Schedule:

During a typical week, we will cover the material in one chapter of Wheelock’s Latin on Tuesday and another on Thursday, with homework from each chapter due at the beginning of the following class period (i.e., Thursday for the material covered in Tuesday’s class and Monday for the material covered on Thursday). Monday will usually consist of a review of the previous week’s material, and there will usually be no homework for Tuesday except to prepare for that week’s quiz. There will be some deviations from this schedule around the time of the midterm and the Thanksgiving vacation.

See the last page of this syllabus for assignments through 9/20. Additional assignment schedules will be handed out in class and posted on the Classics 110 web site over the course of the semester. Dates of the midterm and the final are given in the grading section on the next page.

Course Requirements:

Homework on a typical night will include the following:

  • Read the next chapter in Wheelock’s Latin. (This will be mostly review since much of the material will already have been introduced in class.) Memorize all chapter vocabulary.
  • Translate the assigned Sententiae Antiquae (S.A.) and Practice & Review exercises (P&R) from Wheelock’s Latin. All translations must be typed. Late homework will not be graded. We will go over the homework on the day it is due and the assignments will be returned to students at the start of the following class period.
  • Prepare readings from Wheelock’s Latin and Groton & May’s 38 Latin Stories (G&M). We will read these texts together in class. Do not write out a translation of the readings.

Translations must represent the student’s individual work but students are encouraged to cooperate in preparing the in-class readings.

Class participation includes readings, in-class drills and games, etc. Your grade for class participation will be based on your apparent level of effort and preparation, not on whether you always have the right answer. Mastering a language, even a dead one, is often a process of learning from one’s inevitable mistakes. Shyness is discouraged.

Quizzes will focus mainly on vocabulary and paradigms covered since the last quiz, although each quiz will also include a small amount of older material. Speed will be important on these quizzes, so vocabulary and paradigms should be learned thoroughly. You will not be asked to translate complete sentences on the quizzes.

The midterm will cover material from the first half of the course. The final will be cumulative, covering material from the entire semester. Optional review sessions for the final will be scheduled during the reading period.

Grading:

  • Homework: 30% (2 lowest homework grades dropped)
  • Class participation: 20%
  • 10 Quizzes: 20% (lowest quiz grade dropped)
  • Midterm (October 22nd or 23rd): 10%
  • Final exam (Dec 19th for Section 1 and Dec 20th for Section 2): 20%
  • Attendance: The semester includes 40 days of class (excluding the midterm). Each student will be allowed 2 free absences. Each additional unexcused absence will result in deduction of 1 percentage point from the student’s final grade. Notify me in advance if you need to be excused from a class. I reserve the right to treat unexcused lateness as an unexcused absence: do not be late!

General Advice:

  • There is no better way to learn vocabulary quickly than with flash cards. Make your own or order the suggested LaFleur and Tillery set. Ideally, you should carry them with you and practice with them during small chunks of time that open up during your day.

  • Contrary to popular belief, Latin is not an especially difficult language. It can be learned by any Skidmore student who is willing to work at it. However, Latin isn’t easy either, and sometimes the class will seem to move very fast. Some of the grammatical terms and concepts encountered in learning Latin may be new to some students. If you find yourself getting behind or having difficulty with any aspect of the material, it’s important to address this at once. Don’t hesitate to email me or see me outside of class with any questions or issues you may have. I am happy to schedule meetings with students individually or in groups to provide additional instruction or practice on particular topics.

  • Don’t wait until Monday night to begin memorizing vocabulary and paradigms for the next day’s quiz. Start memorizing as soon as a particular chapter is assigned. Continue to review old material throughout the semester. Likewise, try to not to wait until the night before a homework assignment is due to begin working on it.

  • Learn vocabulary and paradigms by saying the words out loud as well as by reading them on the page. This will not only help with pronunciation but will also make the words easier to remember.

  • It will be very useful to practice Latin on your own and there are plenty of available ways in which to do so. When you’re having trouble with the concepts in a new chapter, you may wish to try the Optional Self-Tutorial Exercises in the back of your textbook (pp. 356-395; answers on pp.396-434). There are also a number of on-line Latin exercises designed specifically for Wheelock’s Latin. You can find some of these in the Web Resources section of the Classics 110 web site.

  • For most people, the memorization involved in learning a new language can easily lead to boredom and frustration. One of the easiest ways to minimize these problems is to work with other students – quizzing each other on vocabulary and paradigms, working on the readings together, etc. All exercise translations must be your own work, but otherwise collaboration in encouraged!