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Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, Pars I: Familia Romana

by Hans Henning Ørberg

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Although when one starts to work one's way through this Latin grammar and reader, it will seem like the Latin equivalent of "Dick and Jane" at first, this is by far the best introduction to Latin I've ever encountered. Orberg employs the Direct, or Natural Method of language instruction. Lingua Latina is entirely written in Latin. As the subtitle, "per se illustrata," states, this is Latin explained through itself. Through constant repetition, rephrasing, and the graduated addition of new and more complex grammar and vocabulary the student is immersed step by step in Latin. From the start you find yourself actually reading and understanding Latin without first having to translate the text into your native language, and without having first to memorize daunting paradigms of noun, pronoun, and adjective declensions and verb conjugations. You're having so much fun being able to understand Latin right from the get-go, you don't mind the "See Spot Run" simplicity of the first stories. The difference in using Orberg vs. traditional Latin grammars is the difference between reading with understanding right from the start and painstakingly decoding, as amother reviewer put it.

Most of the entertaining, simple stories, that Orberg wrote himself, center around a well-off Roman family and their household slaves. Through the adventures of the members of this household the reader is introduced to Roman life and culture, at least as Orberg understood it.

In addition to the stories, vocabulary and grammar are illuminated through notes (in Latin) and drawings in the margins. Each of the 35 chapters concludes with an easy to follow (Latin) explanation of the main grammar points introduced in the chapter, followed by three exercises. In the first, you just add the correct inflection to the words in the sentences; in the second, you add the correctly inflected words to the sentences; the third exercise is a series of questions about the story, that you answer by formulating your own Latin sentences. When you run into difficulty in completing the exercises, you learn what you don't know, and you can then go back and look up what you're confused about. These exercises can be done together with small groups of students in a classroom, or in a group of other Latin learners. In the back of the book are the usual, helpful paradigms of all the declensions and conjugations, the numerals, and all the vocabulary used in the text.

Start with this book if you want to learn Latin as painlessly as this difficult language can be learned. Orberg has also written a companion book of stories to those in the text, Colloquia Personarum. When you're ready to get into real Latin literature, Orberg has prepared a Pars II, which contains a graduated collection of classical Latin texts. ( )
1 vote williamsalzmann | Apr 9, 2013 |
Title: Lingua Latina per se illustrata :
pars 1: Familia romana /
Author(s): Oerberg, Hans H. 1920-2010. (Hans Henning),
Publication: [Grenaa, Dania] : Domus Latina ; Newburyport, MA ; Focus Pub. (distributor),
Edition: Focus ed.
Year: 2003, ©2005
Description: 328 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: Latin
Standard No: ISBN: 1585102016; 9781585102013
SUBJECT(S)
Descriptor: Latin language -- Readers.
Class Descriptors: LC: PA2095 .O4724 2003; Dewey: 478.6
Other Titles: Familia romana.; Lingva Latina per se illvstrata.
Responsibility: Hans H. Ørberg.
Vendor Info: Baker & Taylor (BKTY) 21.00 Status: active
Document Type: Book
Entry: 20061027
  fstravinskas | Dec 5, 2010 |
Absolutely excellent on all counts. One of the few Latin primers on the market that teaches the language as a language should be taught -- with the emphasis on extensive, coherent texts to read rather than arid paradigms to learn by heart. Naturally no language -- and especially not a language with as much grammatical complexity as Latin -- can be mastered without putting in one's fair share of rote learning, but this is one of the few texts that acknowledges, or even appears to care, that all such rote learning is not an end in itself, but a means to learn to read (and compose too, why not?) page after page of Latin and grasp their sense without having to translate them into one’s mother tongue.

Orberg’s text doesn’t contain a single word in any language other than Latin. This means that new vocabulary and grammatical constructions are explained by repetition, rephrasing, synonyms or antonyms, and illustration (the margins are liberally sprinkled with little explanatory drawings). As an added bonus, the text could be used without adaptation by teachers and students from any linguistic background, and they’ll enjoy it more and benefit more than from the average text that relies heavily on paradigms and translations. There’s just no excuse NOT to use a primer like this one, and Latin teachers everywhere and at all levels should take note.
2 vote Passer_Invenit | Jul 10, 2006 |
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Die XVII mensis Februarii anni MMX, noaginta iam annos natus, supremum vitae diem obiit Iohannes Henning Ørberg, qui ipse se Latine, et lepide quidem, Montaurium appellare solebat. Natus Grenae in Dania anno MCMXX, die XXI mensis Aprilis, cum sermonibus litterisque Latinis, Britannicis et Gallicis in Hauniensi Athenaeo studuisset coronamque lauream ibidem esset adeptus, ab Arturo M. Jensen, cive suo, arcessitus, in Instituto linguis iuxta naturae rationem tradendis muneris officium, quod ei commissum erat, egregie praestitit. Ibi vero, vestigiis illius W.H.D. Rouse aliquatenus insistens, consilium inivit easdem docendi rationes, quae in usu iampridem ad linguas recentiores impertiendas vigebant, aptatas induci posse ut sermo quoque Latinus efficaciter perdisceretur. [from Luigi Miraglia's "Montaurii memoriam summo colamus honore" (2010)]
Róma in Italiá est. Italia in Európá est. Graecia in Európá est. Italia et Graecia in Európá sunt. Hispánia quoque in Európá est. Hispánia et Italia et Graecia in Európá sunt. [from chapter 1, "IMPERIVM ROMANVM", of Hans Henning Ørberg's Lingua Latina per Se Illustrata, Pars I: Familia Romana (2011)]
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