Latin Line by Line

Like many who teach themselves Latin, I had a rough transition from completing beginner exercises to reading Latin texts at length. Unlike lessons in Wheelock’s, Latin texts do not advertise which grammatical construction or case usage the reader needs to be prepared for at any given time. New vocabulary is not always introduced at a measured pace, and sentence complexity often runs well beyond the minimum necessary to showcase a new construction. Thus, Latin texts can be overwhelming. 

My solution is Latin line by line. Unlike haphazard commentaries and reader’s guides, my line by line posts comment on every feature of the texts I cover. The focus is on syntax, the way phrases are related in a sentence. Syntax is the greatest challenge for intermediate students that have memorized massive morphology tables but applied them only to simplistic sentence structures.

You can do vocabulary yourself. I will not be providing vocabulary, except for unusual cases or when I want to emphasize the types of constructions a word can take. Anyone with an internet connection (anyone reading this blog) has access to great vocabulary resources, listed at the bottom of this page.

I choose texts based on my interest and on reader interest. If you follow my blog for a while and want to suggest a text, feel free. The closer your selection conforms to my own interests and the more credit you accrue by interacting on the blog, the better chance that I will accept it. That said, my interests in Latin are fairly broad. I tend toward prose rather than poetry and have a special concern for theological and early modern texts.

Your questions and corrections are welcome. Even when I think I’ve explained everything in detail, I may still miss some details. Let me know. Also, I am still improving my own Latin skills. If I err, correct me, please. The more collaborative this enterprise becomes, the more useful it will be to everyone.

Latin vocab helps:

Perseus search tools – play around a bit, you’ll get it

Whitaker’s Words or Interpres (Mac) – great quick parsing/vocab problem, but sometimes you need a more sophisticated lexicon for syntax or for more clear distinctions between meanings

Forcellini Lexicon (in Latin!) – best easily accessible lexicon for serious intermediate and advanced Latinists

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