Review by: Daitz - November 1, 2007
"...excellent pronunciation and interpretation; the continuous passages are done in a lively, imaginative style. Teachers and students will be grateful for many generations."
Professor of Classical Languages Emeritus,
City University of New York
Review by: Vicki Wine, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers - January 9, 2006
The Sounds of Wheelock’s Latin
by Vicki Wine
Bolchazy-Carducci’s newest resource for Latin teachers is a 4-CD audio package of Latin passages from Wheelock’s Latin.
For each chapter, Mark Robert Miner recites first the paradigms, then the vocabulary (in all the Latin forms), then Sentetiae Antiquae, finishing with the reading passages. Selections from the Loci Antiqui and Loci Immutati at the end of the book are also included.
Teachers will want to incorporate this recording into their classroom lessons. Many teachers will also find it useful to require or recommend that their students purchase the material for their own use as well.
Why the CDs Are Needed
The section on pronunciation at the beginning is helpful in itself. It is from the book, but having the explanation while being able to hear the sounds of restored Classical Latin is obviously more effective. Some of the pronunciation has been updated since many of us learned it, so it is instructive to hear how someone with considerable experience is able to speak fluently while nasalizing, trilling, observing vowel length and syllable stress, and using appropriate expression.
These recordings provide a rare opportunity to hear spoken Latin. The Latin is pronounced accurately and expressively. Listening to the sentences and passages, which are spoken at a normal speaking rate, provides practice in aural comprehension, while also reinforcing correct pronunciation. Teachers who have taught Wheelock’s Latin a lot will be able to recognize their favorite sentences. Those not familiar with the text will enjoy hearing sentences based on real authors, as if listening to a native speaker. Listening to spoken Latin is good review and practice for the teacher as well as for the student.
Where and When to Use the CDs
In the classroom, these recordings provide a productive activity when having a substitute who doesn’t know Latin, but Latin teachers will delight in the many possibilities for using spoken Latin when they’re in the classroom, too.
Using the recordings is a good way to let students hear another voice pronouncing Latin accurately and clearly. Since the most recent rules for pronunciation are used, the teacher may find that the speaker’s vocalization of nasal sounds and “gn” differ from what he or she has been used to. The normal rate of reading, with appropriate stress and expression, lets the listener feel as if he or she is listening to a real language.
The CDs can be used with classes using the Wheelock text as well as with high school or college classes not familiar with the text. There are many ways to use them to provide good practice with aural comprehension.
? The desired paradigms can be selected and used by themselves. Students can listen for the change in endings.
? Hearing unfamiliar vocabulary is good practice for dictation, since it helps students listen for the sounds and practice consistent spelling.
? The recitation of the vocabulary can be played for dictation for a vocabulary quiz. The vocabulary words are spoken slowly enough that students can be asked to write them (spelling them) or give the English meaning.
? The sentences can be used for dictation practice. If the class has already studied them, the familiar material can be used for review and practice. Since the sentences are read at a normal reading rate and thus too quickly for anyone to be able to write them down as they are spoken, listening demands comprehension and familiarity with the sentences, vocabulary, and grammar being studied. Sentences or passages the class isn’t familiar with can also be used for dictation practice. It will give the students practice in recognizing vocabulary, endings, and the spelling of words they hear even if they don’t know them or remember them. The recording could be repeated once or twice to allow the students to keep listening for what they weren’t sure of the first time. Questions can be used in substitution for the dictation: “Is antiquae used as a nominative, genitive, or dative?” “Why is puerum in the accusative?”
? There are several other ways aural comprehension can be practiced. The teacher can provide English translations of several sentences and ask the students to identify them by number when the students hear the sentences read.
? Or, the teacher can write out the Latin sentence with some words or endings missing and ask the student to fill in the blanks as they hear the Latin sentences.
? For case recognition and review, the teacher can play ten sentences or so, asking students to note all the words in the accusative that they hear. This can be started with first declension, and continued as each declension is added. Focusing on the “–m” and “-s” endings will help the listener practice to distinguish them from genitive plural “–m” endings and “–am” future endings on verbs.
? The Antiqui and Immutati passages can be used even before the students have finished studying all the grammar. The teacher can ask the students to listen (instead of reading) for comprehension, perhaps while writing down sounds of words, phrases, or endings that they heard, and then discuss the impression of what they think the passage might be about.
? Students can listen to the Catilinarian excerpts for a sense of the drama and stylistic effects.
Listening to spoken Latin is an especially helpful technique for the auditory learners in class, but it adds a helpful dimension to the visual learners who may be so focused on what Latin looks like that they forget to appreciate its sounds, or hear what the sounds are saying. If students are asked to write what they hear (some familiar sentences and some new ones) once a week over the course of a semester, I think everyone will be pleased to find that this becomes easier after a few weeks, as the students develop their listening skills.
Many teachers will find it useful to have their students purchase their own copies of these recordings for review and practice outside the classroom. The auditory learners will be grateful for the opportunity to hear their lessons in place of having always to read them. The audio capabilities allow the students to be listening to the paradigms or sentences while walking or doing something not conducive to studying while sitting at a desk. The student can use the CDs for reinforcement of pronunciation, vocabulary, and memorization of the sententiae, since the sententiae explain the grammar, clarify it, and facilitate learning it. The ancient sentences provide the student with food for thought, as well. If the teacher assigns the students to listen to the sentences or passages in a certain chapter, the students can listen while looking at their book, and then come to class and be tested on their comprehension without looking at the book.
The speaker on the CD makes the point in the introduction that each daily Latin class should expose the students to all four forms of communication: speaking, listening, writing, and reading. This is a new four-fold emphasis for many Latin teachers, but this CD can help make it work. I think both students and teachers will be surprised how listening and practicing dictation will show improvement in aural comprehension over the course of several weeks.
Teachers will find it useful to have their students buy their own copies of these recordings for review and practice outside the classroom.
? The auditory learners will be grateful for the opportunity to hear their lessons in place of having always to read them.
? The audio capabilities allow the students to be listening to the grammar or sentences while walking or doing something not conducive to studying while sitting at a desk.
? The student can use the CDs for reinforcement of pronunciations, vocabulary, and memorization of the sententiae, since the sententiae explain the grammar, clarify it, and facilitate learning it.
The Sententiae Antiquae provide the student with food for thought, as well.