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Living Classical Languages Society

How about trying out an exciting way of learning and fully absorbing Latin or Greek or Akkadian? Living Classical Languages is all about enjoying our languages by speaking them – or trying to!

SALVÉTE! XAÍPETE! LŪ ŠULMUM! Lingua et Latina et Græca et Accadia ad genus humanum pertinent omnes. Nos discipuli, emeriti, magistri, operarii, professores, studiosi sumus, prorsus: homines omne genus, sed omnes hanc in societatem convenímus, quá nos linguis Latinæ et Græcæ et Accadiæ loquendis damus. Vos omnes, sive earum linguarum jam expertos sive minus, ut ad societatem nostram accedatis invitamus. Expectate ludos jucundiores, comitatem inter socios, studiorum denique gaudia!

Welcome to Living Classical Languages. Whether you want to begin learning the classical languages (Latin, Greek, Akkadian), or you already know them to any level, with us your fluency will soar as you practise expressing yourself in the languages, meet lots of like-minded Latinists, Hellenists, Akkadologists, and certainly have loads of fun. Our sessions are free and open to all, including students from other universities and non-students, so why not give it a try?

Who we are

We are a group of students, researchers and language enthusiasts seeking to cultivate the active use of perennial Latin, classical Greek, ancient Akkadian. Established in 2017 following the success of the first UCL Living Latin Workshop, led by Dr Emily Chow-Kambitsch, UCL Living Latin, then Living Latin & Greek, and now Living Classical Languages, provides a space to actively learn and practise the fascinating languages we are devoted to.

What we do

We facilitate free living classical languages instruction with the communicative approach at various levels, from complete beginners to advanced, and particularly those who have no previous experience speaking it. In addition to our weekly sessions in the different languages, we organise Latin seminars which offer an opportunity for us to deeply engage with Latin authors of all periods as we discuss their literature directly in Latin, and an annual two-day Living Classical Languages Workshop in the summer. We are open to everyone!

For details on specific programmes, please refer to the fold-out sections below. For online classes, each week we shall send you a link to join the session.  If you are interested in any of our classes, please contact the facilitator(s) of the session(s) indicating which one you would like to join and that you would like to be added to our mailing list.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at ucllivinglatin@gmail.com. You can also find us on twitter @UCLlivinglatin, and online here.

Why we do it

We know from research on second-language acquisition in general and for our languages in particular [cf. Lloyd & Hunt (edd.), Communicative Approaches for Ancient Languages (2021)], and indeed from our very personal experience, that actively engaging with and immersing ourselves in Latin or Greek or Akkadian, just as we do with the other modern languages we learn, enables us to develop a greater mastery of those languages, as well as the ability to read, not just translate, their literature with much greater ease. We can thus cultivate a deeper appreciation for that literature and even engage with the scholarship and commentary produced across the ages directly in those languages as we likewise discuss the texts in the very languages in which they were written. The absorption and degree of acquisition of the languages that active mastery ensures is also a guarantee that we will never now forget them and grow unable to access them for the rest of our lives.

We are a community of like-minded people who all share an interest in Classical Languages, and, whether that be for academic reasons, or to access the wealth of their perennial literature, or because we simply find enjoyment in expressing ourselves in the languages we love, find tremendous joy speaking Latin and Greek and Akkadian in the friendly company of each other.

Come and join us!

In-person sessions will be held in room G09, Gordon House, 29 Gordon Square, London  WC1H 0PP.

Beginners Latin (in-person): Mondays, 6–8 pm 

These classes are open to complete beginners and those with some knowledge of Latin but little experience of speaking Latin. We shall work our way through Ørberg’s Familia Romana and engage in interactive activities to immerse you in Latin.

Contact: Luca 

 

Reading and Speaking Latin Intermediate (online): Thursdays, 5.30–6.30 pm 

In these online sessions, we shall be reading and discussing a variety of texts ranging from Plautus to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (in neo-Latin!). We shall aim to explain the Latin in Latin and to discuss the contents, while also ensuring we have time for some general conversations not only to improve our spoken Latin, but also to meet some wonderful people!

Contact: Calendula 

 

Speaking Greek Beginners (in-person): Tuesdays, 6–7 pm 

This initiative is intended for complete beginners or those with some knowledge of classical Greek but who have never explored speaking in that idiom before. We apply the communicative approach to start absorbing vocabulary and grammar completely from scratch. We use the Italian version of Athénaze (Part I) which has been adapted along the same lines of the Familia Romana we use for Latin for the purposes of learning the language in a fully immersive mode. Everyone is welcome! 

Contact: Ἄϊτος 

Speaking Greek Intermediate (in-person): Tuesdays, 7 pm onwards 

This initiative consists of convivial sessions held at a suitable local pub for people with some modicum of experience of speaking classical Greek to develop their fluency in a completely free and informal setting. Useful reference books are placed in the centre of the table and the conversation allowed to flow in the direction participants want to take it. Participants in the preceding Beginners sessions are of course invited to attend, either to just listen or to start taking their first steps in spontaneous conversation, and likewise for any other interested parties. Everyone is welcome!  

Contact: Ἄϊτος 

Speaking Akkadian (in-person): Wednesdays, 6–8 pm 

This initiative is open to complete beginners and to those with previous knowledge of Akkadian alike. We will apply the communicative approach to fully familiarise ourselves with a working vocabulary and the core of the grammar of Akkadian. We will use Huehnergard, A Grammar of Akkadian, as our guide, with Caplice, Introduction to Akkadian, by the side, starting from their Lesson 1, but adapting it all to the needs of conversational practice. The cuneiform script will also be introduced for writing from the start. 

Contact: Awīṭ [mailto: aggfvavitus@yahoo.co.uk] 

Speaking Latin Intermediate (online): term 2, once a week, time and day TBC 

This year sees the return of this exciting and very practical course in speaking Latin! Anyone with at least some basic knowledge of Latin is welcome to attend. Although the class will primarily be practical and in Latin, you do not need to have any experience speaking Latin, but a willingness to try! There will be small group exercises and tasks based loosely around excerpts of the first chapter of Ludvig Holberg’s Niels Klim’s Underground Travels – a science fiction and political satire novel published in Latin in 1741. 

Contact: Matthæus