Department of Greek & Latin


Participants, format, and aims

This project aimed to provide a foundation for Latin students and enthusiasts across disciplines to cultivate a new mode of connection with their curriculum: an active engagement with Latin language that can foster development of linguistic skills, and can allow for a more nuanced understanding of the language's relationship to aspects of ancient Roman cultural identity. The workshop encouraged students to bridge study of ancient cultures with contemporary cultural experience by communicating their own ideas in Latin, which is usually taught through comparatively passive absorption of set texts for translation into English.

The workshop attracted 20 participants from a variety of backgrounds: academics, students, schoolteachers, and several retirees who had come back to studies in Latin very recently. Motivations for attending the workshop cited on our feedback questionnaire included: 'To improve my level of Latin, and engage more with the language'; 'To see if "Living Latin" can provide more exciting ways of teaching Latin'; and 'I think it is very important to promote active fluency in Latin in order to improve the standards of language knowledge across the board (students & teachers)'. It was a great benefit for us to welcome such a diverse audience, as it allowed us to have rich discussions about conventional Latin teaching methods, and the potential for the growth of immersive initiatives in formal and informal pedagogical settings.

This two-day immersive workshop combined elements of Latin composition and conversation, and discussion in English: evaluating immersive Latin currently used in teaching and research; writing dialogues on varied themes; applying Latin speaking skills to cooperative games; and discussing short passages of Latin literature in Latin. Participants were thus provided with a foundational set of immersive methods for enhancing their grammar and translation skills and enriching their insight into the Roman cultural perspective.

Our Latinists hard at work!.jpeg

Our Latinists hard at work!

Before we introduced our series of activities in using Latin as a living language, we emphasized that our main objective was not to achieve perfect pronunciation, perfect grammatical constructions, or perfect precision in vocabulary usage. Rather, our goal was to experiment with generating our own ideas and utterances in Latin, and to discuss the pedagogical tools that best aid this process. Indeed, throughout the course of the workshop, participants were eager to speak to the benefits, challenges, and ethics (is it cultural misappropriation? Should we use neologisms and otherwise attempt to discuss modern inventions, cultural phenomena in Latin?) embodied in the active use of Latin today.