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WHY ORAL LATIN?

By Susan Thornton Rasmussen
The Paideia Institute


Should all students and scholars of Latin use an oral approach? This increasingly common question is important as we consider whether we as teachers are utilizing the best possible methods for our purpose—whether that purpose be overall linguistic competence, or strictly the ability to read canonical texts. Five motivations for the use of oral Latin by teachers and students of any level are described: deepening the understanding of Latin, developing fluency in reading, offering variety for students of different learning styles, historical success of the method, and motivating learners. This paper delineates these motivations and explores to what extent oral Latin is effective for each.

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