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Self-Learning Latin - what textbooks are recommended?

I just officially decided to start studying Latin, and am gathering resources for it. I have decided, for now, that it will not be for preparing for any examinations or qualifications, just as my own interest. Although I would still like to try the GCSE structure and gain some experience of independent learning, as to the extent of my knowledge, my school can scarcely provide any assistance in terms of my Latin-learning journey. I would be grateful for a very thorough overview of those resources, if you could spare the time and type it, not that you must. :')

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7319963

I want to ask of you kind people, if you have any experience or advice of learning Latin, can you dm/pm (whatever you call it) me, or post it in the link? I would greatly appreciate it.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 1
Would highly recommend Cambridge Latin course that’s the main one schools use and it helped me get an A*/9
Reply 2
For literature though I can’t remember which book we used but I think for prose it was Pliny or Aria or something like that and verse it was Virgils Aeneid
We used the Cambridge Latin Course books for GCSE, they've got a good online activity set too if you want to have a click around (including being able to read the stories and click on each word for vocab). I don't recall putting much effort into GCSE Latin beyond doing the assigned textbook work and I came out with an A*, so they must have been pretty good!
https://www.clc.cambridgescp.com/online-activities
https://www.clc.cambridgescp.com/Array/online-textbooks

Once we got to A level and focused on grammar more, we used John Taylor's "Latin Beyond GCSE", and if his GCSE book "Essential GCSE Latin" is like that then it should be pretty handy. We also used Andrew Leigh's "Latin Prose Composition" (not as much since none of us chose to do the prose composition section, but it was still good practice).

I can't recommend anything specific for literature since we just read the texts and discussed with our teachers for that, but it sounds like you might have more interest in the language side of it anyway.
Reply 4
Original post by Interea
We used the Cambridge Latin Course books for GCSE, they've got a good online activity set too if you want to have a click around (including being able to read the stories and click on each word for vocab). I don't recall putting much effort into GCSE Latin beyond doing the assigned textbook work and I came out with an A*, so they must have been pretty good!
https://www.clc.cambridgescp.com/online-activities
https://www.clc.cambridgescp.com/Array/online-textbooks

Once we got to A level and focused on grammar more, we used John Taylor's "Latin Beyond GCSE", and if his GCSE book "Essential GCSE Latin" is like that then it should be pretty handy. We also used Andrew Leigh's "Latin Prose Composition" (not as much since none of us chose to do the prose composition section, but it was still good practice).

I can't recommend anything specific for literature since we just read the texts and discussed with our teachers for that, but it sounds like you might have more interest in the language side of it anyway.

thank you : D I'll look them up!
Reply 5
Original post by Noiros
Would highly recommend Cambridge Latin course that’s the main one schools use and it helped me get an A*/9


thank you to you as well, I'm sure they must be quite good :')
Original post by Elffo
I just officially decided to start studying Latin, and am gathering resources for it. I have decided, for now, that it will not be for preparing for any examinations or qualifications, just as my own interest. Although I would still like to try the GCSE structure and gain some experience of independent learning, as to the extent of my knowledge, my school can scarcely provide any assistance in terms of my Latin-learning journey. I would be grateful for a very thorough overview of those resources, if you could spare the time and type it, not that you must. :')

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7319963

I want to ask of you kind people, if you have any experience or advice of learning Latin, can you dm/pm (whatever you cal it) me, or post it in the link? I would greatly appreciate it.

It always used to be Kennedy's Latin Primer as a first-stop. I imagine you can still buy it. :smile:
Given you're learning it for the sake of learning it rather than a specific exam format, it's probably ideal to make use of a variety of resources to effectively "triangulate" the methods and texts that work best for you.

That said Wheelock's Latin is the standard in the US for studying Latin and is used quite widely. Although GCSE specific I've heard the Latin to/beyond GCSE books are quite good. The textbook they used at UCL when I audited the first term Latin course there was Learn to Read Latin by Keller and Russell, which seemed OK although it's a giant, heavy book (and the pages are very thin which means it also has an annoying habit of "slouching" in the bookshelf...for the shelves I could actually fit it on in the first place). Another somewhat more GCSE aligned one is the aforementioned Cambridge Latin Course, which has the benefit of potentially being able to pay for tuition alongside the materials if you wish (or if you are still in school, they may be able to arrange for something through your school without you paying!).

Also while not something to learn from by itself and more a tool to use alongside another text, a friend of mine told me that Latin Lingua Per Se Illustrata is fantastic for developing your language abilities more intuitively so you are less translating from Latin into English in your head and more just recognising the words for what they are themselves. Same friend also has recommended to me Latin via Ovid since it introduces you to actual Latin texts very quickly and so there is less time spent reading constructed texts, so that might be well worth looking into (either for its own purpose or to supplement one of the more typical textbooks with some readings that are you know, actual Latin texts).

Caveat emptor I found Latin less engaging than other languages and thus haven't really utilised any of those that much personally (although do own several of them :redface:).
Reply 8
Original post by artful_lounger
Given you're learning it for the sake of learning it rather than a specific exam format, it's probably ideal to make use of a variety of resources to effectively "triangulate" the methods and texts that work best for you.

That said Wheelock's Latin is the standard in the US for studying Latin and is used quite widely. Although GCSE specific I've heard the Latin to/beyond GCSE books are quite good. The textbook they used at UCL when I audited the first term Latin course there was Learn to Read Latin by Keller and Russell, which seemed OK although it's a giant, heavy book (and the pages are very thin which means it also has an annoying habit of "slouching" in the bookshelf...for the shelves I could actually fit it on in the first place). Another somewhat more GCSE aligned one is the aforementioned Cambridge Latin Course, which has the benefit of potentially being able to pay for tuition alongside the materials if you wish (or if you are still in school, they may be able to arrange for something through your school without you paying!).

Also while not something to learn from by itself and more a tool to use alongside another text, a friend of mine told me that Latin Lingua Per Se Illustrata is fantastic for developing your language abilities more intuitively so you are less translating from Latin into English in your head and more just recognising the words for what they are themselves. Same friend also has recommended to me Latin via Ovid since it introduces you to actual Latin texts very quickly and so there is less time spent reading constructed texts, so that might be well worth looking into (either for its own purpose or to supplement one of the more typical textbooks with some readings that are you know, actual Latin texts).

Caveat emptor I found Latin less engaging than other languages and thus haven't really utilised any of those that much personally (although do own several of them :redface:).


well, thank you for your informative insight on these resources, I'm very grateful for so much information in one place :smile:
Reply 9
Original post by Reality Check
It always used to be Kennedy's Latin Primer as a first-stop. I imagine you can still buy it. :smile:


I'll still look it up, thanks!
Salve! First of all, that's awesome that you're decided to teach yourself Latin! It's so useful, contary to what many people seem to believe, and you'll really enjoy it!

I started to teach myself Latin at the end of year 10, and I'm currently doing the A Level course, (year 13,) although of course you don't have to do any qualifications if you don't want to.

I started to use the Cambridge Latin Course textbooks, a Latin teacher, who now teaches me, got in touvh with me, (my family knows her,) and she suggested using the John Taylor textbooks. I've certainly found them brilliant, because they cove all different stages of learning Latin, from beginners and upwards, and it want through the grammar at the right pace for me, although that might be different for you, I'm not sure. Also, they include a great balance of explainations of new information, practice sentences and longer passages, (which will be very useful when you start to do literature as well.)

I'll also attach a link to a website which is also very helpful for explaining grammar:
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/latin/stage-2-latin/lessons/lesson-13-imperfect-tense/

For vocab, it might be worth finding GCSE vocab lists, because it gives you a good amount of the right sort of vocab to learn.

Good luck! Have fun!
Reply 11
Original post by Ahsoka5!
Salve! First of all, that's awesome that you're decided to teach yourself Latin! It's so useful, contrary to what many people seem to believe, and you'll really enjoy it!

I started to teach myself Latin at the end of year 10, and I'm currently doing the A Level course, (year 13,) although of course you don't have to do any qualifications if you don't want to.

I started to use the Cambridge Latin Course textbooks, a Latin teacher, who now teaches me, got in touvh with me, (my family knows her,) and she suggested using the John Taylor textbooks. I've certainly found them brilliant, because they cove all different stages of learning Latin, from beginners and upwards, and it want through the grammar at the right pace for me, although that might be different for you, I'm not sure. Also, they include a great balance of explainations of new information, practice sentences and longer passages, (which will be very useful when you start to do literature as well.)

I'll also attach a link to a website which is also very helpful for explaining grammar:
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/latin/stage-2-latin/lessons/lesson-13-imperfect-tense/

For vocab, it might be worth finding GCSE vocab lists, because it gives you a good amount of the right sort of vocab to learn.

Good luck! Have fun!

thank you ^ ^ I was already looking up both sets and you gave me more reassurance to give them a go!
JOHN TAYLOR LATIN TO GCSE!!!!! Johnnnnn taylorrrr
Reply 13
Original post by aghihateitall
JOHN TAYLOR LATIN TO GCSE!!!!! Johnnnnn taylorrrr


lol thx for the advice, it's already on the list : D

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