Lost in the Shuffle: Rhythmic Fluency

So much of this blog is CI-centered, but there’s a neglected tab on the navigator bar devoted to what I’ve called Rhythmic Fluency. Since I’m now teaching Latin IV (Ovid & Catullus), I’ve gone back to my rhythmic roots, and am seeing the power of those earlier metrical resources combined with my classes now containing more comprehensible Latin. Pīsō Ille Poētulus (already greatly improved since sharing a couple weeks ago) includes 22 lines of original dactylic hexameter using a limited vocabulary, thus increasing its comprehensibility potential. It is scheduled for November publication so you can brush up on your rhythmic fluency beforehand by listening to the dactylic hexameter audio files, and be prepared to read Pīsō with your students in a more compelling way by actually focusing on the meter using a resource they can hear and recite along with!

In addition to that audio, of particular interest and effectiveness is Lingua Latīna, the Latin Poetry Rhythm Card GameIf you noticed, the title of the game represents the traditional 5th  & 6th foot of dactylic hexameter (i.e. — u u — —). The point of the game is to run out of cards by playing 2-3 words that form the very same rhythm of the phrase, Lingua Latīna.

I’ll be using this game throughout the year. A good way to use it would be to treat it exactly like you would a game of VERBA, either whole class first then in small groups so you can monitor, or as just one of several station options.


How I was WRONG about “practicing” a language.

Despite holding a B.A. in Classics, it wasn’t too long ago that I failed to read Latin with any remote sense of fluency. I’m not being self-destructive either, that’s just an accurate statement. This is unsurprising since my experience was mostly translation-based (just like nearly every other Classical language learner), and we had very little time to read anything, much less for enjoyment. That all changed in 2010 when I stumbled upon Oerberg’s Lingua Latīna, the Latin textbook written entirely in Latin. I vividly remember exclaiming to Ken Kitchell about how I had just read more Latin in those 35 chapters over the course of a month than I did with him over the course of my entire undergraduate study! I hope he was not offended. Is Lingua Latīna high-level literature? No, but my translation speed of the classical canon wasn’t exactly anything to tout, either. So if Lingua Latīna wasn’t the best work of Golden Age Latin literature, what was it?

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