Learn Latin via Aesop's Fables

How Did This Begin?

“When my wife asked me to teach our children Latin during the summer of 2014, I agreed and opened up the class to the public at Pioneer Book in Provo, Utah. Thus was born Learn Latin via Aesop’s FablesTM. The class started face-to- face and moved online when it outgrew the workspace available at Pioneer Book and participants from out of state asked to join us.”

—Christopher Hurtado

On the Methodology

“I have been learning languages since I was a boy and have varying degrees of fluency in a multiple languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Greek, Latin, German and Hebrew.

“I do not encourage the conventional way of learning languages. It overemphasizes grammar at the expense of natural language, making language learning harder than it needs to be. I’m not the first one to think this. In 1692, in his Some Thoughts Concerning Education, John Locke wrote:

[take] some easy and pleasant book, such as Aesop’s Fables, and writing the English translation (made as literal as it can be) in one line, and the Latin words which answer each of them, just over it in another.

“This is how I teach.”

—Christopher Hurtado

How Does It Work?

Instructor-Led reading

Class meets online twice a week for 30 minutes. On the first day of, we look at the text of a new fable and either remember or guess at words that look familiar. We then read the fable out loud for pronunciation.

Interlinear translation

In between classes, students use handouts with glosses for all the words in the fable to verify their remembrances or guesses and translate interlinearly.

Old-fashioned Copywork

In between classes, students copy the fable to help them begin to memorize it.

Old-fashioned Dictation

In between classes, students take down the fable by dictation to further engrain the fable.

Ancient Art of Memory

Students memorize the fable with assistance from memory techniques dating back to antiquity. There is no memorization of lists of noun declensions, verb conjugations, or vocabulary words, out of context.

Instructor-led reading

On the second day of class, the instructor leads the class through another reading of the fable. Interlinear translation

The instructor leads the class through interlinearly and literally translating the fable, explaining figures of speech, turns of phrase, etcetera.

Narration

The students narrate the fable in their own words, indicating the moral the fable teaches.

Recitation

Each week, students recite out loud from memory the fable studied the week before.

What is the Duration?

Because of the unique methodology, the class is designed such that students can participate as frequently or infrequently as they like. The course has no set beginning or end and each lesson is self-contained.

It is not the goal of the class that by the end of so many lessons, students will know x number of vocabulary words or y grammar concepts.

The class is designed to expose students to actual Latin texts (as opposed to the constructed language used in conventional language learning) and whatever grammar happens to show up.

Over time, students will absorb vocabulary and grammar naturally through repeated exposure as they did in their native language.

Locke on the Methodology

“These let him read every day over and over again, till he perfectly understands the Latin; and then go on to another fable, till he be also perfect in that, not omitting what he is already perfect in, but sometimes reviewing that, to keep it in his memory.” ― John Locke in Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1692

Who Can Participate?

The class is intended for all ages, though only strong independent readers will be able to participate on their own. Children who are not reading independently may be able to participate with parental assistance.

Instructor Biography

Christopher Hurtado is President and CEO of Linguistic Solutions. He is also Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy and Political Science at Utah Valley University, Liberal Arts and

Natural Law at Monticello College, and Composition and Rhetoric at Salt Lake Community College.

Christopher has been learning and teaching languages for more than forty years. He has varying degrees of fluency in a multiple languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Greek, Latin, German and Hebrew. He is also coauthor of Vacation Spanish: A Survival Guide for Mexico, the Caribbean, Central & South America.

Tuition and Materials:

Only $30 per month per household.

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