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Baby Steps Toward the Inclusion Of Spoken Latin In the Classroom

You dont have to move suddenly to a Latin-only classroom!
Consider incorporating these practices one at a time.
Begin and end every class session in Latin.
o basic greetings: salve(te), vale(te)
o basic questions: quid agi(ti)s?, ut vale(ti)s?, quomodo te habes? etc.
o the date: Hodie est Dies _____. Est dies _____ mensis ______.
Teach and use the two big safety net phrases.
o quid significat ____? (for a Latin word)
o quomodo dicitur ____? (for an English word)
Require that students ask you for help in Latin.
(They could then pose the question in English.)
o aliquid rogare volo.
o iterum, quaeso.
o non intellego.

o exspecta parumper.
o egeo auxilio.

Require that students ask for permission to leave the classroom in Latin.

licetne mihi ire ad latrinam?

licetne mihi ire ad fonticulum?
licetne mihi ire ad nosocomam?
licetne mihi ire ad armariolum?
licetne mihi ire ad praetorium?

Teach and use basic hand signs. This allows students to communicate needs or even
ideas without resorting to English or interrupting the flow of the class. You can
make up signs on your own or with students, or you can use ASL, for which there is
a dictionary at www.aslpro.com .

slow down

Teach and use classroom instructions in Latin. Reward students who follow
your commands first. (Dont underestimate the power of a smile, a hand
touching their desk, and/or a quiet bene factum! If you dont have teenagers
at home, you may not be aware of how much they value these small gestures.)
o depromite calamos,
chartas, graphides, etc.
o aperite libros
(ad paginam quartum)
o legite


deponite omnia

Teach Latin interjections. Get the students to react with them too.
(Fun sounds always catch their interest.)
of praise: macte! bene/optime (factum/dictum/scriptum/pictum/lectum)!
of dismay: eheu! vae! malum!
of disbelief/disgust: nugae! quisquiliae! fu!
of abuse: abi in malam rem! i ad inferos! caudex! pestis! . . .
generic/of shock: heus! (me)herc(u)le! edepol! di immortales! attat!
papae! quidnam inferorum?
o if you dont mind using English idioms with Latin words, you and your
students can devise expressions such as excrementum (sacrum, bubulum,
etc.), morde me, lege inter lineas (while holding up fingers), etc. N.B.
stercus is a term of abuse referring to a person, not the interjection s***,
which is best expressed simply by malum.

Ask Latin comprehension questions about texts. This activity is easy to script:
Teachers can write questions in advance and students can use the language of the text itself in
their answers. You may be using a textbook series for which Latin comprehension questions
are already available, e.g., Cambridge Latin Course, Ecce Romani, or Lingua Latina Per Se
Illustrata. If not, simply focus on the classic quid, quid, quae, cur, ubi, quot, qualis, etc. It
can be helpful to have these words on the wall with English translations and point to them
when asking questions.

Make a note of words or phrases you or students frequently find yourselves using or
wanting to use, find out how to say them in Latin (using a dictionary or a listserv such as
latinbestpractices or the Rusticatio alumni list), and begin using them in Latin. You might
have an official place in the room where such phrases are written by you or by a student.