Beginning Latin for College Students

(First Edition)
Charles Chamberlain
©2022, 410 pages

Paperback list price: $ 69.95

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Beginning Latin for College Students

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    Beginning Latin for College Students is the fruit of the author’s 40 years of teaching Latin in higher education. Clear, compact and concise, this book helps students progressively master grammatical concepts, acquire meaningful vocabulary, and begin to successfully read real Latin from Roman authors.

    All practice sentences, passages, and illustrative examples in the book are taken verbatim from over 150 primary works by 38 classical Roman authors. Students are transported back in time through this encounter with real Latin by real Romans writing about things humans have always cared about—life and death, love and betrayal, war and peace. This authentic material provides instructors the opportunity to bring the Roman world to life.

    The condensed number of carefully selected vocabulary words helps students build a strong foundation and complete exercises without being overwhelmed by excessive annotations or needing to consult a dictionary. Core vocabulary words are used multiple times throughout the book allowing students to see them in various permutations.

    Grammatical concepts are gradually introduced in clear, simple language over the course of 66 compact chapters—making it easier for college students to learn and enjoy Latin.

    Charles Chamberlain, Ph.D., retired as a lecturer from the University of California, San Diego. He received his graduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley. This book is the culmination of a lifetime of reading, studying, and teaching Latin.
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    Adopting instructors will receive a teacher's guide with short descriptions meant to help teachers and students by placing a sentence or passage in its original context.

    "Professor Chamberlain's Beginning Latin For College Students covers the college elementary Latin curriculum in 66 concise and clear chapters, composed of a single morphological or syntactical topic, vocabulary, and exercises. The tight focus of the chapters makes it possible to assign more than one for a class meeting, either in or out of sequence, as an instructor prefers. Paradigms and vocabulary are provided in chapters and at the end of the book, and all Latin comes directly from Ancient authors--notably, so do the English-to-Latin sentences in each chapter. I think that the book is well suited to any college-level introduction to Latin but that it will be particularly prized by teachers who value some room to improvise a bit in their presentation of the subject. This will also be an excellent text for an intensive or summer Latin course, for any Latin program that aims to move students on to reading courses as quickly as possible, or, I would add, for review and self-study by quondam students of Latin wishing to again pursue their passion. An excellent book, and I recommend it without reservation."

    Anthony T. Edwards
    Emeritus Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature
    University of California, San Diego

    “This new book is a gift for Latin teachers who are searching for a straightforward textbook that actually enables students to be able to read Latin authors after a year of instruction. This book, unlike many current Latin books, contains no images, no “fun” facts about Rome or Latin, no extended essays and especially no Latin sentences or passages written by contemporary Latinists – all of which tend to overwhelm students rather than intrigue them. Instead the book is a model of clarity which allows students to focus on the materials that they need to learn to master Latin and it does so by using only original Latin expertly and painstakingly culled from thirty-eight Latin authors, from Plautus to Augustine.

    Skillfully typeset, uncluttered, and visually appealing to the eye, each chapter typically treats just one topic and in a way that students can easily understand. These sixty-six short chapters, usually three to five pages long, begin with a brilliantly clear and concise introduction to the concept to be learned. Chamberlain has obviously honed his explanations from years of teaching Latin and they are exemplary – lucid and easily comprehended. Nor does he shy away from using I, you, and we pronouns so that students trust the author and his guidelines for learning. Following the adroit introduction are the following sections: Vocabulary, Practice Sentences, Latin to English Sentences, Glossed Latin to English Sentences, English to Latin Sentences, and beginning with Chapter 9, Passages. Each of the sections are short and help the students easily master the new concept while cementing past lessons. Every chapter follows the same format: the familiarity enables students to concentrate on their growing proficiency in reading Latin.

    The Vocabulary to be learned in each chapter typically ranges from seven to fourteen words, and students will have frequent repetitions of these words in subsequent chapters. Indeed, students will rarely have to use the dictionary, if they master the words in each chapter. All words that students have already learned are printed in bold in all the chapters to remind students that these are words they need to know.

    Starting in Chapter 6, Practice Sentences in Latin and English (with answers in the back) are provided to help students test whether they have understood the new concept. These sentences as well as all the Latin presented in the book, even the English to Latin exercises, are original Latin and the author and primary source are always cited in every exercise. The appendix lists every author and the one hundred and fifty titles which are the backbone of this textbook. Unlike Wheelock, the sentences and passages have been selected so carefully that even in the first chapter, the student will be able to read real Latin without annotation and with enjoyment. In the sections titled Glossed Latin to English Sentences and Passages, the glossed words are so few, and annotated so clearly, that the glosses do not overwhelm the student. Further, students will find all the sentences and passages not only illuminating but also never beyond their skills. In short, Chamberlain has provided college students and their teachers a Latin textbook which they will find effective, approachable and enlightening for they will have an encounter with the hearts and minds of ancient Romans as they master Latin structure and forms.”

    Catherine Freis
    Professor Emerita, Greek and Roman Studies
    Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi