Latin Audio: How to Listen to a Dead Language
For me the biggest rule of learning a language is: read, read, and read. But my second most important rule is to listen to the language as well, over and over.
The reading you do extensively, which means you don’t repeat (unless you’re super interested in re-reading, like maybe if you loved the story or loved a quote), you just keep reading new and interesting content. This is unequaled for increasing your vocabulary, your understanding of grammar, and your general comfort in the language.
But reading intensively, which means you listen to the same thing over and over, has a very strong place as well, because in my experience listening has an unparalleled ability to really settle the language into your mind and help make that shift from a passive understanding of the language (where you can recognise but not produce) to an active one.
Now when I say that the second most important rule of learning Latin is to listen, most people give me a strange look. I know, I know: how can you listen to a dead language, right? Well, the fact is there are many ways to get some good Latin audio for listening to this supposedly dead language.
The first, and bey far the simplest, way to get Latin audio is to make it yourself. This is frowned upon by some people because of fears that the beginner will pick up bad pronunciation habits, but since the purpose of this is to settle the language in your mind, it’s not such a problem - and it’s a very common technique in modern languages anyway, so it can’t be all that bad. But I’ll talk about that in another post.
Today I want to talk about the other ways you can get good Latin audio, through the myriad of available Latin audio already online (how dead can you get, right?).
So, here’s a list of some of the best available Latin audio online:
(Just want my best pick? Go here)
Latinitum has some very high quality of Latin audio and video available for free. You can also subscribe to their Patreon and get access to more.
There’s a good collection of Latin audiobooks at Priceless Audiobooks
Indwelling Language has a great collection of free Latin audio, including some of the letters of Seneca (one of my favourite Roman authors).
Musaeolum also has a great collection available for free.
Another fun option is to listen to the backlogs of the Finnish Latin news programme, Nuntii Latini . The show was sadly cancelled in 2019, but all the past episodes are available for free, including transcript.
So, which would I choose? They’re all pretty good, but my recommendation is Indwelling Language or Musaeolum. The reason for this is that the audio is good, it’s free, and, if you choose the right ones (like Seneca, hint hint…), then the recordings are also short, which is important for the kind of intensive reading I encourage.
And there’s the list! I hope it helps, and good luck with your Latin!