Making Each Day A Latin Day

I’ve spoken before about not missing a single day with your Latin studies, but let’s be honest, it’s not always that simple. Life gets in the way; we have work emergencies, family emergencies, we sleep in or go to bed too late; we take up a new hobby, or we baulk at the thought of forcing ourselves into a study routine. Whatever the reason, there are always some days we just can’t (or, let’s be honest, simply can’t be bothered) doing any Latin study.

So what happens then? Do we just give up?

Well, if we know we’ll be coming back to it the next day, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a rest day! And if you only get days like this every once in a month of Sundays, that’s not a worry. But if you’re anything like me, you get those days a lot…

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Awkward…

But don’t worry, there’s a way to get your Latin practice in without taking a single second out of your day. Sound interesting? It is. It’s a game I like to call ‘Latin for Everywhere’, and the name pretty much says it all: it’s like the Swiss army knife of language learning, you can take it with you everywhere you go.

The game starts with the Name It phase:

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As you can see, this doesn’t require any time outside your day (except for the original looking up of the words), but it has a huge effect on making the language instinctive and natural, while drilling you on the vocabulary for things you encounter every day. And it basically has no end, as you can keep adding things til the sky falls on our heads if you like! The beauty of this approach is that it’s not just a placation tool to make you feel better, because you really are learning and practising your Latin, even if it is just with simple sentences.

This technique of incorporating everyday experiences is not a new one. The famous ‘in 10 minutes a day series’ puts a big emphasis on this approach, providing stickers and magnets to put around the house to practise naming things as you see them, and the famous Dutch classicist, Erasmus, advocated pasting quotes of Latin sayings or sentences that incorporate the object on which it’s pasted (like ‘tabula rasa’ on your iPad, though I don’t think he used that example…). That’s a little more advanced, but it shows that the benefits don’t end with learning the names: it also has endless scope far beyond just naming, as you can build on this for describing, questioning, and many other ‘ings’. But more on that in another post…