This purchase includes:
• 2 hours 30 minutes of audio files teaching all the regular and most important irregular grammatical paradigms of:
- cardinal, ordinal, adverbial, and distributive numbers
• An Excel spreadsheet document with 23 sub-sheets treating these paradigms, used for tracking your progress to total memorization!
Professor William C. Dowling of Rutgers University publicized his method to learning Latin at this webpage two decades ago:
And I have adapted his method by using a strong emphasis on auditory and spoken input to increase the speed and permanence of memorization.
INTRODUCTION TO THE METHOD
“The problem with Latin is that you can study it for six years and still not be able to read a Latin sentence,” writes Professor Dowling.
William Dowling’s method is as simple as it is effective:
1) Understand the general idea of the grammatical cases and tenses of Latin.
2) Memorize all the regular and most important irregular grammatical paradigms of inflected nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
3) Read the book Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata: Familia Romana by Hans H. Ørberg.
Compared to other Latin language pedagogical techniques explored in the 21st century, which predominantly (and, I would like to affirm, correctly emphasize the need to treat the teaching of Latin like any other modern language), Stage 2 of the Dowling Method seems to be the most out-of-step with those more modern practices. I can understand the hesitation. Teachers around the world have embraced the speaking of Latin in the classroom, along with the extensive reading of texts, as the best way to attain literate fluency, and have eschewed unnecessary emphasis on grammar-translation. I have done the same, and as a fluent speaker of Latin I guanantee that the ability to speak Latin is necessary to true reading fluency, as documented by Dr. Randall Buth.
So why would I advocate a method that requires the memorization of grammatical paradigms? Because it worked.
The central stage of the Dowling Method is the memorization of the grammatical paradigms. How is this accomplished? Professor Dowling prescribes that you transcribe each of them, by hand — 100-200 times. I did this, over the course of two weeks in June 2005. I was ecstatic by how effective this was, and I praised the Dowling Method on the TextKit forum for Classics studies under my old pseudonym Lucus Eques; it seems at some point Professor Dowling must have happened upon my recommendation on TextKit and added it to the bottom of his webpage years later, which is very gratifying to see!
However, when I first began my study of Latin in earnest in 2005 by employing the William Dowling’s method, I added steps to his process, and have adapted the Dowling Method into a doctrine of my own that I have used with great success both autodidactically and with students over the years.
Here are the stages I recommend:
1) Understand the general idea of the grammatical cases and tenses of Latin. (This is the same as the standard Dowling Method.)
2) Memorize all the regular and most important irregular grammatical paradigms of inflected nouns, adjectives, and verbs in the following manner:
a. Write out a given paradigm by hand while pronouncing the words aloud, so that you can look away from the page and recite the whole paradigm from memory (the paradigm is now in short-term memory); then:
b. Repeat the paradigm aloud to yourself, marking each correct repetition on a scorecard to keep track, at least 100 times.
c. Utilize the attached audio recordings to teach and prompt you to recall the inflected forms.
3) Read the excellent Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata: Familia Romana, but while reading, listen to each chapter with the audio recordings I made at this playlist on YouTube (which emphasize Classical Latin pronunciation, particularly long/short vowel contrasts and syllable quantity, and being able to recite Latin in this manner is a necessary skill to appreciate Latin poetic meter as well as prose rhythm). You should also use the Alexander Arguelles “Shadowing” technique:
a. Listen to a chapter (or indeed the entire book!) while “Blind Shadowing” the audio: repeating every word you hear as you hear it without pausing the recording, mimicking intonation and pronunciation as precisely as you can.
b. Then later, shadow the text as you hear and read it at the same time in my YouTube videos — read aloud along with me at my pace without pausing the recording.
4) Transcribe each chapter of Familia Romana as you work through it, whether by hand or by typing. While transcribing, the auditory and spoken component is essential:
a. As you listen to my recording of a given chapter, hold as long a phrase as you can in your short-term memory; then pause the audio playback; say that phrase aloud to confirm you remember it; finally, write that phrase down. You may write by hand or by typing.
b. Accomplish the exercises that accompany each chapter.
And this is what I call the Ranieri-Dowling Method. It could be employed in part or in toto, and it may work for some people and not for others. I personally vouch for its effectiveness, and I hope you can soon boast the same.
HOW TO USE THE ACCOMPANYING MATERIALS
Your purchase includes an Excel spreadsheet of all the regular and a few important irregular grammatical paradigms, as well as audio recordings of each of these tables. These are your Stage 2 (see above) training materials and scorecard. As this is the most difficult and perhaps most critical stage, I have endeavored to make this part of the process as easy as possible for you, and conceive that you might best proceed in this fashion:
1) Listen to the accompanying audio for a given paradigm while reading it on the spreadsheet. (I recommend you memorize first nouns, then adjectives, then pronouns, and finally verbs, but you may prefer a different order.)
2) Transcribe the paradigm at least once. Get the paradigm into your short-term memory so that you can recite it aloud without looking at the page.
a. For more complex systems like verbs, I call a “paradigm” just the Present Active Indicative or Imperfect Passive Subjunctive, for example, not the full conjugation of the verb in all tenses, voices, and moods — eventually you do want to be able to recall the entire table of a single verb from memory, but start out in smaller chunks and work your way through the verb gradually.
3) Count this as your first sucessful repetition (repetitions do not count until the whole paradigm is in short-term memory, as I explain in my book Ranieri Reverse Recall). Use the side column in the corresponding sheet of the Excel document to track your repetitions. I recommend 100 times for each paradigm.
4) Listen to the audio for the paradigm, and repeat each inflected form aloud (this does not count as a repetition on your scorecard yet); you may do this while reading the table. When you listen to the paradigm again, do not look at the table, and try to say each inflected form before you hear it. If you do so correctly, you can count that as a successful repetition.
a. Audio applications like Apple’s Music application (formally called iTunes) track how many times you have listened to a certain audio file on the computer and also tied with those files synchronized to your phone. Take advantage of this automatic tracking to help you fill out your scorecard spreadsheet when you’re away from your computer, such as if you do your memorization training while commuting or walking/jogging/biking etc.
b. Although auditory input in strongly emphasized in the Ranieri-Dowling Method, you may of course write the paradigms by hand or by typing (if you can do so from memory) to count additional repetitions. Just be sure to say the words aloud as you are writing them.
This is an intense way to learn Latin, and it has brought success to many the world over. I hope you find the spreadsheet and audio files I prepared for you useful in your journey to mastering the Latin language. Thank you again for your purchase, and if you like this program, tell your friends and please share the link to my audiobooks store. Cūrā ut valeās!