Making Mars Speak Latin

If you’ve picked up your copy of Telling Tales in Latin by Lorna Robinson (quick – the ebook’s still only £1.19 until the end of the month!) then you’ll be well equipped to take on the final frontier.

Dr Lorna Robinson, author of Telling Tales in Latin has been working with NASA on their ‘Making Mars Speak Latin’ project. A group of 18 volunteers from across the UK has been working together to translate into Latin captions for photographs taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The project is now live, with Latin-captioned images being shared on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Read the BBC’s article about the project here.

Dr Lorna Robinson spoke to the BBC about the challenges of the Latin translation, saying:

There has been debate over whether to keep the Latin more simple or make it as close to classical Latin as possible. We reached a compromise – wanted to keep it clear and accessible to outsiders without being wrong.”

Take a look at one of the striking images that has been captioned in Latin, and explore the HiRISE Tumblr site:

http://beautifulmars-latin.tumblr.com/image/59683220460

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August news from Souvenir Press

Our August newsletter went out to all our e-newsletter subscribers yesterday, but if you’ve not signed up yet, fear not! You can now view our August newsletter online. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, find out about an exciting summer e-book offer, and discover the latest news from some of our authors.

August newsletterYou can also read the back issues of the Souvenir Press newsletter here.

Want to sign up so you get the newsletter straight to your inbox next month? No problem – you can sign up here.

Enjoy!

 

Literacy Through Latin wins the EU Language Label 2013

We were delighted to learn last week that the Literacy Through Latin project, run by The Iris Project (founded by Lorna Robinson, author of Telling Tales in Latin) has been awarded the EU Language Label 2013 for innovative language teaching projects.

The European Label is an award that encourages new initiatives in the field of teaching and learning languages, rewarding new techniques in language teaching. By supporting innovative projects at a local and national level, the Label seeks to raise the standards of language teaching across Europe. Each year, the Label is awarded to the most innovative language learning projects in each country participating in the scheme.

A judge visited St Saviour’s school in Brixton where the Literacy Through Latin project – and Telling Tales in Latin – was in use in the classroom, to see it in action, and reported:

“This project provides an opportunity for young children to be introduced to Latin, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds and who may not have the opportunity to find out about Latin at any other time of their school career.  The teaching I saw was excellent, based on an exciting programme designed by the Iris project.  In my long career (primary) I have not seen children identifying, analysing and discussing grammar at such a high level as I saw at St. Saviours.”

Lorna Robinson, author of Telling Tales in Latin and founder of the Iris Project was delighted with the news:

“I’m completely over the moon at the news that the Literacy through Latin project has won this prestigious award. The judge who visited St Saviours school in Brixton was delighted at the pupils’ enjoyment of Latin. We have been teaching using our Telling Tales in Latin book at St Saviours and the pupils’ reactions to it have been very positive indeed.”

Congratulations to Lorna and the whole team at The Iris Project on being awarded the EU Language Label 2013 for their Literacy Through Latin programme. To find out more, visit the Iris Project website, or order a copy of Telling Tales in Latin today.

Telling Tales in Latin

Author Corner: Discovering Classical Myths by Lorna Robinson

Lorna Robinson is the author of Telling Tales in Latin, a new Latin course and storybook for children. With Ovid as the narrator, this book is an ideal first introduction to Latin, and features some of the most famous classical myths including stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. These stories are vital for capturing children’s imaginations, and colour illustrations throughout by Soham De help bring these magical stories to life. Telling Tales in Latin features all the grammar and vocabulary needed for the OCR entry level Latin qualification.

Lorna Robinson tells us how she discovered the magic of the myths of ancient Greece, stories that sparked her imagination and which she believes are the way to engage children with studying the classics. Here she shares some of her favourite classical myths.

Like many people, I learned about the myths of the Greeks and Romans as a young child, long before I learned any Latin. When I did first learn Latin, it was alongside descriptions of slaves and masters in country villas, remote and staid characters far removed from the weird, dark, colourful, alive stories that had long fascinated me.

My very first encounter was through the “Usbourne Book of Greek myths and Legends”, which had a picture of the Minotaur on the cover – I can still remember the huge curling horns and the terrible, but oddly human, face. Inside its pages, tales spilled out, precious and mysterious and frightening all at once, in a way my other childhood books were not. All these years later, I still carry those stories with me, and they’ve shaped my world and fuelled my imagination.

Here are two of my favourites!

Orpheus and Eurydice

This is my all-time favourite myth, and appears at the end of my book Telling Tales in Latin, a new Latin course and storybook for children, for that very reason.

The story of a man with the unearthly talent of moving all living things with his song. He lost his wife, and then dared to enter the underworld to ask for her back. Orpheus sings a song of grief so beautiful that even the ghosts weep and Hades is moved. Hades agrees to return Eurydice to life, but on one condition: Orpheus must not turn around before they reach the earth’s surface. They make the gloomy, eerie, lonely ascent, Orpheus first, Eurydice behind. Just as they are getting close, his fear overcomes him and he turns to see if she’s actually there. She instantly slips back into the underworld forever.

There are many things about this story which have haunted me. The fact that this man with his superhuman gift has such a human flaw, and lets his fears overwhelm him is very moving. There’s the image of this one man singing his heart out in that dark, foreboding land, and the ghosts being spellbound as his song enchants the underworld. And finally, there is the unanswerable question of why Hades set this rule at all – is it because he knew Orpheus would fail? Why did there have to be a condition? And why did Orpheus give in, so close to the end?

Persephone and Demeter

This is the story of how we came to have seasons. The tale goes that Persephone, daughter of Demeter, the goddess of fertility and plants, was picking flowers in a field, when Hades saw her and seized her away to the underworld to be his wife. Demeter searched high and low but couldn’t find her daughter. She grieved and mourned, and while she did this, the plants and crops all withered and died as she neglected to care for them. Eventually, she discovered that Hades had her daughter and she went to get her back. While Persephone had been in the underworld, she had eaten six pomegranate seeds and so she had to spend six months of every year with Hades, but for the remaining six months, she could return to earth to be with her mother. And so it was forever more, that for the six months that she is in the underworld each year, Demeter grieves and all the crops and plants and trees die – this is our autumn and winter. But when she returns, everything flourishes again and we have our spring and summer.

As with the Orpheus story, part of the fascination for me with this story is the strange and unwritten rule. Why does eating in the underworld invoke this rule – what does it represent about life and death and beliefs surrounding these things? Also, there is the human element within this goddess who is so powerful, that she grieves desperately for her daughter. And finally, for me there is something wonderful about explaining the seasons in such human, emotional terms.

So these are my favourites. What are yours?

Telling Tales in LatinTelling Tales in Latin by Lorna Robinson, illustrated by Soham De, is published May 2013 by Souvenir Press.

Telling Tales in Latin: A New Latin Course and Storybook for Children

Our latest new title for spring, TELLING TALES IN LATIN by Lorna Robinson brings Latin teaching into the twenty-first century.

TELLING TALES IN LATIN: A New Latin Course and Storybook for Children, now available from Souvenir Press, teaches Latin through the magic of storytelling, using Soham De’s vivid illustrations to bring the stories to life.

Narrated by the chatty and imaginative Roman poet Ovid, this new course takes young learners on a journey through some of the tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Along the way, they pick up Latin words and grammar, explore the connections between Latin and English and discover how Ovid’s stories still speak to us today. The book features all the vocabulary and grammar needed for the OCR entry level Latin qualification. It is already attracting a lot of advance praise and support, including Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, who is a keen supporter of the teaching of Latin in schools.

“Yet again Lorna Robinson has come up with a wonderful way of getting us to read and love Latin. Not to be missed!” – Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

This is the ideal first introduction to Latin for primary school children, packed with colourful, original illustrations to bring the subject to life. Latin has been found to help children with their literacy, and with learning foreign languages, so the benefits of this Latin course are manifold.

Author Lorna Robinson is the founder of The Iris Project, a charity dedicated to bringing classical culture and languages into the curriculum for all schools, not just those in more privileged areas. The Iris Project’s Literacy Through Latin project has been shortlisted for the 2013 European Language Label for Innovative Projects in language teaching and learning.

TELLING TALES IN LATIN is now available in paperback and as an e-book.

Telling Tales in Latin