Classics are #cool: why Latin is becoming more popular…

According to a recent article in The Times, the Latin language is ‘showing distinct signs of life’ thanks to Hebdomada Aenigmatum, or Weekly Puzzles, ‘a free online Latin language publication’ that offers everything from Sudoku to dot-to-dot puzzles.

The translation of popular fiction into Latin, such as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, has also helped to introduce a new audience to the language. As a result, Latin courses are becoming increasingly popular.

Author of Telling Tales in Latin, Dr 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. For its innovative language teaching projects, The Iris Project won the EU Language Label 2013. In a report by TheSchoolRun.com, figures show that only ‘four per cent of state primary schools offer Latin lessons compared to 40 per cent of independent schools.’ However, with the introduction of the new curriculum in 2014, which requires pupils to study one foreign language, Latin’s popularity amongst primary school children is set to rise.

Telling Tales in Latin

When speaking to TheSchoolRun.com about the importance of learning Latin, Dr Lorna Robinson argues that the language “helps children make connections between Latin and English grammar and vocabulary, and gives them the key to unlock English. It also gives them a deeper cultural heritage, helping them understand common concepts and phrases like ‘et cetera’ and ‘Achilles’ heel’. Indeed, Latin can be useful subject for a wide variety of professions, including medicine and law.

Want to give Latin a go?

Narrated by the chatty and imaginative Roman poet Ovid, Telling Tales in Latin: A New Latin Course and Storybook for Children takes young learners on a journey through some of the tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Along the way, they’ll pick up Latin words and grammar, explore the connections between Latin and English and discover how Ovid’s stories still speak to us today. Soham De’s vivid illustrations bring the stories to life, providing a fun introduction to Latin.

9780285633940

Try Georg Cappellanus’ Latin Can Be Fun, an up-to-date conversational guide full of hundreds of useful expressions and phrases for everyday life. Originally published in Germany, it’s been translated by Peter Needham, former classics master at Eton College and the original translator for the Harry Potter books.

Get your copies of Latin Can Be Fun and Telling Tales in Latin and become an expert in no time!

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Happy First Birthday: Take Home a Souvenir

That’s right! Exactly a year ago today Souvenir Press published its very first blog post. And look how we’ve grown since then. Join us in a trip down memory lane as we count down the five most popular blog posts of the last year – were there any you missed?

What would you like to see more of in the coming year on the Souvenir Press blog? Let us know in the comments below.

5) Chinese New Year: The Year of the Snake

Featuring predictions from the definitive book on Chinese astrology, THE HANDBOOK OF CHINESE HOROSCOPES, seventh edition, by Theodora Lau and Laura Lau. The book contains predictions that will take you right through to 2014. Find out what the rest of the Year of the Snake has in store for you. (Read more…)

4) Happy Birthday to Martin Luther King, Jr.

From January this year, celebrating what would have been the 84th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr, leader of the Black Civil Rights movement in America. His book STRIDE TOWARD FREEDOM, published as part of the Independent Voices series by Souvenir Press, was described by King as  “the chronicle of 50,000 Negroes who took to heart the principles of non-violence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who, in the process, acquired a new estimate of their own human worth.” (Read more…)

3) Bum Fodder: An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper

Did you miss the official publication day for BUM FODDER by Richard Smyth? Find out  how loo roll was used in espionage, how it relates to corn on the cob, and what mussels have got to do with it. Richard Smyth answers the questions you never thought to ask about the product we can’t live without. (Read more…)

=1) Telling Tales in Latin: A Review

Stephen Addis, a retired Classics teacher with 36 years’ experience of teaching Classics in state and independent schools, reviews TELLING TALES IN LATIN by Lorna Robinson.
“A new and exciting Latin course… It is one of the best Latin course books currently available and will undoubtedly prove to be a great success, particularly with younger children.” (Read more…)

=1) The Book by Alan Watts

Appearing on Desert Island Discs last November, John Lloyd (writer and television producer, best known for his work on Blackadder and QI) chose THE BOOK: ON THE TABOO AGAINST KNOWING WHO YOU ARE by Alan Watts as the book he would take with him to a desert island. He described it as: “The best book I’ve ever read on the nature of what actually is, what the world is about.” (Read more…)

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

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!

 

E-book offer: Telling Tales in Latin

As part of the Amazon Kindle Summer deals, Telling Tales in Latin by Lorna Robinson will be available for the bargain price of £1.19 throughout August.

An exciting new Latin course and storybook for children, it brings Latin to life with its captivating stories taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and narrated by Ovid himself, combined with the lively, fun illustrations by Soham De.

What have the reviews been saying so far?

“Really inviting and engaging, with clear explanations and beautiful and fun illustrations by Soham De… an inviting, absorbing, and embracing learning experience. Young students new to the language will enjoy themselves, and love their learning, both of Latin and classical mythology, and be inspired to learn more. It’s a beautiful beginners’ book, the like of which most of us never had in the past, and I look forward to its success and the love that its students will have for it in years to come.” – The Classics Library

“This would be an excellent choice of text to teach children aged 9 and upwards the rudiments of Latin, and as the book has all the vocabulary needed for the OCR exam, it is a very versatile text indeed.” – The Garden Window blog

“‘Telling Tales in Latin’ will delight all who read it… This little book focuses excellently on the importance of literacy and language and makes it a superb and stimulating introduction to learning Latin… It is one of the best Latin course books currently available and will undoubtedly prove to be a great success, particularly with younger children. Congratulations to Lorna Robinson who has produced a real masterpiece, which brings the subject to life.” – Stephen Addis

And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, Lorna Robinson is in the process of putting together a Teacher’s Guide to Telling Tales in Latin, which will be available for free through the Iris Project website. We’ll be letting you know when the Teacher’s Guide is available, so if you’re interested keep checking back here!

Telling Tales in Latin

Telling Tales in Latin: A Review

Stephen Addis, a retired Classics teacher with 36 years’ experience of teaching Classics in state and independent schools, has recently reviewed Telling Tales in Latin by Lorna Robinson, and has kindly allowed us to reproduce his review in full here on our blog. Stephen taught Classics for 32 years as Head of Department, and since retiring teaches as part of the University of the Third Age. He has a  BA Honours Degree in Classics from Bristol University and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the School of Education, University of Bristol.

Read his review in full below, or on Amazon, where he rated it five stars out of five.

‘Telling Tales in Latin’ by Lorna Robinson is a new and exciting Latin course published by Souvenir Press. The Roman poet Ovid serves as the storyteller and his chatty, lively style will appeal to students of all ages from the outset.

A selection of mythological stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses forms the basis of the Latin text. The grammatical material and vocabulary cover the requirements of the OCR Entry Level qualification in Latin, making this course the only one which currently caters for this prescription.

From Chapter 1, students are encouraged to see and also to work out for themselves the connections between Latin and English derivatives, some of which will prove to be rather thought provoking, but will help to extend pupils’ knowledge and understanding of English vocabulary.

Each chapter follows a similar format, namely a brief introduction, the myth itself with helpful vocabulary, a clear explanation of the new grammatical point being studied and excellent suggestions for further activities.

Pupils are introduced to the most important areas of Latin grammar so that they can see how the structure of the language works. Verb tenses which are covered include the Present, Imperfect and Perfect with clear definitions of each. The four conjugations, termed ‘groups’, with their infinitives, are outlined. If any form of a Perfect tense verb is different, it appears each time in the vocabulary. Two very common irregular verbs (sum and possum) in the Present tense only are given, which Ovid calls ‘wild verbs’. Nouns (Masculine, Feminine and Neuter) in the first three declensions are given which are again referred to as ‘groups’ with explanations of subject and object rather than the use of Nominative and Accusative, although the term the ‘Dative’ is actually used and explained and reference is also made to it being the indirect object in the clause. The agreement of adjectives is covered as are question words including – ne. Imperatives, prepositional uses, phrases of time and superlatives are all glossed in the vocabulary. Every grammatical structure is explained in a concise and lucid way in Ovid’s inimitable style.

The book contains superb colourful illustrations either on every page or double page by Soham De which will help to enhance the students’ appreciation and enjoyment of each mythological tale.

The ‘Activities’ section at the end of all the chapters will provide students and teachers alike with a wealth of opportunities to explore the appeal of mythology in many different ways. Suggestions cover such areas as thinking about how myths might contain morals, personal responses, creative writing, drama activities, artwork and illustrations and reasons why the theme of metamorphosis has captured the imaginations of artists, sculptors and writers. Readers are encouraged to consider the enduring appeal of these tales and how they can relate to important modern ideas including relationships with other people and looking after the planet. Teachers will easily be able to develop cross-curricular links with many other subjects.

There are some errors which need to be corrected before the next print, the most serious being ‘currus’ termed a group 2 noun on page 63, but these can easily be remedied and will not detract from the reader’s enjoyment of the text.

‘Telling Tales in Latin’ will delight all who read it both visually and from its rich selection of tales. This little book focuses excellently on the importance of literacy and language and makes it a superb and stimulating introduction to learning Latin. Students will be inspired to explore more of Ovid’s stories and their enjoyment of Latin will be increased greatly. It is one of the best Latin course books currently available and will undoubtedly prove to be a great success, particularly with younger children. Congratulations to Lorna Robinson who has produced a real masterpiece, which brings the subject to life.

Thank you to Stephen Addis for allowing us to reproduce his review here in full.

Telling Tales in Latin

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