Has anyone come across or used the Dowling Method? I think the opening gambit may strike a chord with some of you and/or your students and maybe encourage you to read the whole article which, amongst other things, offers a “recipe for disaster” and a “recipe for success” – and what seems to me a whole lot of angst!
The Problem About Latin
The problem about Latin is that you can study it for six years and still not be able to read a Latin sentence.
If you study French, you get pretty quickly to a point where you process a French sentence in much the same way you process an English one: “J’ai lu tous les livres” comes across to you as “I’ve read all the books” and you don’t think much about it.
In Latin, you can still be looking at a sentence six years later and doing what I call a “crossword puzzle” reading of it. You find a masculine noun in the ablative singular, then you go hunting around the sentence for an adjective to go with the noun, and if you find one you set those two words aside mentally and go back and look at the verbs.
……In short, you’re trying to read the sentence somewhat as one assembles a model airplane from a kit: looking at the directions and fitting the parts together and hoping it all makes sense.
The reason this happens is that Latin is a “highly inflected” language and the other modern European languages mostly aren’t.
I’ll explain “highly inflected” below, but what this means for the short term is that French syntax or German syntax or Italian syntax works pretty much the same way as the English syntax you’re used to (subject-verb-predicate, subject-verb-predicate), while Latin doesn’t. So you can study it for six years without really learning how to “sweep up” a sentence the way you’re reading this sentence right now.
Read the whole article here
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