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Reading Latin: Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises [Paperback]

Peter V. Jones , Keith C. Sidwell
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: 25.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

29 Aug 1986 0521286220 978-0521286220
Reading Latin is a Latin course designed to help mature beginners read Latin fluently and intelligently, primarily in the context of classical culture, but with some mediaeval Latin too. It does this in three ways; it encourages reading of continuous texts from the start; it offers generous help with translation at every stage; and it integrates the learning of Classical Latin with an appreciation of the influence of the Latin language upon English and European culture from Antiquity to the present. The text, richly illustrated, consists at the start of carefully graded adaptations from original Classical Latin texts. The adaptations are gradually phased out until unadultered prose and verse can be read. The Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises volume supplies all the help needed to do this, together with a range of reinforcing exercises for each section, including English into Latin for those who want it. At the end of each section, a selection of Latin epigrams, mottoes, quotations, everyday Latin, word-derivations, examples of mediaeval Latin and discussions of the influence of Latin upon English illustrate the language's impact on Western culture. Reading Latin is principally designed for university and adult beginners, and also for sixth-formers (eleventh and twelth graders in the USA). It is also ideal for those people who may have learned Latin many years ago, and wish to renew their acquaintance with the language. Its companion course, Reading Greek is one of the most widely used mature beginners' courses in the world.

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Reading Latin: Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises + Reading Latin: Text + An Independent Study Guide to Reading Latin
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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (29 Aug 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521286220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521286220
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impractical, Unenjoyable - Get Wheelock instead 27 Nov 2009
By Bubo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For some reason, the university latin courses I have taken as part of The Open University and Birkbeck College London chose this book, as well as its supplements "Text" and "Independent study guide", as their focus point. My motivation for learning Latin has always been high as an adult, but I would be lying if I said the Reading Latin series helped my motivation levels; quite the contrary, I became disenchanted and bored going over this book and if a textbook dampens your motivation, how could I ever recommend it?

Let's start with the good points. If, by compulsion because of a course or out of sheer will-power, you reach the end or near-end of this book, even if you gloss over some sections, or even without rote-learning, you will still amass considerable technical knowledge of the Latin language. You will have translated some adapted Cicero, some adapted Sallust and, in theory, would be able to move on to unadapted Latin texts.

However, in practice, while I did gain considerable knowledge of Latin by sheer drudgery and determination using this book, when faced with unadapted, unprepared Latin texts in my Intermediate Latin exam I was mostly at a loss. You see, while Reading Latin gets you translating a great deal from the word go, it does not really encourage "thinking in Latin", getting a feeling for the language and its organization in a way that is more organic, giving you the tools to decipher real Latin texts in a more conscious and deliberate way. Perhaps if I'd studied harder, I would have done better, but if my experience is anything to go by, the onus on translating large chunks of Latin text in Reading Latin and doing endless drills and repetitive exercises does not in itself help you read Latin better than a more conventional approach, at least in my opinion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible 8 May 2013
I am currently using this book at university to lean latin and I have to say, this textbook is a disgrace. It throws grammar at you without even explaining why, or what it does. For example, we are taught in section 4 how to form Pluperfect Subjunctives. Great. No. It isn't great because they haven't told you what a subjunctive even is. So you learn to form things, remember tonnes of vocab, and have no idea what you are actually supposed to do with any of it. I hate this book. Boring, and unhelpful!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This was the book I used to take my GCSE Latin course at evening class. (It is accompanied by a separate book of texts). Definitely intended for adults rather than schoolchildren, it is an extremely thorough and detailed course that will take the user, if they get right through to the end, up to or at least approaching A Level standard. The tone is quite dry and the layout not a little daunting, so it's probably best used in a classroom, or at least with the aid of a teacher (ie. it's not really a DIY book).

There are some drawbacks. Firstly, the vocab at the back is divided into two parts: basic vocab and advanced vocab. Why anyone would find this separation useful is a mystery. Secondly, the authors introduce deponent verbs at great length *before* mentioning the passive voice, which just seems the wrong way round. Thirdly, the paperback binding is not sturdy enough to cope with the kind of repeated thumbing through that books like this must endure if they are to be used properly. I had to sellotape the spine of my copy to keep it from falling apart.

You'll find a different perspective in the book "Annus Horribilis: Latin for Everyday Life", ISBN 0752442848
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ok but could be much better 3 Feb 2010
The good point is that using this work you can go from very little Latin or even none to A level standard and beyond (with some additional vocab). The bad points are that sometimes the explanations of new grammar are far too brief, just a sentence and one example on occasion. It seems to expect a knowledge of English grammar which is very rare now in English people. The exercises are sometimes dull and repetitive, for example conjugating a list of verbs in a new tense (especially frustrating in the later sections). The 3/4 verb conjugation it makes you learn is not in any Latin dictionary I have come across, nor at A level, it is uncessary extra work. The unconventional use of the letter u for v and u though authentic will lead to pronunciation problems which seems incongruous with the accents they put on vowels to help pronunciation. I did not like the sudden increase of workload with section 4A, I prefer each section to have a similar amount of work so I can do one a week. A specific problem right at the start was the learning of 1st and 2nd declension nouns which it teachs you at the same time with the same stem (serua, seruus) which led to me getting so muddled that I relearnt the whole thing using distinct stems I had chosen myself. So overall you can learn Latin from it, but it can be frustrating.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
As someone who studied Latin for five years in my youth and picked it back up again in adulthood, trust me when I saw that this is quite possibly the most badly-organised Latin grammar text ever written. It jumps incomprehensibly through case use and is an absolute disgrace for teaching vocabulary.

This book's presentation is incredibly confusing -- even to someone who was rated fluent in Latin a few years back and just needed a refresher.

Stay away from it if you can, but be warned -- you'll be required to use this book if you study A297 through the Open University.

Get something older (from the 60s or 70s if you can) for a simpler, saner version of Latin grammar.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Useless!!!
Having studies Latin before, I found myself constantly referring to my old books in order to make sense of this one. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Matthew
5.0 out of 5 stars Latin winner
the book arrived on time and it was in exactly the right condition as the description. I was able to do my homework and take to my lesson that very same day!
Published 6 months ago by Miss V Skoulidou
4.0 out of 5 stars Reading Latin
having studied Peter Jones "Learning Latin " we moved on to this book to read writings from ancient Latin writers. Read more
Published on 25 May 2011 by Janet Wilcox
5.0 out of 5 stars Best comprehensive current Latin learning text you will buy
As the title says - the Reading Latin GVE is an essential book on the Open University A297 Latin course, and so it should be. Read more
Published on 5 May 2011 by zombielover
5.0 out of 5 stars reading latin
Reading Latin by Peter Jones and J.Sidwell has been my 'Bible' for over 15 years.Nice to get a replacement in such good condition
Published on 25 Mar 2011 by Kwj And Ia Hedges
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly structured and confusing.
Having taken a beginners' Latin course which covered chapters 1-20 in the excellent 'Wheelock's Latin', I have now embarked upon a different Latin course which uses this text book. Read more
Published on 30 April 2010 by An historian
3.0 out of 5 stars A dated text
I feel that this approach to learning Latin has been an excellent and innovative war-horse, but now feels very dated in terms of modern learning method and approach. Read more
Published on 14 April 2010 by Sandford
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading Latin, Grammar, Vocab. and Exercises
Thoroughly satisfied with my purchase. The description underrated the excellent condition of the copy. Administration, despatch and packaging were first class. Read more
Published on 23 Aug 2009 by Ms. M. R. KIRBY-BARR
1.0 out of 5 stars a shocker
I have taught Latin for 20 years. IMHO this is the worst text book I have ever encountered. It is devoid of any understandable structure and clutters basic important points with... Read more
Published on 8 July 2009 by Andrew Fear
5.0 out of 5 stars A Labour of Love
After developing a fascination for the Romans and the writings of Caesar, Cicero, Tacitus et al., and being unfortunately bereft of any knowledge of Latin, I finally decided to... Read more
Published on 23 Oct 2008 by D. Priestley
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