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The Latin Language: A Handbook for Students (Oliver & Boyd) Paperback – 2 May 1989
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Top customer reviews
One problem it has which is common to a lot of text books is sometimes the explanations are too brief and the examples too few, but only sometimes.
It does not have translations of its exercises but it has most of the words it uses in a mini-dictionary at the back (only most though).
This book is different from others in that it focuses on translating from Latin to English and so concentrates on getting the best understanding and English translation from the Latin rather than getting bogged down in Latin composition (which is important but is a different skill) and for this reason it gives only the main rules without listing every minor exception, these exceptions being sometimes quite rare and often deduceable from one's knowledge of the core grammar summarised in this book.
The sections are clear and the descriptions brief but a fair bit of information is given, with well-chosen examples.
There is even a small section on how Mediaeval Latin differs from Classical Latin; this, although my course is in the latter, I find very useful for my interests.
The book contains Latin to English translation exercises but it is important to note that no answers are provided.
It must be noted that this is not an introduction to Latin. Anyone attempting the book should already have highly competent ability in the language and should not be fazed by typical Latin constructions like the Ablative Absolute, deponent verbs, or the subjunctive in all its forms, which appear from the beginning.
The advantage for users of this book is that each exercise is a fairly standard length (more or less): about ten sentences of one or two clauses. Most of the sections are about the same length too (a page or two), meaning that students can budget about the same amount of time for each unit.
One of this book's strengths is its support for the subjunctive, which is the key to Latin. One may balk at the 20 sentences to translate in 19a, but in truth they are mostly permutations of the same sentence, cumulatively designed to drill readers in the subtleties of the subjunctive's use.
With a little preparation and planning, this handbook (which might otherwise gather dust on the shelf) can be put to use as an excellent grammar course.
You can find a more detailed review of the book on my blog: sacsanua.blogspot.com
However, in retrospect I suppose it could be a useful study book if you've already got your head (at least partially) around the language.
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