OSSA Latinitatis Sola / The Mere Bones of Latin: Ad Mentem Reginaldi Rationemque / According to the Thought and System of Reginald (英語) ペーパーバック – 2016/9/2
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From the first encounter with the Latin language to its full presentation, the objective of Ossa Latinitatis Sola is to get people into immediate contact with and understanding of genuine Latin authors, and for these encounters to grow into a love and use of the entire language in all its literary types and periods of time and authors of the past 2,300 years. By eliminating terminology and complicated introductions to the language, we emphasize what things mean, not what they are called, how the language functions, not artificial rules, so that people may have immediate access to real solid, natural Latin which they can then imitate and use. Reginald Foster's method of teaching the Latin language is the result of over forty years of helping people in Rome to grow fast and solidly in the knowledge, use and appreciation of Latin by anticipating their questions and preempting their future problems. The complications and obscurities of certain other methods are hereby necessarily avoided. Outsiders will discover that Latin is supremely teachable and loveable and that every fear and terror about the so called insurmountable difficulties of Latin are non-existent and that its destination for only whiz-kids is sheer nonsense. Students will find clear explanations given in narrative form to be grasped and absorbed even in the comfort of a beach chair. Teachers will find the logical reasons why Latin functions as it does and consequently a ready instrument for teaching and a fresh method for communicating with students, supporting everyone in the learning process.
Reginaldus Thomas Foster is an American Catholic priest and friar of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. He formerly worked in the "Latin Letters" section of the Secretariat of State in the Vatican and was the 'Papal Latinist' from 1969-2009. Hecontinues to teach summer classes in Latin at the University of Milwaukee, USA. Daniel Patricius McCarthy, a student of Foster's, is a monk at St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, USA and teaches Latin in London and Rome.
1) While there are regular reminders of the author's disdain for grammatical charts and tables, every chapter is essentially one lengthy explanation of a particular concept with a few examples thrown in, with much encouragement to essentially sit down and learn the dictionary.
2) It reminds me a bit of Amo, Amas, Amat... and All That: How to Become a Latin Lover. Mount attempted to turn the Latin language and all the various forms and rules into a novel, and this is similar at times.
3) The selections from Latin literature are offered with no notes or commentary, which I find unusual in a book where every grammatical concept is explained in such great detail. You won't find any insight into these texts at all here, even a brief description of the author, work, or context of the selection. If one truly wanted to use these 'sheets' along with the explanations, you'd be well-served by photocopying and enlarging them.
4) The length and weight (831 pages!) will surely prevent all but the most dedicated students or teachers from using this book except as a reference tool.
I am quite certain that Latin would come alive if one were to sit down with Reginaldus and have a conversation about the language, the Romans, and the literature. If I may offer my humble advice, I would therefore much rather see videotaped sessions with Reginaldus offered for purchase to better experience his approach and his love of the language. This book, however, comes across as a rather stale way to interact with Latin.
If you already know Latin or took it in high school, you will still find plenty to learn, and amazing insights into what you thought you already knew. In a world where amazing Latin books on every subject and from every period are easily available from Google Books, Hathi Trust, and the Internet Archive, stepping up your Latin is worth every minute and every cent.
If you are a Latin teacher or a homeschooling parent, you will find a teacher's manual without parallel. (And full permission to photocopy the heck out of the reading sheets, which are designed for distribution.)
The only disadvantage is the book's length and cost -- but hey, you're getting something like five years of Latin class in one package. Forty bucks is cheap for a textbook these days.
And finally, I recommend it as being full of humor, wisdom, acerbity, and common sense. This is the paper version of that teacher you've always wanted to have.
The explanations of grammar come from a different angle than most textboos, they are interesting but long and chatty.
Hopefully the second volume "Ossa Carnes Multae" "This companion volume is intended to provide from Cicero's letters specific examples that correspond to each of the 105 encounters in the book "Ossa Latinitas Sola" will be more useful for reading Latin.
In the mean time I will read "A First Latin Reader with Exercises" by Nutting and any other longer easy Latin readings (=extensive reading) I can find. Jacobulus