ad mentem reginaldi rationemque

according to the thought and
system of reginald

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from the authors’ introduction 

… The following pages are the meager result of over forty years of helping people to grow fast and solidly in the knowledge and use and appreciation of Latin…

Therefore, the objective of these pages is to get people into immediate contact with and understanding, love, and use of the entire Latin language in all its literary types and periods of time and authors. Personal practice has been that, by eliminating terminology and all kinds of preambles to the language and literature, people can have access immediately to real solid, natural Latin, which they can then imitate and use and find in these infinite authors and works of Latin in the world.

So the emphasis will be on what things mean, not on what they are called; on how the language functions, not on some sort of artificial rules it allegedly follows. Concentration will be directed to the immediate practice of Latin and the natural learning of it by means of a self-teaching approach which maintains contact with real solid Latin that has existed in this world for all this time.

Some approaches to Latin are far too slow because the learner is held back from genuine Latin for too long a time, because the learner is burdened with the baggage of terminology and irrelevant questions and subtitles, because the impression given is that of schemas, forms, and regulations that you need to master before you see the real language. And that is why any method which does not take on the language from the very first day is in all probability a tremendous waste of time, and, what is worse, it creates a false idea or perception of what Latin actually is.

On the other hand there are programs which are too fast in the sense that teachers or proponents of Latin think that by jamming in patterns of nouns and verbs and anything else you want, and by memorizing nonsense syllables quickly and blindly and superficially, the language is being learned or absorbed or lived out with joy and pleasure.

So on the one hand some people are going too slowly, because they are not dealing with true Latin but with stories, made-up sentences, false examples of Latin. On the other side some are being pushed through a nightmare of grammar talk and lists and forms, and so forth…


The book is clearly divided into “Experiences” large and small, not lessons, because we are not going to be working with a dead substance but sensing Latin grow inside of us, as we ourselves grow in our mastery and love of it. They are Experiences because, as we move along, it all just gets richer and fuller and more magnificent with time. No one ever decided or could determine what a first or second or third lesson is supposed to do in Latin, but people might want to say that they just have come to know Latin and to love it and to have had this living experience of this human language without breaking it down into artificial lessons.

We have here five bigger “Experiences,” which include various degrees or levels of learning.

The First Experience is the initial exposure to the nature and workings of Latin, especially in word position, verbs, and nouns through daily contact with genuine Latin texts.

The Second Experience is the immediate application of preliminary training through speaking activities, which run concurrently with all other experiences.

The Third Experience is the second grade of immersion into Latin realities.

The Fourth Experience is the final, third cycle of Latin assimilation and the end of the systematic language treatment.

The Fifth Experience is the open-ended, limitless familiarization and further enjoyment of Latin fine points and literary pieces of all times in all fullness…

Reading sheets: The objective is to touch on the whole Latin language in its uses and transformations during the various periods of literature. Every year, be it in the summer sessions or the annual ones, a different packet of Latin authors representing every age of Latin literature is supplied in the classroom to each participant. They are nothing but photocopies of real Latin texts as they exist in books and libraries, which are used by the teacher or self-instructor to find examples to use for filling out the skeleton presentation given in these pages. In addition, the teacher or self-instructor can get his or her own readings. The teacher is advised to find different authors each year so that the encounter with the Latin language may remain fresh and challenging. Collections of readings from past years remain in circulation among class participants, and one year’s edition is added partly at the end of each Experience in this book.

Ludi domestici = home games: As the emphasis in classroom teaching is placed on the student’s own practical self-teaching, exercises or personal projects called ludi domestici are given twice a week to confirm the learning of new material and repetition of old material. These assignments are corrected and reviewed in class together. Suggestions are always welcome and accepted and discussed with the students…

Consequently, this book is one-third of a certain kind of method, because it gives the theory. It also provides a second third, the original Latin sources so that the teacher can directly implement the theory in his or her classroom. The final third, the ludi domestici are not provided here, because we encourage the teachers to compose these. With the ludi the students teach themselves the Latin language, and they review them together in class. Collections of reading sources with ludi are already in informal circulation and our own collection of Ludi are in preparation for an accompanying volume number four to this one.

Our approach here to the Latin language deals with the essence or OSSA of the same language and is directed toward the essentials. There is only one essential reference book which the students must have in class and at home as a companion to everything presented here. That essential reference book is a complete Latin dictionary for the simple reason that, as we shall see, the language is presented and taught out of the dictionary, not out of any grammar book or manual textbook…

The explanations of the Experiences and the encounters given in this book are practically a transcription or dictation taken from the classroom oral dialogue. For that reason its language may appear on the lighter side, but should be more lively and accessible, and, as our colleague James Leachman said in his own introduction, it makes for good reading on the beach, while being deadly serious about the fullness and subtleties, the richness and glories of our perennial Latin language.

Reginaldus Thomas Foster and Daniel Patricius McCarthy 


First Experience 

1. Ossium Gluten: Sententiarum Latinarum Ordo = Exitus Et Vocabula. Signa Personarum In Verbis
the Bones’ Glue: the structure of Latin sentences = terminations and vocabulary. signs of persons in verbs

2. asinus—capra—vehiculum. Duplex Principium In Neutris Supremum
Block I nouns. super double principle in neuters

3. Personarum Pronomina. Et—Ac—Atque; Et . . . Et; –Que . . . –Que
pronouns of persons. conjunctions: and, also, even; both . . . and; both . . . and

4. Trapezita, Ae; Socer, Eri; Honestus, A, Um; Liber, Era, Erum
variations In Block I Nouns. adjectives of block I

… [over the course of three academic years]

105. Serioris Latinitatis proprietates
characteristics of later Latin literature

about the authors

FR. REGINALDUS THOMAS FOSTER OCD is a Discalced Carmelite priest from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For forty years a papal Latinist and professor of the Latin language, he is renowned for his unique pedagogical method and presentation of the living Latin language. His long experience of the Latin language and dedication to teaching have made his clear presentation of Latin the standard method of teaching the language directly and without jargon or confusing terminology. In 2010 the University of Notre Dame in Indiana recognized Reginaldus Legum Doctor honoris causa for his contribution to the field of Latin studies. Reginald continues to teach Latin for free in Milwaukee throughout the year and during summer school every June and July.

FR. DANIEL PATRICIUS McCARTHY OSB is a monk of St Benedict’s Abbey, Atchison, Kansas. His study of the Latin language concurrent with his doctoral study of liturgy in Rome led to his collaboration as assistant and eventual colleague with Reginald. He wrote weekly commentaries on the prayers of the liturgy with original English translations published in The Tablet of London, England, from 2006 through 2011. With Dom James Leachman he is co-founder of the project Appreciating the Liturgy and of the teaching and research Institutum Liturgicum, Ealing, England, where he teaches the Latin language and liturgy; and serves as co-editor of the publication project Documenta rerum ecclesiasticarum instaurata, with the series Liturgiam Aestimare: Appreciating the Liturgy. He serves as a guest professor of the Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium, and on the editorial board Questions Liturgiques: Studies in Liturgy. He also serves as a liturgical consultant for building and renovating churches. In February 2016 he began to teach on the faculty of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy, Rome, by offering courses on the Latin expression and theological meaning of short prayers of the liturgy. He also serves as an advisor to the Vox clara committee of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.


Note: prices subject to change.

$39.95 from the publisher: Catholic University of America Press, Washington, DC

$37.95 Amazon.com




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“Inspirational educator, the Rev. Reginald Foster is a master classicist who has devoted his life to saving Latin from extinction.” – The New York Times

“One of the world’s foremost scholars in Latin.” – BBC News

“Foster is the Vatican’s leading expert on Latin – expert enough to be charged with the official translation of papal documents into what was until 40 years ago the official language of the church.” – USA Today

“Father Reginald Foster, considered by many the worlds finest Latinist . . . and one of the Vatican’s most colorful characters.” – Catholic News Service


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