OSSA = Bones

This book gives the Bones of the Latin language




The mere bones of Latin

 according to the thought and system of Reginald


This book Ossa Latinitatis Sola is the result of over forty years of helping people to grow fast and solidly in the knowledge and use and appreciation of Latin. These forty years have been spent with not one minute of boredom or idleness, because the business of learning Latin is a long one that demands not superior intelligence, but a certain kind of character, of seriousness and mature thoroughness that some people do not have.

Image of Benedict when in Rome

Therefore, the objective of these pages is to get people into immediate contact and understanding, love and use of the entire Latin language in all its literary types and periods of time and authors. Personal experience 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 made on the direct experience 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….

The matter presented here has been the result of some personal reflection and especially of much cooperation with people who are beginning to learn Latin, who are advancing in Latin, who are finally perfecting their own knowledge and command of Latin. So it has been a common effort which certainly has produced some effect or some fruit in the past and maybe through these pages may continue to do so in the future.

The book is clearly divided into “experiences” large and small, not lessons, because what we are doing is not 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 love it and 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 approaches or levels of learning.

First experience: initial exposure to the nature and workings of Latin: word position, verbs and nouns.

Second experience: immediate application of preliminary training through speaking.

Third experience: second level of immersion into Latin realities.

Fourth experience: final, third cycle of Latin assimilation and end of language treatment.

Fifth … experience: limitless familiarisation and further enjoyment of Latin fine points and literary pieces.

All five of these bigger experiences are composed of smaller episodes, which are personal encounters between the teacher and learner and between the teacher with the learner and Latin literature. So it is just a variation of personal encounter with Latin-language people with its masters and creators for centuries.

But, consideration having been made for the realities of human learning, generous time has been distributed throughout the individual parts of the experiences in order that repetition may be possible, in order that forgetting and relearning may naturally happen, in order that a most natural absorption of Latin elements may be allowed. Consequently, nothing is squeezed into a short period, but over an arc of several school-calendar years, the various experiences will permit this gradual growth as the encounters are allotted during the week and vacation times appear on the calendar.

The objective is to touch on the whole Latin language in its uses and also transformations during the various periods of literature. Every year, be it in the summer sessions or the annual ones, a different packet of twelve Latin authors representing every age of Latin literature is provided in the classroom to each participant. They are nothing but photocopies of real Latin texts as they exist in books and which are used by the teacher or self-instructor to find examples to use in filling out the skeleton presentation given in these pages. The teacher or self-instructor can get his or her own readings, but in addition a collection of untouched Latin material is provided as an appendix to each experience in this book. The teacher is advised to find different authors each year so that the encounter with the Latin language remains fresh and challenging. Collections of readings from past years remain in circulation…

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