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This review is from: Teach Your Dog Latin: Your Introduction to Latin, an Eminently Practical Language for Man and Beast (Perfect Paperback)
"I have this friend who..." Most of us have heard this phrase before. It's usually a thinly-veiled attempt to get advice for oneself without admitting to an actual weakness. As strange as the title Teach Your Dog Latin sounds, it is based on essentially the same principle. Latin can be an intimidating language to tackle - so don't set out to learn Latin. Just decide to teach your dog a bit of Latin, and if you happen to pick up something in the process...well, even better. ;)
Teach Your Dog Latin, by B. Kay Neal, is a great introduction because the lighthearted, dog-oriented slant makes it fun and removes much of the intimidation factor.
You will learn to give your dog commands, such as sit, stay, shake, and "don't chew the furniture." You'll also learn to ask him questions, such as "do you want to go out?" or "who wet on the carpet?" Literal, word-for-word translations to English are supplied, so you (and your dog) can begin to grasp the structure of Latin sentences. Pronunciation is explained, and both singular and plural options are supplied.
The chapter about Latinizing your dog's name offers interesting insights into how names work in Latin (particularly the differences between masculine and feminine names). The chapter about dogs in Roman (and Greek) literature gives a little glimpse into ancient writings.
The chapter on grammar is something of a crash course. It doesn't cover every possible eventuality, but it does cover the basics of parts of speech, number, gender, word order, etc. In my opinion, it's fascinating even if you don't intend to fully learn it. When things are somewhat oversimplified, the author notes that, so if you go on to further study, you shouldn't be confused. But if this is enough for you, you won't be unnecessarily overwhelmed.
Following the grammar chapter is a chapter of English derivatives that come from the words already used in the book. This is a fun chapter - and a great one for showing students why Latin is useful today! Other chapters that follow provide sayings about dogs (for instance "Canis meus pensum edit*," or "my dog ate my homework.") and "what to do if you and your dog want more Latin."
Many of the chapters in this book - the grammar chapter, for example - are written in three segments. The reader can stop after the first or second segment and the text will still make sense (and the reader will have learned something). This is great if you're working with students on multiple levels.
If you would like to teach some actual classical content, but in a more laid-back fashion than traditional classical education (or if you just would like an introduction to Latin for some other reason), I highly recommend this! It's playful and fun, and definitely takes the "boring" out of Latin studies. It's also the sort of thing that provides enough of a foundation that it will probably help keep you from getting completely lost if you decide to move on to a more formal Latin program later.
*There are accent marks on some of these words, but I can't type them on my English keyboard.
This review originally appeared at Titus2Homemaker.com, and my copy of the book was provided by the author.
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