Ossa Latinitatis Sola Ad Mentem Reginaldi Rationemque: The Mere Bones of Latin According to the Thought and System of Reginald (英语) 平装 – 2016年9月30日
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.
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This excitement lasted until I received the magnum opus.
I've encountered this before: an author takes it upon himself (usually a "him") to discard the conventions that have supposedly held back students for decades--centuries, even--and rename the verb forms, grammatical terms, etc., with which anyone who has studied a language, be it in school or as an autodidact, is familiar. Reginaldus fell victim to this temptation--and hard--I am very sorry to report.
So, instead of learning about the present, imperfect, future and other tenses, we are told to learn them as "Time 1," "Time 2," "Time 3" and so on. Now, I suppose that, if one has never studied Latin before, "Time 1" and "present tense" might somehow be equally easy to keep straight in one's mind. This was not the case for me. Aside from the irritation of this particular trick (which I've had the misfortune of encountering in a Greek textbook previously), it makes no sense, at least to me, in practice.
Father R. wants to avoid "unnecessary terminology" and achieve "direct contact with the essence and the meaning of things." Which is lovely. But, how does "Time 4b" more effectively convey what anyone who has ever studied any language, including Latin, know as the perfect tense? Or "Block I" more directly convey what everyone else knows as the first and second declensions?
Others have already noted the slapdash, seemingly random selection of readings, which seems to be the result of Father R. emptying his file cabinets onto the floor and picking up items at whim. Maybe "Time 2 subjunctive" (or T.2s, as it is even more cryptically abbreviated) will be as evocative as "imperfect subjunctive" to the novice Latinist, but the book's odd organization, utter absence of paradigms and word charts (which the author explicitly eschews) and other nonstandard and unhelpful quirks make this decidedly NOT the book with which to start one's Latin studies. As another reviewer noted, this may be a great refresher volume if one has already studied with Father R. and understands his system, but it is opaque, clumsy and confusing, not least due to his refusal to use standard grammatical terms. It's interesting to dip in and try a reading or read a short, relatively straightforward section, but I cannot imagine slogging through this volume and its multiple "Encounters" and "Experiences."
It's a shame, really, that what I'm sure is the rich and valuable experience teaching and translating that Father R. possesses could not have been turned into one of the great Latin textbooks. So, as the saying goes, caveat emptor. This doorstop of a textbook is not the vade mecum it could've been, but, instead, a sort of monument to a variety of folly.
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
Typically, I would criticize any beginning Latin book for not including macrons over the vowels to indicate the length (why not - it is not as if we are actually reading ancient scrolls, and how many of us have memorized the length of every uncertain vowel in the extensive Latin lexicography?) but in this case I don't, as the author explains so well the techniques for learning Latin, and one of those techniques is to become familiar - confidently - with how common words sound. In any event, Latin is easier than English with respect to figuring out how words sound from how they are spelled, so my advice is don't let the lack of macrons bother you too much.
it is a pity this book was so hastily slapped together (the authors admit in the Intro it is basically a transcription of Foster's lectures) since I have heard he is an amazing teacher in the classroom.