Latin Summer Language Program
The Latin Summer Language Institute will help you to build the skills you need in order to read centuries’ worth of texts—from the Classical Period through late antiquity and into the Middle Ages—in all the glory of their original language. Learning Latin will also enhance your knowledge of English, facilitate access to the modern Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and others, which developed from Latin), and indeed help you to grasp the structure of language more generally.
The Latin SLI provides you with an intensive study of the Latin language and an introduction to Latin literature. The program covers the equivalent of four semesters of college-level courses, and is designed either for students with no prior knowledge of Latin or those who wish to gain a more solid grounding in the fundamentals of the language. At the end of the program, you can expect to be able to read Latin on your own with the aid of a dictionary, and you will have the knowledge and ability to succeed in advanced courses in Latin.
We welcome both undergraduate and graduate students to apply, as well as any other applicants with a desire to learn this unique and fascinating language. Students may choose to enroll for credit or non-credit, but all students will be expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program. Students who have mastered a full year of Introductory Latin (or its equivalent) may apply for enrollment in the second half of the program only (the equivalent of Latin 2010 and 2020 at UVA).
Pedagogy and Approach
The first half of the program introduces you to the grammar and basic vocabulary of the Latin language. You will apply that knowledge almost immediately, beginning to read short sentences from ancient Latin authors in the first week. This early exposure to unsimplified Latin in conjunction with drills and exercises gives you the best opportunity, especially valuable in the condensed timeframe of an intensive course, to learn what to expect from Latin texts.
The second half of the program focuses on reading representative passages of four main genres of Latin literature, spending one week each on epic, elegy, history, and rhetoric. Each unit will feature one author from the Classical period at its center—Vergil, Ovid, Livy, and Cicero, respectively—and will be supplemented by other selections, some in Latin and some in English, that will help you understand the context and significance of the main reading. At this time you will also begin to use the common reference works that aid in reading independently: dictionaries, grammars, and commentaries.
You’ll meet with your classmates as a group in the afternoons and evenings, and in smaller sections for the morning period. Evening office hours provide the chance to receive individualized instruction. Throughout the program, you will be learning and practicing the skills required for sight-reading—that is, how to apply what you know and fill in what you don’t when you approach a new text on your own.