My lively summer speaking a dead language.
By Ted Scheinman
August 22, 2011
I boarded a plane to Rome this summer to join the small network of scholars dedicated to preserving Latin by actually speaking it. I found myself in the company of 16 other twentysomethings, puttering about the center of the ancient world chattering not in English or in Italian but —ecce!—in Latin.
The Paideia Institute's "Living Latin" program is an immersive, spoken-Latin summer course based in Rome. The mornings are spent at the St. John's University campus reading poetry and prose and commenting on the texts in Latin; the afternoons are spent doing the same thing at various sites of literary or archaeological significance.
While Paideia's "Living Latin" is technically a new program, it derives from Aestiva Latinitas Romae ("summer Latinity in Rome"), an iconic course taught for over 20 years by Friar Reginald Foster. An American Carmelite monk, Reginaldus served for more than 40 years as the Vatican's secretary of briefs to princes. More simply, he was the Pope's chief of Latin letters, a role that found him translating papal bulls into Latin while overseeing the Vatican's Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis, which offers helpful neologic Latin for such items as popcorn (maizae grana tosta) and pornography (pellicula cinematographica obscena). Reginaldus' eight-week summer Latin course, meanwhile, achieved legendary status among classicists, early modernists, archaeologists, and any number of other scholar-types.
Read the full article at http://www.slate.com/id/2302020/pagenum/all/#p2
Learn more about the Living Latin institute at http://paideia-institute.org/latin