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CLA1001 : Beginners' Latin in Action 1

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Jakob Wisse
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module will give students a basic knowledge of Latin, sufficient for dealing, at an elementary level, with some of the linguistic aspects of Latin texts. In addition, it aims at developing students' skills of literary analysis of Latin texts.

The aims of the 'Latin in Action' component and its related assessment are:
1. to help students to solidify and extend their working knowledge of basic vocabulary and its usage;
2. to give students an opportunity to put their developing knowledge of key grammatical patterns and syntactical structures into practice;
3. to help students to develop their ability to analyse and appreciate the effects of different modes of expression in the language, including differences of meaning and style, without the aid of a published translation;
4. to train students in the application of language skills to literary analysis, and in critical reading of texts in the original language;
5. to assist students in developing and applying increasingly nuanced translation strategies based on the foregoing skills; and
6. to enhance students' ability to read classical literature more meaningfully by applying all these skills to unfamiliar texts in the original language.
Several methods are used in supporting these aims, as appropriate to the level, the readings, and the specific grammatical elements being learned. ‘In Action’ class exercises and assessed assignments are usually based on the close study of one or more short passages of text in the original language. Methods may include translation of passages into English; translation from English into Latin/Greek; comparison of published translations; stylistic analysis; scansion of passages of verse; memorisation of short excerpts; recitation.

Outline Of Syllabus

- The principles of Latin, and its differences from English;
- The Latin grammar as introduced in the relevant Latin textbook, including such central material as the more elementary forms of the verbs, the case-forms of nouns etc.;
- Core Latin vocabulary
- “Latin in Action”: exercises practising the application of the grammar learnt to real Latin texts.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture441:0044:00full-group interactive language classes
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion681:0068:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading881:0088:00Two hours preparation for each session.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

General rationale: This set-up aims to preserve the (traditional) method for from-scratch language teaching which has worked so well over the past years, and has been commended by students.

The four taught classes per week introduce, explain, demonstrate, and give students the opportunity to apply under guidance, the knowledge of the Latin language and the approach to analysing Latin texts which the module aims to instil. Time is set aside in each session for students to ask questions.

In private study, students consolidate knowledge imparted in the taught classes, further practise applying that knowledge to set exercises, and learn to use their language skills to think in analytical and constructive ways about original Latin texts. Written exercises are set in order to aid students review, apply, and consolidate their linguistic knowledge.

If the Covid-related guidance in place during the semester requires us to move teaching on-line, the timetabled sessions will be retained as synchronous Zoom sessions.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A5024-hour take-home exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M35In format of assignments for weekly Latin-in-Action component; 2,000 words
Written exercise1M15tests on a mostly weekly basis, requiring approx. 10 short answers (e.g. vocab items, word forms, transl. of short sentences)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MShort exercises in grammar and vocabulary, to be completed in physical or on-line format.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

An examination is still inevitably the best way of testing students' assimilation of linguistic knowledge and skills. (If in-presence examinations are not permitted by covid-related guidance in place at the time, a 24-hour take-home exam will be offered.)

The assignment is designed to assess students' ability to apply their linguistic knowledge and analytical and problem-solving skills to original literary texts in a way that develops and tests their skills of close literary analysis.

The tests ensure students’ constant review of the material covered in the module, and allow the teacher to detect difficulties early on in the semester and provide students with constant feedback on their progress.
If teaching moves on line because of public-health considerations, depending on the time this happens these summative tests will be wholly or partly converted into formative ones, with adaptation of the percentages. To keep matters transparent for students, the number of alternative arrangements is restricted to two: (1) if the move to on-line teaching happens before the test in teaching week 6, all tests will count as formative, the exam will count for 55%, the assignment for 45% (mirroring the arrangements in 2020-21); (2) if the move happens after the week-6 test, the tests taken until then will be summative, and count for 5%, the exam for 50%, and the assignment for 45%.

The short, formative exercises help students review and consolidate the material introduced to them in the previous session.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

This module cannot be made available to Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students under any circumstances.

Reading Lists