What I like about the Cambridge Unit 1 book:
lingua wrote:What is it that you like about the Cambridge books? I'm not all that happy with any of the Latin texts that I have. I am probably going to buy the Lingua Latina books sometime next year.
1) The graded stories start out extremely simple and slowly become more complex as new words, case endings, or verb conjugations are introduced.
2) It feels like they put a lot of consideration into choosing phrasing so that it reinforces the point they are trying to teach (or something previously learned). For example, to reinforced verb conjugations, there might be a section like:
60 denarius for this toga."
60 denarios! No way. I offer you
"You offer me
10 denarios! What an insult. I want
By seeing "I want" right next to "you want" it reinforces the different verb conjugations in an effective way. Plus, seeing "you offer me" next to "I offer you" back to back reinforces how to say "to me" vs. "to you".
3) While I wouldn't call the graded stories riveting, they are interesting enough that I'm eager to keep reading them, and they occasionally even make me laugh out loud or fume silently - one story was about election fraud (there is an actual word in Latin specifically for the people whose job it is to bribe voters to support a specific candidate, and apparently it was not uncommon for people who weren't legally allowed to vote to pretend to be someone else in order to vote for a candidate so that they could accept this bribe. Man, Italy never had a chance
4) The feeling I get from the book is that the stories drive the vocabulary introduced, not the other way around. A lot of very common vocabulary is introduced and learned effortless simply from encountering it repeatedly, but there is also some less-frequent vocabulary thrown in (like the words farm manager
). It doesn't feel like someone took a list of the 1,000 most common Latin words then tried to create artificial stories based on those words (though who knows, that's probably what they did). It feels more like they tried to come up with simple stories based on every day life that just happened to use a lot of beginner vocab.
5) I like the way they teach grammar concepts; after a few stories there's a simple and short page that looks something like: "you probably noticed that certain words had x ending. This is because it's x declension. Below is a short table with 3 examples of how certain word endings change in x declension." Then these ending continue to be repeated in the following stories until they are fairly easy to identify. Even if I can't use the proper endings, myself, I can at least recognize these endings when I see them now. The book also does a good job at reminding you what the noun is in the nominative (regular dictionary form) case before introducing it in a changed format with a different case to reinforce the fact that the ending is changing and what it changes to.
"why are you headed into town," asks Holconius
. "I need to get home," Caecilius tells Holconio
. (<diff case ending)
6) I also like the way the book intersperses historical information of every day life in Pompei, which always has something to do with the short stories presented in the chapter. All of the short stories involve typical things that people in Ancient Rome would have done, which includes events that actually happened (like a riot in which people were killed)