The Latin course is written entirely in Latin. It consists of two parts: I: Familia Romana -- the fundamental or elementary course. II: Roma Aeterna -- the advanced course, with Indices covering both parts. The direct method is based on the inductive principle of learning. In the text every sentence is intelligible per se, or self-explanatory, because the meaning and function of all new words and grammatical forms are made clear by the context in which they occur, or if necessary, by illustrations or marginal notes using vocabulary already learned. This demands a carefully graded text, but in order to make learning efficient the content should stimulate interest and curiosity and make it easy for the reader to visualise the scenes and situations described. To meet these demands the chapters of Lingva Latina I form a continuous narrative, a sort of Latin novel, which captivates the students so that they look forward to reading the continuation of the story.
While reading this story and learning facts about the Roman life and traditions, the students pick up the vocabulary and grammar that will enable them to go on, in Part II, to read a representative selection of Latin literature, both prose and poetry. Here, too, all new words and structures, if not immediately intelligible from the context, are explained by marginal notes or illustrations. In addition, factual information is given in the margin. Part I covers the essentials of Latin grammar and introduces a basic vocabulary of some 1600 words. The 35 chapters form a sequence of scenes and incidents from the life of a Roman family in the second century A.D. Each chapter is divided into 3 or 4 lessons (lectiones) and consists of several text pages followed by a section on grammar, three exercises, and a list of new words. At the end of the volume there is a survey of inflexions, a Roman calendar, and alphabetical word-list and a grammatical index.
Hans H Orberg