Friday, November 25, 2011

An Intermediate Latin Grammar with Exercises by J.P. Giles and E.N. Pfitzner.

An Intermediate Latin Grammar with Exercises by J.P. Giles and E.N. Pfitzner.

I’ve only recently cottoned on to the massive Latin learning resurgence that is taking place world wide as we speak.  OK, maybe “massive” is overdoing it a bit, but I assure you that learning Latin is becoming more popular than you think. Young and old are flocking to secondhand bookshops (and also on the interwebs) seeking those elusive Latin texts.

“doctus cum libro”

Yep, that’s right.  They all want to learn from books.  There’s even a “Latin for Dummies” and those “Dummies” people are usually on the ball with what’s happening.  You’ve probably seen (or read) Henry Beards “Latin for all Occasions” or one of his other Latin books and these titles are so popular, that even Huc & Gabet has managed to sell a few.  “An Intermediate Latin Grammar with Exercises” is an older title (1960) but considering that Latin was popular with the Ancient Romans, I don’t know that the age of a Latin textbook really matters that much.  I guess it probably doesn’t have the word for “computer” in it, or the Latin words for “digital downloads”, and it definitely doesn’t have “e-book reader” in its vocabulary.

My first encounter with the phenomenon of the Latin learner was a friends grand daughter who was looking for any Latin books.  That is ANYTHING in Latin.  She didn’t care what it was, as long as she could learn some Latin, which is a bit confronting when your talking to a 12 year old who’s passion in life in learning Latin (shouldn’t she be swooning over Justin Biber… ad gustum)… her mother did point out that there was a Harry Potter connection to the whole Latin learning business.

“ab ove maiori discit arare minor”

I was recently visiting Allsorts books and chatting to the wonderful and most knowledgeable proprietor Paul Francis Perry who as far as I’m aware doesn’t speak a word of Latin, when a customer asked for some Latin textbooks.  She was an older lady who explained that she had last taught Latin 35 years ago and had been recently approached be an acquaintance to once again doce ut discas.  She seemed to be very pleased with the knowledge that her moth balled skills would again be of use. It was mirabile visu.

But you know, I personally am not very good with languages. Just look at this blog and you’ll get the idea.  … and Latin, well “it’s all Greek to me”.


  1. Interesting to see this book on the web. Giles was the senior Latin master at Unley High School in Adelaide in the 1960s. That is where I met him. I would like to find a copy, but I suspect it will be difficult. The same text was used for the first three years of high school, and most were in poor condition after that much daily use.

  2. j p jim giles was my latin teacher in 1949 ,, dr john gurr Adelaide Australia eram eras erat

  3. If anyone is looking for this grammar text, they should also look for LEGAMVS (Let us read) also written by Pinhead (James Palmer Giles - my Latin Teacher in 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A UHS 1955-1958. A giant among men of learning was he.