Lingva Latina: The Latin curriculum

Under the decade-long leadership of Eric Indgjerd, The Oaks has committed itself to become one of the nation's educational leaders in revitalizing Latin education. Currently, Latin is taught to third- through tenth-grade students. Above (video), Mr. Indgjerd comments on the relationship between a favorite painting of St. Jerome, Latin instruction and the scriptures.

From experience, we have observed that mastery of Latin grammar and a sound introduction to Latin literature in its original language reconnects students to the oft-abandoned intellectual riches of our Christian forebears. This serves as a crucial interpretative key to support their generational calling to remake our culture. As our staff deepens their fluency, we will expand Latin instruction to include greater engagement with original texts.

Hans Ørberg and the Lingva Latina

Hans Henning Ørberg (April 21, 1920 – February 17, 2010) devoted his life to revivify Latin studies. He developed a complete Lingva Latina course in two parts (Familia Romana and Roma Aeterna) that has become the worldwide standard for Latin language instruction.

Ørberg's Linga Latina Familia Romana serves as the primary text across all grades at The Oaks.


Lingva Latina per se illvstrata

Composed entirely in Latin, the Familia Romana's 35 chapters describe the life of a Roman family in the 2nd century A.D., culminating in readings from classical poets and, finally, a grammatical outline of the language.

In Ørberg's words, "(My goal has been) to make every sentence presented to the students immediately intelligible per se, or self-explanatory. There is no need to translate or explain grammatical points in the student's own language."

Following Ørberg's lead, The Oaks conducts Latin classes as nearly as possible in Latin alone.


Chapter 1 from Lingua Latina


Third-graders at the Oaks begin here:

Rōma in Italiā est. Italia in Eurōpā est. Graecia in Eurōpā est. Italia et Graecia in Eurōpā sunt. Hispānia quoque in Eurōpā est. Hispānia et Italia et Graecia in Eurōpā sunt.

Aegyptus in Eurōpā nōn est, Aegyptus in Africā est. Gallia nōn in Africā est, Gallia est in Eurōpā. Syria nōn est in Eurōpā, sed in Asiā. Arabia quoque in Asiā est. Syria et Arabia in Asiā sunt ...

Watch and listen to this chapter being read on YouTube.

Chapter 33 from Lingua Latina


Tenth-graders at the Oaks have mastered Latin of this complexity:

Exercitus Rōmānus ūniversus cōnstat ex legiōnibus duodētrigintā, quae in dēnās cohortēs dīviduntur. In singulīs legiōnibus sunt sēna vel quīna vel quaterna mīlia mīlitum, quī omnēs cīvēs Rōmanī sunt. Praetereā magna auxilia exerituī adiunguntur. Auxilia sunt peditēs equitēsque ex prōvinciīs, quī arma leviōra, sīcut arcūs sagittāsque, ferunt. Legiōnariī sunt peditēs scūtīs, gladiīs pīlīisque armātī.

Watch Luigi Miraglia conduct a recitation of chapter thirty-three.

The Academia Vivarium Novum and Our Vision for Latin Literature


The Oaks hopes to send Mr. Indgjerd to the Academia Vivarium Novum in Rome for two terms of advanced, immersive Latin study with Luigi Miraglia in the summers of 2016-17 and 2017-18. Advanced training at this unique school will allow us to introduce the reading of Latin literature to interested Oaks students in succeeding years.

Historically, Latin instruction has suffered from a dreary reputation that is all too-well deserved. Imitating mentors like Hans Ørberg and Luigi Miraglia, we strive for a joyous rigor in language study. The video taken above of a regular sixth-grade recitation exercise illustrates the delight that this method, practiced well, seeks to elicit in our students.