Languages – Classics
The aim of the Cambridge Latin Course is to encourage students to read meaningful Latin from the very start. We adhere to its principles and encourage students to enjoy what they read and to become engrossed in the plot of the continuous story, which unfolds through the Stages. Many of the stages contain dialogues, which are ideally suited for performance and encourage the oral use of Latin.
We do, however, think that it is important to reinforce the grammar at every stage and to develop an understanding of sentence structure and the role of the cases, which can be so beneficial to English and the learning of other modern languages. Vocabulary has to be learned and tested regularly and the checklists at the end of each stage are used for this. Because ours is a reading course, leading to the first encounter with Latin authors in Book IV, no English into Latin translation is done below the Sixth Form.
Classical Greek is treated in a similar way, although there is no really comparable course to the Latin one. Again, we try to make sure that the reading material is as interesting as possible from the beginning. The grammar is a little more demanding than the Latin, but we do everything we can to ensure that it is not too daunting. English into Classical Greek is introduced from the start, but does not have to be sustained right up to GCSE. Grammar notes have to be kept rigorously from the start and there is a lot of vocabulary learning to be done, although this can be made more interesting by drawing upon English derivations.
The Classics Clinic operates during lunchtimes for those who need to go over some aspect of their language or learning. This can be set up by invitation or on a drop-in basis. A member of the department will be on hand.
We also offer Classical Civilisation which is a perfect choice for students who either love the Classical World but find the language difficult to cope with or who just want to study more about the lives of the Ancient Greeks and Romans alongside the language and literature.
All three subjects are offered at A Level and we have a healthy take-up every year. We also send a number of students to a variety of universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, to study Classics or Classical related courses.