VIR DRINKS BEER....
...ON THESE PAGES you will find memorable ways, both sensible and downright weird, to help you learn vocabulary. These have been developed and tested over more than 30 years of teaching Latin classes... and many of them have been invented by my students themselves.
WANT TO GET STARTED STRAIGHT AWAY? FOLLOW THE LINKS IN THE BOX BELOW TO TAKE YOU TO THE VOCAB LISTS FOR EACH LEVEL - or click on the menu on the left!
WHAT IS 'VIR DRINKS BEER'?
SO...how do you remember Latin Vocab??
"I just learn it!" was an answer some of my pupils (the lucky ones, I suspect) used to give me. But HOW did they learn it? We all know that different people find different methods helpful - ones who find visual aids work, seeing text in different colours for example, or who use their mind's eye to visualise a picture of the word or what it suggests to them; then there are the ones who find that saying or hearing the words out loud is a better way (often actually recording their own voice saying them can be a big help). We have all heard of 'magicians' who can memorise whole lists - cards, names from the phone-book, etc - by creating 'walk-through landscapes', or rhymes, or silly associations - often, the sillier they are, the better they seem to work.
Over the years, I have encouraged the pupils in my Classics classes (this has worked for Greek vocab, too!) to suggest ideas that help them to remember their vocab lists (I have of course also made my own contributions!). They have ranged from real flashes of insight that everyone 'gets' straight away, to downright bizarrely obscure prompts that only make sense to them as individuals. The suggestions on these pages are a distillation of these ideas as they have developed over the terms. Some of them (we hope) will make you smile (or groan!); some will definitely make you cringe... but I hope that there will be one or two that will work for you!
Note for 'purists'(!): I am not suggesting in any way that these ideas are better than, or should replace, the time-honoured method of learning from derivations. The words that come into our language (and many others) from Latin are a hugely important reason for learning the language in the first place, never mind their use in helping to memorise vocab words. This is why I have also put a 'proper' English (or occasionally French) word alongside each entry in the list, where possible; often these alone are the best way of remembering them, maybe even the only way that is needed. But it is no good trying to suggest remembering a Latin word by its derivative if the English word is unfamiliar in the first place! Increasingly I have found even the most 'obvious' English words have met with blank stares... In these cases, it has been fun to help out colleagues from the English department...!
* Common Academic Scholarship and OCR GCSE vocab pages now added
The Latin words are arranged in Alphabetical order, divided grammatically as follows:
Firstly NOUN declensions (in the traditional order of grouping)
Then ADJECTIVES (ditto)
PRONOUNS, PREPOSITIONS, ADVERBS, CONJUNCTIONS
and finally VERBS, by conjugation.
I have colour-coded the various sections of the table to reflect these divisions.
I hope it will all become clear as you go along...!