Learning Latin at Helsby

This month our guest blog is by Amelia Pendlebury, one of the students learning Latin at Helsby High School.

Since autumn last year, myself and around ten of my fellow language enthusiasts have been attending weekly Latin classes after school, taught by the wonderful Hannah from Manchester University. We recently studied hard for and sat a small exam measuring our progress thus far, and it is quite astonishing how far we have all come; everybody was able to confidently answer most of the questions, with some of them being quite challenging, especially the unseen text translation!

Over the few weeks that we have been together, we have been studying using the Cambridge Latin Course Book 1 as a framework for structuring our learning. In addition, Hannah has been teaching us the relevant grammar in more detail alongside this and we reinforce the vocabulary and concepts by completing exercises in groups, which develop both teamwork skills and understanding of the language.

We are also encouraged to study outside of class to help us to review the work from past weeks. Many people have found the official Cambridge Latin Course website but also Memrise to be useful tools for committing the vocabulary and formidable grammar structures to memory.

I feel that we have all made incredible progress considering the short time that we have spent studying this course; we can all confidently understand the differences between the first three latin declensions, identify the nominative and accusative cases in the singular and plural for these declensions, recall and use a vocabulary of around 300 words whilst translating documents, look up unknown words by using our knowledge of declensions, and identify the differences between the present and past tense of verbs but also the distinction between the perfective and imperfective aspects of the past tense. This is astounding and much of this is down to the dedication from our teacher, Hannah – she has been wonderful and we are extremely lucky to have her expert tution as we continue to work towards the ultimate goal of a GCSE in Latin.

Amelia Pendlebury 11MMA