SLC/Classics Research Seminar Series - Isaac Bennett-Smith
Event type: Seminars5 August 2021 from 3.10 pm - 5.00 pm
"Learning Undead Languages: Overcoming Obstacles in Ancient Greek and Latin"
Presented by Isaac Bennett-Smith
Victoria University of Wellington, MA candidate in Classics
Modern research on second language acquisition is unanimous that massive quantities of compelling (and understandable) reading or listening material is vital for learning a language. Scholars disagree on exactly what our brains do with this input, but no one disputes its central role in acquisition. We do have an awful lot of Greek and Latin, ranging from antiquity to the present without interruption, but very little of it is understandable for a beginner, or even an advanced student. What, then, is a learner to do?
This talk explores a wide range of strategies for overcoming both this challenge and other related obstacles, focusing especially on the experiences of students here at Vic. We’ve experimented with activities and games suitable for use both inside and outside of the classroom, ranging all the way from 20 Questions to complex roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons. This kind of play and collaboration fosters community across classes, counteracts limitations of representation in textbooks, and provides a conducive environment for coming to terms with vocabulary, grammar, discourse, and pragmatics in these (un)dead languages.