“WE WILL NOT LONG PRESERVE THE GOSPEL
WITHOUT THE LANGUAGES.”
— Martin Luther
BY KAREN MOORE
Classical students and teachers from four states joined together this January to engage in wonderful conversation. Latin and Greek immersion experiences gather people from around the world to keep the ancient languages alive, bolster proficiency and appreciation, and train scholars to read and translate ancient original manuscripts. Hosted by Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, TX, these classical schools banded together to make the same sort of opportunity available to their students locally through BIDUUM IV (BIDUUM: Latin for “two days”), a two-day language immersion event for students, teachers, and parents.
For younger students, the days were filled with short lessons in speaking followed by games carefully designed to loosen their Latin tongues. Praeceptor (instructor) Jillian Noe explained that young students’ eagerness and lack of inhibitions serve as a great advantage. “If you don’t tell them something is too hard, they just go with it.”
The hallways were filled with laughter as participants enjoyed games, riddles, ancient fables, and excellent prose on the theme of De Amicitia (Concerning Friendship). When asked about his favorite part of the weekend, eight year-old William smiled, “I don’t know, it’s all really fun!”
While the older students (grades 7–12) also enjoyed some game time, many lessons were centered on reading fables and prose in Latin or Greek and discussing these works (in Latin or Greek, of course). Nathaniel, an 11th grade student in the Greek track, shared, “As we progressed, we reached a level where we could cooperate in explaining what a word meant through other Greek words, rather than defaulting to English translation.” Many students expressed surprise at how much they could really understand and how quickly they adapted.
For head praeceptor Dr. David Noe of Calvin University, an alumnus of the Conventiculum Lexintoniense, the impetus for creating BIDUUM came from his own desire for more opportunities to practice speaking Latin.
Dr. Noe gathers his team of professors from several colleges including Dr. Patrick Owens (Hillsdale), Ms. Susan Rasmussen (Wyoming Catholic College), and Dr. Joseph Tipton (New Saint Andrews). All participants come away with a renewed sense of confidence and enthusiasm, along with creative ideas to take home.
Perhaps the greatest benefit, however, is in students of classical Christian schools, age 8 to 48, coming together to engage in the language amicitiae, , of friendship — truly beautiful in any language.
Latin is the language in which the most sophisticated thoughts of the Western world were expressed, and studying it allows learners to get a better grasp of their own present and thus gain a more profound understanding of manifold aspects of our lives and culture. — University of Kentucky
Would you like information about hosting a similar event at your school? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
KAREN MOORE, classics chair and upper school lead teacher, Grace Academy, Georgetown, TX.