Minimus

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Minimus

Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Thu Jul 17, 2003 3:20 pm

Salvete Romani,

Most students only start to learn Latin in High School, but I've found a site that teaches Latin to students of the Primary School.

It is about a mouse called Minimus who lives with a Roman family in Vindolanda. Everything is well explained and there have been many positive reports of both the children and the teachers.

This is the URL of the official site:

http://www.minimus-etc.co.uk/

And to finish with a qoute from Minimus:

"Mus sum! Minimus sum!"


Translated as: I am a mouse! I am Minimus! :D

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Sun Aug 03, 2003 11:51 pm

salete omnes

A late reply, I know, but since I have been abroad recently....

Latin for 7 to 10 year olds... amazing, nonne. Although I am wondering, would this really reach it's intended plublic?

Vindolanda is a name that rings a bell. Isn"t that a big fortress, including big fortifications and a wall, in the Northern part of England?

I remember seeing a documentary about the place in my 6th year at secondary school. We discussed many historical sites in our English class... I am sure Locatus and Mus still remember. :wink:

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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Mon Aug 04, 2003 12:07 am

Salve Menci,

Could it be that you are thinking of Verulamium, the ancient name of Saint Albans about 20 minutes to the North of London by train? There is a lovely little museum there of Roman everyday life, by the way. Although the city was the third largest in Brittania (after London and Colchester), the ruins are not very interesting.

Other salient points about Saint Albans: it was the site of the first Christian matyrdom in Britain of a Roman soldier named Alban. It contains the oldest pub in England.

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Mon Aug 04, 2003 12:21 am

Salve mi Tergeste

I am quite sure it was Vindolanda, but maybe Mus or Locatus could hepl to clarify this matter...

I think it is a nice touch to connect christian martyrdom with the oldest pub in England :lol: Imagine... "well, we've just fried that foul christian Alban, the fool.... let's go and have a drink, shall we?" Bibendum est.

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Postby Publius Dionysius Mus on Mon Aug 04, 2003 12:55 pm

Dionysius Mus omnibus SPD

Mencius is right, the documentary was indeed about Vindolanda, the excavation site along Hadrian's Wall. The site is of course best known for the wooden tablets with inscriptions found there. A search for Vindolanda in Google gives access to the Vindolanda website with all information, and also to the website where the tablets can be viewed online, with a transcription of the text (of those possible to read...). The websites:
www.vindolanda.com
http://vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk/

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Mon Aug 04, 2003 1:00 pm

Salve

I guess I was wrong about where to situate the historical site of Vindolanda, hence the confusion with Verulamium...

Thanx, Mus, for the assistance in this matter.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Mon Aug 04, 2003 6:32 pm

Salve Menci,

Aulus Dionysius Mencius wrote:salete omnes

A late reply, I know, but since I have been abroad recently....

Latin for 7 to 10 year olds... amazing, nonne. Although I am wondering, would this really reach it's intended plublic?


I have wondered about this, too. What 7 year old is crazy enough to want to learn Latin? I have a hard time imagining my kid wanting to learn Latin at that age... Perhaps for a few days, for the novelty of it, but afterwards?

Still, it's a nice initiative of course, if a little pointless. Latinity is so thinly spread that we should cherish all of it (that sounded dramatic, I know).

By the way Aule, the plural of "amicus" is simply "amici". "Amices" doesn't exist.

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Mon Aug 04, 2003 7:12 pm

Salve

Either the kid in question must have an IQ of 195, to go to his parents one day and tell them:" Look, mom, dad, I want to study Latin. I have had it with Shakespeare."

OR the parents might think it is an amazing feature to boast about at dinner parties.
Other than that....

But nevertheless, I like the site.

Vale bene, amici. I stand corrected... :oops: thanx Draco.
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Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Tue Aug 05, 2003 10:42 am

Euh... Who's calling me? I should help you out with what? You should know that I spent most of my time during English sleeping or eating (to have a pleasant lunch... euh drinking-time at noon). I (and you all) still face the consequences today :wink: .

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Tue Aug 05, 2003 11:43 am

Salve Loc !

Yes, I should have remembered that.... speaking of drinking time at noon, I remember a litlle speaking exercise for French where you had to get close and personal at the teacher's desk.... :lol:

You see, I remember a lot, so I guess that the consequenses you speak of are completely gone by now, if I ever had them.

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Teaching Latin to Kids

Postby Aldus Marius on Wed Aug 06, 2003 2:32 am

Ahem.

Everyone seems to have agreed that while a kid wanting to learn Latin makes a cute picture, the likelihood of its occurance lags somewhat behind the likelihood of spotting a purple Pegasus winging its way across the Moon. As one who has actually taught Latin to several homeless children and troubled youths, I have to take issue with that assumption.

The way it happened for me was simply this: I had just fetched up at a homeless shelter, and immediately came down with the serious respiratory illness that I'd never found time for before, being too busy surviving. So on my first full day at the shelter, I sat on a bench at a table with a shawl around me, assembling miniature Roman soldiers--I never went anywhere without my Legion, and some of the troops had suffered in transit.

As I filed and shaped and epoxied, any number of shelter kids came up to me and asked what I was doing. So I explained about the soldiers, about the Romans, about being a Roman, and many related topics, as many as we had time for. By the end of this little colloquium, no less than six kids, ages 8 to 12, asked me to teach them "everything about the Romans." Parental permissions had to be secured, of course, and refusals cut my class in half; but of the remaining three, one also expressed the desire to learn Latin, he having heard plenty of it from me at our first meeting.

I will point you to the Contributions section of this very Collegium, which contains the materials I developed for David. His parents and I agreed that I would help him with his schoolwork, leaving Latin for dessert. We exchanged Latin greetings every day; and one day he asked me to take him to the Library so he could check out his own Latin dictionary and other Roman-related materials. By this time we were all out of the shelter; David's folks had gotten a small house, and guess who got the spare bedroom?? (Nothing lights a fire under the growth of your Romanitas quite like living with a Roman!) [feg]( = Fiendish Evil Grin)

The 'boy' (now 22) still retains a deep love for the ancient world, speaks as much Latin as I do, and until recently was sending me little 'guess-what' translation tests in the mail.

My other favorite disciple was an ex-gang member named Daniel. My sister got him off the streets, out of the gang and into her church environment; my task was to help him get caught up with his schoolwork, as he had a strong desire to graduate with his class even after missing five semesters. This ended up working the same way as David's deal, except that Daniel's brother and sister got in on the act too! We worked Romans, we played Romans, we did Latin as a treat, we made up clever alphabet games ("Aurelius Began Canning Dried Eggplant..."), and we covered our homemade skateboard ramp with spray-painted Roman-style graffiti, Marvin the Martian and the SK8-Ball. Those were good days. Daniel's family were the first to see me in my Legionary armor, and David's the second... Unfortunately, Daniel's family broke up, and I never could find out for sure whether he wound up in Florida with his mom or Oregon with his dad. I still have a Pog shaped like the SK8-Ball that I'm saving for if I ever see him again.

The common threads with these kids learning Latin were that they were first attracted to the Roman in their midst (rather like the 'circles' I once wrote about when we were discussing recruiting on the Topica Lists), and from this stemmed the desire to learn Latin. In all cases learning Latin was the kid's idea. It was treated as a privilege, something to be done for pleasure after all required homework had been seen to. Kids also like having a secret language known only to themselves and their friends. And in many cases--this may well have been my most significant and lasting contribution--it was the first time the child had learned anything strictly for fun in his or her life.

Think about it. For so much of our lives we are under pressure to learn something useful, something practical, something that will enable us to 'get ahead' in life. Much creative and exploratory activity is dismissed as mere woolgathering. Even my sister, when she understood that I was going to be teaching Daniel's family Latin on top of everything else, stormed at me: "Who the hell are they going to talk to, a Priest??" This kind of thinking, so pervasive in the world, is the enemy of a well-rounded education, and through that, a balanced life.

If, through 'useless' Latin, a child can be taught to wonder; to want to study; to use the Library and other resources on his own; to follow his curiosity just as far as he wishes; to look into another world, and find a bit of himself there...why, who's to say that these things are useless, or that the thing that transmits them is dead?

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Wed Aug 06, 2003 8:50 am

Salve, mi Mari

I have to say, amice, that your heart runs over with virtus and humanitas. I don't want to be sentimental, but the Wanderer has gained some points on my respect scale. :wink:

Now, the fact that you were in the shelter reassembling your legions made it easier for the kids to step up to you and get involved, nonne. So you are right when you say they first have interest in the Roman in their midst, and then, depending on that person, they might develop wider interest. The fact that you are a storyteller adds even more appeal for them.

Indeed, if a youth would want to learn something about an ancient civilisation, it is easier if he has a comrade in arms. After all, that"s why we are in a Societas...

Final point. you stated : If, through 'useless' Latin, a child can be taught to wonder; to want to study; to use the Library and other resources on his own; to follow his curiosity just as far as he wishes; to look into another world, and find a bit of himself there...why, who's to say that these things are useless, or that the thing that transmits them is dead?

I could not agree with you more, because I have always tought that, through my study of Latin, I also learned many other things, hepfull to express who I was at the time, and hopefully things that will still come in handy in the future...

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Wed Aug 06, 2003 9:46 pm

Salve Mari,

An interesting account for sure! It could well have been the theme of a movie, I'm serious.

What you say about kids wanting to learn a secret language only known to them, is quite true. However I'm afraid - even though it seemed not so in your case - that their interest would soon wane as it'd become too "serious".

Latin is by no means a dead language, in my opinion. I intend to write an article on that for the site someday :p.

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Wed Aug 06, 2003 10:35 pm

Salve
Latin is by no means a dead language,


I agree on that one, because this partially why we are here, nonne? Because if one should argue that the language is dead, one could also say that Romanitas is dead.

Although there are many logical objections to my reasoning, I know. But it is possible that people think that way, me thinks.

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