As a result, especially these past 10-months, I have not devoted any time to developing my own language learning. My friend Justin Slocum Bailey, founder of Indwelling Language, in his blog posting "Why All Language Teachers Should be Language Learners," adroitly explains the importance of language teachers continuing their pursuit of language learning. As much as I wholeheartedly agree with this, over the past 10 months, I have had no time. Earlier this year, I took part in the #LatinReadingChallenge but only lasted 3 weeks, as my schedule became overwhelming. This will be my first summer in 5 years where I will not be attending Rusticatio, a weeklong spoken Latin immersion "camp." I hate it when life gets in the way of what I want to do.
This past Monday, a new Latin podcast series called Quomodo Dicitur emerged on the scene. Hosted by Jason Slanga, Justin Slocum Bailey, and Gus Grissom, the podcast is completely in Latin - yes, spoken Latin! Yesterday, I finally took a break from my studies to take a listen, and wow, I could not get enough of it! This podcast appealed to me both as a language learner and instructional technologist on so many levels:
- The messages delivered in the podcast were comprehensible to me. Even though my spoken Latin listening skills are rusty, I was surprised by how much I understood! Yes, there were parts which I did not understand fully due to the speaker talking too quickly or the use of vocabulary/language structure with which I was not familiar, but I got the gist of what was being said.
- The messages delivered in the podcast were compelling to me. The topic of the podcast was simply the hosts explaining their names (both American and Latin) and how they got them. For me, because I personally know Jason, Justin, and Gus, that was very compelling topic to hear. The podcast lasted for 13 1/2 minutes, and quite honestly, it did not seem that long, because I was engaged in the topic. Now I know why Gus goes by "Gus" and not Daryl, his given name (something about which I had always wondered), and I discovered that out only by hearing it in Latin!
- Because it is a podcast, I can listen to it whenever I want and as many times as I want in as many ways as I want wherever I want. Even though my schedule is incredibly busy, it is an easy resource to implement. I can listen to it in my car as I drive, or at the gym, or at my computer as I work. As I am already familiar with the content in the podcast now, I can listen to it again multiple times to receive repetitions of understandable language and input. I can listen to just sections of it for narrow listening purposes. For those sections where I found the speaker talking too quickly, I can slow it down in order to hear it at a comprehensible pace (although the 1/2 speed makes me feel like I am in some weird Bizarro, time warp world where everything goes really slowly).
My spoken Latin ability is nowhere at the level displayed in the podcast. After attending six Rusticationes, I am still an Intermediate Mid/High speaker, so I am not at the level where I can speak comfortably in paragraphs recounting an event or telling a personal story. This podcast, however, will allow to me to gain much spoken Latin input to improve my spoken language ability, and that is all I want right now: INPUT. My speaking ability will improve with time as a result of an overflow of comprehensible input. Believe me, there are VERY FEW comprehensible resources out there for Latin, so I am glad to see Latinists finally seeing the need for this and rising to the occasion.
So for those of you who think that Latin is a "dead" language, I challenge you to take a listen to this first episode of Quomodo Dicitur. You will discover that Latin is actually a vibrant, living communicative language! Maximas gratias vobis, mi Iason, Iuste, et Auguste!