Exciting Summer Oral Latin Intensive
Workshop with Traupman, Reported by Vicki Wine and Virginia Hellenga
In our immersion in oral Latin workshop with John
Traupman , we were all taken aback by the amount of practice even
experienced Latin teachers needed to respond spontaneously in accurate
Latin, and how much effort was required to speak in full sentences
without thinking out the grammar.
Immersion in oral Latin this past summer was made
possible thanks especially to the efforts of LeaAnn Osburn, of
We thoroughly enjoyed our delightful and sensitive
workshop leader, John Traupman, Emeritus Professor of Classics,
Beginning with simple introductory words spoken slowly
in Latin, Traupman skillfully guided us to both greet each other and to
give information about ourselves in Latin. “Quot liberi sunt in
familia tua?” he asked, and “Quod nomen est patri tuo?” “Quo
mense natus est pater tuus?” and so on. Taking turns, we answered each
question in Latin, gathering courage as we gained more oral experience.
Traupman wisely started out very slowly with Latin
phrases followed by English translation, using enough repetition for us
all to understand and practice. He progressively increased pace, careful
not to lose us, until the end of the workshop, when he asked rapid
questions in Latin which we were to answer as rapidly. It was a
challenge and fun, and we laughed a lot. Some of the questions involved
numbers, or grammatical questions in Latin, such as case endings and
identification of the use of cases, on to questions on a speech of
As a change of pace during part of the workshop,
Traupman showed slides of the voyage of Aeneas, giving descriptions
narrated entirely in Latin, and asking questions on the events of the
journey in Latin, which we answered in Latin. This was a clever way to
keep us engaged!
For additional variety in the workshop, Traupman played
sections from the cassette tape which accompanies his book, Conversational
Latin for Oral Proficiency. He also recounted the process involved
in selecting readers for the cassette tape and in making the recordings.
More information on Traupman’s Conversational Latin for Oral
Proficiency book and cassette, published by Bolchazy-Carducci
Publishers, is available on
the Bolchazy-Carducci website, with a link to a letter to colleagues
from Traupman regarding the book and cassette.
The ICTFL immersion program was part of the