About Me

My name is Laura Gibbs, and I'm an instructor at the University of Oklahoma, where I teach courses in World Literature and Mythology-Folklore. One of my main areas of interest is Aesop's fables, and I've done a translation of Aesop's fables into English. You can find out more about Aesop, including hundreds of Aesop's fables in Latin, at my website, aesopica.net.

I have some very strong opinions about teaching Latin. Most importantly, I think everyone can benefit from reading some easy Latin. Easy Latin is a good thing - but classical Latin is rarely easy. In general, classical Latin is much too hard for beginning students. Reading Bible stories is a much better option, because the Latin of the Bible is easier than classical Latin.

This is, admittedly, a minority opinion in the world of Latin. But I was very glad to find the Tolle Lege website maintained by Vojin Nedeljkovic in Belgrade. What a great website! Here's what Nedeljkovic says about his approach to Latin:

Reading should be easy. Whenever you get the impression of hardly making your way through the jungle, it is likely that you have picked up the wrong text. A good text is the one you can jog through – most of the time, that is. Occasional uphills and downhills are there to keep you awake. Another point is that reading should be extensive rather than intensive. Philological study may flourish at a two-lines-per-hour rate, but language training usually doesn’t. At least a full page or two of Latin every day is a reasonable minimum. Every single day – but not all day. If a text is easy enough, reading a couple of pages of it won’t take very long.

Three cheers for Vojin Nedeljkovic and jogging in Latin!

I also have some very strong opinions about Latin textbooks. Here at the University of Oklahoma, the main textbook in use is Wheelock's Latin. I think this is a truly terrible textbook. Since textbooks in general are pretty boring, I recommend getting through the basics of Latin as quickly as possible so that you can do your real learning by reading real texts (real easy texts!). The best textbook for quickly mastering the basics of Latin grammar is Moreland and Fleischer's Latin: An Intensive Course. There is no reason why you cannot finish this course in 8-10 weeks of diligent self-study. And then you will be ready to go! If you would like some fun materials to read while using that textbook, I've put up 1000 Latin Proverbs, Keyed to Moreland and Fleischer. This is from back when I first taught Latin using this textbook, when I was a graduate student at UC Berkeley.

To find out more about me and about my online courses at the University of Oklahoma, you can check out the About Me page at one of my online courses. If you have requests or suggestions for this website, please let me know: laura-gibbs@ou.edu.