Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Latin and Greek Summer Immersion Program at Ave Maria University

Ave Maria University in Florida has been offering interested students a unique opportunity for the past five years: summer courses in beginning and intermediate Latin and Greek, teaching students to read as well as speak Greek or Classical Latin. Participants build a basic 1,000-word vocabulary, learn to read and analyze in the target language, as well as speak and compose basic sentences. This year the program is growing. Classes will now meet, on average, six hours per day and will run for a total of eight weeks, from May 16 to July 8. The program will provide the equivalent of four or more semesters of elementary and intermediate Latin or Greek and lead to fluency in reading the ancient languages, and helps students otherwise unable to gain basic competence in the ancient languages during the regular academic year an opportunity to do so through immersion and intensive study in an exciting and academically rigorous environment.

They have taken the successful formula of intensive summer courses in Latin and Greek and added a methodology inspired by applied linguistics: reading skills built through communicative competence.

Students have welcomed the methodology. “I think this course was incredibly well designed,” wrote Scott Wolcott, a past participant who is a PhD candidate in philosophy at University of Albany (SUNY). “Not only do I now feel as though I can speak and read Latin, but I feel confident that I can continue to progress with the language on my own. I wasn’t just given vocabulary. I was given tools to understand the way the language works.”

“I’ve taught Latin in a summer intensive language program at Berkeley very similar in length and scope to our program at Ave Maria University,” notes the program director, Bradley Ritter. “Its duration and intensity are well-designed to bring students to a good knowledge of how to interpret Latin texts. But I wanted to add something to our program not seen in other summer intensive programs. I wanted to bring the fruits of my experience in immersion programs in modern languages and apply that to the world of Classics. It was my intense experience as a young student learning to read German and Hebrew in immersion programs in Germany and Israel which has left me with an ability, to this day, to pick up texts in those languages and read with ease and fluency. That is what this program is designed to do for Latin and Greek, to start students on the path to fluency in reading the rich literature of Greece and Rome.”

Latin courses are designed and taught by Dr. Bradley Ritter, who received his Ph.D. in Classics from the University of California at Berkeley. He has published on Hellenistic and Roman history and Judaism in the ancient world (most recently, Judeans in the Greek Cities of the Roman Empire, published by Brill in 2015). Greek courses are designed and taught by Dr. Christophe Rico, who received his Ph.D. in Greek linguistics at the Sorbonne and has published on general linguistics, Greek linguistics, and Koine Greek. He is also the founder of Polis, an institute in Jerusalem which offers a two-year M.A. program in Classical languages, philology, and the culture of the Holy Land.

You can visit their site to learn more at classics.avemaria.edu/polis_greek_and_latin/, or contact them directly at summerimmersion@avemaria.edu for more information.

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