Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Latin Language (Beginners')


(depending on year of study)


This module offers the opportunity to learn the basics of the Latin language and is designed for students who have little or no previous experience of the language. The department believes that language is at the heart of the discipline and all students should, at the minimum, have a basic knowledge of one of the classical languages: Latin is the recommended language option for first years who are not experienced linguists. It is a core module and first years from the Department taking the module must pass it in order to proceed to their second year. The course chosen and the style of teaching is helpful to students who have dyslexia: if you have been diagnosed with dyslexia, please contact the module tutor at the earliest opportunity to discuss strategies.

While the Department welcomes enquiries from students outside the Classics Department, we anticipate that the 2018/19 course will have to be limited to members of the Classics department. Potential postgraduates from other Departments who need some Latin should should email the module co-ordinator to signify their interest (link at the foot of this page).

For 2018/19, we have two parallel groups, meeting three times a week (Group A, Monday 10, Wednesday 10, Friday 9) and Group B (Monday 9, Wednesday 9, Friday 10). We will use the course Familia Romana by ├śrberg.


Many students are keen to have the opportunity to study Latin for the first time; others are apprehensive, especially if they have not had much experience of learning a foreign language or have not done so well in learning a language earlier on at school. Do not worry: we know all this and plan the year accordingly, and the current first year have just achieved an impressive set of results.

If you want to get ahead before arriving on campus, then the Open University has a free introduction to the language which takes around 10 hours to complete. It introduces some of the key concepts and gets you to think explicitly about your learning techniques (a key area!). So if you fall into the 'apprehensive' category, you I advise you to work through this before arriving.

You can find the course by clicking here. If you find it helpful, let me know.


The course uses innovative communicative techniques and classes are an integral part of the course. These need to be backed up by a significant amount of independent study, for which extensive materials are available on-line. There are three hours of teaching each week, and this should be followed up with around two hours of personal study.

Attendance is required at all classes, unless there is a very good reason you cannot attend. If you have appointment you cannot miss, please discuss this in advance. If you are ill, you should email as soon as possible (preferably in advance) giving an indication of why you could not be expected to attend. In the absence of any such email, attendance will be noted as unauthorised in the register. Our experience is that regular attendance is the single most important factor for success on this module.

In the event that you have to miss classes for more than one week due to illness, university regulations require you to submit a medical certificate from your GP or similar to the departmental office.

More importantly, you should be in email contact with the module tutor and your personal tutor since it is easy to fall behind in such a situation and catching up becomes progressively harder.


Office Hours are an important part of the module, offering students the opportunity to sort out areas of uncertainty as the module progresses. For 2018-19, my office hours are Wednesdays 12-1 and Thursdays 11-12 in the first and second terms (excluding Reading Week) and Weeks 1 to 3 of the third term. You do not have to check in advance - just turn up. I am very happy to see you at other times, but please email me first. If there is a small query on the language, we can often sort this out with a quick email.


There are four exams during the course (worth 10% each) and one at the end (worth 60%). The exams during the course are held in Week 6 of Term 1, Weeks 1 and 6 of Term 2 and Week 1 of Term 3. These are generally held on a Monday morning. Precise details will be given early on in the first term.
Please note the following:

  • If you do not sit an exam without a good medical reason at the time arranged, you cannot sit it at a later date and you get 0%.
  • If you are too ill to sit the exam, university regulations require you to provide a medical note from your GP confirming that you were unfit to sit the exam on that day. Suitable allowance will be made in calculating your overall module score.
  • All exams require you to bring your university card to confirm your identity.
  • Experience shows it is very inadvisable to travel back on the morning of an exam.

Module convenor: Mr Clive Letchford