Day 5: Rehearse
This week, we recited Latin, listened to Latin, tailored Latin to our own needs, and memorized Latin. In this fifth and final installment, we’ll put it all together and rehearse what we’ve already learned, specifically our mini-script from Day 3. Now that we’re comfortable (or starting to become comfortable) with the mechanics of the language—we’re less and less phased by speaking for minutes at a time, perhaps even from memory, we are taking in a longer passages than before, etc.—let’s focus on making it as easy as possible to talk about ourselves, as will inevitably happen in every Latin conversation we have.
Take your mini-script from Day 3 and memorize it. That’s the core of the challenge and, if you do nothing more, you be will well served in future conversation. If after days of practice you are primed to push yourself a little bit, here are some suggestions, all built around the previous challenges.
1. Use your phone to record a video of you reciting your introduction, either reading from the script or from memory. Watch the video to get an idea of what works, where improvements are necessary, etc. Make adjustments, re-record, repeat.
2. Related to the first suggestion, listen to your introduction daily. Allow it to become as familiar as possible, even to the point where it sounds like you’re listening to someone else all together. Drive this mini-script into your memory and you can draw on it without effort when the opportunity arises.
3. Double the length of your introduction. That is, spend the time figuring out even more of “your” Latin. Anticipate the questions that your first version may raise. Figure out the answers in advance.
4. Related to the third, use some of the memorized material from Day 4—quips, aphorisms, bits from other people’s stories—and increase your own introduction through imitatio.
Spoken Latin—esp. face-to-face conversation either with those who are highly skilled (and so intimidating) or absolute beginners (and so prone to stalls and less able to offer help)—is difficult. But it can be done and it can be enjoyable and it can be rewarding. It does take practice and I hope that this DIY Guide has made a small dent in showing the way to getting started with building a spoken Latin habit.