Thursday 13 February 2014

Language revitalisation ad extremum

As dead and dying languages go you can't get much more stone cold than Latin.

But as it turns out, there's a group of people in the States called SALVI whose "mission is to propagate communicative approaches to Latin language acquisition, making the entire Classical tradition of Western culture more available to—and enjoyable for—students, teachers, and the general public".

This is not some clique of geeky enthusiasts, this is a serious "group of professors and students of Latin literature". Indeed, the majority of its board members are practising, institutional Latin teachers, several at university level.

Founded in 1997 and acquiring full charity status in 1998, they run a suite of annual two- to five-day immersion workshops. After a "capacity-crowd success" last year, this year they are institutionalising something new: A four-day programme based around WAYK called "Pedagogy Rusticatio", headed up by—you guessed it—Mr. WAYK himself, Evan Gardner. As its name would suggest it is aimed, not at students of Latin, but at other teachers of Latin.

This is a paid gig. I'd hazard a guess that $750 all inclusive for four days is fairly reasonable, not that I really know the price of eggs stateside. Either way, teachers and universities aren't made of money. They're not going to fork out like that for something they don't believe in.

Admittedly, this is still very grammar-oriented, more about converting latent lingustic "knowledge" into a language "skill" than building a vocabulary from scratch, so this doesn't relate directly to our project here. But it's impressive to see WAYK getting the recognition it deserves in formal, academic circles, which will hopefully prove to be a stepping stone toward the mainstream.

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