Incipere haud facile est: coepistis nomina rerum
insolita audacter dicere voce nova.
O pueri fortes, o splendentesque puellae
quis non vos laudat qui bona facta videt?
Perpetuo vitas sonitu exornare beatas
ex his inceptis Lingua Latina potest.
Omnibus e terris dicent "Salvete!"—potestis
dicere de caelo, vestibus atque cibis.
Lente pergentes eritis mox moxque periti:
pergite, vos laudo; pergite plura loqui.
(Wolfson College, Cambridge, England firstname.lastname@example.org)
In 1973 I took what was then known as an "O" level in Latin, one of the set texts being Caesar, Gallic Wars, Book 7. I learnt then what a quincunx is and have never forgotten it - such an efficient way of describing what requires a complete phrase in English.
"Ante quos obliquis ordinibus in quincuncem dispositis scrobes tres in altitudinem pedes fodiebantur paulatim angustiore ad infimum fastigio."
I agree on both counts, but the second is especially important. I believe education professionals lump this under "meta-cognition", a certain sense of knowing what you know and how you know it. The dictionary and the notes at the bottom of the page can quickly turn into a crutch...
This is excellent advice. A related idea I've given students: if you have one dictionary you use for most of your reading, each time you look up a word, put a little checkmark in the margin next to it. If you find yourself looking up a word that already has two checkmarks, then add it to your vocab notebook.
And another, related idea: before allowing yourself to look up a word, ask yourself why you are planning to look it up. Is it because you're only 98% sure what it means and you can't live with that uncertainty? Is it because you genuinely can't construe the sentence without knowing some piece of grammatical information about that word? I find that having control over your own ignorance - knowing the difference between what you really don't know and what you just think you don't know - is a crucial step towards reading fluency. I think it makes sense to spend some time doing dictionary-intensive reading, but at other times to go far from a dictionary and see what happens when you're forced to read without it.
I am a great fan of the Clash of the Titans from 1981 too! A local video store was going out of business, and I was too late to buy Clash of the Titans for practically nothing. Regrets . . . regrets ... But, thanks for the other useful links that I have now added to my collection. By the way - the trailer - too scary!
I agree with you on the uniqueness of the Latin language in that the conversational part is not as emphasized as it is in other foreign languages. Also, there is a small fallacy in the study of modern foreign languages like Spanish or German when students think that they are going to study the language for two years in high school and be "fluent". I cannot stress enough to high school language students to be "realistic" about the progress of their foreign language study. Most of the time this advice falls on deaf ears, and students say that they haven't learned "anything" because they don't know "everything".
My response is that they will never know "everything" about your native language much less a new one that they are putting minimum effort and time into.
Also, I agree with you that foreign language study should include at least 2 of the 3 methods mentioned above. I learned my initial Latin straight from Wheelock's Latin, but I survived it with enough ability to be able to pick up the study of Latin easily in other text series such as "Ecce Romani" and "Cambridge Latin". "Ecce Romani" is a fantastic "reader" series that presents new vocabulary and grammar "as needed". There are no interruptions to stop and memorize conjugations, declensions, etc. The "Cambridge Latin" series is more meaty than "Ecce Romani" in that it gives more grammar forms and rules and vocabulary as you go - but doesn't interrupt the flow of the story line that you are reading. Both textbooks are presented in an often comical story line about the ups and downs of life in the typical Roman family.
Technically domo is 3rd declension, so it ought to be "flammas domimus". In their defense, though, it is a weird 3rd declension noun, with attested forms of "domavi" and "domata". No wonder later writers preferred dominor.
Oddly enough, my copy of Stelten, contradicting Lewis and Short, has it as a 1st declension: domo -are -ui -itum.