The course contains a strong emphasis on etymology so the majority of the vocab is chosen for its links to English words, and some for links to French and/or Spanish. This should also help extend vocabulary. EAL students are encouraged to find links in their native tongue(s).

A note on pronunciation: ‘v’ is pronounced as ‘w’. There is no ‘j’ (‘i’ is used instead e.g. Iulius Caesar, so a consonantal ‘i’ is pronounced as a ‘y’). There is no ‘w’ (get students to think how ‘w’ is ‘double-u’ i.e. two u’s put together).


A selection of transitive and intransitive from 1st and 2nd conjugations. Tricky third and fourth conjugations are avoided. Both transitive (i.e. can take a direct object) (marked ’t’) and intransitive (marked ‘i’) verbs are included, although transitivity is not explicitly taught on the course. The terminology ‘person’ and ‘number’ is also avoided in this short course.

amare, love (t) – ‘amiable’, linked to aimer, ami (Fr) and amo, amigo (Sp)

cantare, sing (i/t) – chant

curare, take care of (t) – not only is this e-linked to ‘cure’ and ‘care’, but the three-word English translation will encourage pupils to understand that often not every word (‘take’, ‘care’, ‘of’) needs literal translation.

dare, give (t) – ‘data’, a generally useful verb and for more able pupils it may spark thinking about the indirect object. In an extended course, this will link to introduction of the dative case.

habere, to have (t) – introduces the idea of phonological change over time: frequently, a ‘b’ becomes a ‘v’ – the pupils can try and see how forming these sounds is very similar.

habitare, live (i) – ‘habitat’.

laborare, work (i) – labour, laborious

ridere, laugh/smile (i) – a useful duel meaning verb: get pupils to think how laughing and smiling are on a continuum of expression of happiness. Reinforces the notion that in all languages there are single words that have different meanings depending on the context (examples?). Also introduces the ambitious words ‘deride’ and ‘risible’.

videre, see (t) – ‘vision’, visible’, ‘video’


The nouns used on this course are from the easier first and second declensions. In total in Latin there are five declensions, but the third, fourth and fifth declensions are harder to manipulate than the first two. There is a selection of masculine and feminine nouns to teach the concept of gender. There are also neuter nouns in Latin, but these are omitted from the term-long course. Equally, only two cases (out of a possible five) are taught, and only in the singular in this short course. Terminology such as ‘declension’, ’case’, ‘nominative’ and ‘accusative’ is also not used with the pupils, as this may be off-putting to a mixed-ability group in such a short course. Instead, the materials employ familiar terms such as ‘subject’ and ‘object’. Declensions are described as ‘noun groups’. The nouns are picked for their semantic familiarity, i.e. the children are familiar with them (often Latin courses use Roman people and objects that need explaining e.g. servus, slave, mercator, merchant). There is a mix of concrete and abstract nouns, and the pupils’ Latin names serve as proper nouns.

First declension nouns end in ‘a’ and are (generally) feminine.

1st declension (feminine)

aqua, water – aquarium, aquatic, Aquarius, Aquafresh

terra, land/earth – terrestrial, terrain, terrace

regina, queen – reign, regal

stella, star – stellar, interstellar, girl’s name Stella

vacca, cow – vaccination (because the first vaccine was developed from cowpox to protect against smallpox in humans – a really lovely etymological tale!)

villa, house – villa, village

vita, life – vital, vitality, vitamin

maga, sorceress/witch – magic, magician, magical

femina, woman – feminine, female, feminism

rota, wheel – rotation, rotary, rotate

(plus all the girls’ names)

Second declension nouns end in ‘us’ and are masculine. (There are also second declension neuter nouns, but as mentioned above, these are omitted from the twelve-week course)

2nd declension (masculine)

gladius, sword – gladiator, gladioli

porcus, pig – pork

medicus, doctor – medicine, medical, medication, medic

equus, horse – equestrian

sonus, sound – sonic, sound, sonar, sonogram

saccus, bag – sack

ventus, wind – vent, ventilation

digitus, finger – digit, digital

campus, field – camp, camping, (university) campus

(plus all the boys’ names)


bene, well – benefit, beneficial, benefactor, benevolent

male, badly – maleficent, malevolent

optime, very well, in the best way – optimist, optimal, optimise, Optimus Prime (the transformer!)

celeriter, quickly – accelerate

irate, angrily – irate

laete, happily – the girl’s name Laetitia means happiness


bonus, good – bonus, bonbon

maximus, very big – Max, maximise, maximum

malus, bad – malady, Maleficent, malicious, malaria

laetus, happy – as above

sordidus, dirty/grubby – sordid

iratus, angry – irate

In addition to the standard vocabulary above, the students can also be given the following phrases to sate their native curiosity!

what do you want? – quid vis?

placetne tibi – is that OK?

quod nomen est tibi? – what’s your name?

mihi nomen est… – my name is

quid agis? – how are you

bene/male ago – I’m good/bad

tibi gratias ago – thank you

si vis – please

minime – no

ita vero – yes

salve – hello (to one person)

salvete – hello (to more than one person)

vale – goodbye (to one person)

valete – goodbye (to more than one person)

If any student asks, “How do you say…in Latin?” this is to be encouraged! There will be a function on the support section of the website to have these questions answered by the trainer before the next session.