On Friday I finally had a breakthrough moment with the kids in my Latin class. I had a difficult start, because my class contains some students who have had Latin for a couple of years, and some who have no experience studying a foreign language of any kind. So I’ve been blowing their brains out by talking about inflected endings, which is why we say puella for “girl” when it is the subject, and puellam for “girl” when it is the direct object, and I have heaped vocabulary on their heads all the while.
So last week I decided that I’d let them have a little fun, and I taught them to sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” in Latin, and this turned out to be very effective in helping them to associate happy thoughts with the class. So I was pretty ecstatic on this day, when I walked outside the classroom a couple of minutes after class was dismissed, to hear Latin still on the lips of my students. One was demonstrating our new song to some friends, one was trying to translate the “Hello, mother…Hello, father” song into Latin using mater and pater, two of his new vocabulary words, and one of the cool guys was taunting another by telling him “Tu mater est oppidum magnum,” which roughly translates to “Your mother is a large town.” After thinking for a minute, the recipient of the insult got it, and both boys broke into hysterical laughter. A little nerdy, you might say…but it was music to my ears.