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Basic Language Principles with Latin Background
A Textbook in Grammar

by Ruth M. Wilson

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: Basic Language Principles with Latin Background by Ruth M. Wilson. Published by Educators Publishing Service. $9.95. Available from's Amazon link.

This unassuming paperback uses Latin to strengthen a student's grasp on English grammar. Written in 1964, the preface makes note that students of that time had little mastery of grammar even by the end of high school. The author offers this book as a basic study of grammar for eleven or twelve year olds.

Basic Language Principles with Latin Background contains fifty lessons. A grammatical concept is defined in one or two lessons and then that concept is presented for Latin. For example, lessons one and two are "The Noun" and "Nouns Used as Subjects," while lessons three and four are "Latin Nouns" and "The First Declension." Topics include the first and second declensions of nouns, first and second conjugations of verbs, direct and indirect objects, predicate nouns, possessives, appositives, conjunctions, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, diagramming sentences in English, and writing and translating sentences in Latin. Each lesson consists of a written explanation and twenty to thirty exercises.

A glossary supports the student with the approximately seventy-five Latin vocabulary words taught in the program. Classical pronunciation is introduced more than half way through the book.

Recommendation: The author's simple writing style and definitions with examples make this text very easy to understand. It will provide an excellent overview of both English grammar and basic Latin grammar of the first and second declensions and conjugations. I would consider it to be especially good for those families with a fifth- to eighth-grader who has not been introduced to Latin or English grammar. Unfortunately, Educators Publishing Service has discontinued this book. It is still available along with the optional answer key ($7) from vendors who carry the curricula recommended by Laura Berquist in Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum. resources related to this review:

Latin Curricula Comparison Chart to help select an introductory or intensive program.'s Classic Languages Resource Section
Review of Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum

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