A Beginner’s Guide To Beginner’s Guides
Proclaiming no knowledge of Ecclesiastical Latin myself, I thought I would say a few words about figuring out where on the web some resources are to even begin the task, of which I do have some experience.
Latin, so far as I can tell, is all about word endings. Noun endings change (declensions) depending on how they are used in the sentence (are they the actor or the thing being acted on, etc). Words around the noun change with the noun. Verbs change (conjugations) depending on whose action is being described (mine, yours, theirs, etc). In the end, instead of looking at the word order as you might in English, you make sense of who is who, and who is doing what, in a Latin sentence by looking at the word endings.
While Latin has many words similar to those in English, and pretty much shares an alphabet, which are great benefits, it represents a different way of expressing thoughts. Because of that, it seems to require a bit of knowledge of (gasp) grammar.
There appears to be no convenient Listen To Tapes In Your Car way of learning Latin (which probably wouldn’t work even if there was). There is only what there is, which is a mix of different resources and systems, some quite old. One method probably will work best for you, and you will need to figure that out a bit on your own. With this site, we hope we have done the preliminary task of putting most of those resources in one place for you to select from and work through. If you can find (or form) a local group for this purpose, all the better. If you can find some local experts to ask questions of, better still.
If this site only serves to put the initial resources and history in one place, for me that is mission accomplished. If it can talk a bit about our particular group’s experiences, what worked for us and what didn’t, all the better. If it, through submissions to be posted here by struggling students or experienced speakers, can grow into more, then that is the best possible outcome. What it will probably never be is a giant class, teaching one method.
It is instead a place for the curious to come and survey the task ahead of them, offering information and support. It is, in short, the website I could not find.
So take a look—I hope it helps.