Learning Latin with Arthur Scargill et al Letters

Your article intrigued me (Teachers encouraged to use Taylor Swift’s text to access Latin, April 7). The practice of teaching the Greek language in the New Testament in the mid-1980’s was based on current knowledge.

Our teacher, the wonderful Professor Michael Goulder from the University of Birmingham, offered us a piece that we translated every week by hand. It could be a piece of the Bible, a piece of material from ancient Greece, or a piece of modern news.

We were in the middle of a miner’s strike at the time, and I quickly learned to search for “Arthur” in the text, as it was a clear indication that it was neither in the Bible nor in antiquity. It was a wonderful way to teach us the language and also ensured that we were aware of the news.
Dr. Fiona Thompson
Shipley, West Yorkshire

In the 1960s, in order to make our Latin lessons more interesting, our very charismatic teacher, Ms. Howard, commissioned us to translate popular songs into Latin; “Young” Cliff Richard was relatively simple, but more difficult than Dedicated Followers of The Kinks, including the line “and when he pulls his frilly nylon panties straight so tight”. It worked! We had a lot of fun and despite all the obstacles, I was able to pass the Latin O level.
Deborah Lays
Ormskirk, Lancashire

Your article on access to Latin took me about 60 years ago. A report in today’s BBC program describes a Latin teacher who translated Hermann’s words that she should stay away from herself to help her students teach. As I recall, the title was translated as “Avoid Women.” Oh well, there is nothing new under the suna.
Dr. Richard Towers

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