How to 'disce' (learn) Latin

Barry McNamara
Monmouth College classics professor Tom Sienkewicz, co-author of “Disce! An Introductory Latin Course, Volume I,” is pictured with students in one of his Latin classes. Joining him in front is Ashley Streeter. In back are, from left, Alex Nall, Jamie Kistler, Kimberly Short, Philip Pierce and Derek Huff.
Tom Sienkewicz, the Minnie Billings Capron Professor of Classics at Monmouth College, is the co-author of “Disce! An Introductory Latin Course, Volume I,” published earlier this fall by Prentice Hall.

The co-author of “Disce!” – which is Latin for “learn” – is Kenneth Kitchell, a classics professor at the University of Massachusetts.

“Finally, a Latin text that won’t put you to sleep!” exclaimed Philip Pierce, an MC senior from Morris, who is one of Sienkewicz’s students.

“Professor Sienkewicz approaches teaching Latin in a way that has never been done before,” added Derek Huff, a senior from Edmonds, Wash. “The book appeals to people with different learning styles.”

Designed to bring students to the point at which they can read Latin fluently, the 352-page book combines the best of both the reading and grammar-translation approaches. It is intended for use in introductory Latin programs and is suitable for both high school and college students.

“The guiding principle throughout the book is what is best for the student and for the particular concepts being studied at any given moment,” said Sienkewicz. “Additionally, we wove culture throughout the text and stressed the role of classical culture in the modern world by the many links drawn between Latin and modern languages and between Roman practices and modern culture.

Sienkewicz also noted that “Disce!” is the first introductory Latin text to be supported by MyLatinLab, an online learning and assessment system.

A 1971 graduate of College of the Holy Cross, Sienkewicz received his master’s degree in classics from Johns Hopkins University in 1973 and his Ph.D. in 1975. He joined the Monmouth College faculty in 1984 after teaching at Howard University.

A frequent contributor to classical conferences, conversations and texts, Sienkewicz edited the three-volume “Encyclopedia of the Ancient World,” which was published in 2001.