Latin on Social Media

On the 23rd, of course the Friday before December break, we had the requisite post-test pre-vacation party. Food was brought in, good times were had by all. I didn’t want it to be completely void of content, however, so I decided we would post to social media about the party.

I copied the food vocab list from Traupman’s Oral Latin and included these instructions on the home page of our LMS (can’t say the Latin’s perfect; the Latin instructions were a last minute decision, so I was writing them largely without checking anything the block before class):

7. Cibus Mediaque Sociālis – Hodiē edēmus et scrībēmus de cibō in mediā socialī. Tu debēs edere et scrībere de cibō in mediā sociālī ut ego litterās videam vel legam. Hīc personae meae mediae socialis:

  • Twitter: @dehlatinteach
  • Snapchat: @edehoratius
  • Instagram: @olivewoodphoto
  • email:

Si tu hōrum nullum habēs et nolīs mihi litteras electronicas mittere, tu potes stylō imaginem delineare.

Quidquid facis, debent esse tuae imaginēs, digitālēs vel in chartā, cum sententiīs diversīs quae habent sequentes:

  • IIIs: trēs casūs; IVs: quattuor casūs
  • verba varia
  • IIIs: unō ablativō (in tōtō quam in utrāque sententiā); IVs: ablativō in utraque

Potes ex rete prehendere verba necessaria hīc.

And the class was much better, to be honest, than I expected. What I mean by that is that they spent a lot more time on / with the Latin than I thought they would, given the food and the Friday before break. Really, the only disappointment was that they didn’t take advantage of the more fun aspects of Snapchat more often; I was hoping for more filters and/or geotags (but a minor complaint).

For anyone out there worried about the social media thing, most of them used Snapchat, at which point I had to accept them as friends (something I wanted to do about as much as they wanted me to). I assured them, though, that I would unfriend them by the end of the day, which I did. So, while I did connect with them on social media, it was only temporary and for educational purposes. I have no more social media contact with my students now than I did before that class.

I’ve also included a gallery below of the snaps that I received. Pretty amusing and decent (though not great) Latin.

This slideshow requires JavaScript. & Vocab Lists

I gave my first text-based test to my Latin 3/4 class today and, when we were reviewing, one of my students asked whether we were getting vocab for the test. I considered it for a moment, really contemplating whether I could or wanted to make a list that was both helpful and fair, especially since, in a mixed class, I really should have different lists for the 3s and the 4s. And then I remembered, a website that essentially customizes a glossary to a given text, whether a pre-loaded text or a text you provide.


I’ll use Petronius’ Matron of Ephesus as an example, the text that I was testing and for which I was making the vocab lists. If you click on the ‘dozens of Latin authors’ link, it brings to you a list of pre-loaded Latin texts:


Once you click on a text, you’re given intextual vocabulary for that text:


Here’s the nice part, though. That blue box at the upper right lets you customize what is provided and how it is provided. Most important, the farther to the left that slider bar is, the less vocab is provided. The farther to the right, the more vocab is provided. All the way to the left and no vocab is provided. All the way to the right and all words are provided (even sum in that first line).

The buttons at the bottom right of the blue box allow you to make a print-friendly version. So I used the setting above (minimum vocab) for the vocab list for my Latin 4s and did the second-to-most vocab setting for the Latin 3s. Print them out and vocab lists generated.

You can too paste in your own text, but I’ve never tried that. I suspect it recognizes the words and provides vocab accordingly.

A few caveats. The vocabulary is not text-specific (probably obvious but just in case), i.e. the definitions are general and will not necessarily cover any context-specific definitions. And that minimum of vocab setting above does provide a bit more vocab than I would like. I would love an in-between setting between this and the no vocab setting.

Nonetheless, the advantages of far outweigh any minor disadvantages if you want to create customized-ish vocab lists for practice or assessments.

Creating Vocab Frequency Lists

I’m working on a project for the AP syllabus and am trying to create vocab frequency lists. I knew going in that I needed a spreadsheet to do it, but I wasn’t sure how to go from text file to spreadsheet without a lot of manual labor on my part, i.e. copying and pasting every non-first-word into the same column. No thanks.

Excel has an import function. I figured that was the place to start. And I was correct. But not yet successful. I need a .txt file as opposed to my .docx file. But that’s doable. Save as and off we go. So here are the initial (relatively straightforward steps).

  1. Copy the desired text. I took mine from
  2. Paste into a Word (or other word processor) document.
  3. Save as a .txt file  (using the Save As… option).


This doesn’t do much, however, beyond giving you an import-able file. If you import the .txt file as is, the process looks like this (towards the end, I skipped a few screen shots in which nothing changes):


The text above is not particularly useful. There is a lot of that manual labor I mentioned above to get it into a usable form. The goal is to get each word into the left column. But how to accomplish that goal? Back to the .txt file and Word.

The Replace function (the subset of the Find function) can find and replace-with non character features of the text. So ‘Find’ a space and ‘Replace’ with a <return>.


The image above is what you end up with. And this should be workable with Excel. The steps remain the same (as above) but the result is much more helpful:


At this point you select all, sort the data alphabetically, and end up here:


There is still some clean up to do. All of those words with quotes before them or brackets or parentheses need to be edited, but that is a relatively low number. Once those edits are done, resort, and you have your alphabetical list.

At that point, I manually count. There are too many variables in forms to let Excel do it. In the column next to the word I put the number of occurrences and in the column next to that the vocab header word. And I put those in each row / occurrence of the word rather than just the top or the bottom occurrence, so that at the end I can sort by that middle column (the number) and have all occurrences of the word next to each other. If nothing else, this is important for ambiguous forms, e.g. adeo: with all of the forms of adeo together, I can determine whether it is the verb or the adverb. I also, when I find a form of a word elsewhere in the list, e.g. fero vs. tuli, adjust both occurrences, so that if I have 3 in the fs and 2 in the ts, I make them both 5, again so that the final list will sort correctly.

And with that you can generate, with some work, but considerably less than otherwise, workable vocab frequency lists for large blocks of text.

2016 FT to BPL’s Rare Book Room

Going through some old pictures and found these from last year’s trip to BPL’s Rare Book Room. This was a trip that I had always wanted to do and last year everything came together and I pulled it off. As usual (with me), the deciding factor was logistical: school had purchased two mini-buses and I had fewer than 15 in the class, so we could use the mini-bus and take the T in from there.

I lucked out too because, in my correspondence with BPL, they connected me with Lisa Fagin Davis, a Medievalist and Paleographer, who showed us some cool stuff and knew her stuff from a Medieval standpoint; the BPL person would have been, I suspect, a bit like a docent at a museum: perfectly knowledgeable but lacking subject-specific expertise.

In any case, here are some pictures I took from the day (with one of them in a Tweet from Lisa).

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