The Lyceum Institute offers a study of several languages which are of practical and speculative significance not only for the Western tradition, but also for our increasingly communal world.
To be sure, there are many pleasurable and practical benefits of language study—for instance, the ability to enjoy a beloved film in its original language or to use a language to advance one’s professional career. While we acknowledge these benefits, our primary concern with the study of language is the reward of its various intellectual benefits. Some of these benefits include the following: an increased understanding of universal grammar, or the grammatical principles common to all languages; the ability to read the great works of the Western world in their original languages; the development of conversational and listening skills; and many more.
In 2023, we are offering studies in two languages: Latin and German. We also plan to offer Ancient Greek and French in the future.
The Lyceum’s Latin program is designed to help participants read and translate Latin texts from various literary genres and time periods. We offer a three-course sequence which introduces beginners and those with limited Latin experience to the fundamental grammar and vocabulary of Classical Latin. We also offer courses for more experienced Latin students; these courses focus on the translation of passages from a specific author, literary genre, or time period.
In 2023, we are offering three selected reading courses in which participants study selections from, respectively: Caesar, Vergil, and the Vulgate Bible; scholastic philosophers and theologians; and Seneca.
The Lyceum Institute’s German program consists of three courses which introduce participants to the essentials of German grammar and vocabulary. The program is designed to help participants read and translate simple German texts—such as short stories, news reports, or philosophical and theological works—with minimal or no need for external aids. As in our programs for classical languages, the primary goal of the German program is the development of proficiency in reading and translation. That said, as German is a “living” language, this program places a greater emphasis on development of speaking and listening skills.
Elementary German I will be offered in Autumn 2023.
The Lyceum Institute’s Ancient Greek program consists of three courses which introduce students to the essentials of Greek grammar and vocabulary. The program enables participants to develop reading fluency for simple Ancient Greek texts, such as Xenophon’s Anabasis, with minimal need for external aids. Although this program trains students in the principles of Ancient (also known as Attic) Greek, this course will successfully prepare students to read Koine Greek, the form of Greek in which the New Testament was written.
NB: given the demands of Greek, it is required that participants already have familiarity with the principles of general grammar. To this end, participants must have completed either our Trivium: Grammar course or (at least) Latin II. That said, exceptions will be made for those who can demonstrate sufficient proficiency with the essentials of grammar.
The Lyceum Institute’s French program consists of three courses which introduce participants to the essentials of French grammar and vocabulary. The program is designed to help participants read and translate simple French texts—such as short stories, news reports, or philosophical and theological works—with minimal or no need for external aids. As in our programs for classical languages, the primary goal of the French program is the development of proficiency in in reading and translation. That said, as French is a “living” language, this program places a greater emphasis on development of speaking and listening skills.
Is there a fee to enroll in language courses?
Elementary Latin I-III and Scholastic Latin are free for all Lyceum members (i.e., those who have signed up for any of our membership plans). There is a fee to enroll in all other language courses; as with our philosophy seminars, the pricing for these courses is structured on the principle of financial subsidiarity.
Do you use a particular teaching method?
Many language teachers employ the so-called “natural method,” in which a new language is taught to students by an almost exclusive use of that language itself. While there is great merit to this method, the Lyceum uses an approach based on the so-called “grammar-translation” method—i.e., participants study the language’s grammar intensively and translate texts into English. This approach is used for two reasons: first, and more theoretically, most Lyceum members study languages to read and translate texts; second, and more practically, most participants do not have enough time to undergo a language course also devoted to speaking a language fluently. That said: while our German program is also focused primarily on reading and translation, there is added emphasis on speaking and listening comprehension.
Do you plan to teach other languages?
We are open to the possibility of offering other languages, especially if enough of our members express a sustained interest. However, our current concern is to maintain, develop, and refine the quality of our Latin and German programs.