LATIN VIA FABLES: AESOPUS

Aesop's Fables... in Latin!

Ning Diary: Jan. 14 - simplified fables

Now that I've finished doing the Segmented versions of the fables with commentary (and those are all linked from the Fables page here at the Ning), I'm ready to start doing the Simplified versions. They will start appearing at the LatinViaFables.com blog on January 14.

With the Segmented versions, I did not change anything about the words or the word order - I just broke the fables up into small segments to make them easier to read, and then added some grammar commentary. With the Simplified versions, I will actually be writing new sentences, retelling the fable with simpler constructions.

As you will see, the Simplified versions are not a fable, but rather a series of statements, that build up each "statement" in the fable step by step, using the simplest constructions possible, while relying on the same vocabulary as in the original. There's no rigid set of rules that determines how this works - you might try making your own Simplified versions of the fables and see what your version turns out like!

These Simplified versions can be useful in several different ways:

1) Pre-reading exercise. In order to get students ready for the more difficult constructions that might appear in the original Latin version of the fable, they can read the Simplified version first. This will allow them to get the meaning of the story and get acquainted with the vocabulary, too. Then, after they have gotten familiar with this basic version of the story and the new vocabulary, the original version should be much more clear.

2) Alternative reading exercise. For students who are still working on their Latin grammar skills, you could use the Simplified version as an alternative to the original. The meaning of the fable still comes through loud and clear in the Simplified version, so if you are finding the actual fables just too difficult right now, you can use the Simplified versions and then read through the original versions of the fables at a later date.

3) Basis for quizzing, dictation, etc. Because the Simplified versions break up the fables into smaller, self-contained pieces which are complete Latin sentences, you can use the Simplified versions for quizzing, or for dictation, or other kinds of assessment exercises. By using the Simplified versions as the basis for quizzes and dictation, you can avoid the danger of simply memorizing the original Latin version. Doing quizzes or dictation based on the Simplified version will solidify a basic understanding of the fable and make it easier to then tackle the original version, appreciating its grammatical and stylistic sophistication.

If you have any other ideas or suggestions about how I can make these Simplified versions of the fables more useful to you, please let me know!

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