Clinton Kinkade: Spoken Latin, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

Research Travel Award Winner (Graduate): Summer 2019

This July, I attended the Conventiculum Dickinsoniense, a yearly meeting for Latin enthusiasts eager to enhance their spoken Latin abilities. Together with several dozen other participants, including fellow graduate student Tori Lee, I spent a week playing games, attending seminars, creating dialogues, and watching plays all in Latin. On the first day of the Conventiculum everyone signs an oath agreeing that they will speak entirely and only in Latin with fellow Conventiculum participants, even outside of our scheduled activities. As one might expect, this proved difficult at first and required a fair amount of awkward questions, especially in the cafeteria (Quomodo Latine dicitur “ice cream”?). But with each passing day I could feel my fluency increasing, and everyone, both newcomers and repeat visitors to the Conventiculum, was always forgiving of errors and gracious with supplying words and phrases to the perplexed. The program’s facilitators, Profs. Terence Tunberg and Milena Minkova, were especially welcoming, and their enthusiasm for spoken Latin was infectious and made the days pass almost too swiftly. I had never participated in a spoken Latin program before, but I felt supported at every stage, and all the activities were appropriately structured for all skill levels. I feel much more confident in my spoken Latin now and hope to incorporate many of their practices into my own teaching. I would highly encourage anyone interested in spoken Latin to try out this program.