Learn Latin at NWC

Ever wanted to learn Latin and meet the NWC Language and Culture requirement? Of course you have; I mean, who hasn't?

Now you can do just that!

Fall 2023
Latin 101
MWF 2:10-3:10
Spring 2024
Latin 102
MWF 2:10-3:10
Fall 2023   |    Latin 101
MWF 2:10-3:10
Spring 2024 | Latin 102
MWF 2:10-3:10
FAQs about Latin at NWC
Hi there! Professor Winn here. I teach classes primarily in ancient and medieval history at Northwestern and have been on the faculty for 19 years. I am a scholar of Late Antiquity and early Christianity, and Latin is one of the ancient languages I work with regularly. I really enjoy ancient languages, and I find it fun to introduce students to Latin.
Here's a fun fact: when Northwestern was founded as a classical academy, Latin was part of the curriculum and all students had to take it. Those were the days! In more recent times, I offered Latin for the first time in 2008-2009, and I have taught it a total of six times. The last time I taught it was 2019-2020.
Yes, Latin truly is for all majors. To give you an idea of the range of students who have taken Latin, here is a partial list of the majors of students who have successfully completed Latin 101 and Latin 102: Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Science, Exercise Science, Literature, Nursing, Philosophy, History, Political Science, and Theater. If you are interested; you are welcome.

We will focus primarily on classical Latin, the language of the ancient Romans. In Latin 102, however, we will get into some medieval Latin, and, in particular, we will read from the Biblia Sacra Vulgata, the Latin translation of the Bible that Christians used throughout the European Middle Ages.

The vast majority of students need to take both classes. You need to pass Latin 102 to meet the requirement. If you have a good background in Latin already, then you can jump directly into Latin 102. Otherwise, you need to take and pass Latin 101 to get into Latin 102.

Full disclosure: each time I have taught Latin, I have had a few students drop the class during first semester. In most of these cases, it was a matter of trying to balance busy schedules and other classes with the time required to succeed at Latin. In my experience, for most students Latin "clicks" at some point in first semester and they get into a rhythm of working with the grammar, vocabulary, and translations. But, yes, some students find it challenging. To be successful, you will need to memorize vocabulary, learn new grammatical concepts, and keep up with daily homework. If you have questions about this, I would be happy to talk to you about what it looks like to take Latin 101 and Latin 102.

We do talk about the presence of Latin in the modern world, and, yes, a feature of the class is HPL (Harry Potter Latin). We will look at examples of J. K. Rowling’s creative adaption of Latin in her book series. Having said that, you will not need a wand for this class. Though I did have a student once who insisted on bringing her conductor's baton to class on days we started the hour with HPL. Thankfully, she never cursed me with her wand.
Contact Professor Winn

Have more questions? Drop Prof Winn an email or come by his office (VPH 305B) to get some answers.