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I would be interested in people's considered opinions of the utility of interlinear texts* in learning to read Latin (or any other language)? Do they help or hinder? Are they a pedagogical resource or are they merely a crutch?

My question was prompted, in part, by this article: "The New Old Way of Learning Languages"

*such as this one:

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  • 1
    Are you also interested in parallel texts, e.g. Loeb editions? It would actually be quite interesting to see if any good research has been done on this. It's well known (and obvious) that we don't retain vocabulary as well if we don't spend time looking it up, but I wonder if that is offset by the enormous benefit of getting through much more text. – brianpck Jul 20 at 14:32
  • @brianpck I had to give that some thought but in the end I think I'm only interested in interlinear texts. This is because they claim the word-for-word translation is an aid to gaining fluency in reading Latin. Conversely, I understand parallel texts, with their more polished interpretation of the Latin, have accessibility to a non-Latin reading audience as a chief aim. – Penelope Jul 21 at 1:02
  • @brianpck Although, on reflection, an interesting question might be to contrast the pedagogical usefulness of literal translations with more polished translations. Do literal translations, for instance, turn reading into more of a code-cracking exercise? Perhaps I should try to formulate another formal question about this to post? – Penelope Jul 21 at 2:32
  • When I was relearning Latin a few years ago, I found Loeb editions very useful. I would have hated an interlinear text....too much help. With facing text, it was easy not to look at the English unless I was really stuck. – C Monsour Jul 21 at 2:35
  • It's subjective, but I find this format hideously distracting. I would rather have a clean text, and then a translation or notes elsewhere. I want to have at least one run through a completely clean text to form my own ideas before looking at anything else. The mental effort it takes for me to not look at the helps keeps me from reading. – Kingshorsey Jul 23 at 1:20

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