Like this Reddit post 'submitted on 15 Sep 2011', let's assume that the reader has at least an undergraduate degree in Linguistics.

  1. I don't know if this commenter had known of the 2006 edn of Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar when (s)he wrote:

    Allen and Grenough is the standard traditional grammar, but like most Classics grammars, it was written well before the advent of modern linguistic theory, and thus is burdened with a fairly outdated grammatical apparatus. Most of the accidence is fine, excepting some of the historical material, but the book's syntactic description is less reliable, IMO.

  2. I don't know why that post doesn't critique Essential Latin Grammar: Bennett's Grammar Revised (Mar 1 2007)?

  3. That post propounds no other recommendation:

Unfortunately, there isn't one single modern grammar that can replace A&G. Latin Grammar by Dirk Panhuis is a decent attempt at applying modern linguistics to Latin grammar, but the book is not thorough enough to be a full reference grammar (plus, some of Panhuis' analyses are questionable). Panhuis seems to employ a largely Functionalist model (via Simon Dik), so he includes a large chapter on pragmatics, which is worth a look, as well. Overall, Panhuis is a good supplement to A&G.


Preliminary note: Here is a personal selection of two textbooks for someone with an undergraduate degree in Linguistics (i.e., not necessarily, as I understand from your question, in Classics. In case the student is more familiarized with Latin, please let me know since I can also recommend you other more advanced grammars).

  • Panhuis, Dirk (2006). Latin Grammar: University of Michigan Press (vid. table of contents in: Panhuis 2006). For example, his chapter on word order is wonderful. When I was an undergraduate student, I remember that nobody told me about the VERY important role of so-called "information structure" when dealing with word order in Latin (NB: by the way, Panhuis wrote a doctoral dissertation on Latin word order). The theoretical perspective adopted in this textbook is a functionalist one but it is quite light, i.e., no familiarity with this theoretical framework is required in order to read his wonderful textbook. You point out "some of Panhuis' analyses are questionable". Well, perhaps, but this should not be taken as a problem, at least in my opinion. Ditto for the following textbook by Oniga.

  • Oniga, Renato (2014). Latin. A Linguistic Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press Oniga 2014 (NB: it is the English translation (by N. Schifano) and lightly updated version of Oniga's (2007) Italian textbook Il latino). In my opinion, it is an excellent introduction to Latin linguistics from a generative perspective. In spite of assuming a formal framework, no real familiarity with it is assumed since all technical concepts are nicely explained by the author.

This said, let me point out that my preferred reference grammar for undergraduate students of Latin is the following one by the Belgian eminent latinist Marius Lavency. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is no English translation of it.

Lavency, Marius (1985/1997, 2nd ed.). VSVS: Grammaire latine: Description du latin classique en vue de la lecture des auteurs. Leuven: Peeters Publishers. Lavency 1997.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.