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I am interested in finding out if any Latin enthusiasts speak Latin to their children, so that the children grow up with Latin as one of their native languages. If yes, can any description of their experience with this endeavour be found online?

  • I have heard of this before when I was digging into languages like Latin and Esperanto. It appears to be extremely uncommon, but I know it does happen. – Sam K Aug 24 '16 at 14:13
  • I know it happens for Esperanto quite a lot: I myself speak Esperanto to my children, and we regularly attend international gatherings of families that speak Esperanto to their children. I'm pretty sure no such gatherings exist for Latin-as-a-native-language families, and with some googling I haven't managed to find any evidence that there is even a single family where Latin is spoken to children from birth. So now I'm trying to find out through this forum if such a family is known to anyone. [Comment was from Aug 24. I had to correct a major mistake in it, so I had to delete and repost it.] – Marcos Cramer Oct 11 '16 at 9:50
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I know of five kids who are growing up speaking Latin, and I imagine there have to be more that I don't know about. One is Josiah Meadows, who does online spoken Latin lessons himself. You can see him in several YouTube videos here. Another is the now 2-year-old son of an American who lives in (or perhaps not far from) Rome. Two are the kids or stepkids or adopted kids of Patrick Owens, who now curates the Morgan Lexicon; I've met one of them. And the fifth is a boy whose name I can't remember but I met him a few weeks ago at the Conventiculum in Kentucky. They all started Latin before the critical age (that is, the age at which language-learning flips from being unconscious to being conscious), which is about 12.

I'm confident that you could write Josiah or his father Scott (I've never met or communicated with either one of them, but they've both talked online and with newspapers/websites about Josiah's experience) and ask them further questions.

  • Thanks for the useful information. Note however that according to a message by Josiah's father Scott that I just found in the Ancient Greek Best Practices Google Group, Josiah started learning Latin with an immersion method at age 9. Even then, it seems it wasn't the main language of communication between the Scott and Josiah. Even thuogh this might be ebough to get a level of fluency similar to that of a native, I wouldn't call this a native speaker in the normal sense of the word. – Marcos Cramer Aug 25 '16 at 14:20
  • On the other hand, the 2-year-old that you mention would certainly qualify, at least if one of his parents continually speaks Latin with him. Do you know if that is the case? – Marcos Cramer Aug 25 '16 at 14:20
  • That's fair. I think of any language acquired before 12 as native, so I can see where we'd differ on that. The guy in Rome told me last year that he only spoke to his son in Latin. – Joel Derfner Aug 25 '16 at 14:40

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