I would like to compare Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata and Wheelock's Latin. I understand that this might come down to personal preference, but I would like to know which one is a better resource for learning the language for a novice. I've heard a fair bit of criticism about Wheelock, but almost everyone seems to be in agreement that Lingua Latina is good.

To make the question more precise and answerable: What are the main strengths and weaknesses of the two books in comparison? If I read one but not the other—properly and thoroughly—, what would I be missing?

I am mostly interested in written Latin, not spoken, but I would nevertheless like to see a big picture comparison of the two famous textbooks.

  • This is an interesting question. It is somewhat opinion-based, but I'm not sure if that's an issue. One option is to rephrase it as "what are the strengths and weaknesses of the two in comparison?" to make it more factual, but the formulation is up to you. (I think we should have a tag for Wheelock's Latin, so I'll create it and add to your question.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 20:10
  • Thank you. Since I am significantly newer to this site than you, I wouldn't mind if you edited the question to meet the standard. You are obviously more aware of the standard than I am, and I do not mind insofar as the essence of the question is similar. I was also disappointed that Lingua Latina had a tag and Wheelock's Latn did not.
    – user31078
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 20:43
  • Also, I noticed that you were able to add an m-dash. How did you do that?
    – user31078
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 20:44
  • I rewrote the question. Feel free to make further edits or rollback to an older version! You can use a number of HTML entities on this site, like — or ē. If you have any questions about formatting, you can ask them on our meta site. If you think a tag should be added to some question, you can always suggest an edit. You can't create new tags before 150 points, but you can always flag the question to request it (choose the custom flag). At 20 points you can also use our chat.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


Wheelock's Latin focuses mainly on grammar, and it explains it in an ordered manner and explicitly. Although it has translation exercises, they really don't give you the feeling that you are able to read.

Lingva Latina, on the oder hand, gives you from the beginning the feeling that you are really interacting with the language and that you can read a text without having to consult a dictionary (in the first lessons). However, I consider that it does not explain grammar explicitly, so if you are not learning it in a separate way, as you continue with the book, it gets significantly harder.

But, as you said, it is a matter of perception and preference.

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