Hans Ørberg

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Hans H. Ørberg

Hans Henning Ørberg (21 April 1920 – 17 February 2010) was a Danish linguist and teacher. He received a master's degree in English, French and Latin at the University of Copenhagen, and taught these languages in schools in Denmark. He was the author of Lingua Latina, a widely used method for learning Latin using the natural approach.


From 1953 to 1961 he worked in the Naturmetodens Sproginstitut, an institute where the languages are taught according to the "natural method" of learning. While there he created a new course in Latin: Lingua Latina secundum naturae rationem explicata published in 1955[1]—besides the author's name, there isn't a word in the book that is not in Latin. The method has been revised a few times, including in 1983 and 1991, the title now changed to Lingua Latina per se illustrata.[2] In his retirement, he directed the Domus Latina publishing house and gave lectures in Europe and the United States on the natural method.

Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata[edit]

Ørberg's Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata is based on the method of natural approach[3] or contextual induction.[4] This approach is neither the so-called "natural" nor the "grammar translation" method. In this method the student, who needs no previous knowledge of Latin, begins with simple sentences, such as "Rōma in Italiā est" ("Rome is in Italy"). Words are always introduced in a context which reveals the meaning behind them. Grammar is gradually made more complex, until the student is reading unadapted Latin texts. Unusual for a Latin course, pronunciation and understanding, rather than translation, are stressed. A dictionary is not necessary in this system: because the textbooks are composed entirely in Latin, they can be used by speakers of any language. The course consists of two parts: Familia Romana and Roma Aeterna along with a series of classic texts like Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico, (Commentaries about the Gallic War). By means of illustrations and modifications, these texts can be understood through context and by reference to words already learned.

Chapters consist of an illustrated and annotated reading, followed by a concise and formal discussion of the grammar used in the chapter as well as several Pensa, or exercises, that require the student to apply these grammatical concepts to selections from the chapter's reading. These exercises ask the student to manipulate the grammar of Latin sentences rather than to translate. Even the grammar discussions are entirely in Latin, grammatical terminology being introduced as necessary.


  1. ^ Dales, Jacques (1985). "Review of Lingua Latina per se illustrata by Hans H. Ørberg". Latomus. Société d'Études Latines de Bruxelles. 44 (1): 251–52. JSTOR 41543604.
  2. ^ Monat, P. (1993). "Lingua Latina per se illustrata. Pars I. Familia Romana et Pars II. Roma aeterna by Hans H. Ørberg". Latomus. Société d'Études Latines de Bruxelles. 52 (1): 239–40. JSTOR 41536583.
  3. ^ Schmid, Juliane (2015). Lingua Latina per se illustrata? Ørbergs Latein-Lehrbuch in der Schule (Thesis). ISBN 9783955497897.
  4. ^ Miraglia, Luigi & Brown, C.G., editors, Latine Doceo: A Companion for Instructors, p. 4

External links[edit]