Hans Ørberg

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Hans Ørberg
Born21 April 1920 Edit this on Wikidata
Store Andst Edit this on Wikidata
Died17 February 2010 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 89)
Grenaa Edit this on Wikidata
OccupationLatinist Edit this on Wikidata

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 many Danish high schools until 1963 and then taught in a Danish Gymansium until 1988. He was the author of LINGVA LATINA PER SE ILLVSTRATA,[a] a widely used method for learning Latin through the natural method.


From 1953 to 1961, Ørberg worked in the Naturmetodens Sproginstitut[b], an institute where 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[c] published in 1955.[1] Besides the author's name, there are no non-Latin words in the book. The book has been revised a few times, including in 1983 and 1991; the title was also changed, to LINGVA LATINA PER SE ILLVSTRATA.[a][2] In his retirement, Ørberg directed the Domus Latina[d] publishing house and gave lectures in Europe and the United States on the natural method.


Ørberg's LINGVA LATINA PER SE ILLVSTRATA[a] is based on the natural method,[3] or contextual induction.[4] 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 that reveals the meaning behind them, or they are explained in the margins of the text with images, Latin synonyms or antonyms, or short Latin definitions. 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 many languages. The student is assumed to know the Latin alphabet and be familiar with a Romance language or English. The course consists of two parts: FAMILIA ROMANA[e] and ROMA AETERNA[f], along with a series of classic texts like Julius Caesar's Commentāriī dē Bellō Gallicō.[g] Using 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 Pēnsa, 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Latin language explained by means of itself
  2. ^ The nature method institute
  3. ^ The Latin language explained by natural method
  4. ^ Latin House
  5. ^ Roman Family
  6. ^ Eternal Rome
  7. ^ Commentaries about the Gallic War


  1. ^ Dales, Jacques (1985). "Review of Lingua Latina per se illustrata". Latomus. Société d'Études Latines de Bruxelles. 44 (1): 251–252. ISSN 0023-8856 – via JSTOR.
  2. ^ Monat, P. (1993). "Review of Lingua Latina per se illustrata. Pars I. Familia Romana et Pars II. Roma aeterna". Latomus. 52 (1): 239–240. ISSN 0023-8856.
  3. ^ Schmid, Juliane (2015). Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata? Ørbergs Latein-Lehrbuch in der Schule (Thesis). ISBN 9783955497897.
  4. ^ Miraglia, Luigi; Brown, Christopher G. (2004). LATIN DOCEO : a companion for instructors. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.; FOCUS Publishing/ R. PULLIN. p. 4. ISBN 1-58510-093-5. OCLC 1010272425.

External links[edit]