holes in my pocket / by Anthony Gibbins

where are your keys is a remarkable approach to language learning that shifts the responsibility for language acquisition from the teacher to the learner. That, of course, is a vast oversimplification, and I encourage you to check out whereareyourkeys.org to introduce yourselves to their methods. Just to give you a taste though, here is a question posed by their website; What if by changing how communities teach themselves, we could completely turn around the worldwide crisis that endangered languages face?

One of the concepts of WAYK that I find most useful is ‘holes in my pocket’. I understand a ‘hole in my pocket’ as anything that I want to express in Latin, that I am kept from expressing due to a lack of knowledge or understanding of the language. By identifying and keeping lists of such holes, I can set about to ‘hunt’ the correct words or expressions and, to complete the metaphor, mend the holes.  

A few months ago a colleague and I took a trip to the New South Wales art gallery to talk about the artworks in Latin (a great way to practise your language skills, mea sententia). One of us wanted to comment on a detail in ‘the back of’ the painting, and we soon realised that neither of us could do it with confidence. We were familiar with the word tergum (back), but were worried that this would sound more like the reverse side of the painting, than something in the background. So we went hunting!

I think we found what we were looking for in Livy, who uses aversa urbis to refer to the distant part of the city, that part far removed from the speaker. A successful hunt! After hunting a word, it is best to put it immediately into use. And that is why I have written in aversis aedificii on this page.

The food having been completely consumed, Pico exits from the restaurant through the posticum. A posticum, if you do not know, is a door situated at the back of a building.