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Minecraftium: A beginner Latin CI video series

Minecraftium is an immersive, 100% Latin-through-Latin video series intended for complete beginners. The episodes take place in Minecraft, where zombies and creepers threaten our peaceful farms.

The series focuses on using visual cues, context, repetition, and humour to teach fundamentals of Latin.

Grammar is introduced as needed, so that students are exposed to seemingly complex structures early (eg. the possessive dative). However, the visuals, repetition, and clarity of context make them easy for students to comprehend. The vocabulary is sheltered and initially restricted mainly to tangible, concrete nouns, but the series moves from these towards introducing useful verbs and pronouns that feature frequently in Latin literature.

All videos are subtitled in Latin. From Episode 3 onwards, the subtitles aren’t ‘baked in’ to the video file itself, but you can turn them on using the CC and gear icon in the Youtube video.

In addition, I have made quizzes (probātiunculae) to accompany each video, which serve as additional comprehensible input in another medium.

Some videos also come with other resources, such as an ‘Ask-a-Story’, which a teacher can use to co-create stories with the class that further reinforce the vocabulary and grammar seen in the videos.

Episode #1:

mihi nōmen est… | My name is…

Summary:

This is a 100% Latin introduction to basic vocabulary (some locations and animals) and simple phrases (my name is, your name is, X is in Y, A is B), all represented in a Minecraft world.

Additional materials:

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Episode #2:

quid est tibi? | What have you got?

Summary:

In this video, we learn the possessive dative expressions ‘est mihi _____’ and ‘est tibi _______’. We had already seen the possessive dative in the set phrase ‘mihi nōmen est _____’. We also meet another human player and say ‘thank you’ (grātiās tibi) and ‘no problem’ (et nīl est).

Additional materials:

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Episode #3:

multae vaccae | Lots of cows

Summary:

Latin subtitles are available! Click the ‘CC’ icon to turn them on. In this video, we use the ‘meus’ and ‘tuus’ possessive adjectives to describe things that do or don’t belong to us. We also use the verb for come (veniō) in several forms according to the demands of the context: ‘venī/venīte/veniunt/veniō/venīre/vēnit’. Christopherus shows me how to obtain a lot of cows, but then a creeper sneaks into our field. Can we kill the creeper without accidentally exploding our new cows?

Additional materials:

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Episode #4:

magistra… tū errās! | Teacher… you’re wrong!

Summary:

In this episode, we explore the various meanings of ‘errō/errās/errat’ (from wandering off the path, to making a mistake). We learn how to say if we like or dislike something (‘___ mihi placet’, ‘____ mihi nōn placet’). We practice counting horses (masc.), pigs (masc.), cows (fem.) and eggs (neut.), and sometimes we make mistakes, because we are human. Even your teacher is human! I also give a shout out to a Latin novella suitable for beginners, ‘Sacrī Pullī’, by Emma Vanderpool.

Additional materials:

Short:

nōmen equō meō est… | My horse’s name is…

Summary:

In a short interlude between episode 4 and 5, I spin a wheel of names to determine the name for my accidentally-acquired horse. This short video recycles vocabulary from episode 4.

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Episode #5:

mihi placet currere | I like to run

Summary:

In this episode, we focus on food and hunger, walking and running, fast and slow. We encounter more constructions with ‘mihi placet’, ‘I like…’, this time with infinitive verbs, eg. ‘mihi placet ambulāre’, ‘mihi placet currere,’ ‘mihi placet cibum cōnsūmere’. We also meet the irregular verb ‘volō’ (I want) in the context of wanting food when hungry. Latin subtitles are available! Also there’s a blooper reel of an… explosive scene… that didn’t make it into the main episode.

Additional materials:

  • Ask-a-story #5: this written story recycles words and grammatical constructions from the video, but your class chooses the outcome of the story. I split it into three scenes so that if you’re up to drawing in front of the class, you can make a stick figure drawing for each of the scenes.

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Miscellaneous supporting material

This section is for Minecraftium-related content that isn’t specifically tied to any episode.

Full version of the Minecraftium theme song

Summary:

The tune for the Minecraftium theme song comes from the famous ‘diēs īrae’ Gregorian chant, which I also sing here for comparison. The original chant has much more serious lyrics than my silly Minecraft song. English subtitles are available on this video!

Additional materials:

  • A poster of the lyrics surrounded by illustrations of the mobs from Minecraft. (Click for full size)

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