Latin is a very popular GCSE subject. However, any candidate considering this subject must be aware that it is extremely demanding and is attractive to pupils who enjoy the rigours of mastering an ancient foreign language and culture. Indeed it is the only foreign language where pupils are obliged to read in full both prose and verse set texts (hexameters) in the original, a standard expected of university undergraduates in the subject. This is a splendid opportunity to study something that the vast majority of pupils nationally will not. It is a chance to do something genuinely different and there is now an opportunity to do some simple prose composition if they so want.
The subject is broken down into three papers. Paper one J282/01 is worth 50% of the total GCSE and is 90 minutes in length.
1. Paper One. J282/01. This unit tests understanding of Unseen Latin, the passages will recount a story drawn from mythology or Roman domestic life. Candidates will be required to translate an unseen passage or adapted Latin. They also must understand and respond to unseen passages of Latin and understand the derivation of English words from Latin. There will also be an option to translate short sentences from English into Latin drawn from the restricted Vocabulary list (RVL). The second option will be to recognise, analyse and explain syntax and accidence.
2. Paper Two. J282/03. Learners will study a set text in prose. The set text will change every two years. Each set text or group will of texts will be between 110 and 120 lines of length. Learners will be required to understand and respond to aspects of content and the context of the set text; to translate a short passage of the set text into English; to recognise and analyse aspects of literary style, characterisation, strength of argument and literary meaning as appropriate to the set text studied, and the impact these might have on their reader.
3. Paper Three. J282/05 This unit tests understanding and appreciation of a verse set text. As with the prose set text. Learners will be required to understand and respond to aspects of content and the context of the set text; to translate a short passage of the set text into English; to recognise and analyse aspects of literary style, characterisation, strength of argument and literary meaning as appropriate to the set text studied, and the impact these might have on their reader.
4. The set texts for examination in 2020 / 2021 will be as follows.
Prose set text: J282/03. Germanicus and Piso, The death of Germanicus, mourning and revenge.
Verse set text: J282/05. Virgil Aeneid Book 2.506-558, 705-740 and 768-794.
All students will receive translations made by the HoD which will contain copious notes, vocabulary and assistance in the manner in which to tackle these texts. These texts will be translated and placed on Sharepoint.
One vital piece of information:
The pupils are all provided at the outset of the course with a prescribed vocabulary list which the pupils must learn in order to tackle the unseen passages. OCR will not put into an unseen paper any word that does not appear on the prescribed vocabulary list. In the event that they need to give additional vocabulary, OCR provide an insert on the day of examination.
In toto, if you are a pupil who enjoys a real challenge, which involves, history, culture, religion and mythology, Latin is for you.