Contestants will be given a brief selection in Latin appropriate to the current year of study:  Level 1/2, 1, 2, Advanced Prose, or Advanced Poetry.  Students must compete on their current level of Latin study.  No student may compete on the same level more than one year (except at the advanced level).  Students in advanced levels may enter either poetry or prose, but not both.

Sight Latin Reading is a sequestered contest.  Two rooms are needed to run the event:  a sequestering room and a judging room.  The most difficult aspect of this contest is the limited time (and hence the limited number of spaces) available for each level.  Because of the limited number of spaces available, each chapter is allocated a limited number of guaranteed places for each level (Latin ½, 1, 2, and 3+), based on the number of JCL delegates at each level which the chapter has as a percentage of the whole.  For example, if a chapter has 30 Latin 2 delegates and there are 100 Latin 2 delegates at the convention, that chapter will be guaranteed 30% of the spaces available for Latin 2 Sight Reading.

Delegates who wish to compete in Sight Latin Reading MUST register for this event at the convention during the Friday evening check-in and registration.  Checking Sight Latin on the convention registration form does NOT guarantee a student a place in the competition.  During Friday registration, a chapter may not have more than its allocated number of delegates sign up for the event.  If there is still space remaining after registration, the remaining spaces will be available to any delegate on a first-come, first-served basis.  An announcement regarding vacant spaces will be made at the Saturday morning assembly.

Since Sight Latin is a sequestered event, all contestants must report to the event location at the time the event is scheduled to begin.  Contestants will be given a brief passage appropriate to their level of Latin to study.  They will be given a 10-minute preparation period to study the passage.  Contestants may use a dictionary during this 10-minute period, as long as they provide the dictionary themselves.  Macrons will be included in the passage to indicate long vowels.  The students may make notes on the passage but may not use any other paper.  At the conclusion of the preparation period, passages and dictionaries will be collected as each contestant is sent one by one into the judging room.  Contestants will be given an unmarked passage to use by the judges.  Contestants are expected to read the passage aloud in Latin.

Judges will assess the contestants’ comprehension of the passage by the quality of their reading.  Each contestant will be judged for confidence, continuity, phrasing, word accent, vowel quality and quantity, syllabication, consonant quality, performance, elision (poetry only), and scansion (poetry only).



Sight Latin Reading awards will be given in the following divisions:

Latin ½

Latin 1

Latin 2

Advanced Prose

Advanced Poetry


Judges will determine comprehension by the quality of the contestant’s reading; each contestant will be judged using a rating of 5-4-3-2-1 for confidence, continuity, phrasing, word accent, vowels, syllabification, consonant quality, performance, elisions (poetry only), and scansion (poetry only).  Either the classical or the ecclesiastical pronunciation may be used, but the contestant must inform the judges before reciting if the ecclesiastical pronunciation will be used.


Judging Criteria:  A Definition of Terms

Continuity:  This standard evaluates the reader’s ability to make the language flow:  reading syllable-by-syllable earns a 1; word-by-word perhaps a 2 or 3; a smooth, continuous reading of a ‘whole’ text, a 5.

Phrasing:  This criterion shows the reader’s recognition of word relationships—adjectives said with their nouns, conjunctions and prepositions linked to the word groups they control.

Word accent:  This quality shows a reader’s consistency in placing the stress within a word properly, as in a-GRI-co-la, not a-gri-CO-la.

Vowels:  This criterion checks the accepted pronunciation of vowels and diphthongs:  e.g. vēnī = way-nee, not wee-nee.  This includes differentiating between a short vowel sound and a long vowel sound:  e.g. hīc = heec and hic = hick.

Syllabification:  This criterion recognizes the reader’s ability to read the correct number of syllables and to divide words in appropriate places:  e.g. a-gri-co-la, not ag-ri-col-a; com-ple-o, not comp-le-o.

Consonant quality:  This measurement evaluates a reader’s ability to pronounce consonants appropriately, as #4 does for vowels:  for instance, v = w and c = k in classical pronunciation, but v = v and c = ch before i and e in ecclesiastical.  It is generally not required that the r be trilled or tapped, but those readers who have mastered this sound should certainly be credited for its production.  The pronunciation or omission of initial h will be accepted as long as there is consistency.

Performance:  This category allows the judge to evaluate the overall effect of a reading.


Elision:  This criterion measures the student’s recognition of regularly omitted vowels in scanned poetry.  In general practice, the first of two vowels in sequence at word junctions is omitted:  e.g. puella amica = puell’ amica; similarly, the final –um is often omitted if the following word begins with a vowel:  e.g. magnum in bellum = magn’ in bellum.

Scansion:  This quality marks the pattern of long and short syllables determined not only by macrons and diphthongs, but also by position:  a syllable generally becomes long if its vowel is followed by two consonants, even if the second one is in the next word:  e.g. the vowel of sed is short, but sed becomes long by position in sed Paulus mansit.

N.B.  While the reader of poetry should produce a rhythmic reading, the pattern should not be so exaggerated that a sing-song rendition results, with the rhythm becoming more important than the message.  In well-written (and well-read) verse, the rhythm and sense will work together rather easily to produce a melodic reading.

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