The method of contextual induction: seek for language courses based on it or something alike

I have once mentioned the very special (as I find it) Latin course by Hans H. Ørberg called “Lingua latina per se illustrata” in our Latin thread.

Here is just a quote from Wikipedia:

Ørberg’s Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata is based on the method of contextual induction.[1] This approach is neither the so-called “natural” nor the “grammar translation” method. In this method the student, who requires 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 which reveals the meaning behind them. Grammar is gradually made more complex, until the student is reading unadapted Latin texts. Unusually 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 any language.

And here is the fist page of the course, so that you could see yourself that it just works:

Long story short, here is the idea: you just read a story and have neither translation of any single word or phrase nor any previous knowledge of the language, but you gradually understand everything new from context (per se).

While I have loved this Latin course so much, I would like to have something like it for French, but I really can’t find anything similar. So, personally I would really appreciate your advice, if you saw anything like this for French, but any similar language course for modern languages would probably be appreciated by someone :)))

I really think that the Lingua Latina course is the best language book I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a great many of them). Not a day goes by where I don’t consider picking up Latin seriously, just to use it!

Unfortunately, I don’t think that these do exist for any other languages, which is a major shame. I’m slowly working on creating this type of book for another couple languages (sorry, not French) and it will likely take me a number of years. They certainly need to be carefully crafted.

Thanks for bringing it up in this forum, Eugrus. It’s definitely worth the praise.

I wonder if there exists something similar to “Lingua latina per se illustrata” for other languages.

There are five other languages that are taught using contextual induction and bi-lingual text for some of them.

I wrote a long article on the subject here:

Read the The Cortina Natural Learning Series section.

Harold Almon

Here the Link from harolds post:


Thank you for making life easier, jolanda!

Gerne geschehen!


Although I’m a fan of the Cortina courses and French in action is interesting, they still aren’t nearly as good as Lingua Latina. Never heard of the others.

Thanks for the link, Harold/Jolanda!

I know this comes years after your post, but being a fan of the Lingua Latina materials I wanted to let you or any other curious language learner know that this method does exist for English, French and Italian. They were published by the Naturmetoden Sproginstitut in Denmark. To my knowledge there is no audio for these books - as is available with Lingua Latina -but there is a comprehensive IPA guide throughout the first many chapters that allows a good grasp of the sound system.

I’m working my way through the Italian book now, L’Italiano secondo il metodo natura. The French version is simply titled Le Français par le méthode nature. The Italian preface says it will introduce readers to circa 5k words, whereas the French version says 3k. Each has 50 chapters and focus on families, the Rossi in Italy and the Duclos in France. The Italian version is circa 750 pages and I recall that the French was about 1,150.

I’m not as familiar with the English version, though I have read in the Italian and French prefaces that it was this book that brought the Naturmetoden Sproginstitut its first success with this approach.

There seem to also be some selected short story books for the languages mentioned that can be used after completing the initial courses. I haven’t looked at these yet, though.

I stumbled across this post while seeking out any works that might have been produced for German, but that’s been hard to come by. It appears the institute is no longer in business, but a simple google search will turn up a course on offer in Austria that appears to have a similar approach, and perhaps a shared history.

One final point I would make is that these books are dated, being, as they were, published in the 1950-60s. The IPA transcriptions are better than I’ve seen for other courses, but that might not be suitable for those unfamiliar with IPA and who need lots of audio input. However, once someone builds up a knowledge of the phonology for their target language, I believe these are among the best materials I’ve come across for building up vocabulary and reading comprehension. To start with such simple sentences and build a strong reading ability relying solely on the target language makes me wonder why there aren’t more resources like this. They are simply a pleasure to work from.

Thank you a lot for this post! Several editions of Le Français par la «Méthode Nature» are available in many places on the Internet. I will definitely look into it!