Ancient Language, Modern Pedagogy
We will help you reach your language proficiency goals.
The Ancient Language Institute exists to aid students in their path to proficiency in ancient languages.
We believe that what makes languages distinct is their unique history and literature – not the methods and principles required to learn them.
Through interactive approaches to vocabulary and grammar, graded and extended exposure to comprehensible input, and accompanied by active pedagogy, students can acquire fluency in ancient languages as successfully as they do modern ones. Thus, we aim to expose students to the best materials available in order to best equip them for proficiency and help them reach their linguistic and academic goals.
We are also committed to using contemporary tools in order to help meet the great need there is for comprehensible input materials for ancient languages.
The Ancient Language Institute currently offers online courses in Latin, online courses in Biblical Hebrew, and online courses in two forms of Greek: the Ancient Greek of Athens, and the Greek of the New Testament.
Want to learn more about how we teach languages?
Who We Are
Jonathan Roberts, our President and Co-Founder, hails from Aguascalientes, Mexico. Legend has it that one day, after slaying a chupacabra with his bare hands, a puma granted him the power to teach languages. Whether that’s true or not, he most certainly has enjoyed teaching Latin to hundreds of students over the years, who have ranged from middle schoolers to college professors. Jonathan has previously taught Latin at Great Hearts Academies, Veritas Scholars Academy, and Davenant Latin Institute.
Jonathan graduated from The King’s College in New York City with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, & Economics, and was awarded a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Missouri in 2017. He co-hosts the New Humanists podcast with Ryan Hammill.
Get in touch with Jonathan on Twitter.
Ryan Hammill, our Executive Director and Co-Founder, runs the marketing, editorial, and business operations side of the Ancient Language Institute. He was converted to a comprehensible input approach to language instruction back in 2017 as a student in a Latin class run by Jonathan Roberts (which Ryan took along with Calvin Goligher, now an ALI Latin & Greek Fellow).
Ryan received an A.B. in History from Occidental College in 2015, where he also studied French and Russian. He has experience in journalism and digital marketing, and co-hosts the podcast New Humanists with Jonathan.
Get in touch with Ryan on Twitter.
Colin Gorrie, the Dean of the ALI Latin for Kids Program and our Old English & Latin Fellow, is a linguist with interests in historical linguistics and ancient language pedagogy. He is also a serial (and parallel) language learner with over two decades of experience experimenting with language learning and teaching methods on a wide variety of languages, both ancient and modern, from around the world. These experiments have culminated in the writing of the first direct method textbook for Old English: Lingua Anglica Antiqua Per Se Illustrata.
Colin received his BA in Linguistics from the University of Toronto and his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Arizona. He is dedicated to linguistics outreach, and his YouTube channel hosts over a hundred videos illustrating concepts in linguistics, often applying these concepts to the art of making constructed languages.
Luke Amadeus Ranieri, our Greek & Latin Fellow, is a Pennsylvania native and helicopter pilot in the US Army. Driven however by his passion for the Classics, he spends his free time applying all his energy to the study of Latin and Ancient Greek, and is especially interested in phonology.
Ranieri’s Youtube channel ScorpioMartianus hosts hundreds of videos in Latin and Ancient Greek, including songs, news, and educational materials.
Logan Kilpelä, our Greek & Latin Fellow, has a bachelor’s degree in the Liberal Arts from Michigan State University, but he has for many years been a private student of Latin and Ancient Greek. Since he first learned the languages through the study of grammar and translation, and only learned to speak them relatively late, he knows the difference between these two methods well, and the great advantage of the latter over the former. He has become an exponent, therefore, of the active use of Latin and Greek, not only as a paedagogical method, but even more so as a philological technique. That is to say, by speaking their languages one may come to cross a bridge in time and apprehend the thoughts of the Ancients as easily as one does what is written now in newspapers and novels. To this end he takes a particular interest in the didactic dialogues of Erasmus, Schottennius, and Pontânus, which preserve the Classical style even fifteen hundred years after the death of Cicero. Logan has previous experience teaching ancient languages in the public school system and as a private tutor.
Katherine L. Bradshaw, our Greek & Latin Fellow, has an irrepressible enthusiasm for connecting students with enduring ideas from the ancient past. That passion drives her teaching of Latin, ancient Greek, and Classics, whether the setting is a public school in Washington, DC, a classical Christian school in Virginia, a classroom at a university, ancient Roman ruins in Italy, or a video conference in cyberspace. Whatever the venue, Katherine guides students on the path to engaging with ancient authors directly, without a translator. On that journey, she encourages her students – ranging from adult learners to elementary schoolers – to explore, examine, and enjoy the ancient world’s resonance in their own lives.
Katherine has an M.A. in Classics from the University of Maryland, as well as an M.A. in English from the George Washington University. She is happiest when discussing shared aspects of the human experience, particularly if the conversation turns to Latin poetry, Latin and ancient Greek biography, food in the Greco-Roman world, ancient Christianity, or Shakespeare. In addition to highlighting links across time and space, Katherine can be found speaking Latin and ancient Greek at various immersion workshops, knitting for charity, or training for Spartan obstacle course races.
Tyler Foster, our Hebrew & Greek Fellow, received his Bachelor’s degree in the Biblical Languages and Theology from Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, MN. Having been taught Biblical Hebrew with a semi-spoken methodology in his undergraduate program, he gained an appreciation and love for this language, and desires to pass on this love to others. Tyler is also a graduate of the Master of Arts in Ancient Philology at Polis—the Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities, where he studied both Ancient Greek and Biblical Hebrew through the immersive Polis Method.
He believes that the Bible should not be read as a code that needs to be deciphered and then translated, but instead should be fluently read as what it is—a beautiful story of God’s love and restoration. He strongly believes that learning Greek and Hebrew through immersion aids that goal.
When he has time, he enjoys playing Settlers of Catan (in English or Biblical Hebrew), memorizing portions of the Biblical text, and woodworking.
Carter Ehnis, our Greek & Latin Fellow, is a polyglot, student, and Greek and Latin Curriculum Developer for Picta Dicta. He has an M.A. in Theology and Letters from New Saint Andrews College and will begin graduate work at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics in the fall where he will be working towards an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. His goal is to pursue doctoral work in the field of linguistics.
Starting in high school, Carter was driven by the desire to actually learn a language from beginning to end. This led him to personal study into second language acquisition theory. Carter discovered the importance of comprehensible input as the foundation of language learning and this allowed him to succeed in his goal of studying a language fully. Carter continued this passion of language learning with languages such as German, French, and Spanish and, when he arrived at college, he continued by studying Latin and Greek. At NSA, he has had the opportunity to study the Latin works of authors such as Virgil, Apuleius, Ovid, and Phaedrus, all while discussing these works in the original language itself. Carter believes strongly that listening and then speaking a language is how one really learns and the grammar/translation method limits one’s ability to fully grasp the language.
Leo Hunt, our Latin & Greek Fellow, was born in Portugal of American parents, and can lay claim to being a lifelong learner of languages both modern and ancient. A desire to become intimately acquainted with the roots of western civilization drove him to obtain a B.A. in Classical Studies from Seton Hall University and an M.A. in Greek and Latin from the Catholic University of America, where he was also awakened with the desire to know intimately the worlds of the fathers and doctors of the Church, with a special focus on Maximus the Confessor.
While an ongoing and avid student of ancient Greek language and literature in all their successive phases, as well as the modern Greek idiom alongside other modern European languages, Leo became acquainted in recent years with the growing movement for spoken Latin and ancient Greek, and pedagogy based upon active use and comprehensible input. He has made his own the mission to reform the teaching of the classical languages along these exciting lines, and to do his part to unveil past ages directly for an ever-growing community of students and scholars.
Joseph Roberts, our Latin Fellow, is one of Jonathan Roberts’s younger brothers. He received a B.A. and an M.A. from New Saint Andrews College. During his time there he studied Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, as well as participating in their Wenden House Latin translation projects. Immediately after graduating he began teaching Latin full time in private schools. He is now the head of school of Lewis Clark Christian School and teaches Latin on the side. In his spare time he writes Latin stories which his wife illustrates.
Michael Kopf, our Latin & Greek Fellow, was born and raised in Upper Austria. He has studied and lived in Munich, Vienna, and Jerusalem. Since receiving his MA in Ancient Philology from the Polis Institute in 2015, he has taught Latin and Greek to middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, graduate students, as well as independent learners in immersion and in more conventional settings. His special interests include ancient grammatical texts as well as the use of poetry in language teaching. In 2020, he and his wife decided to resettle in rural Austria from where they both teach classical languages in different capacities.
Vladimir Chiurlea, our Ancient Greek & Latin Fellow, was born in the wild city of Bucharest, Romania. While completing his BA in Byzantine Music, he caught the fever of Ancient Greek and is yet to recover. When he is not teaching and reading Ancient Greek, he is roaming the streets and parks of Romania spreading the contagion of Greek poetry. He has experience teaching Ancient Greek to total beginners and advanced students both online and in-person.
Daria Sesina, our Ancient Greek & Latin Fellow, was born in Saint Petersburg. She started learning Latin and Greek at the classical gymnasium there, and then received a B.A. and M.A. in Classics at Saint Petersburg State University, specializing in Greek medical texts and the Corpus Galenicum. She proceeds with her academic research at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy studying Egyptology and comparing Egyptian medical prescriptions with those preserved in Greek papyri. She has been teaching Latin and Greek to students of all ages since 2016. Her special interests include Mycenaean Greek and Linear B, comparative Indo-European linguistics, the “sixth sense” of animals in Greek literature, melic poetry and papyrology.
Joanna Thornhill, our Ancient Greek & Latin Fellow, was born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, California. She studies Liberal Arts at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has a great passion for ancient languages and has taken part in Latin and Greek courses at a variety of institutions, including spending several summers at the Accademia Vivarium Novum. She has taught a variety of students Greek and Latin both in individual and group settings. Outside of her studies, she can be found snowboarding down the slopes in the Santa Fe mountains.
You can find her on Twitter here: @JThornhill51
Bruce Lorenzana, our Ancient Greek & Latin Fellow, in his study of Latin, Classical Greek, Koine Greek, and Biblical Hebrew, has had a simple motivation: to access the wisdom of the dead in its original language in order to better pursue virtue amongst the living. He believes this task involves not only coming to understand the philosophy and theology of the ancient peoples but also becoming enchanted with their languages’ phonetic and syntactical beauty, which beauty is the verbal flowering of unique human experiences.
Hi! My name is Oliver Whetstone, an Ancient Greek and Latin Fellow at ALI and I am excited to teach you an ancient language! I recently completed my undergraduate degree in Classics and Philosophy at Harvard University in 2018, and an MSt in Ancient Philosophy at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford in 2020, where I specialized in Ancient Logic. After graduating, I taught Ancient Greek for Jesus and Harris Manchester Colleges, Oxford, and co-founded Oxford Latinitas Ltd, a company set up by people who met through Classics at Oxford to provide Active Method language teaching in ancient Greek and Latin, before moving on to the Ancient Language Institute. Currently, I am back in NYC, working on founding a similar society at Princeton University.
Rachel Sebourn, our Ancient Greek and Latin Fellow, gained a love of spoken classical languages in her undergrad at New Saint Andrews College. After experimenting with mixed and fully immersive teaching methods at a classical Christian school in Santa Cruz, CA, she received her MA in Classics under Drs. Tunberg and Minkova at the University of Kentucky and supplemented the program with online Polis courses in spoken Ancient Greek. Through Polis courses, she was introduced to the international spoken Ancient Greek community and, in addition to various online courses, attended summer intensives in Greece with Michael Kopf (teacher), Vladimir Chiurlea, and Joanna Thornhill. Here, she also fell in love with the Mediterranean Sea. She is beginning her third year teaching Greek and Latin at New Saint Andrews College. She has a special interest in Greek drama and has developed language learning materials both in pursuance of her degrees and with Picta Dicta.
Anna McLeran, our Latin Fellow, first encountered spoken languages at New Saint Andrews College, where she had the opportunity to encounter ancient writers like Virgil, Apuleius, and Ovid in the original Latin. This sparked a love for language learning, and she continues Latin studies while also pursuing Biblical Hebrew. She is excited to be able to pass that love along by guiding kids through a more immersive language-learning process so that they will also be prepared to tackle texts like the Aeneid later on in their education and fully appreciate them in the form in which they were meant to be experienced.
In her spare time, she enjoys playing the flute, singing, and enjoying good food and books!