FAQs

If you have a question about the Ancient Language Institute or our class offerings, take a look below. We might have already answered it. If this doesn’t help, head over to our Contact page and reach out. We’re always happy to talk!

If you want to read more about our team, check out the About page. And if you want to read about ancient languages and language pedagogy, check out our blog.

Teaching and Curriculum

Our pedagogical approach is focused around the Direct Method of language learning and exposure to comprehensible input. What this means is that we attempt to keep to a minimum any extended explanations of grammar or vocabulary memorization drills. Our students want to learn to read ancient texts, so instead of endlessly dissecting the target language, we get our students actively using the language as soon as possible, so that they’re building their reading skills from day one.

Practically, what this looks like:

  • Every student, as part of their tuition, gets access to an interactive, digital textbook that introduces grammar and vocabulary contextually, meaning that students learn new concepts and words accompanied by pictures and videos (rather than charts and lists).

  • Students also read through carefully constructed readers that gradually expose them to new concepts and words over time, as their mastery of the language builds and builds.

  • Once a week, your class meets with your ALI professor over Zoom to discuss the readings and exercises you’ve been doing, to ask questions, and most important – practice the language! Our professors actually speak in the target language as much as possible, and we encourage our students to speak in it as much as possible as well. Obviously no one learns an ancient language nowadays just in order to converse, but we’re big advocates of speaking ancient languages as living languages because of the way that speaking helps students improve their own reading proficiency.

If you sign up for a class, you’ll get access to all of this – it just depends on which language you want to learn! Take a look at our Beginner LatinBeginner Ancient Greek, and Beginner Biblical Hebrew classes.

If you sign up for an ALI class, you should be ready to spend 1.5 hours in class over Zoom, once per week. Additionally, you should spend 4-6 hours per week reading and studying with your course materials. 

Students come to us because they want to gain proficiency in ancient languages. We look for the teachers who can best help them do this. Therefore, the highest-priority criteria when we hire a teacher at ALI are:

A) The teacher can speak and read the language that they will teach with an exceptionally high level of proficiency, and

B) That the teacher is skilled in the art of teaching.

We love our teachers and are very confident in them. They are listed here on our About page, with bios so you can read all about them.

Scheduling, Payment, and Refunds

Synchronous class sessions are an integral part of our courses. Our normal, Fall and Spring semester classes are fifteen weeks long and meet once a week for 1.5 hours. Summer intensive classes are eight weeks long and meet once a week for two hours. You’ll certainly want to be present for your class meetings.

That said, while the time difference can make things tricky, we have had students in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and North and South America taking classes with us all at the same time (not all of those students were in the exact same class session, but we certainly have had many multi-continental classes). 

How do we do it? We build class meeting times around student availability. Here’s how scheduling works: When you register, we’ll send you a link to a Doodle poll, which you will then fill out with all of your slots of available time. We then sort students into cohorts and schedule sessions for those cohorts based on what everyone has filled out on the Doodle. 

Doing it this way means that we can usually accommodate every single student who signs up. On rare occasions (we’d estimate <1% of the time) it doesn’t work, in which case we will of course give a refund. But we hope it doesn’t come to that!

Of course! You should never have to pay for something you can’t use. 

When you register, we’ll send you a link to a Doodle poll, which you will then fill out with all of your slots of available time. We then sort students into cohorts and schedule sessions for those cohorts based on what everyone has filled out on the Doodle. 

Doing it this way means that we can usually accommodate every single student who signs up. On rare occasions (I’d estimate <1% of the time) it doesn’t work, in which case we will of course give a refund. But we hope it doesn’t come to that!

All of our classes come with a Happiness Guarantee. This means that if, after the first class session, you’re not satisfied or you find that our approach just doesn’t work for you, just let us know and we’ll give you a full refund, no questions asked. And if something comes up later in the semester – no worries! Anytime after your second class, you can let us know that you’re withdrawing, and we’ll give you a pro rata refund.

Want to learn more about how we teach languages?

We Write Letters

Well, emails really...

Be the first to hear all the news from the Ancient Language Institute, including events, exclusive sales, and more.