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Creative Writing: Diglots

A diglot is a phrase borrowed from the Greek di (two) and glot (tongue).  The diglot story is, therefore, one written in two tongues or languages.  For students with a limited range of Latin vocabulary and grammar this is a great place to begin creative writing lessons – and they can be a lot of fun!  I often assign these just before the holidays.  Those last few days can be so difficult for teachers.  The students are anxiously counting down the days to break time (and so are we).  It can often be hard to keep their attention.  This exercise provides a diverting means of review.  Here is how it works:

1. Choose a topic for them.  It can be based on a coming holiday, a recent book they have ready, or topic studied.

2. Give parameters for vocabulary and grammar.  I always limit the grammar to what they have learned. I often also ask that they keep the vocabulary to words they have learned. That way they are not tempted to take on a declension or conjugation they haven’t learned.

3. Even though the story may be predominantly English, when inserting Latin words they still must consider the case, number, gender, tense, etc. that is required of that word. Grammar must be correct!

4. One caveat: although students enjoy this assignment, it does stretch them a bit.  Small groups may be good, particularly for the first assingnment.


I have two samples of diglot stories written by my 5th grade students at Grace Academy.  Both are posted on the Classical Academic Press website under “Free Latin Resources.”  Here are the direct links:

Story 1: A Christmas Fabula

Story 2: Christmas Eve

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