Hermes Language Reference


Hermes Language Reference is the work of two PhD students in (ancient and German) philosophy, who, after facing the obvious reality that philosophy is not a very lucrative activity, thought they could put to some use their linguistic competence - they had to learn Latin, Ancient Greek (and a few other modern languages), the hard way, after they were already over 30 and language acquision is naturally slowed.

At the same time, the two would also feel rewarded if their experience and the e-books of Hermes Reference helped language learners to make some headway.

The principles we try to apply refer to:

1. Contextualised vocabulary

Most vocabulary builders on finds around (even when coming from prestigious publishing houses) present lists of words. Admittedly, sometimes they are arranged using categories, sometimes a handful of examples are also provided. But at bottom, these are word lists.

Instead, embedding vocabulary items in sentences appeals to the long terms memory because it is functionally superior – memory retains new content more deeply, to the degree to which this new content is linked to feeling and understanding.

2. Bilingual format, split in sentences or phrases

It is advisable in the preliminary stages to work with bilingual texts – if possible, having one sentence in the target language followed by the translation in the home language.

What is thereby avoided – the ‘evidence-based’ tendency of manuals for exclusive ‘language immersion’.

The ‘evidence’ in question looks at how children learn (new) languages. But not all language learners are children…Increasing language immersion is recommended, but towards the final stages of the process.

3. Grammar – not too much, not too little

What is thereby avoided – on the one hand, the related tendency of many modern manuals to ignore grammar or pay very little attention to it, on the other hand, the scholastic presentation of ‘serious’ methods, which go into such details that grammar acquision looks like an endless, life-time process.

Some grammars for Greek and Latin look like a joke – one would need decades to really assimilate them (let alone read them). In modern languages, the opposite tendency is to give grammar very little space (in conjunction with the abovementioned ethos of ‘immersion’). But arguably, this ignores the fact that, except children, most learners are in need of logical structures to ‘mould’ the lexical content.

4. Read what interests you

If one has the choice of reading a (bilingual) text already known (having been read in the native language) but boring, and reading a (bilingual) text that is not already known but looks exciting, one should pick out the latter option and not the former.

¤¤¤It might be that these principles reflect the methodology of mature learners, as we have been ourselves

Please e-mail us at for any suggestions or criticisms - we'll try to use them to improve our work. And also, if you felt that anything of what we publish was particularly helpful, drop us a line as well - we'd be glad to hear about it.

Hermes Language Reference réunit le travail de deux doctorants en philosophie ancienne, qui, après avoir fait l'expérience de la manque d'efficacité de la philosophie sur le plan financier, ont cru pouvoir utiliser leur compétences linguistiques (grec ancien et latin, mais aussi quelques langues modernes) afin d'aider d'autres apprenants en langues. N'hésitez pas à nous contacter à l'adresse, et à nous communiquer vos idées, vos éloges et vos critiques.

Where to find Hermes Language Reference online

Where to buy in print


Intermediate-Advanced German Vocabulary
Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 42,740. Language: English. Published: October 13, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » German
This intensive lexical builder is addressed to B1-B2 intermediate learners of German, who are already capable of reading easy German stories, and who would like to enrich (and/or refresh) their vocabulary up to the advanced level in order to approach more complex German texts. Each piece of vocabulary is embedded in at least three example sentences.
French Verbs - Intensive Lexical Builder with Embedded Sentences
Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 21,230. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » French
This is an intensive lexical builder for French verbs. It presents the most common French verbs, embedded in sentences, thereby appealing to both short-term and long term memory and ensuring rapid and stable memorization. It is addressed mainly to beginner learners; however, intermediate learners could also profit from it, since care has been taken to highlight numerous idiomatic expressions.
German Verbs
Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 12,530. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » German
This is a German Vocabulary builder focused on verbs. The most common verbs are illustrated using multiple examples; for the irregular verbs, forms of past participle and past simple are also provided. Whenever possible, idiomatic expressions in which the respective verbs play a role are noted.
Vocabulaire Grec Moderne - Les Verbes
Price: Free! Words: 15,760. Language: French. Published: January 1, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » Greek
Ce livre électronique s'adresse aux apprenants du grec moderne qui désirent enrichir leur bagage lexical. Le vocabulaire traité ici, centré sur les verbes, présente plusieurs façons d'utiliser les verbes les plus fréquents en grec, moyennant nombreux exemples.
Vocabulaire Allemand - Niveau Intermédiaire
Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 20,030. Language: French. Published: December 28, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » German
Ce livre électronique s'adresse aux apprenants de l'allemand de niveau intermédiaire qui désirent enrichir leur bagage lexical. La première partie traite du vocabulaire général et présente plusieurs façons d'utiliser divers parties lexicales (des verbes au premier chef) moyennant nombreux exemples, et inclut aussi de brefs rappels grammaticaux.
Le Sophiste de Platon -- Édition Bilingue Inter-Paragraphe Français / Grec Ancien
Price: Free! Words: 47,000. Language: French. Published: December 26, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » Ancient Languages
Ce livre numérique présente une édition bilingue (Français/Grec ancien) du Sophiste de Platon. La traduction utilisée est celle de Victor Cousin, dans un format bilingue inter-paragraphe - chaque paragraphe en grec ancien est suivi immédiatement par la traduction française.
Aristotle's Metaphysics in English, Latin and Ancient Greek: Trilingual Edition
Price: Free! Words: 222,990. Language: English. Published: December 25, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » Ancient Languages
This volume presents a trilingual edition of Aristotle's Metaphysics. Each paragraph has an English, Latin and (original) Ancient Greek rendition. Students of Classics or anyone interested in ancient philosophy and languages should find in this trilingual edition an a helpful device to approach Aristotle original Greek.
Advanced French Vocabulary: Embedded in Sentences
Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 18,930. Language: English. Published: December 25, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » French
This vocabulary builder is intended for intermediate French learners, who wish to rapidly raise their lexical knowledge to the advanced level. or each term or construction, at least three sentences or phrases are provided for exemplification and context.
Outline of Ancient Greek Grammar
Price: Free! Words: 3,660. Language: English. Published: December 25, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » Ancient Languages
This booklet summarizes all essential Ancient Greek grammar in a series of comprehensive but easy to follow tables and graphic explanations

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