Author Topic: Studying Latin  (Read 3809 times)

Offline perdurabit

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2014, 04:33:18 PM »
I'd always recommend learning Classical Latin, if possible and if a person has the stamina for it.  It opens up whole new worlds to explore: ancient history, classical art and philosophy, politics, oratory and reason, among many others.  Once mastered, every other European language becomes so much easier to learn and grammar is far simpler to grasp: whatever the language.

That said, Classical Latin is far from simple and takes years to master.  The enduring emphasis on grammar and structure, while necessary, can make learning slow and difficult for those who only want to understand basic ecclesiastical language.

For some, gaining a decent grounding in Mediaeval Latin can create the interest and confidence necessary to engage with the classical language and might be the best route for them.

I studied Classical Latin for 9 years and I still remember well the dreadful shock to the system when we moved on from Ecce Romani to Virgil and Pliny in the original.  Trying to learn Classical Latin as an adult and being chucked in at the deep end might just be enough to turn some people off the language for life, and that would be a real pity.
 

Offline perdurabit

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2014, 04:36:00 PM »
rbjmartin - you might be surprised how much comes back to you, if you look for it....it's like riding a bicycle  :D
 

Offline Ancilla Domini

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2014, 04:38:36 PM »
I know I'm not representative of the average language learner, but I mastered Classical Latin in one semester as an adult. Most people will not have that same experience. But experiences can vary widely. Exaggerating the difficulty can also scare people away.
 

Offline rbjmartin

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 04:39:00 PM »
rbjmartin - you might be surprised how much comes back to you, if you look for it....it's like riding a bicycle  :D

I had a very superficial understanding of Latin based on my high school education. When I re-learned Latin in seminary is when I REALLY learned it.
 

Offline perdurabit

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 04:52:56 PM »
Ancilla, I understand what you're saying, but I've never met anyone who mastered Classical Latin in one semester.  Texts can be learned by rote, but 99.999% of people will take years to grasp the grammar, structure and vocabulary.  While incredibly worthwhile, it's not easy, and no-one should be under any illusion that it is.
 

Offline perdurabit

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2014, 05:04:25 PM »
Quote
I had a very superficial understanding of Latin based on my high school education. When I re-learned Latin in seminary is when I REALLY learned it.

Interesting...did you learn Mediaeval or Classical in seminary?  I know next to nothing about the grammatical differences between the two: how did you find they compared?
 

Offline Jayne

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 05:18:58 PM »
Quote from: rbjmartin link=topic=6629.msg137398#msg137398
I am not crazy about Wheelock because I feel like it throws too much at a beginner of Latin, and I think it can be discouraging for some students. One book that I've been using with my eight-year-old is "Getting Started with Latin."
http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Started-Latin-Homeschoolers-Self-Taught-ebook/dp/B006JT8OTK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398106869&sr=8-1&keywords=latin
We have been taking our time with it (basically a page a day), but she has grasped it quite well. It takes a very formal, grammatical approach (e.g. for nouns, you learn to use one case at a time, and as of now, we're only using the first declension to keep things simple), and it keeps things interesting for the student by providing 10 easy sentences to translate at the end of every one-page lesson. We are halfway through this book now. When we finish, we will probably move to a more advanced book like Memoria Press's "First Form Latin" (which I have already used with my older daughter, age 13, who just started Third Form Latin).

I have liked all the Memoria Press materials for teaching Latin to homeschoolers.  I taught my older children before they started producing First Form Latin but I am using it now with my youngest.  As I expected, I like it very much.
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Offline rbjmartin

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2014, 05:48:52 PM »
Quote
I had a very superficial understanding of Latin based on my high school education. When I re-learned Latin in seminary is when I REALLY learned it.

Interesting...did you learn Mediaeval or Classical in seminary?  I know next to nothing about the grammatical differences between the two: how did you find they compared?

We learned both. The first heavy-duty translations we did were from the Breviary Lives of the Saints, which is a good cross-section of Latin styles, since they were written at different times in the history of the Church, including some times when classical Latin was promoted within the Church. We also translated some of the breviary hymns, some of which are also comparable to a classical style.
http://www.amazon.com/Breviary-Lives-Saints-Selections-Commentary/dp/1592442811

Prior to translating the Breviary Lives, all of our grammar fundamentals were according to classical norms.
 

Offline Ancilla Domini

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2014, 07:17:00 PM »
Ancilla, I understand what you're saying, but I've never met anyone who mastered Classical Latin in one semester.  Texts can be learned by rote, but 99.999% of people will take years to grasp the grammar, structure and vocabulary.  While incredibly worthwhile, it's not easy, and no-one should be under any illusion that it is.

I should have clarified that this was an intensive course at the graduate level, which covered the same material normally covered in 4 semesters of an undergraduate course or 4 years of high school. This was enough for me to master all of the basic grammar and acquire a good working vocabulary. But of course a language is never truly mastered. There are always new words, idiomatic expressions, obscure grammatical structures, and in the case of Classical Latin, rhetorical devices to be encountered. What I meant is that this was enough explicit instruction in the language to allow me to continue to learn on my own from literary and historical texts. At that point learning can continue for a lifetime, but it doesn't require the same level of concentration. Still I acknowledge your point and those of others. Studying a language requires a great deal of hard work, regardless of natural ability or previous experience. But it does get easier with experience, sometimes exponentially so. :)
 

Offline rbjmartin

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2014, 07:38:07 PM »
By the way, this is an excellent app for serious students of Latin:
http://romansgohome.com/spqr
 

Offline perdurabit

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2014, 02:16:34 PM »
Thanks for the links, rbjmartin - they're going to be pretty useful!
 

Offline rbjmartin

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Re: Studying Latin
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2014, 12:18:33 PM »
Also, if you are on Facebook, there are some excellent groups for Latin learners.

Try the following groups:
Learning Latin
Lingua Latina
Latin Language
Medieval & Vulgar Latin