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some input please!

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some input please!

Postby gigas phoberos » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:04 pm

My goal is to learn both A.Greek and Latin. So for those of you how know both, is it better to start off with one, then learn the other? How about learning both at the same time?
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Re: some input please!

Postby spiphany » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:05 pm

I generally find it's not a good idea to begin two languages at the same time. The learning curve during the first few months is considerable (grammar, vocabulary) and you'll learn a language more thoroughly if you can devote your time to it alone. Once you have the basics down, do as you wish.

If you're wondering which language to learn first, pick the one you're most interested in. I think most people would probably consider Greek somewhat more difficult (there are a variety of reasons for this), but motivation is a huge factor for learning, so if you really have your heart set on Greek, by all means start with that.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: some input please!

Postby gigas phoberos » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:56 pm

spiphany wrote:I generally find it's not a good idea to begin two languages at the same time. The learning curve during the first few months is considerable (grammar, vocabulary) and you'll learn a language more thoroughly if you can devote your time to it alone. Once you have the basics down, do as you wish.

If you're wondering which language to learn first, pick the one you're most interested in. I think most people would probably consider Greek somewhat more difficult (there are a variety of reasons for this), but motivation is a huge factor for learning, so if you really have your heart set on Greek, by all means start with that.


thanks for responding. I take it that with Latin you could be reading "real" Latin sooner than you would "real" Greek learning Greek. Is it true that Latin has much fewer irregular verbs and that the grammar is more logical than Greek?
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Re: some input please!

Postby spiphany » Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:57 am

gigas phoberos wrote:I take it that with Latin you could be reading "real" Latin sooner than you would "real" Greek learning Greek.

Not necessarily. There does seem to be a lot more grammar in Greek than in Latin, but not all of it is absolutely necessary to read a Greek text. If you were really determined, you could probably start working through one of the easier authors before you finished a textbook. It depends a lot on what you want to read and how much you're willing to work at it. (The same goes for Latin, of course.)
Is it true that Latin has much fewer irregular verbs and that the grammar is more logical than Greek?

More logical? No, not really. Latin verbs are quite a bit simpler than Greek ones (fewer forms to memorize), but both languages certainly have their irregularities. The main thing that makes Greek difficult is that there are a lot of phonetic rules which you have to pay attention to, and sometimes these result in forms which look very wierd and arbitrary, although it's easier if you have some familiarity with phonetics or historical linguistics.

Another thing to keep in mind, particularly if this is the first foreign language you're learning, is that many Greek grammars -- as well as some textbooks -- assume you already know Latin (which can be quite irritating if you don't). Also, my impression is, a Latin textbook is somewhat more likely to explain the grammatical terminology in detail.

If you want to start with Greek, make sure you read the sticky in the Greek forum on the different dialects -- this is important, as they're very different!
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: some input please!

Postby Einhard » Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:59 pm

I know the barest of minimums on Greek so I'm no use to you on that count, but I am attempting to learn Latin and French by this time next year, and I'd advise you not to attempt to begin two languages together. I had studied French in school, but even still I found it quite difficult to focus on two seperate tongues at the same time. Learning the two together wasn't altogether difficult in itself (although Greek seems an altogether tougher proposition than French!), but finding the time to devote sufficent energies to both was impossible. In the end, I spent a couple of months going over my French, getting it up to scratch etc, and having done that I turned my attention to Latin. Every now and then, I take a week out of Latin and do a refresher in the French. That means that one is relatively fresh in my mind even as I concentrate on the other. With the Greek and the Latin, you might want to give 2 months to one, get the basics etc, and then focus on the other pretty intensively whilst spending only the minimum time necessary to keep the first relatively fresh in your mind. And vice versa.

Although having said all that, anyone determined (crazy even?!) enough to want to learn Greek and Latin together might relish the difficulty of it all!!

Einhard.
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Re: some input please!

Postby Scribo » Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:44 pm

I think I count as one of those crazy people, haha.

I'm a Classics student with no experience in either language before hand, well no formal experience. I got someways through D'Ooge and then Wheelock's a while ago, then stopped for the summer and went to University last year. I elected not to take Latin but to take Ancient Greek (Attic) for the first year (which I've done) and Ancient Greek and Latin together for the preceeding few.

Do NOT start them together, it's really not worth it, it will slow down your reading because it will take you ages to get the barest of working vocabularies for tackling texts.

Start with either you prefer, there's no problem with starting with Greek first if that's your thing, what you enjoy more you'll be better at. I, personally, love the latin language, hours spent on it fly quickly and yield large results.

Both are amazing languages though.
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