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"So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

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"So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby Vexx » Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:46 pm

Hi,

I heard that these were the best grammar books to use, and someone was saying how they learned all three volumes in 3 months and acquired quite a high level of reading. http://www.galorepark.co.uk/product/par ... ook-i.html
I'm interesting in getting these + working on them all along with LL pars I and II, hopefully getting a very high Latin reading skill.
So what do you think of them? Internet had no bad reviews anywhere.

Sorry to be posting another 'what resource to use' thread, but this is about these different books as i'm going to do LL anyway:)

AND does anyone know high the level required to read texts such as Newton, Isaac (1642-1727): Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Optics (in Latin of course), or does this deserve another thread? Another specific one is Leibniz's discourse on Metaphysics. Basically the level for any of these sort of philosophical&maths related Latin texts??
Say i finish a course (like this book series) and pars I+II of LL, how long would this level take and how would i reach it?

Thanks,

Vexx.
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby adrianus » Mon Aug 16, 2010 3:39 pm

Vexx wrote:AND does anyone know high the level required to read texts such as Newton, Isaac (1642-1727): Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Optics (in Latin of course), or does this deserve another thread? Another specific one is Leibniz's discourse on Metaphysics. Basically the level for any of these sort of philosophical&maths related Latin texts??
Say i finish a course (like this book series) and pars I+II of LL, how long would this level take and how would i reach it?

In my opinion, depending on one's ability, a period of between three and seven years of hard work, if you want to understand what you are reading!
De habilitate tuâ pendet, at meâ sententiâ spatium inter tres et septem annorum requiritur, cuius per totum assiduè laborare debes si omnia intellegi velis!
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby furrykef » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:01 pm

It really depends, I think. You'll have a much easier time reading about math, physics, etc. in Latin if you already understand the concepts in English. Otherwise you'll be struggling to understand the ideas, not just the language. Hence, reading the Principia would be a very bad idea for me because, not only does my Latin currently suck, but I also know little about calculus.

It will take you less time to learn Latin if you've already learned another language (particularly a Romance language, though any language is helpful). A language is considerably easier to learn if you've already done it before -- your brain is better wired for it. For instance I used to struggle heavily with Spanish grammar, but now the grammar of any language is pretty easy for me.
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby Lex » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:59 am

furrykef wrote:Hence, reading the Principia would be a very bad idea for me because, not only does my Latin currently suck, but I also know little about calculus.


My knowledge of this topic is very slim, but it is my understanding that studying calculus from modern texts would help some, but it still might be a tough slog. Newton apparently used very geometric proofs for pretty much everything, because that was the way things were done then. Nowadays, a mathematician takes a much different approach. So a classicist with a good knowledge of, say, Euclid, might have an easier time of it than a modern student of mathematics with a good working knowledge of that dialect of Latin.
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby adrianus » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:35 am

furreykef wrote:You'll have a much easier time reading about math, physics, etc. in Latin if you already understand the concepts in English.

I agree with Lex. Believe me, even if you do get the modern ideas, such works of any earlier period,—no less the early modern,—require a lot of attention to the cultural context for any close reading. Historical works are usually demanding. Isn't that part of the fun: they aren't easy.

Cum Lege concurro. Crede mihi, etiamsi notiones modernas capere potes, talia aetatum priorum non minùs primae modernae scripta curam magnam ad minutias culturales indigent. Non rarò provocantia opera historica. Nonnè sic voluptatem conciliant: facilia non sunt.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby Vexx » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:06 am

Ah thanks peoples, yes i'm aware i need to understand the concepts in English. I've read some of the 'Discourse on Metaphysics' translated and that was very interesting, i'd love to read it in Latin. hmm I'm assuming that will take years then?

So does anyone know about "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" books?
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby spiphany » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:29 am

For your question of "how soon will I be able to read X": there are no rules for this. It really depends on individual motivation and how much work you're willing to put into reading a text.

Caesar's Gallic War is considered doable for second-year Latin students. It's not uncommon for third-year students to read Cicero or Latin poetry. This does not mean that after a year or two of Latin they're sitting down and simply "reading" it from left to right; rather, they're sitting with a dictionary and commentary, looking up every third word and deciphering it sentence by sentence. Is this time-consuming? Yes. Is it still possible to understand what one has read? If the student is determined enough: yes.
Is it the same experience as being able to read a text "naturally" (i.e., without pausing to look up grammar/vocbulary)? No. This takes much longer. Even when learning a modern language it can take years before one is able to read novels with any degree of ease.

A scientific treatise is of course more difficult to read than a fictional narrative, since in a narrative you don't always have to understand everything in order to follow the plot, while for an argument you can't really overlook anything. BUT: if these are the texts you are really interested in reading there's no reason you couldn't try tackling them after working through a couple of textbooks and perhaps some passages from one of the easier authors -- PROVIDED you're willing to really work at it and not get discouraged by the sometimes incredibly slow pace of progress through the text. A bilingual text can be really useful in this situation.
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby Thersites » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:35 pm

I flitted through a few starter books before settling on the "So You Really Want to Learn Latin" series, and I've just recently completed it. I honestly think it's fantastic, far and away better than any of the other Latin self-learning courses I've seen. Not least because it's actually designed to be a self-learning course, not simply an aid to classroom teaching. Everything is made relatively easy to understand, with intelligent exercises so you find yourself picking up very large amounts in no time at all. There's quite a sharp learning curve between book II and III, but if you practice the chapters (as I did, several times; I think I've probably gone through the course several times by now), and keep going to bits you aren't clear on, it'll all stick in eventually. I did the course in about nine months, though I was also working full-time and travelling during that time so if you tried to do it more intensively you could probably manage in a month or two.

I found that after finishing the course I wasn't quite ready to dive straight into Caesar or other classical Latin prose, but could read the Latin version of Harry Potter with relative ease, needing only to consult a dictionary frequently and then refer back to the course books. I've heard that Ronald Colebourn's "Latin Sentence and Idiom" is a good composition course to take after the "So You Really Want to Learn..." series, and have started on it now. Hopefully after this I'll be at a stage where I can read real classical Latin texts with only a dictionary - which is my aim.
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby Vexx » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:54 pm

^ Thanks for the reply Spiphany. Maybe a content heavy book like 'Discourse on Metaphysics' will be better anyway to go through at a slow pace as i'd absorb more;)
I'll definitely give it a try then after I have studied some Latin via both pars of LL, and either Wheelocks or the series i posted above (or both). It's why I really need to find a good textbook! And apparently this series is good, but perhaps not many have heard of it..
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby Vexx » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:42 pm

Oh weird, why did i not see that comment Thersites!
Thank you heaps, that was exactly i wanted to hear.
I guess i'll try that series + the Latina Lingua books, then try Harrius Potter and/or Alice in Wonderland (Alicia in Terra M____), before something a bit harder!
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby furrykef » Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:30 am

Vexx wrote:Oh weird, why did i not see that comment Thersites!

It probably wasn't there. This is one of the problems with the moderation queue for new users on this site: it is very easy to miss posts in this way when they are posted out of order.
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Re: "So You Really Want To Learn Latin" + Book Level Question

Postby thesaurus » Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:13 am

furrykef wrote:
Vexx wrote:Oh weird, why did i not see that comment Thersites!

It probably wasn't there. This is one of the problems with the moderation queue for new users on this site: it is very easy to miss posts in this way when they are posted out of order.


This is the reason. I make an effort to review posts as often as I can, but given the realities of life, posts aren't always approved straight away. My apologies. I do think the approval system is worth it though, given the surprising number of sophisticated spammers that I turn away.
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