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Best place to start learning Latin?

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Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby refe » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:35 pm

I am already fairly well versed in ancient Greek, and I am planning to start learning Latin soon. What is the best place to start? I know that Textkit has at least a couple of options for beginning Latin grammars, so what are some preferences from forum users?
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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby adrianus » Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:49 pm

I didn't want to waste time, refe, so I took hold of Allen & Greenough's grammar and I have never put it down.
Tempus, refe, decoquere nolui, proinde illam grammaticam de Allen et Greenough cepi, nunquàm posthac deposui.
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: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby lauragibbs » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:26 pm

I would also HIGHLY recommend Woodcock: New Latin Syntax.
http://www.amazon.com/New-Latin-Syntax- ... 0862920426

I usually try to use free books online at GoogleBooks whenever possible (you can get Allen & Greenough at GoogleBooks, along with other standard Latin grammars), but I haven't found anything as good as Woodcock at GoogleBooks for actual syntax and usage; it is super-useful. :-)
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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby Carolus Raeticus » Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:05 am

Salve refe!

You wrote:What is the best place to start?

I'm not a Latin professional, but I'm still sure that I would not begin with either A&G's New Latin Grammar or E. C. Woodcock's New Latin Syntax to start. I have a copy of A&G's grammar, and it is fine (actually even more than fine, rather a necessary adjunct. So, by all means do download it). And I'm sure that Mr. Woodcock's New Latin Syntax is very good, too. However, these are grammars, not text books (A&G's certainly isn't, and as far I can tell from the information on Amazon about Woodcock, that one isn't either).

For the beginning, you need a text book. On Archive.org you can find tons of those dating from the 19th century for free download. However, it might be best to choose one which ensures maximum support. As you can see from the Board Index, Textkit (users) favour (or at least concentrate on) two text books:

  1. "Wheelock's Latin"
  2. "Latin for Beginners" by Benjamin D'Ooge
Personally, I used Wheelock's Latin (and later on added Bellum Helveticum by Janes & Jenks), but it does have its faults. The learning curve is steeper than that of Latin for Beginners - not so much as far as grammar but rather as far as the difficulty of the sample sentences and the pieces of continuous text is concerned. Its samples do, however, stick closer to the original authors (which is where the difficulty comes from). If you're comfortable with that, then have a look at it. Otherwise, have a look at the book by Mr. D'Ooge which you can download from Texkit (and the Key to it as well, which is always good when you are learning on your own).

There's also H. Orberg's Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata which is a Latin-only approach, but considering your background (Ancient Greek! Kudos to you!) that probably isn't the right one for you.

However, whichever textbook you are going to use, start reading Latin as soon as possible. That's a major problem that most textbooks have: too little continuous text. As a remedy I made a list of some easy Latin texts. And by all means have a look at Laura Gibbs' web-site.

The free audio-course Latinum created by Evan Millner is recommendable, as well. Even if you do not choose to follow the main course (based on Mr. Adler's "Practical Grammar", which is by the way a textbook not a grammar), there are heaps of audio files to listen to.

That should be enough for the beginning.

Vale,

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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby refe » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:52 pm

Thanks everybody, there is a lot of helpful stuff packed into your answers. I will probably start with the two free textbooks offered here and move on from that point. And Corolus, I appreciate the link to easy Latin texts. When learning Greek I tried to spend at least as much time reading actual Greek texts as I spent in my textbooks, and that is exactly what I would like to do with Latin as well.
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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby thesaurus » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:58 pm

Carolus Raeticus wrote:There's also H. Orberg's Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata which is a Latin-only approach, but considering your background (Ancient Greek! Kudos to you!) that probably isn't the right one for you.


On the contrary, I think you could make good progress in Lingua Latina, given your knowledge of Greek. LL is most difficult for those who are new to highly inflected languages like Greek and Latin. Knowing what you know, you'll be able to make the leap with less difficulty. You'll pick up the noun declensions, verbal changes, etc.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't use a standard textbook (I used LL after Wheelock), but LL will give you reading competency more than any other course.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby Quin Firefrorefiddle » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:18 pm

For what it's worth, I took Koine Greek before I ever started with Latin, and I'm only using LL, and I love it a lot. My prof for Greek added in a lot of readings (we used Mounce) and that was really what saved me. It depends on how you learn best- LL teaches by reading first, doing exercises second, and Wheelock (which I also own but have never used- it just feels horribly boring to me) does exercises first and reading second. The reading is my favorite part, and what keeps me excited and coming back- I feel like I've actually accomplished something- so I like LL better.

You aren't the first to ask this question by any means- search this forum for a few related phrases and you'll come up with other people's opinions as well.
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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby refe » Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:21 pm

I first studied Greek using Mounce and while I loved getting into the reading right away, I have always wished that he had spent more time building a stronger foundation in the language first. Now that I am about to embark on another ancient language I'm really not sure which route (deductive/inductive) I want to take. I will just have to check out both options, I suppose.
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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby Quin Firefrorefiddle » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:06 pm

Amazon's "Look Inside" feature is great for that. And if a book allows you to search, you can search for a common word and get an even better look at the contents.

If you do go with LL, I really do suggest getting the College Companion as well, it explains the grammar as you go along, in English. While LL does explain the big pieces of grammar (in Latin, but it's still not bad to figure out) he sometimes introduces new little pieces of it without a thorough enough example. (Using the accusative instead of the ablative with the prep. "in" when it's movement into a place rather than stating where something happened, that was one example of a time I was glad to have the CC.)

It's still cheaper than Wheelock's, all told.
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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby persequor » Tue May 17, 2011 10:41 am

Salve, amice Refe!

Persequor here, aka Dewayne Dulaney, aka Tophos on your Greeking Out site. 8)

Besides the resources mentioned already, I encourage you to speak Latin and write Latin sentences as much as possible, and read Latin that interests you. Given your interest in the Greek New Testament, I would suggest you read the Vulgate along with the Greek NT. The United Bible Societies have a printed (hardcopy) Greek-Latin NT, which I use often. The Vulgate is also available online and in several Bible software programs, including freeware ones. By all means try a little conversational Latin, even if only to yourself. (I can point you to some sources if you're interested.)

As you read, it helps to listen to the audio (I use the NT audio from http://www.greeklatinaudio.com) and read aloud. Also it helps to learn passages by heart.

Writing sentences helps too. You can try your hand at writing Latin to communicate here at Textkit in the Agora and Composition Boards (see Composition, Discussion, and Debate in the Forum Board Index at the bottom of the page). The Schola site also encourages this. And, you can write me in Latin too. :)

There are several sites and some free software with helps for composition. (If interested let me know and I'll point you to some.) I would encourage trying it from the very beginning. If your textbook has any English to Latin exercises, by all means do them.

Optissimus adventus es ad Textkit! (Welcome to Textkit)

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Carpe diem!--¡Aprovecha el día presente!--Seize the day!
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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby Ovidius » Tue May 17, 2011 7:10 pm

After I finished high-school (I studied Latin and Ancient Greek five hours a day in school so believe me, I know what I am talking about), I realized I felt empty when it came to the two tongues. So I decided to refresh my memory, re-teaching myself both. I reccomend Wheelock's as a reference grammar (despite what other people might say, it just doesn't work as a textbook). You have to pick the book that suits you best. This might help you (it mentions less renown books, along with the mainstream ones); http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/impor ... guages.pdf. I for one used "Reading Latin". It isn't too expensive (it isn't cheap either, though) and it really works (it might be a little complex at first, but apparently you know some Koinè Greek. It isn't as tough as Classical Greek, but still, it's better than nothing). Plus, there is a follow-up volume called "Reading Medieval Latin" that'll allow you to master Late Latin along with Classical Latin (most people are lost when it comes to translating the works of most medieval poets and historians!). Have fun learning Latin.

P.S. learn Attic Greek too. It's worth it.
Last edited by Ovidius on Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best place to start learning Latin?

Postby helios » Wed May 18, 2011 7:21 pm

Ovidius wrote:…Wheelock…just doesn't work as a textbook.


I have to agree. Wheelock has its supporters, but I am not one of them. On the other hand I have used D'Ooge's book to great effect and Lingua Latina and the associated texts are great, although I've only used them as supplementary material, not as my primary text. (I like the rules explicitly expressed.)
Keep it rill.
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