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A hard choice

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A hard choice

Postby mind » Thu May 27, 2004 12:31 pm

Hello, everyone,

I'm studying Latin for half a year now. Since I do it for my own entertainment, I don't hurry. However, now it seems like I face a hard choice. I use a Russian coursebook. Two, actually, switching between them from time to time. I like the books and I think they are the best ones available in Russian: Lingua Latina by Podosinov and Shchaveleva and Latinsky yazyk by Katzman and Pokrovskaya. However, both of them, and all other Russian coursebooks, AFAIK, share the same two defects. First, these are schoolbooks, not self-teaching books, therefore there are no keys to the excercises. Second, since the tradition of classical studies has declined in the Soviet times, there are no students' communities around any of the books.

Sometimes I feel I need some advice or control. Fortunately, there's Internet with a lot of online communities, and TextKit being one of the most attractive. Still, I have to make a choice. Nobody knows the books I use and excercises I do and I can't discuss the problems I face or measure my results against the results of fellow students.

Perhaps, I should change the coursebook to an English coursebook, available here at TextKit, like D'Ooge or Collar-Daniel (I'm not ready for the composition books, yet, I'm afraid)? These books would bring a number of other problems, though. E.g., I have noticed that the English books often accentuate the questions which are obvious for a native Russian speaker, like the notion of cases and inflection, but omit the topics natural for the English speakers, like the importance of short/long vowels opposition. Also, the scanned books from TextKit, unfortunately, have the shortages of e-books but lack their advantages (search, etc).

Well, any ideas are welcome. Thanks!
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Postby Pete » Thu May 27, 2004 12:45 pm

Well, if you really like the explanations better in the Russian books, why not do an English chapter after reading the lesson out of the Russian book. The chapters will probably not be in the same order, so just do the English textbook in order and flip around in the Russian one just to read the lectures. On the other hand, maybe someone here knows Russian.
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Postby mind » Thu May 27, 2004 1:24 pm

Pete wrote:Well, if you really like the explanations better in the Russian books, why not do an English chapter after reading the lesson out of the Russian book. The chapters will probably not be in the same order, so just do the English textbook in order and flip around in the Russian one just to read the lectures.

It doesn't seem to be so easy. In my book, for example, Futurum I follows all five declensions, but, say, with D'Ooge, to practise with the third declension I'll have to know Futurum I already. The fact that the vocabularies don't match shouldn't be a problem, but would definitely add to the difficulty of this mixed studying.

On the other hand, maybe someone here knows Russian.

And has the coursebook? Hardly, I reckon. You see, I think that my knowledge of English should be enough to explain the troubles I sometimes get into. But, IMHO, it's highly desirable to have the book used by the person who asks questions to answer those questions, isn't it?
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Postby Timothy » Thu May 27, 2004 5:08 pm

I think you're in a good position. :D

First, you're lucky because your English is more than sufficient to allow you to ask questions in this forum. So you have a vital resource already.

Second, you have a half year of Latin study behind you and now have to opportunity to use one of the texts here for review up to the point where you are in the texts you're currently using. Whichever text you use, much of it should be review, which is just as valuable as the first reading. If you progress quickly through it then you have a solid grounding of the that part of the language. Otherwise, you are able to do the review right away. I would not imagine that it would take very long at all.

When you have reached the point where the two books match you will be in the position where you can read them together. And all along this path you have this forum to communicate any questions that you have.

So don't think of it as having to choose which text you have to pick;
Pick both! It won't hurt. I think it can only help.

Regarding having both people have the same text, I believe that on this forum you have people who have years of experience. So all you need to do is to present the question and the probelm sentence and that will be sufficient.

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Postby benissimus » Thu May 27, 2004 5:19 pm

Asking questions about the concepts in your Russian textbooks should surpass any language barrier. The only real problem would be the Russian-Latin sentences you would probably be doing, which would not be the same translated into English... I suppose you are in a bit of a predicament, unless you feel you still learn when converting the Russian portions of the translations to English. The previous posters also have good advice though.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby Democritus » Thu May 27, 2004 10:52 pm

Timothy wrote:So don't think of it as having to choose which text you have to pick; Pick both! It won't hurt. I think it can only help.


I agree!

By the way, mind, since Russian is an inflected language, I think it would be interesting if you posted some of your observations on Latin & Russian, as you are learning. I suspect Latin grammar is presented somewhat differently to Russian-speaking learners. I would read with great interest your questions or comments or shocking revelations.

Another interesting angle is etymology. We all know how many Latin cognates there are in English. I would be interested to hear about any interesting Latin cognates in Russian.
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