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Newbie Intro

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Newbie Intro

Postby Sino-Classicist » Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:19 am

I suppose introductions are in order. Be prepared for some long wind.

I am working on a degree in Chinese Language and Culture right now. My original plan was to study Chinese linguistics in grad school, but having recently read some of the great Greek and Roman classics in translation (mainly Plato, Aristophanes, and Marcus Aurelius), I've been considering a change of course. Specifically, I've been considering studying Chinese and Western philosophical traditions from a comparative perspective. This seems right up my alley because I'm fascinated by classical languages and cultures. Not to mention my wife comes from a family in which nearly everyone knows Greek, Latin, or Hebrew. Her grandfather worked in Israel as a missionary and did a lot of scholarly work on the Synoptic Gospels, and many of her other relatives have taken up Biblical scholarship in one form or another.

Anyway, I can read modern Chinese fairly well, and I'm working on Classical Chinese. I still have a good 3 years left on my degree (because I am married and a bit older than most university students), so I do have some time to make some headway in Latin and Greek before I have to choose a grad program. It appears you must have a fairly good knowledge of a few languages before starting a Comparative Literature grad program, because most of them seem to require you to pass proficiency exams in two or three languages (depending on the program) by the end of your second year. However, there are only so many credits I can take, so I need to prioritize.

A classicist friend of mine gave me the recordings to Lingva Latina Per Se Illvstrata I: Familia Romana. I already have the book. I'm loving the method so far because it is much the same as the way I learned the small amount of French that I know (using French in Action and Assimil), and is similar to how I approach learning Chinese (classes are for the sake of credit, I always learn best on my own), although the characters do present an extra dimension to the challenge. I plan on studying Latin in this way for a while, with plenty of trips to my university's outstanding library for help. I may take a course or two during undergrad

Greek, on the other hand, I have no clue how to start, and so I'll likely take classes the whole way through. My university offers an intensive summer Greek program which allows you to skip right to third year Greek if you get an A, and to second year otherwise, so I may take that next summer (this summer will be spent getting my French up to snuff and continuing with Latin). That would allow me to have Greek as a minor while majoring in Chinese. So Chinese and Greek in school, French and Latin at home and in the library (and likely with a good bit of time spent on the back burner). Japanese will be a likely candidate for an additional research language when I start work on a PhD because the Japanese have done so much work regarding the Chinese language and literature. Studying this many languages sounded quite crazy to me until I found that there are a good few professors around the US (and likely elsewhere I'm sure) with very similar specializations.

So that's my long-winded intro. Any comments, suggestions, or ridicule is welcome. I'm sure I haven't thought this out well enough to have much of a plan yet and I know I'm probably too ambitious, so it would be good to have a more objective party point out my oversights.

Thanks for reading!
Sino-Classicist
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Re: Newbie Intro

Postby BillWood » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:06 pm

Greetings : ) Looks like you have your work cut out for you... I am relatively new to the site here, and am working presently on my Greek Grammar. So, I might be the last one to give you advice, BUT, the site here has vocabulary lists, grammars and such in Latin and Greek to download for free. you can't beat the price, and this might be a good way to get your feet wet in a new language. Also, there are several groups here that start from beginners to the more advanced, and I am sure you will feel at home in several of the groups. Welcome on board and happy studying Bill
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Re: Newbie Intro

Postby Sino-Classicist » Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:16 am

Thanks, Bill.

I've been looking more into it the last few days. I definitely do have my work cut out for me, but I do have a few years before I have to start applying to grad programs. I should be able to take the equivalent of three years in both Latin and Greek if I do the intensive/accelerated courses. I plan on studying Lingua Latina intensively the rest of this semester and over the summer, then taking the accelerated first year latin course in the fall and moving on to second year in the spring. Next summer I plan on taking the intensive summer greek program at my university, which covers 3 semesters of material, and even allows you to get credit for a fourth semester if you get an 'A' in the course.

I found a great little book at the UT Austin library today called A Student's Guide for Hans H. Oerberg's Lingua Latina: Secundum Naturae Rationem Explicata by W.M. Read. It explains the difficult points of each chapter. I know that seems to against Oerberg's method, but the book says specifically not to read it until after you've worked through the chapter on your own and figured out as much as you can, and then to just use the book to fill in the gaps. Anyway, I have it for a month and can extend it another month, so we'll see how it helps. I also picked up a copy of Athenaze, just mainly to dabble a bit and get a feel for the language.

As I said, I speak a bit of French, and I was planning having that as a minor already. It sounds a bit crazy to take four languages, but I feel I have a high aptitude for language (my verbal scores have always been very high on standardized tests). I also don't really have any other course requirements to fulfill, so I think it might be do-able with some discipline. And come time to apply for grad programs, I think I will be well qualified, so it will have been worth it.

Again, thanks for the welcome!
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