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Greek or Latin first?

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Greek or Latin first?

Postby Jamieson » Sun Nov 23, 2003 8:02 pm

I would like to learn the classics in chronological order. My reason is that I want to be able to trace the development of ideas in the order that they appear. To do do that, it seems to me I should learn ancient Greek first. However, I am under the impression that students in the trivium generally learn Latin first and then Greek. I would definitely like to learn both. What are the pros and cons of learning Greek first?

Thanks in advance.
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Postby Episcopus » Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:04 pm

I think Latin, because Greek is harder. Plus, you have an awesome book which is better than any one for which you may pay money : Latin For Beginners, By Benjamin L. D'Ooge. I was in the same situation as you before, and have not regretted my decision at all.
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Postby annis » Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:30 pm

Learning Latin first, pros:
  • many, many Greek textbooks assume you already know Latin
  • Latin is easier, and is good practice for Greek complexity if you've never seen a highly inflecting language before
  • more learning material available, both conventional and online
Learning Greek first, pros:
  • you get to read Homer sooner! and Sappho
  • Latin will seem a breeze after Greek
  • you'll already know the Greek authors the Latin authors used as models for both prose and poetry

Though I myself am an unabashed Greek partisan, there aren't really any cons I can think of for either case. It just depends on what you want to read first. If you really want to go in historical order, you might as well start with Greek. The most modern textbooks will not assume Latin, and if you use the textbooks from Textkit which do, there are plenty of people here who will be happy to make murky matters clear to you.
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Re: Greek or Latin first?

Postby mariek » Mon Nov 24, 2003 2:54 am


Hi Jamieson, Welcome to Textkit!

Why don't you click on these links above -- Learn Ancient Greek and Learn Latin -- to download Greek and Latin grammers. Browse through them and follow the one you're more interested in. Or if you're like some people here, learn both concurrently!
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Postby Emma_85 » Mon Nov 24, 2003 3:44 pm

I think Greek is easier than Latin, but it really depends on which language you would rather learn first. If you're terrible at declensions, but good with verbs Greek is probably better, otherwise Latin.
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Postby Clemens » Mon Nov 24, 2003 3:49 pm

I'd choose Greek but I also think it doesn't matter.
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Postby benissimus » Mon Nov 24, 2003 3:53 pm

I would choose Latin because it would probably be less discouraging than the formidable appearance of Greek and it's complex verb system. Latin words are also far easier to remember because about 19 out of 20 of them have a similar English derivative, whereas not so many Greek words are memorable in that way. Greek is certainly fun though, perhaps moreso than Latin (though I beg to differ), so whatever you do will have its advantages.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Postby Episcopus » Mon Nov 24, 2003 5:22 pm

Latin has the verb episcopo, episcopare, avi, atus = to bishopricate (to make a bishop)

Greek has episkopos

Latin has great books in the anglican church, as benissimus knows well.

Greek has `arpadso episkopon
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Postby Jamieson » Tue Nov 25, 2003 4:51 am

Thank you all very much. I've decided to go with Greek for now. It doesn't sound like like knowledge of Latin is necessary or even of help to learn Greek. Naive perhaps, but I'm not daunted by the challenge (that is, not yet). Also, I really want to learn both. By learning Greek first, I think I increase my odds of achieving that dual goal.

I wonder if the traditional starting with Latin stems from the Catholic Latin Mass of yore, or as several of you indicated, the preponderance of Latin derivatives in English, not to mention the Romance languages.

Thanks again,

Jamieson
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Postby tadwelessar » Tue Nov 25, 2003 7:54 am

I think you should learn both latin and greek at the same time, as I do, it allows you to compare and understand why something is like that in Latin or Greek. Where are you from? do you speak a romance language?
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