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"Thinking" Latin

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"Thinking" Latin

Postby Buria Bogatir » Thu Jun 26, 2003 10:03 pm

A few years ago, when I do not even thought about learning latin, I heard about a class where the teacher spoke only latin and encouraged the students to do the same. I spoke a little with the magister and he said me that the students were introduced in the language by a "simplified latin". What do you guys think about it?<br />Is there something similar in the U.S.? How could one develop a skill on reading and writing latin without the need of constant dictionary use? is it possible?<br />
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby benissimus » Thu Jun 26, 2003 10:34 pm

That sounds like a futile attempt at cultural immersion to me. Some language teachers think it is a good approach to learn it by exposure, though I have never heard of doing that with Latin... There are many downfalls and it is far more confusing than the traditional approach, in my lofty opinion. ;)
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Episcopus » Fri Jun 27, 2003 10:45 pm

I know not, whether this is relevant; but my German teacher talks often to the students who are capable of having a conversation. Although ALWAYS would be very difficult and foolish.<br />I can compare this to the french department that has teachers speaking English toujours. Although generally French in its structure is far easier than German (with strict the German word order), one confident speaker makes another - with a bit of practice. Hence the ability of many in german to gain some sort of (although sometimes vague) "Sprachgefuhl" - feeling/instinct of language. I, personally, love it when it takes over and helps me place the verb to the end and after certain conjunctions take the modal to the end past the first verb if there is a modal. It's great but then again many may not think so. <br />In french, no one speaks it, so if anyone (especially a boy) speaks any of it he will immediately be called homosexual. <br />Pity really. ???<br />
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Buria Bogatir » Sat Jun 28, 2003 1:46 am

Ok.Thank you very much.<br />Someone has a different opinion?<br />I remember that this course mentioned above was a nine-month course, so I keep thinking if someone could develop a good skill in so short a time.
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby benissimus » Tue Jul 01, 2003 7:32 am

Why would a teacher want to focus on spoken Latin? All of Latin is written, so there isn't much need to speak it except as a novelty or recreation. It's also fun to use as a "secret" language with friends, but these are not goals of a Latin class...
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Episcopus » Tue Jul 01, 2003 11:03 am

[quote author=benissimus link=board=3;threadid=202;start=0#997 date=1057044739]<br />a "secret" language with friends, but these are not goals of a Latin class...<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Latin would be solid to speak. My german teacher can read, write latin really well but she says speaking is extremely taxing sometimes...no time to think...<br /><br />I'd say understanding were harder. <br />No time to translate.<br /><br />A secret language (written) here is using the ancient greek characters to write english. Works like a charm in tests.
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby annis » Tue Jul 01, 2003 12:21 pm

[quote author=benissimus link=board=3;threadid=202;start=0#997 date=1057044739]<br />Why would a teacher want to focus on spoken Latin? All of Latin is written, so there isn't much need to speak it except as a novelty or recreation. It's also fun to use as a "secret" language with friends, but these are not goals of a Latin class...<br />[/quote]<br /><br />People who learn to speak a language learn to read it more fluently. Reading, writing, speaking and listening to a language are all different skills, though of course related. Speaking Latin may seem pointless, but there are solid, research-based reasons to try to get people learning all languages - even purely literary (dead) ones - to speak them to improve their comprehension.<br /><br />So, learning to speak Latin may not be useful for going to Rome unless you hang out with the Curia, but it will help you learn the language much better.<br />
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Episcopus » Tue Jul 01, 2003 12:42 pm

<br /><br />People who learn to speak a language learn to read it more fluently. Reading, writing, speaking and listening to a language are all different skills, though of course related. Speaking Latin may seem pointless, but there are solid, research-based reasons to try to get people learning all languages - even purely literary (dead) ones - to speak them to improve their comprehension.<br /><br />So, learning to speak Latin may not be useful for going to Rome unless you hang out with the Curia, but it will help you learn the language much better.<br /><br />
<br /><br /><br />I agree wholeheartedly. If one learns to understand spoken Latin for example, it would seem easier to read because there is always time to look over it.<br />
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby benissimus » Wed Jul 02, 2003 3:35 am

I do see the merit in that, but I still think that it might just be used as a way to circumvent the heavy grammar. <br /><br />I, myself, enjoy speaking it aloud, but I have yet to find anyone else to converse with :(<br /><br />Episcopus- nice picture :D
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Episcopus » Wed Jul 02, 2003 11:23 am

[quote author=benissimus link=board=3;threadid=202;start=0#1004 date=1057116905]<br />I, myself, enjoy speaking it aloud, but I have yet to find anyone else to converse with :(<br /><br />Episcopus- nice picture :D<br />[/quote]<br /><br />optime ;D<br /><br />If you were to want to speak Latin to another Latin speaker, then a simple microphone conversation on msn would suffice!<br /><br />I will I promise in a few months once I finish D'Ooge's awesome book.<br />You will hear my awesome Latin accent ;D
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby benissimus » Wed Jul 02, 2003 2:40 pm

I can hear on msn but not speak :-\<br /><br />I can speak and hear on Yahoo Messenger... :P
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Episcopus » Wed Jul 02, 2003 5:26 pm

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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Synapse » Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:09 pm

First of all.. Hi everybody! I'm new here and haven't been practising my latin and greek for a few years but I'm very interested in pickin it up again..<br /><br />Concerning this topic, I believe that speaking latin in a class is not that useful.. from what I know, the latin that we learn and translate was purposely meant to be a written language or used orally only for official porpouses, while spoken latin was very very different.. not only because of the vocabulary (think "equus" for the written latin and "caballus" for the spoken latin) but also for a different way of building up a sentence.. I think that if we had the chance to get to know how the real spoken latin was, then it would make sense to try to speak it.. but as of now, I see a spoken latin as a too artificial way of learning.. In fact, when you start studying latin at school here, you do have a dictionary to translate from italian to latin BUT teachers usually give you such translations for the first month to say the most.. just to practise verbs and declinations.. after that, it's just from latin to italian or, after a year, from latin to greek..<br />The fact that the Curia still uses latin, does not mean that they speak latin.. again, it's used for official documents and ecclesisatic law.. believe me, I was born, live and have been studying latin and greek in Rome and I know what goes on in the Vaticans ;)<br /><br />Just a question: is there a key to understand the symbols you use to represent greek words? I haven't downloaded any book for I have soooo many already, but I was wondering if there was a key to understand! Thanks!<br />
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby benissimus » Thu Jul 03, 2003 12:14 am

I would imagine that vocabulary was not much different from how we use it in English. To use more words shows wisdom but may alienate the less educated.<br /><br />The difference between "equus" and "caballus" is not that one is spoken and one is written. "Equus" is Classical Latin and spoken by the more educated. "Caballus" is Vulgar and spoken by the common folk.
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Buria Bogatir » Thu Jul 03, 2003 1:44 am

But what is the fun on translating?<br />Why toil exaustively upon dictionaries trying to figure out the exact meaning word by word when you can just make it like in english?<br />I can read shakespeare in my native language or try<br />it through english...And I know, in english is a lot funnier.
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby benissimus » Thu Jul 03, 2003 2:02 am

You can become fluent in reading, just as you can become fluent in speech. The difference is that speech brings fluency and so eventually you may be able to think in it. This obviously makes reading easier. You can, however, become a fluent reader, but unlike speaking, it does not automatically bring fluency in speaking as well as reading.
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Buria Bogatir » Thu Jul 03, 2003 2:10 am

Yeah, I think you should have at least one level of fluency...<br />but then you acquire that by reading?than when you are ready to read all the books in latin you have already read them before?<br />Thats not funny either. <br /> ;)<br />Or you can make exercises to make your reading better, I dont know<br />
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Episcopus » Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:21 pm

To be honest, I think (in my humble opinion) spoken Latin to be a disappointment. <br />C'est à dire, I doubt very much that any person bar a few linguistic genii would be able to talk with complex Latin sentences off the head; for example debate in Latin. <br />The brain is simply not fast enough! Other languages, even the notoriously difficult german word order, come naturally eventually, and provided that the vocabulary be there long discussions can be held. However Latin is inflectious as hell and it's getting on my episcopus. <br />For example, the ablative of cause, means, manner and being accompanied. The 3rd and last being expressed with 'cum' (correct me if I'm wrong). <br />Unlike in English where one emphasizes different words vocally, Latin completely (albeit logically) turns it around. <br />Even to understand awareness of the cases and meanings then making sense of it must be sharp to the extreme only a person growing up speaking Latin could recognise.<br />I personally find myself reading sentences three times over sometimes to comprehend the true meaning.<br />That's my 2 pence ;D<br /><br />Eque, te amo
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby benissimus » Thu Jul 03, 2003 9:20 pm

That's not true at all! Latin does come naturally to many people! People did debate in Latin even within the last hundred years. The word order is flexible - there pretty much is no word order. This doesn't make things harder. It may seem that way since you are still adapting to the strangely arranged sentences, but it has the ability to just grow on you, as my teacher told me. I have already felt this in reading, though I have trouble saying anything thoughtful aloud... probably due to my poor vocabulary.
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Buria Bogatir » Thu Jul 03, 2003 10:47 pm

I think every language has its proper peculiarities, like word order, accentuation...Its just a matter of us language students internalize gradually this "alien" patterns till they become simpler to us. I think, to romans maybe the english would be a very strange language with its position-based syntax.
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Magistra » Fri Jul 04, 2003 1:56 am

I agree! English would be very difficult for the Romans. Latin is extremely orderly and simple. English is made up of a mess of spelling and "conjugation/declension" irregularities.<br /><br />I'm so glad that I've learned Latin as an English speaker rather than vice versa!<br /><br />Magistra
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Episcopus » Fri Jul 04, 2003 9:30 pm

That's the whole bishop of it though - the sometimes ambiguous word order(for me). English makes emphasis obvious by stresses on certain words vocally but latib, bar the few O, Episcope! does this with word order.<br /><br />Look how many things the ablative can do without preposition. I'd hate to point out the correct one in speech.
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby Buria Bogatir » Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:37 am

Thank you Magistra!<br />I really think that if one wants to understand a culture <br />he should learn how these people used to think, how<br />they used to link the ideas together, how they organized<br />the world inside their minds. There's no better way to<br />understand a concept than using words, new ones, with which<br />we can understand different views of the universe, using them<br />as tools to reach this new concepts. Understanding them<br />truly inside our minds. being fluent in different ideas. ;)<br />
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Re:"Thinking" Latin

Postby jagorev » Tue Jul 08, 2003 9:11 pm

For those with a pedantic streak:<br /><br />Project Gutenberg <promo.net/pg> has available a rather interesting academic book called "The Roman Pronounciation of Latin", by Frances E. Lord. It's an attempt at a detailed discussion of how Latin was pronounced in the Classical period. It is available at:<br /><br />http://www.ibiblio.org/gutenberg/etext05/8rlat10.txt<br /><br />Its a 117 KB text file. It contains plenty of passages in Latin, so is probably not for the beginner.
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