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Help me Start Out

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Help me Start Out

Postby Dillman » Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:18 pm

Hey im just starting to learn to learn latin :oops: . I've only been doing it for like 2 weeks. I was wondering what pointers you great people would give a rookie like me for learning Latin. I am starting to get the idea of some of the most elementry comsepts down i can translate simple sentences with the hepl of my trusty dictionary but how would you suggest i go about getting the rules ingrained in my head
Also, do you know where i can get something off the net to "latinify" my computer? So it can help me get exposed.....thanks
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Postby Ulpianus » Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:57 pm

Welcome, and good luck. I hope you stick at it through the various obstacles you will undoubtedly encounter. It really is richly rewarding.

I don't know if you are on your own or being taught. If you are doing it yourself, a similar question was asked a little while ago, and various answers given. You might like to have a look at that thread: http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?t=1259.

If you are being taught, you should obviously take your cue from your teacher, but some of the same principles apply.

As to getting it ingrained, I guess everyone's different. Some people seem to have no problem learning paradigms by rote. Others prefer to learn more by absorbing the material. Everyone has memory tricks. For myself I find reading reasonably widely much more satisfying than learning lists. But you may be a lists person, or a flashcards person, or whatever: it's all a matter of what works for you individually.
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Postby Episcopus » Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:58 pm

Download from this site "Latin For Beginners" by Dr. B.L. D'Ooge. http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/108/author_id/13/

Then, with time and exercises (no need really to latinify your computer), you will learn latin if you finish this book.
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Postby Dillman » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:37 pm

Thanks to you both for the support.....however i am learning on my own for now...and might start with a course in the comming school year. I am only in my first year in Mount Allison University so i have some time but for now i am only doing it from interest sake
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Re: Help me Start Out

Postby mariek » Wed Feb 11, 2004 4:42 pm


Hi Dillman! Welcome to Textkit. I hope you managed to find all the downloadable books on this site; just click on Learn Latin above. You'll find some beginner books which are excellent for learning on your own. D'Ooge's Latin for Beginners is a good one, and there are some people here who are also using it. It's definitely worth checking out, and feel free to ask questions in the D'Ooge forum. Oh, there's also an Exercise Key available for download from Textkit; it is still a work in progress.
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Postby Dillman » Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:24 pm

Thanks.....even your "Beginer" stuff seems to high up for me i go some work to do :oops:
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Postby Episcopus » Wed Feb 11, 2004 10:38 pm

You mean Latin For Beginners which begins with English grammar lessons?
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Postby Ulpianus » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:08 pm

thanks.....even your "Beginner" stuff seems too high up for me I got some work to do


There's no hiding the fact that it is hard, and it will take effort. Latin is a tough language, especially if it is your first contact with heavily inflected languages. But Episcopus is right: if you put that effort in (I can't speak for D'Ooge's book, but he's done it so he knows) you will get there in the end.

Which things having been said, if you are really interested, and you have the opportunity to do a taught course, I'd jump at the chance. It's possible to learn on your own, but having someone you can trust to answer question in real time is invaluable. This site is a great resource, but with the best will in the world it cannot replace a teacher.

If you want to do enough to find out if you are really interested and have any aptitude, by all means do some preliminary skirmishing with D'Ooge or some other worthy -- but also try reading some history and some Latin literature in translation. Unless you either find that the language is intrinsically fascinating (there are linguistic technicians who delight in such things), or the culture and history is fascinating (in which case it will motivate you to press through the language), it may be that you will decide the subject is not for you. If you do, nothing will have been wasted: even a superficial contact with Rome is life-enhancing imho. If you get bitten by the bug, and I hope you do, you are well placed to pursue the interest seriously.

On the plus side, bear in mind that for a beginner the beginner stuff is probably as hard as the intermediate or advanced stuff is for those who are at that level. In other words, the learning curve starts steep. Don't hesitate to ask questions, even if you fear they are silly ones. We were all beginners once; we all make mistakes; we all still make mistakes, and people here seem pretty tolerant of any amount of foolishness (thank goodness).
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Postby Dillman » Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:19 am

Ulpianus:
Hey man that was pretty insirational thanks! I am definitly trying to stick with it and i can translate little sentences like "Domini servos habeant" with a pretty good suscess rate and im kinda impressed with that
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Postby MickeyV » Thu Feb 12, 2004 7:53 pm

I disagree to an extent with previous posters. Latin is, in fact, not harder -nor, granted, easier- than most contemporary languages appear to be. From the internet I know, for instance, of two British students who had more difficulty with German than with Latin. So, while conceding that Latin isn't easy, we will note that it is hardly of daunting complexity. :)
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Postby Episcopus » Thu Feb 12, 2004 8:04 pm

Does that include me? German is harder for me than Latin because I don't have the time to teach myself, and have a class which is a strictly no grammar AT ALL "At the Bank" "At the Post Office" memorize "I would like 2 stamps please" type class. It's not because German is harder. It's definitely a dodgy language :lol: And I'll probably quit it to pursue others that I wish to study.
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Postby Ulpianus » Thu Feb 12, 2004 8:32 pm

I wasn't trying to say whether it is easier or harder than other languages. I'm sure it is easier than some, and harder than others. But I do not think that for an English speaker Latin could be described as easy: compared to Russian, to Chinese, to Sanskrit, to Arabic, even to Greek ... perhaps.

It's a blessing one does not have to do "conversational Latin" of the Monsieur at Madame Lebrun are buying food for their pique-nique. "Je voudrais des pommes s'il vous plait" "Oui madame, c'est tout?" "Oui. Ca coute combien" "6 francs madame". quid mihi non placet. But you have to do lots of grammar with lots of scary names, and there's not much you can read short of Caesar, Nepos, Pliny etc. And the whole point is to get to the stage where you can read Virgil and Cicero and Tacitus and Horace -- that's payback time. Which is, compared to the point at which you could read a French or German newspaper or magazine, some way away. It's a great exercise in the postponement of gratification. I'm afraid that I don't really trust the "Latin in 24 hours for dummies" tribe. It's like decent wine: you've got to wait.

The gods preserve me, on the other hand, if I ever had to buy poma for a picus nicus Romae. (Though I did once have to use Latin when I crashed a car in Arezzo ... but it's not really a recommended solution and a little church Latin -- mea culpa, mea maxime culpa -- would have sufficed.)
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Postby Dillman » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:29 pm

Well then now i know that it comes in handly when i crash my car in "Arezzo" i am much more motiveated to learn i laguage which I though was quite possibly harder then trying to stick my head through the head of a pin, only find out that it is easier then everything else in the world....thank god im not trying to learn anyother language :P
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Postby MickeyV » Fri Feb 13, 2004 3:24 pm

Say, Ulpianus, do you propose that Caesar's writing is, for the modern Latinist, merely functional? :cry:
I'm a fan of him myself. 8) Brilliant, impeccable Latin, and, really, not hardly as boring as some, who've perhaps read the first few lines only, make it out to be. Take, for instance, this passage, wherein Caesar sheds some light on the Gauls' character as he sees it. Certainly, even if lacking complete veracity, it bespeaks a great sensitivity, almost a sense of humour, and, as always, great writership. :D

His de rebus Caesar certior factus et infirmitatem Gallorum veritus, quod sunt in consiliis capiendis mobiles et novis plerumque rebus student, nihil his committendum existimavit. Est enim hoc Gallicae consuetudinis, uti et viatores etiam invitos consistere cogant et quid quisque eorum de quaque re audierit aut cognoverit quaerant et mercatores in oppidis vulgus circumsistat quibus ex regionibus veniant quas ibi res cognoverint pronuntiare cogat. His rebus atque auditionibus permoti de summis saepe rebus consilia ineunt, quorum eos in vestigio paenitere necesse est, cum incertis rumoribus serviant et pleri ad voluntatem eorum ficta respondeant.

(and I myself don't too much fancy Horace or Vergil. Tacitus though, indeed, was an excellent writer, although, ei Sallustium antepono. :))

Episcopus, all of what you say may be true, yet, as you yourself said, you have little experience with German grammar. The difficulty of a language, by a large measure, seems to depend from the complexity of its grammar. The nucleus of German grammar congrues with that of Latin grammar. Perhaps it goes some way to illustrate this that the greatest Latin scholarship originated and thence continued to exist in Germany. 8)
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Postby Ulpianus » Fri Feb 13, 2004 6:47 pm

Since we seem to be some way off the original topic, I have posted my reply regarding Caesar in a new thread.
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