Jacobus wrote:How can we be absolutely sure how Latin, or to a lesser extent Ancient Greek, were pronounced? Does this hinder a definition? Lex, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think what you were saying at the end of your message is something slightly different?
Jacobus wrote:By your definition of a dead language, yes, Latin and Classical Greek are both dead.
Lex wrote:It doesn't list language mutation (e.g. Latin mutating into French) as a reason for language death; perhaps they don't consider that the language is dead, but alive in a radically different form?
Lex wrote:I do think the term "dead language" is appropriate in describing classical Greek and Latin.
Jacobus wrote:Although I acknowledge the definition in your book as the accepted one, that doesn't mean we can't think otherwise, I don't think.
Jacobus wrote:Lex wrote:It doesn't list language mutation (e.g. Latin mutating into French) as a reason for language death; perhaps they don't consider that the language is dead, but alive in a radically different form?
As I understand it, by the definition in your book above, they would not consider Latin dead so much as radically changed. Do you agree with the book's definition, or the one you put forward a few posts back, that Latin is indeed dead?
Jacobus wrote:Again, I'm just interested in your opinion, I do not mean to challenge you in a condescending manner.
Jacobus wrote:Ultimately what I'm asking is, can we become truely fluent in a language such as Latin? In a language such as Sumerian, I would say certainly not. But that's my opinion, with my own definitions of terms, whether they are accurate to any degree or not.
Lex wrote:By your standard, which also includes oral proficiency such that you could be taken for a native speaker by an ancient native speaker (if any existed), I guess that would depend on how well we truly understand the original pronunciation?
Jacobus wrote:Lex wrote:By your standard, which also includes oral proficiency such that you could be taken for a native speaker by an ancient native speaker (if any existed), I guess that would depend on how well we truly understand the original pronunciation?
To my mind, to be truely fluent in a language we should have a respectable degree of proficiency in all the four skills of language, as I suggested before. I would argue that we can never be sure of what Latin really sounded like for sure. Taking anothe example, I have a friend who moved to Germany a few years back, who I consider fluent in German. My German is fairly good, without trying to appear overconfident; I can pick up a newspaper at random and understand about ninety percent of what's being said. I consider my speaking ability to be a little behind that, however. Saying that, my friend's German is far far better than mine, although he neither speaks with a completely native accent, nor puts his ideas across in quite the way a native speaker perhaps would. I would consider him "fluent", although I think there is a difference between fluency and native proficiency, of course.
Jacobus wrote:In order to make your view slightly more clear to me, Lex, would you mind giving me an example like the one I have given above? Do you possess any degree of "fluency" in a foreign language, and if so, how would you compare that to a native speaker of the language in question? I haven't asked about Latin or Greek for a number of reasons - firstly, I don't know which you are studying, if indeed it is just one of the two. Secondly, you mentioned that you wouldn't have anything against two definitions of fluency, I believe - can you give me an example or case from your experience of a modern foreign language? Be it something like German, or even something which is ridiculous from an inflections point of view, like Hungarian or Finnish, if what I've heard about them is correct.
Lex wrote:My idea of full fluency in a living language would be to have the facility of a native with the language in all four categories of use.
Lex wrote:In either case, I guess I would say that fluency is when it is easy for you.
Jacobus wrote:Lex wrote:My idea of full fluency in a living language would be to have the facility of a native with the language in all four categories of use.
That would be the most logical definition to take, although I fear I will never attain that in German however much I am hellbent on getting it. I can try, though!
Jacobus wrote:So, would you agree with this definition of fluency in an ancient (ahem, dead) language?
"Fluency in one of the Classical languages, Latin or Ancient Greek, is the ability to read and write in the language without the undue need of pause for thought" - Yes, I realise the wording is clumsy, but I'm not after an English language prize
Jacobus wrote:PS - I have failed to compliment you regarding your avatar up to this point. It's a very good one and I think it was borderline genius to have thought of such a picture. - I am a fan of Llamas, and yet don't quite know why
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