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English Grammar Requirements for Latin

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English Grammar Requirements for Latin

Postby awtl » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:36 pm

I am interested in learning Latin, and am considering Wheelock's Latin. I was very good in English in school, but am wondering how much English grammar one has to know in order to do well with Latin. I honestly don't know anything about the different cases, etc. such as dative, nominative, accusative, etc. that I see when browsing Latin texts. Should I brush up? Is there a recommended text I should take, and can I do that simultaneously while studying Latin, or do I need to study this before I start Latin.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: English Grammar Requirements for Latin

Postby furrykef » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:16 pm

I don't think you need to study English grammar before studying Latin grammar. It definitely helps if you already know what, say, a relative clause is and things like that, but, really, there's not much advantage to learning it in English before learning it in Latin.
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Re: English Grammar Requirements for Latin

Postby spiphany » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:59 pm

I don't know that you necessarily need to brush up on English grammar before you start learning Latin: A good textbook should be able to explain what is meant by the grammatical terms it uses. With older textbooks this is sometimes a problem, as it assumes knowledge that modern students don't necessarily have. I haven't used Wheelock's, so I don't know where it falls on this spectrum.

If you start working through Wheelock's and find that you're struggling to grasp concepts such as relative clauses or reflexive pronouns, you might want to look for a book which explains the grammar more in depth. Something like "English Grammar for Students of Latin" might be useful (don't remember the author right now, but it should be easy enough to find...there are probably other books with a similar concept).
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Re: English Grammar Requirements for Latin

Postby Quin Firefrorefiddle » Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:03 am

There are some grammatical concepts that are more complicated in Latin (like noun declensions) and some that are more complicated in English. The nominative, dative, accusative, etc., are all concepts that are necessary for an even basic understanding of Latin- though almost all Latin texts will explain them to you. They exist in English too, though we have different names for them- the subject, indirect object, direct object, etc. A basic background in grammar is helpful for studying a new language- when I was taking French in high school I was in a new school district, and as a result had an advantage over my fellow students because I'd had English grammar crammed down my throat for years, and they hadn't. (The advantage didn't last long.) There are several grammar guides online, for free, and in a pinch if you come across a term you don't get, wikipedia's pretty decent at that kind of information, in my experience.

I'm currently using Lingua Latina, which I like because I don't have a natural gift for languages, persay, but I do have excellent reading comprehension, and LL does immersion through reading. I also own and have messed around a bit with Wheelock's- it's much more table-based, and will have you memorizing lists of things. It is an excellent text in it's own way, but personally I plan to run through it *after* doing the first volume of LL. There are also several other ways to learn Latin, and you'll find reviews by users for several of them on this forum. How do you learn best?
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Re: English Grammar Requirements for Latin

Postby awtl » Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:01 pm

That makes me feel a little better Quin! I know what subject, indirect object, direct object, etc. are. I have been looking at a grammar book I have called Harvey's Revised English Grammar. It is a revised edition of the 1878 edition that is published by Mott Media. It goes over all of the things I was talking about and has parsing (certainly not anything I had in school!) It's kind of interesting. I think English study was a little harder back then. The free Latin text on this site assumes a knowledge of the older grammatical terms.
I will have to look into the English Grammar for Students of Latin.

The Lingua Latina sounds interesting. There's a lady on Edufire who teaches it, but I don't really have the money for that right now. My learning style is to learn by reading, I'm not sure how else to explain it, really. With learning modern languages that has been a problem because I can learn to read a language easily, but then I have a hard time learning to speak it. I guess that shouldn't be a problem with Latin, though. I think I might absorb more with more of an immersion approach before trying to deal so much with the grammar. Thank you for the suggestion. How far are you in the LL book?
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Re: English Grammar Requirements for Latin

Postby dlb » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:11 am

awtl wrote:I am interested in learning Latin, and am considering Wheelock's Latin. I was very good in English in school, but am wondering how much English grammar one has to know in order to do well with Latin. I honestly don't know anything about the different cases, etc. such as dative, nominative, accusative, etc. that I see when browsing Latin texts. Should I brush up? Is there a recommended text I should take, and can I do that simultaneously while studying Latin, or do I need to study this before I start Latin.

Thanks in advance.


Sounds like you are on the right path. If you are strong in English grammar then you should have few problems picking up Latin. If I need to review English grammar I go to: http://www.dailygrammar.com/index.shtml.
Hope this helps.
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Re: English Grammar Requirements for Latin

Postby Quin Firefrorefiddle » Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:12 am

I'm about halfway done with chapter 8. If you decide to go with LL, it's pretty cheap, especially compared to Wheelock's. I'd suggest getting the basic textbook, the workbook, the teaching resources (answer guide- for volumes 1 and 2!) and the college companion, and then downloading the extra free online stuff from the LL website- there are free readings that help cement the ideas there. All that together will probably cost you about sixty bucks, though. There's another book called the Colloquia Personarum, but it's just readings like the free ones you can get off the website. There are also several readers that look great for a bridge (or a break!) after you finish the first book, and the second book will lead you right into reading classical, undiluted Latin.
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