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Salvete! A new member with a question...

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Salvete! A new member with a question...

Postby TheBermuda » Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:14 pm

Hello! I'm a high school sophomore who will be going into Latin 2 this year, and I'm hoping this site will give me extra help and practice.

I want to become a translator (I am an intermediate Japanese/beginner French student), and many universities require student translators to learn an ancient language. I was wondering if I can expect to be fluent in Latin by the time I graduate high school, or is that entirely unreasonable? If it is, how long does it take the average learner to master Latin? Thank you. :)
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Re: Salvete! A new member with a question...

Postby Jefferson Cicero » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:23 pm

I suppose it has a lot to do with how extensive your learning materials are, or if you have a good teacher or tutor. You'll have to put much effort into it above and beyond your classroom study or homework.

I would recommend studying your grammar book religiously, and then start trying some composition. Writing Latin or any new language is more effective than reading for mastering the language.

I also recommend learning your vocabulary from English to Latin. In other words, dont look at the Latin word and try to give the definition in English. Look at the English and then give the word in Latin. That's a simple trick, but it worked quite well for me. It's also the ages old way of learning Latin vocabulary. It's harder, but it works better.

Another tip: when you come across any grammar point in your book, or anything else that you want to remember, write it down in a notebook in the form of a question. Then come back later and see if you can still answer the question. If not, go back and look at it in your book until you get it. Same way with vocab. Study the vocab it until you can just rattle it off without hesitation.

That should get you quite far in a couple years, but I'm not sure if it would be far enough. I also dont understand why they want you to be fluent in an ancient language.
'Greek had to be simplified, and Latin had to be replaced with Italian, because we barbarians stole so many Greek and Latin words.'
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Re: Salvete! A new member with a question...

Postby CharlesDWard » Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:52 am

Hey there! This is coming from one immediately-not-high school student, a freshman undergrad. I studied Latin all throughout high school, so I can assure you of the difficulty of thoroughly learning Latin in an American public school. I wish I had had Jefferson's advice in mind as I went through it! Being a language student yourself, you probably already know that one of the only ways to pick up on idiom and natural rhythm is to be around others who speak it. This is a bit tougher for "dead" languages...but it is possible.

If you're not quite ready for an immersion program (Latin II doesn't go quite that far), I would recommend the National Junior Classical League. It's as much a social organization as an academic one, but finding other classics-obsessed students may encourage you. It's nice being able to complain about reading Suetonius or Pliny the Younger to others who understand why it's frustrating.

Bona fortuna!
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