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the way to learn

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the way to learn

Postby Kasper » Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:56 am

Reading through the old posts on this site I see that you all seem to really analyse every word you read. I've only been studying latin since august this year, but I'm trying just to read the language, be it with a dictionary in my lap. Would you recommend this way of learning latin, or is it indeed better to really analyse every word?
The thing is I learned english and german in holland without ever learning anything of declensions and all that stuff, I just picked it while listening to music and watching tv. Of course latin is a bit different, since it's hard to come by latin music and tv, and I have learned the declensions and verbs and all that. It's probably naive of me, but I'm hoping that just through reading it on a daily basis it will come to me. Is this indeed too naive of me and am I wasting my time this way?
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Postby mariek » Wed Nov 12, 2003 7:09 am


Ooooh... I would find it hard to try to learn Latin by reading it with only a dictionary to help me. All those declensions would really screw me up and I wouldn't understand a thing. I suggest clicking on the learn latin link above to check out the beginner grammars available for download. Use a beginner grammar with a beginner reader, and you'll be a much happier camper.
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Postby Emma_85 » Wed Nov 12, 2003 1:08 pm

When you say you learned English and German just by listening and reading, you have to remember that both these languages are very similar to Dutch. To me Dutch just sounds like a mix between German and English. (I can understand everything I read in Dutch and nearly everything I hear (I'd be able to understand everything if only they didn't talk so fast), but as I've never been to Holland I've never tried talking Dutch, I don't know if I could do it.)
Latin is something different, though, as for one thing you're not learning colloquial Latin, you'll be reading proper literature. There's a lot more to Latin than just the declensions :(. At first you can cheat your way through, in the early chapters of a beginner's books on Latin, because normally just knowing what the words mean will tell you what the sentence means, but often that is not possible when reading more complicated stuff. You really have to analyse each word then or you risk making loads of mistakes (says someone, who still tries to cheat her way through Latin classes by only knowing the meanings of words :P , and I can tell you now, it doesn't really work :cry: ).
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Postby Episcopus » Wed Nov 12, 2003 4:20 pm

mwah try saying that to my french and german teachers.

German is a hard language. I laugh when I just can not understand it and have done no independent study (why should I?)

No. The way in which to learn is with an organised course. Pick one that suits your ability and level then complete it!
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Postby Kasper » Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:44 pm

don't get me wrong guys, I have worked through a 'teach yourself latin' book, from 1914 I believe. I bought it for 5 (australian) dollars at a second hand bookstore. I had a dead boring data-entry job and was able to basically study it for 8 hours a day, for 3 months. What I'm saying is that now that i've finished it, wouldn't it be better to just read, while looking up words I just don't know, to get a feelnig for the language, a sort of natural understanding, otherwise, how do ever get over having to analyse every word, and doesn't that take the fun out of reading it? I admit I don't understand every line I read, but from the context you can basically make up what it says. I am asuming that from reading more in this way after some time my 'natural' understanding of the language will grow. I could be wrong....
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Postby Carola » Wed Nov 12, 2003 9:50 pm

Yes, I agree with Emma. English, German & Dutch are very closely related languages and they are modern languages. When you start to read "real" Classical Latin as opposed to the made up exercises in text books you will find that their use of language is totally different. You almost need to translate it directly as written and then re-translate into something that makes sense in modern English (or Dutch or whatever). I don't think there is a short-cut, you just have to work up to reading complicated stuff slowly and understand the grammar. Even with modern languages there is a big difference between being able to speak enough to go shopping or find your way around and really understanding the literature. (But I agree with you - grammar is pretty boring!)
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Postby klewlis » Thu Nov 13, 2003 4:47 am

Kasper wrote:don't get me wrong guys, I have worked through a 'teach yourself latin' book, from 1914 I believe. I bought it for 5 (australian) dollars at a second hand bookstore. I had a dead boring data-entry job and was able to basically study it for 8 hours a day, for 3 months. What I'm saying is that now that i've finished it, wouldn't it be better to just read, while looking up words I just don't know, to get a feelnig for the language, a sort of natural understanding, otherwise, how do ever get over having to analyse every word, and doesn't that take the fun out of reading it? I admit I don't understand every line I read, but from the context you can basically make up what it says. I am asuming that from reading more in this way after some time my 'natural' understanding of the language will grow. I could be wrong....


I'd say that if you've already finished the grammar then you are in a good position to continue reading with a dictionary. Of course, what do I know, since I haven't even finished my grammar yet. :)
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Postby Episcopus » Thu Nov 13, 2003 5:44 pm

Yet nevertheless there do be grammars which are more advanced. Third year Latin, a book that I have seen recently, is tempting.
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Postby klewlis » Thu Nov 13, 2003 5:55 pm

yes, and I guess in that case it depends on what one's goals are for the language. If I want to attain a reading knowledge and understanding of the language, then an advanced grammar may only be helpful as a reference. But if I want to know all the mechanics of the language and maybe end up teaching it or pursuing higher expertise, then I'd need to learn all that extra grammar.
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Postby Kasper » Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:37 pm

I guess Klewlis is right. It does depend on ones goals. At the moment, three months underway I'd be happy to just be able to read latin and understand it, I do feel that just by reading it everyday I will attain this level of understanding. However, indeed 'to know all the mechanics of the language and end up teaching it', I will have to get back to studying grammars. I think I will one day, but for now I'd be happy just to be able to read it and enjoy it.
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Postby MickeyV » Fri Nov 14, 2003 10:50 pm

Well, clearly, the inflectional nature of Latin and the liberty with regards to word-order emanating therefrom impedes the simple "listen -> read -> learn" method wherefrom one might avail himself in the process of learning Dutch or German (though the first should, by using that method, be easier). As pointed out, apart from some (quite irrelevant) distinctions, English, Dutch and German, being Germanic languages, are similar in their grammatical structure and, therefore, are easy to grasp for one already in command of one of them. For learning Latin on the other hand, while Latin is in a sense not dissimilar to German (or even Dutch for that matter), it is absolutely imperative that you comprehend the syntactical workings of language. From this it follows, that a good grammar is indispensable.
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Postby Moerus » Tue Nov 18, 2003 4:56 pm

De beste methode is een combinatie van beiden. Je kan een taal leren, zoals een baby'tje dat doet, nl. door er veel mee geconfronteerd te raken. En oin dat opzicht is een dagelijkse portie lectuur zeker niet slecht. Edoch, is het ook goed om dagelijks een kleiner stukje tekst te analyseren op vlak van naamvallen en werkwoordsvormen. Op die manier zal je zien dat je dagelijkse lectuur ook meer ondersteund wordt en dat ze zo ook makkelijker wordt. De beste methode is dus om dagelijks een zeker hoeveelheid te lezen (misschien ook actief een paar zinnetjes te maken) en van die hoeveelheid een deeltje uit te kammen op grammaticaal vlak. Zo krijg je een zeer gefundeerde kennis van het Latijn (en het Grieks), die onmisbaar is voor het verdere verloop van je studies.

Groetjes,

Moerus.
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Postby Episcopus » Tue Nov 18, 2003 5:12 pm

:shock:
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Postby Clemens » Tue Nov 18, 2003 6:07 pm

I've only been studying latin since august this year, but I'm trying just to read the language, be it with a dictionary in my lap. Would you recommend this way of learning latin, or is it indeed better to really analyse every word?

In fact there is a book which tries to teach Latin more like a modern language: Lingua Latina per se illustrata by Hans H. Ørberg
In both volumes you can't find any word which is not Latin. I don't learn Latin but I read through the first lesson and although I didn't know anything about Latin I understood every single word. After this course you should be able to read original literature.
Of course I know that it's a bit too late for you, since you've already finished your grammar studies but I think it's a fascinating way to learn Latin and found it worth mentioning. Perhaps it's useful for a beginner who wants to learn Latin in a different way...:)
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Postby Moerus » Tue Nov 18, 2003 6:24 pm

I used Örberg too. It's indeed a great book and it shows that learning Latin is not difficult that way! Everyone must learn Latin this way actually. But other methods can be good too, but not as good as the mighty Örberg!
The guy is very friendly to, I met him a few years ago in Louvain.

So buy the book, people, buy it (and read it)!

Greetz,

Moerus.
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Postby Episcopus » Tue Nov 18, 2003 9:57 pm

Moerus wrote:not as good as the mighty Örberg!



D'Ooge would smoke him with an ablative absolute plated with gerundive of obligation and "organise his sequence of tenses" shall we say.
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Postby MickeyV » Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:06 pm

Moerus wrote:De beste methode is een combinatie van beiden. Je kan een taal leren, zoals een baby'tje dat doet, nl. door er veel mee geconfronteerd te raken. En oin dat opzicht is een dagelijkse portie lectuur zeker niet slecht. Edoch, is het ook goed om dagelijks een kleiner stukje tekst te analyseren op vlak van naamvallen en werkwoordsvormen. Op die manier zal je zien dat je dagelijkse lectuur ook meer ondersteund wordt en dat ze zo ook makkelijker wordt. De beste methode is dus om dagelijks een zeker hoeveelheid te lezen (misschien ook actief een paar zinnetjes te maken) en van die hoeveelheid een deeltje uit te kammen op grammaticaal vlak. Zo krijg je een zeer gefundeerde kennis van het Latijn (en het Grieks), die onmisbaar is voor het verdere verloop van je studies.

Groetjes,

Moerus.


Wel, akkoord. Natuurlijk is het, en misschien benadrukte ik dat onvoldoende, om Latijn werkelijk te doorgronden zonder meer noodwendig ook veel te lezen. Maar, in tegenstelling tot bv. het Engels of het Duits, moet de emfase toch liggen op begrip van de syntactische structuur, in dier voege, dat men, al lezende, de zin redekundig volledig kan ontleden, ofwel, de syntactische functies kan ontwaren.
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Postby MickeyV » Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:07 pm

Moerus wrote:I used Örberg too. It's indeed a great book and it shows that learning Latin is not difficult that way! Everyone must learn Latin this way actually. But other methods can be good too, but not as good as the mighty Örberg!
The guy is very friendly to, I met him a few years ago in Louvain.

So buy the book, people, buy it (and read it)!

Greetz,

Moerus.


Personally, I'd say that Gildersleeve combined with Woodcock is the best method. :)
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Postby Episcopus » Fri Nov 21, 2003 5:18 pm

Don't you mean wheelcock :shock:
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Postby tadwelessar » Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:02 pm

MickeyV wrote:
Moerus wrote:De beste methode is een combinatie van beiden. Je kan een taal leren, zoals een baby'tje dat doet, nl. door er veel mee geconfronteerd te raken. En oin dat opzicht is een dagelijkse portie lectuur zeker niet slecht. Edoch, is het ook goed om dagelijks een kleiner stukje tekst te analyseren op vlak van naamvallen en werkwoordsvormen. Op die manier zal je zien dat je dagelijkse lectuur ook meer ondersteund wordt en dat ze zo ook makkelijker wordt. De beste methode is dus om dagelijks een zeker hoeveelheid te lezen (misschien ook actief een paar zinnetjes te maken) en van die hoeveelheid een deeltje uit te kammen op grammaticaal vlak. Zo krijg je een zeer gefundeerde kennis van het Latijn (en het Grieks), die onmisbaar is voor het verdere verloop van je studies.

Groetjes,

Moerus.


Wel, akkoord. Natuurlijk is het, en misschien benadrukte ik dat onvoldoende, om Latijn werkelijk te doorgronden zonder meer noodwendig ook veel te lezen. Maar, in tegenstelling tot bv. het Engels of het Duits, moet de emfase toch liggen op begrip van de syntactische structuur, in dier voege, dat men, al lezende, de zin redekundig volledig kan ontleden, ofwel, de syntactische functies kan ontwaren.


Personally, I can't understand anything
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Postby Episcopus » Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:19 pm

That language is nasty. Sorry. :?
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Postby MickeyV » Fri Nov 21, 2003 9:34 pm

Episcopus wrote:Don't you mean wheelcock :shock:


Why, not at all. I mean: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... ce&s=books

Woodcock indeed. His name might not be admirable, yet his grammar all the more.

And I agree, Dutch isn't the most attractive language. I'm curious: what exactly appalled you? :)
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Postby Keesa » Fri Nov 21, 2003 11:39 pm

Was that real Dutch? I read it and assumed you were writing English with Dutch or German spellings, to emphasize a point! Did I just read a several paragraphs of real Dutch?!

I never knew I was so talented. :D
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Postby Moerus » Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:45 am

It was real Dutch! Everybody was talking about it without talking it. So Why not in Dutch. It's a beautiful language in my opinion, but there are many other languages that are more beautiful! And also, there are not so many people who can speak Dutch. So if It were not my language, I would rather chose to learn an other language than Dutch I suppose.
But I never said all this!

Vele Nederlandse groetjes aan allen
(many Dutch greetings to all of you),

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Postby Episcopus » Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:03 pm

It looks more like a deformed German to me. Yet that is only my opinion, and others may think various tribal languages to be nasty, whereas I love them.
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Postby Keesa » Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:07 pm

I think it's neat! (Could be because I just read it without even knowing it.)

Alas, I've never heard Dutch spoken...I'd like to, someday.
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Postby MickeyV » Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:19 pm

Episcopus wrote:It looks more like a deformed German to me. Yet that is only my opinion, and others may think various tribal languages to be nasty, whereas I love them.


It IS a deformed German. Dutch of circa 1900 AD worked and looked considerably like German, especially with regards to the cases. Yet Dutch degenerated, losing its case-significations. So, whereas German has 4 articles (der, die, das, die -> ok, die occurs twice, but is declensed differently) which are, according to the syntactical function of the substantive whereto it relates, declensed, Dutch merely has 2 articles (de, het) which are not declensed.
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Postby MickeyV » Sat Nov 22, 2003 1:19 pm

Keesa wrote:I think it's neat! (Could be because I just read it without even knowing it.)

Alas, I've never heard Dutch spoken...I'd like to, someday.


It sounds rather rustic, I'd say. :D
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Postby Episcopus » Sat Nov 22, 2003 2:17 pm

Jurassic park! My insults are always based upon facts, albeit ones unbeknown to me :)
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