Why bother with Latin?

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Beladan
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Why bother with Latin?

Post by Beladan » Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:02 pm

Ok ok - I am being a bit tongue in cheek here. I understand and accept the arguments from all sides about the virtues of learning one of the classic languages, be it Latin or Greek or Sanscrit for that matter.

It's also something I am firmly committed to and I'm studiously working my way through Wheelock and Moreland & Fleischer, dipping occasionally into D'Ooge.

I get that.

The real question is, is there a use out there for Latinists beyond the walls of scholastic bastions such as colleges and universities or are we forever stuck reading the Commentaries on the Gallic Wars? Does there exist a corpus of untranslated texts that folks can work with or are these locked up by colleges for doctoral students, far removed from the eyes of plebian latinites like myself?

I seriously doubt that I will ever be able to translate my love of Latin and Greek into a career that actually pays the bills - despite my daydreams of doing exactly that - but is there a way to contribute in a meaningful way once one gains some level of proficiency?

Thx
Beladan

amans
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Post by amans » Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:47 pm

Personally, I don't care much about pragmatism. Latin is like a mountain and latinists like mountaineers: the mountain's there! that's why we climb it! :wink:

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Timothy
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Post by Timothy » Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:29 pm

Why do we study History? Geology? Archeology? Anthropology? Why do physicists ponder the origin of the universe?

Why are we so preoccupied with what was?

Because we can't tell what will be. The key to the future is in the past.

They are still excavating Rome, Pompey, and a number of other Roman sites. The works of Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, et alii have been studied over the centuries, with new generations of translators providing new insight based upon newly discovered information about speech, culture (Roman and Greek), dress, et cetera. Not to mention corrections to previously published works.

There is a whole new generation to present with the Roman language.

Translation into Latin is fairly rich and open (Harrius Potterus)
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Beladan
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Post by Beladan » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:22 pm

I agree and understand these things. I'm no pragmatist either. And I agree that the past is often the key to understanding most assuredly the present and often the future.

I'm not really looking for affirmation that my choices are worthy. I *want* to learn Latin just like I *wanted* to learn Koine Greek and Hebrew. You either "get that" like the folks here or you don't. If you don't and it bothers you - who cares! :) I'm happy and I suspect we all feel that way.

I guess I was wondering more about the possibility to do something fresh. Whilst translating *to* Latin does indeed open endless vistas (I have a strange desire to translate The Lord of the Rings for some reason...) I had heard whilst in college that a large part of the medieval latin texts were untranslated and awaiting work. I wondered if that was true - and if so - are they available to someone who enjoys Latin, history and the sort of detective work that pouring over texts brings.

B

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Episcopus
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Post by Episcopus » Tue Nov 23, 2004 7:27 pm

haha Harrius Potterus? Quin I think his surname was 3rd dec.

1. We are bored
2. We are losers
3. We all have individual goals (curiosity, desire to be a bishop, will to think oneself better than others)
4. Because Lene Marlin is hot what's that steven
5. To know whether latin be in fact according to the legend the best language ever. Thus far to be blunt I say yes.
6. For we want to go to cambridge and study classical greek and anthologies at cambridge!
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Timothy
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Post by Timothy » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:21 pm

ok - Harrius Potter.

FWIW,

...tatto quotes and translations are sizzling.
...necromancy/occult seems to be on the rise.
...the ever popular, "do my homework, please."
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cweb255
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Post by cweb255 » Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:36 pm

thelatinlibrary.com

Begin!

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Post by Licinius » Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:46 pm

Istudy it because I have fun when I do. Just that.

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Re: Why bother with Latin?

Post by Kerastes » Wed Dec 01, 2004 3:50 am

Beladan wrote:The real question is, is there a use out there for Latinists beyond the walls of scholastic bastions such as colleges and universities or are we forever stuck reading the Commentaries on the Gallic Wars?
There's plenty of other stuff to read, only a relatively small fraction of which is at The Latin Library, though admittedly the most important stuff is there. As to the former question, scholastic bastions aren't so bad. Sure, I don't get paid to work in one anymore, and I'm not likely to in this life, but many of the big ones are a good source of texts.
Does there exist a corpus of untranslated texts that folks can work with or are these locked up by colleges for doctoral students, far removed from the eyes of plebian latinites like myself?
See if you can get borrowing privileges at the library. My alma mater gives any resident of the state access to its library. Or you can explore the wonders of interlibrary loan.
I seriously doubt that I will ever be able to translate my love of Latin and Greek into a career that actually pays the bills - despite my daydreams of doing exactly that [....]
Hey, me too, but that's why I hang out here. :)
but is there a way to contribute in a meaningful way once one gains some level of proficiency?
Yes, you can be an independent scholar.
I had heard whilst in college that a large part of the medieval latin texts were untranslated and awaiting work. I wondered if that was true - and if so - are they available to someone who enjoys Latin, history and the sort of detective work that pouring over texts brings.
Yes, there are still a large number of medieval and renaissance texts which have not been translated. Many of them probably never will be translated, because they're not terribly interesting, but one man's interest can be another's boredom. I ran into such texts when I was in graduate school. My field was renaissance music, and among the students, I was the token latinist in the department. I didn't usually have to translate texts, but I did have to make use of them in seminar discussions.

Whatever kind of Latin you're interested in, there's plenty out there: science, history, even Neolatin poetry.

My problem was I hated the detective work. I loved teaching.

The best reason for reading Latin is the same for me as for playing music. The world is full of pianists who can play Beethoven sonatas much better than I can, but that doesn't mean I should give up and just listen to recordings. Vergil's Aeneid is just way too much fun to read in the original.

Kerastes

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Brennus
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Post by Brennus » Wed Dec 01, 2004 11:09 am

Personally for me, it is mostly the pursuit of knowledge, a deep desire to learn this immortal language and to be able to read it's texts in the original language. The other posters have made some excellent points too, especially Licinus and Epicopus imo :wink: . A couple more practical reasons below.

Over half the words in English are of Latin origin. Around 80% of scholarly words in English are Latin such as those in science, law and medicine. You can learn Latin and instantly recognize them or you can look up new words for your entire life to see what they mean. With sufficient knowledge of Latin you can read the Magna Carta as it was written, understand Latin phrases in the U.S. Constitution etc. You'll understand all those legal terms without going to law school. You'll do better on the SATs and if you desire, the other Romance languages will be easier to learn. In short, you will be smarter.

Plus, chicks dig guys who know Latin. :)

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Post by adz000 » Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:51 pm

Yes there is a vast corpus of untranslated and unedited Latin texts: it's called neo-Latin. This is the huge amount of flawless Latin written from say Petrarch to Spinoza when Latin was again the language of intellectual life: literature, novels, poetry, plays (tragedy, comedy), science, philosophy, &c. If there is anywhere that someone is going to make discoveries, write books, produce editions, and generally learn what has not been known, it is through reading these closely, which are relevant for literature (studying the Latin background of Elizabethan drama, Milton's Renaissance predecessors), history (everything in this period is relevant for understanding the development of the modern state), philosophy, art history, and so forth.. If Latin literature is an iceburg, this is the submerged 9/10 no one tells you about. It's a pity that the study of Latin is conceived so narrowly and that there is little institutional support for researchers in this area. People working on their own have a good chance of making progress, if they have the resources.

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Post by Deses » Wed Dec 01, 2004 4:18 pm

Well put, adz000. It is amazing that even some XVI-XVII-century Latin best-sellers are virtually uknown these days. I dabbled in translations from Neo-Latin poetry (Constantijn Huygens). Absolute pleasure to read, thought-provoking and often pretty good poetry. Too bad we live in a vulgar age.

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Episcopus
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Post by Episcopus » Wed Dec 01, 2004 4:35 pm

I have never seen a girl who digs a latin person. They just think ok...now can we talk about something to which I can relate, like your stomach! Or hair clips! yay!
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Post by elduce » Wed Dec 01, 2004 6:15 pm

The reason I study Latin is so I can follow the Harry Potter series.
Exspecto patronum!!!
ego amo megaforce

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Post by klewlis » Wed Dec 01, 2004 7:04 pm

Brennus wrote:Plus, chicks dig guys who know Latin. :)
It's true.

Episcope, I think you need to find a different place to meet girls, since you seem to only meet the shallow, ditzy ones. :)

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cweb255
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Post by cweb255 » Wed Dec 01, 2004 7:59 pm

Corpus magnum Latinae Novae est: http://thelatinlibrary.com/neo.html

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Episcopus
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Post by Episcopus » Wed Dec 01, 2004 8:05 pm

haha you think I don't know that dear?

That however would involve a drastic relocation. Also girls round here outside of intelligence for one moment are ugly as hell! There is on ginger girl whose face is so monstrous in maths she bloody almost makes me hurl, no offence.
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Philomela
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Post by Philomela » Tue Dec 07, 2004 8:14 pm

Episcopus wrote:I have never seen a girl who digs a latin person. They just think ok...now can we talk about something to which I can relate, like your stomach! Or hair clips! yay!
heyy! that's quite insulting! i'd love to meet a guy who was interested in, and wanted to discuss, latin and roman history- all the ones ive spoken to go "why latin??? its sooo hard and boring!" and theres exactly 6 people in my latin class- all female... and i have never had a conversation about hair clips! people who dont study it dont tend see the beauty of the language...unfortunatly...
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Post by Kasper » Tue Dec 07, 2004 9:48 pm

Philomela wrote:
Episcopus wrote:I have never seen a girl who digs a latin person. They just think ok...now can we talk about something to which I can relate, like your stomach! Or hair clips! yay!
heyy! that's quite insulting! i'd love to meet a guy who was interested in, and wanted to discuss, latin and roman history- all the ones ive spoken to go "why latin??? its sooo hard and boring!" and theres exactly 6 people in my latin class- all female... and i have never had a conversation about hair clips! people who dont study it dont tend see the beauty of the language...unfortunatly...
The fact that you live in London (population x million) and only 6 people attend latin class seems to sufficiently prove Episcopus' point.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”

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Episcopus
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Post by Episcopus » Tue Dec 07, 2004 9:58 pm

I apologise dear, and also commend you for never having conversed of hair clips or spray or the best trance track or how much your stomach ring cost you. If any females in your class are hot tell dem if they ever should be in south wales I'll give them a piece of my gerund. No seriously I like to talk in latin anyhow. You can also try to read my works.

Yes I agree with Kasper an intelligent female is so rare. So is a male but yeah. Females tend to be more odd/shallow/strange in my experience.
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Post by Kasper » Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:18 am

Episcopus wrote:Yes I agree with Kasper an intelligent female is so rare. So is a male but yeah. Females tend to be more odd/shallow/strange in my experience.
Hey! I don't recall saying that!! :twisted:
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”

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eleanor1183
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and for a totally different perspective...

Post by eleanor1183 » Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:10 am

Hi all.

I just posted an intro of myself on the open board, but decided to hop in here as well, since I just downloaded my very first Latin textbook and have yet to begin my study.

However, I thought you might want to know why I've decided to study Latin. I'm a middle-aged housewife in Kansas who loves to cook.

Anyone have a clue as to why I'd want to study Latin?

Apicius, of course. The only English translations I've seen were done by men who didn't cook. What would they know about translating Roman recipes???

So I now have the Latin Library's version on my HD, and I'm going to learn Latin so I can do a REAL translation. I want to really know how to cook Roman dishes.

I also want to be able to read Caesar's commentaries.

Yes, I am a chick with brains; I'm just not a spring chicken any more.

:wink:

eleanor1183
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Deses
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Post by Deses » Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:33 am

Well, eleanor1183, I sure hope you will keep us informed about your progress in learning how to prepare garum! That must be the key to Roman cooking. :)

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eleanor1183
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Post by eleanor1183 » Thu Dec 09, 2004 4:44 am

Oh, garum, that old stuff. Not only know how, I have it in my cupboard.

Seriously, I've done a bit of research on Roman cooking already, and garum is simply fish sauce (an ingredient very common in the cooking of southeast asia, especially Thai cuisine.)

The traditional way of making garum was to toss fish heads into a good-sized pottery vat, salt them down, and then let them sit in a warm place until they fermented. :!: Strain off the resulting juice - which is garum.

Modern fish sauce is made using anchovy paste. It's a very distinctive flavor, so it's easy to see why the Romans liked it. They were very fond of strong flavors. I get mine at our local international grocery.

eleanor1183
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