Question: So witch one's harder?

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a999999
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Question: So witch one's harder?

Post by a999999 » Thu Jul 22, 2004 7:11 pm

I am trying to decide between learning greek or latin for my study of classics in college and was wondering if anyone had any helpful info. Is one harder than the other to learn? has anyone found one or the other more useful? any info would be great

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benissimus
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Post by benissimus » Thu Jul 22, 2004 8:21 pm

For a native English or Romance language speaker I would think that Greek is harder. While I don't know a lot of Ancient Greek, I think others can vouch for the fact that the Greek verbal system is much more complex than that of Latin, and also involves more memorization (of principal parts). One of the minor but most obvious difficulties of Greek is the alphabet, but I think this difficulty is fairly easy to overcome. All sorts of word contractions are also a lot more common in Greek than in Latin. Despite all of these things, the single greatest challenge of learning Greek for me is remembering vocabulary. In Latin, most of the words resemble English words, but far fewer Greek words have derivatives in English to aid with memorization.

I don't want to scare you away from Greek, but if you want to know which of the two languages is more difficult, these are some pretty solid reasons for believing Greek is more difficult. Keep in mind that most of these issues apply to Latin as well, but not to as great an extent. Rest assured, both languages are both syntactically and especially grammatically quite complex compared to English.

Which one is more useful I cannot say. Latin will teach you a lot of English words, but Greek offers some interesting ones as well. There is more reading material in either than you could ever hope to go through and be assured that both have fascinating literature for practically any taste, whether it be poetic, philosophical, vocational, or the extremely lewd.

We always recommend that you learn the language that you have the most interest in, and it is not a good idea to learn it for any other reason, because your fuel will almost surely run out if you are not self-inspired to learn more and more on your own.
Last edited by benissimus on Fri Oct 28, 2005 4:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by PeterD » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:22 am

Welcome!

Unless you are a mischievous rogue like me who chases women, drinks generously and watches the Simpsons religiously, am sure you could find the time to study both languages.
benissimus wrote:While I don't know a lot of Ancient Greek...
Benissimus, what is your excuse?


PeterD

P.S. I was kidding about the drinking part. :wink:
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis

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Post by benissimus » Fri Jul 23, 2004 11:50 am

Benissimus, what is your excuse?
Amazon lost the book I ordered :cry:
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Democritus
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Re: Question: So witch one's harder?

Post by Democritus » Mon Jul 26, 2004 9:15 pm

a999999 wrote:I am trying to decide between learning greek or latin for my study of classics in college and was wondering if anyone had any helpful info. Is one harder than the other to learn? has anyone found one or the other more useful? any info would be great
Greek is harder, certainly.

I like Greek a lot better than Latin. I can't put my finger on why. Greek is less right-angled than Latin. I'm not sure I can justify that description, it's just my impression. When I was in school, Greek seemed more nuanced, and I preferred that.

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Post by Colin » Mon Jul 26, 2004 10:18 pm

I'd go with whichever one is taught by a teacher whom you can connect with and can make it more meaningful for you. They are both very difficult languages to learn at a beginner's level in university (you can expect to cover about twice as much grammer in one year as you would in an introductory German or Spanish course). I took latin first from a teacher who to me really could make it come alive, and I would never have made it through the Greek during the next year, which was taught by a dry grammarian, if I had not had a good experience in the Latin (I knew that better things awaited me). If you are looking for useful why not take a Scientific terminology course, which will give you key elements of both languages (prefixes, suffixes, roots, and vocabulary) before diving in to one. I think that it would give you a good preparation for both as well as give you a good idea of why they are both useful to know on a purely techical "practical" level.

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blue
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Post by blue » Tue Jul 27, 2004 11:09 am

if you're so concerned over which is harder to learn, why the hell are you taking classics at all? seriously...

and as for which one is more useful...maybe you could study the language of the culture that interests you more.

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Post by annis » Tue Jul 27, 2004 12:21 pm

blue wrote:if you're so concerned over which is harder to learn, why the hell are you taking classics at all? seriously...
That seems needlessly harsh. It's not unreasonable to want to start with the easier language, or to want to be sure the study will fit in with the rest of a semester's coursework.
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blue
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Post by blue » Wed Jul 28, 2004 3:30 pm

^ yes. it probably was. sorry about that. in my defense, i'd been up about 36 hours when i posted and must've been cranky.

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Post by Keesa » Wed Jul 28, 2004 10:40 pm

I personally find Latin easier, but I suspect this may be in part because I've already spent a great deal of time studying French, and the two languages are both Romance languages.

Greek's alphabet still leaves me in tears. :cry:
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Post by PeterD » Thu Jul 29, 2004 4:45 pm

Keesa wrote:Greek's alphabet still leaves me in tears. :cry:
Why, my fair Keesa, why? The Latin letters are but Greek letters in shameful disguise.

-PeterD
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis

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Post by Lucus Eques » Thu Jul 29, 2004 5:27 pm

The Greeks wish they were has cool or as powerful or as influential as the Romans. But they weren't. So there. ;) And their language has all sorts of nasty gutteral sounds and wierd linguistic constructions that would make even a German blush. :P

Latina in aeternum!
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PeterD
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Post by PeterD » Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:34 pm

Ah, I finally have you in my sights, Knight! :)
Lucus Eques wrote:The Greeks wish they were has cool or as powerful or as influential as the Romans. But they weren't. So there. ;)
The Greeks were the definition of cool and sophistication. The Romans were constantly tripping over their sandals to learn and emulate every facet of Greek civilization: arts, literature, philosophy and the sciences.
And their language has all sorts of nasty gutteral sounds and wierd linguistic constructions that would make even a German blush. :P
Unlike the Greeks who never really thought much about Latin, the Romans were infatuated with the Greek language -- an educated Roman spoke Greek! Even the emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in Greek.
Latina in aeternum!
Forever is a very long time. :wink:

Still, if one has the time, they should try to learn both Greek and Latin -- they will be the wiser for it!

(I must admit, Lucus Eques, that felt quite good. We must joust again. :P )


-PeterD
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis

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Lucus Eques
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Post by Lucus Eques » Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:00 pm

Ah, but why joust against each other when we may joust with each other! for we agree! Greek and Latin both!
L. Amadeus Ranierius

SCORPIO·MARTIANVS

Stephen
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Post by Stephen » Thu Aug 12, 2004 2:25 pm

To answer the original question, I think that Greek is probably harder. (Have you ever heard someone say, "It's Latin to me!")

A lot of good points have been raised in earlier responses. A lot depends on the teacher, and a lot on your interests. One of mine is the beginnings of democracy, which points me to Greek more than Latin.

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Post by Jefferson Cicero » Mon Aug 16, 2004 7:03 am

The Greek alphabet really isn't that difficult. As for the Greek gutturals, that really is a hard thing at first for most beginners, though I had no difficulty with that because of previous experience with German and especially Dutch. The gutturals of Dutch are sometimes challenging even for Germans and would make a Greek scream in terror and wet his pants. It's the vowels of Greek that are more difficult for me, though the system of marking vowels was easier than I thought it would be.

The case system of Greek, though quite different from German, is not all that different in the light of comparison between Indo-European language families, and that also helped. The strange thing about Greek is that though it is quite different from German, it sometimes reminds me of German in strange ways. I cant explain this or even think of an example right now, except to say that it's probable that the common Indo-European background is at work in these instances.

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