Whats easier to learn?

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pjj1020
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Whats easier to learn?

Post by pjj1020 » Mon Apr 10, 2006 4:33 pm

Greek or Latin?

I'm only 13, and I want to learn a bit of a language on my own.

Which is more popular also?

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Post by swiftnicholas » Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:44 pm

Hi, and welcome to Textkit! You'll find great help here.

It is probably presumptuous for me to answer, since I only know some Greek, but I've seen debates here before about which is easier, and there doesn't seem to be a clear consensus, among Textkit members at least. I think the traditional thought is that Greek is harder than Latin, but they are probably similar enough in difficulty that you should choose based on which books you would most like to read. Learning the Greek alphabet can be intimidating, but you'll get over that pretty quickly.

I would guess that Latin is more popular, at least in terms of the number of people studying it. But I've always assumed that was because Greek is said to be harder, seeing that Greek literature is so much more interesting ;)

(Just kidding of course, for all you swole Latinists out there....)

Good luck pjj1020!

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Post by Lucus Eques » Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:57 pm

I fail to see how a language whose authors are almost entirely composed of just a few old Athenian men can compare with the variety, sagacity, and romance of the almost universally non-Roman Romanized authors. ;-)
L. Amadeus Ranierius

SCORPIO·MARTIANVS

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Post by nostos » Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:14 pm

I recommend that whatever you do, learn the Greek script anyway. You're still young and the earlier exposure you have, the better in the long run. At least that's my opinion. I don't know any Greek wither except for the script which I picked up some years back.

Luce, what about Sappho? :P But I too am very heavily biased towards Latin. Especially if you know a Romance language, Latin's the way to go to begin (but don't trust me, pjj1020!)

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Post by annis » Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:19 pm

nostos wrote:Luce, what about Sappho?
And Homer, and Hesiod, and Pindar, and Alcaeus, and Theognis, and Herodotus, and Aristotle, and Theocritus, and... you get the idea.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by Lucus Eques » Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:47 pm

It was a poor joke. :-) More of a reverse-tease about how Rome possessed no Roman authors.

Except Julius Caesar. They were all immigrants or provincials — an interesting antecedent to the pluralistic society.
L. Amadeus Ranierius

SCORPIO·MARTIANVS

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Post by pjj1020 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:07 am

Thanks guys!

I'm still decideding what to learn, might need some more opinions. Is there any very helpful books Ishould look for on this site or in a library? For either language?

I belive right now where at Greek-- 2 Latin-- 2

Thanks!

PS: I need to know by Thursday morning if possible so I can learn the aplphabet and a few simple words to impress my family on Easter. (Leaning towards latin.)

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:05 am

I second Nick on this - pick the language with the more interesting literature. And the Greek alphabet is nothing ... you can master it in a day or two, and be completely comfortable with it after a month of studying the language itself.

As I have suggested before to others, do a little research on Greek and Latin literature, possibly even sample a little literature in translation, and make a list of everything you would want to read in Ancient Greek and a list of everything you would want to read in Latin. Pick the list which you like better ^_^

Point for Latin : As Lucus pointed out, it was used by many people at many times. Point for Greek : It's literature is older, and most Classical Latin authors assumed their audience was familiar with Greek literature. Point for Latin : If you already know a Romance language, it's much easier. Point for Greek : I have heard that some of the beginning authors (especially Homer) is easier to read than some of the beggining authors for Latin. Point for Latin : It had a stronger vocabulary impact on English. Point for Greek : It's more unusual (people are more impressed to hear that you know Greek than that you know Latin since Greek isn't as widely taught in the USA). Point for Latin : It's awesome. Point for Greek : It's awesome.

My bias as to which language you should learn is consistent with my username. But still, as the years go by you'll have the opportunity to learn both langauges, and since you don't have any strong tendencies you might be equally happy with either language, just as long as you start one of them when you're young.
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Post by Deudeditus » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:52 am

G3 brings up some very true points. a latin (and greek, too, I think) professor once said that greek is a bit tougher at the onset, owing somewhat to the strangeness of it's appearance (but G3 is right in saying that this is nothing too hard), but grows, or seems to grow, easier further on down the road. Latin, on the other hand, is usually taught in such a way that it is fairly easy in the beginning, but becomes harder as your learning progresses.

personally, I like latin, but then again, I don't know much greek.

-Jon

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Post by pjj1020 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 12:54 pm

I"m gonna go with Latin most likely. I had advice from other people too. BUT I'm gonna come back after I get sort of decent with Latin and learn some greek.

And sugestions for a book for beginners on Latin?

Thanks guys!

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Post by Ulpianus » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:02 pm

I would say that, with a possible exception given below, the case for trying Latin first is very strong.

1. Latin is easier at first. This is not just because its alphabet is familiar. There are other things about Latin that are easier, too, at least initially, including, e.g., the verbal system, accents. (The Greek noun system is probably easier than Latin, however, partly because the article helps.)

2. Even if you don't get all that far in Latin, even the bits and pieces you will pick up in the early stages will be "useful" because Latin has had such a big effect on English. Greek will not be so illuminating.

3. Latin is therefore a relatively painless way to find out quite quickly whether the whole idea of learning an ancient inflected language appeals to you, and whether you have the aptitude and energy to do it on your own. If you find you do have, then adding or switching to Greek is always possible. If not, you'll have lost nothing and gained quite a lot.

If you do find yourself getting strongly bitten by the classics bug, having learned Latin will help with Greek (inflected languages, etc). This is not to say that learning Greek first would not help with Latin; but it is at least a neutral factor.

The exception I would make is if you were very strongly motivated to read a particular text or set of texts, then I would go with the relevant language. But, absent a strong initial preference, I would not make the texts written in each language the deciding factor. I say this because, being realistic about it, most people who start learning either language never get to the point of being able to read "real" texts with any fluency, and those who learn without a teacher are even less likely to get to that point. That's not to say no-one does. But most don't. That is absolutely not a reason not to learn: but it's a good idea to work on the assumption that you are doing something to get an interesting "taste" of the language, and to make sure you will have got something out of it even if you never achieve fluency. On the whole, I think Latin is slightly better than Greek for that.

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Post by Ulpianus » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:13 pm

Sorry, while I was writing that (too long) reply, you posted to say you had decided on Latin, and looking for book recommendations.

A lot depends on what you like, and your background. You will get more useful recommendations if people know:

What experience of learning languages in general do you have? Are you already an experienced linguist?

In particular, have you ever learned an inflected language?

How much time do you have/expect to spend on this? How quickly do you want "results"?

How serious are you about the project long-term? Are you really looking to become fluent (e.g., a foundation for serious study later)? Or do you really just want a quick taste of the language?

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Post by pjj1020 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:25 pm

Ulpianus wrote:Sorry, while I was writing that (too long) reply, you posted to say you had decided on Latin, and looking for book recommendations. No prob.

A lot depends on what you like, and your background. You will get more useful recommendations if people know:

What experience of learning languages in general do you have? Are you already an experienced linguist? No, I'm just starting Italian in school.

In particular, have you ever learned an inflected language? A little of French, Spanish, and Italian.

How much time do you have/expect to spend on this? How quickly do you want "results"? A few months.

How serious are you about the project long-term? Are you really looking to become fluent (e.g., a foundation for serious study later)? Or do you really just want a quick taste of the language? I'm not to sure actually...
There you go.

Also, are there any dictionaries I should look out for when I learn the sounds and alphabet etc.

PS: Right now I"m reading LAtin For beginners by BLD.

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Post by Ulpianus » Tue Apr 11, 2006 4:13 pm

I would say then, unless you dislike it strongly, stick with "Latin for Beginners". At least for a bit. It's free. You will get help here with it.

You won't need a dictionary for a bit. When you do need one, a tiny pocket dictionary will be quite adequate at first: the Oxford is fine. And, as a reference grammar, I think the Oxford Lating Grammar (Morwood) is nice, modern, perfectly adequate.

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Post by pjj1020 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:33 pm

Thanks!

Yea I started LAtin For Beginners before, and will read a lot of it tommorrow because I dont have school for the rest of the week and monday.

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Post by Episcopus » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:49 pm

You'll never do it! You are 13! You will just read a couple of pages, become bored and a pansy then run away to your school and learn tourist italian phrases calling it a qualification! You will never do it you bloody pansy!

~E
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Post by annis » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:54 pm

Episcopus wrote:You'll never do it! You are 13!
Episcopus, is that really necessary?

And how old were you when you first encountered D'Ooge?
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by Carola » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:58 pm

Episcopus wrote:You'll never do it! You are 13! You will just read a couple of pages, become bored and a pansy then run away to your school and learn tourist italian phrases calling it a qualification! You will never do it you bloody pansy!

~E
Don't be such a Prophet of Doom. Epi !! :evil:

Seriously, if you do Latin then you will find Greek very easy and vice versa. Once you have done the hard work once, the method of learning a new language will help you learn any other language much faster.

Don't forget that Episcopus was also 13 once, long, long ago!! So was I, but that was back in prehistoric times. We had to inscribe our Latin homework on stone tablets .... OK I'm joking, but it seems like a long time ago. :wink:
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Post by pjj1020 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 11:46 pm

Episcopus wrote:You'll never do it! You are 13! You will just read a couple of pages, become bored and a pansy then run away to your school and learn tourist italian phrases calling it a qualification! You will never do it you bloody pansy!

~E
What happened to learning a language at a young age?

And did you get all your 2400 posts flaming people?

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Post by IreneY » Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:09 am

Well, I know a thirteen year old who learns modern Greek for fun (and learning modern Greek maybe easier than ancient in many ways but it's far from easy; nor can it be considered useful knowledge for someone who wants to become a vet in GB) and he is more commited to it than I am in refreshing either my Latin or my French.

I can't see what age has to do with commitment to learn anything. Plus, I know that learning foreign languages was far easier for me when I was 13 than it is at 31.

(Oh, and I completely agree with your decision to start with Latin strange as it may seem pjj020 )

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Post by Bert » Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:44 am

A major difference between learning Modern Greek vs Ancient Greek is that with the former you can find someone to speak Greek with.
Learning Greek from a text book can be a little discouraging but you have a huge advantage in being a Textkit member. Being able to ask questions etc maybe all that is necessary to stay motivated.

If your textbook does not explain English grammar at all, you may have to brush up on it in order to understand the Latin (or Greek) grammar.
I wish you success.

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Post by PeterD » Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:19 am

There is absolutely, positively, unquestionably, etc., no reason to learn Latin, unless, of course, you're scheduled for an upcoming lobotomy or forever foaming at the mouth! Shame on you for even considering Latin over Greek.

Alas, you are young, so you are forgiven.

Now go and learn Greek before I tell your parents. :wink:

~Peter

p.s. As you can obviously tell, I am still pissed off with the crusades, particularly the fourth one.
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 pjj1020 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:41 am

Which is easier?!?! Thats all I'm going by!

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Post by IreneY » Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:51 am

I always maintained and will continue to that Latin is somewhat (at least) easier than Greek.

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Post by nostos » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:03 am

Episcopus wrote:You'll never do it! You are 13! You will just read a couple of pages, become bored and a pansy then run away to your school and learn tourist italian phrases calling it a qualification! You will never do it you bloody pansy!~E
:lol: This sort of reaction from the good bishop has become commonplace. Unfortunately, our young visitor still has no idea this is how you speak, Episcope. I shall translate, for this is E's way of saying keep at it:
E. (revised) wrote:Of course you'll do it! You are 13, which implies that if you stick to it, you'll be better than me! All it will take is a couple of passages for you to realise how much progress you've made! You'll find school is boring in comparison with the real learning you're doing! Tourist Italian phrases will be clear to you from knowing Latin! Thus you'll have qualification for basic Italian too! You can do it! I'm a bloody pansy if I don't think so!
There is no comparison with learning when you're young. My advice, don't let anyone spoil that for you. At the risk of sounding obvious, you only get your youth once. Take full advantage of it in every sense. Can't spend all your time in books, but books shouldn't be discarded either. At least I wish it were so for me when I was your age. Your desire to learn is amazing.

Come to these boards (and ignore E. when he's feeling cranky) with even the silliest questions. There's no end to how ridiculous my own questions are. If you like, private message some of the members who are more than happy to help - you should get an idea of who they are rather quickly. I can't help till the 30th of this month; even now I feel guilty for focussing on this instead of school.

(He got about half of them flaming people and making outrageous claims like 'I am better than Cicero!'; every two or three hundred posts he gives, he allows his human side, vulnerable like the rest of us, to shine through. Don't let him discourage you, pjj.)

I suppose this is really the Cavalier's labour of love, but since he hasn't said it yet, I'll mention you should consider Lingua Latina (and Latine Disco too for explanations in English, though I myself haven't read it either). LL is brilliant.

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Post by PeterD » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:13 am

IreneY wrote:I always maintained and will continue to that Latin is somewhat (at least) easier than Greek.
Somewhat? That would be a leviathan somewhat. Einstein was able to rock the scientific world off its feet, yet he couldn't handle the Greek verb system.

Ah, my dear young man of 13, if it's easy you want, then go with Latin.

You're not planning to be a doctor, are you?
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 Deudeditus » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:41 am

I wish I had started learning latin at 13.

another pro for learning latin over greek is that chics dig the sound of it more.. it sounds like italian, BIG plus. . so, once you're in college, it might work out well.
but don't let that be your reason for learning it. you'll find tons of gratification in learning the language.

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Post by Ulpianus » Wed Apr 12, 2006 11:47 am

13 certainly doesn't matter. It's not early to start learning at all. People here used to start Latin at 8, Greek at 11. I think John Stuart Mill could read Greek fluently by the age of 7 or something terrifying. Hell, people used to be translating Latin poetry into Greek poetry at 16!

But ...

13 can be hard without a teacher. One of the things about going through school, college etc is that you "learn how to learn". You will need explanations from actual humans. This is a good place to get them.

One other point. I am a bit worried when I read you say you are going to "do a lot" of it in one day. That's not the right approach in the long run. Little and often is much more likely to work long term. Doing all the exercises and keeping your concentration up.

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Post by antianira » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:11 pm

I think as long as you stick with whatever you choose, you won't regret the choice. I originally wanted to learn Greek but was a bit intimidated by the alphabet and switched to Latin. I've come to enjoy latin and a year later I'm now doing both. (though on occasion I've found myself accidently trying to translate beginner greek sentences into latin)


One more thing, learning a new language isn't easy, you should pick a language because you believe learning it will be rewarding. It isn't like you learn a few basic rules and then you are home free. I am still struggling with latin, but at this point, I've put in enough time that I'm willing to continue on (and I have really pretty, color-coded, conjunction & declension charts, :lol: )

When I was your age (well maybe a year or two older), I struggled with learning german and just couldn't get past the fact that I couldn't simply exchange english words for german ones. Learning a new language is kind of like learning a musical instrument, in the beginning, well, you just don't sound that great. But in time and with practice you get better and soon it is something you can be proud of.

The point is, learning a new language is a process that takes time and commitment. I think you will be satisfed with either Greek or Latin. The textbooks from this site are good, try downloading one (or all, just to have a look at your choices) and just work a little bit every day.
Last edited by antianira on Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by pjj1020 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:26 pm

Thanks everyone.

I just realised doing a lot would never work, to do like 2 or 3 pages a day so it will stick. I got it now.

Does anyone think I should print the book? Its a LOT of pages though :!:

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Post by Episcopus » Wed Apr 12, 2006 4:57 pm

nostos, though a fair attempt, I did not mean your inversion.

I am not insulting; I am perfectly content here. I maintain that you, little boy, will do nothing. You will end up running away after a few days like the rest of them, but feel little of guilt, since your job as a thirteen year old lad is to run to the sweetie shop with silly little girls, without the depth of latinity not worrying about their inanity. VERZICHTEN SIE NICHT AUFS SPIELEN!

~E
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Post by Fabiola » Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:23 pm

good luck, pjj!

I started studying latin when I was about 11, you're perfectly capable of studying it as a 13 yo! I wish you the best of luck. :)

Do go slowly though, don't want to discourage yourself by tackling too much material at once.
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Post by Chris Weimer » Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:38 pm

Latin is easier to learn.

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Post by pjj1020 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:51 pm

Episcopus wrote:nostos, though a fair attempt, I did not mean your inversion.

I am not insulting; I am perfectly content here. I maintain that you, little boy, will do nothing. You will end up running away after a few days like the rest of them, but feel little of guilt, since your job as a thirteen year old lad is to run to the sweetie shop with silly little girls, without the depth of latinity not worrying about their inanity. VERZICHTEN SIE NICHT AUFS SPIELEN!

~E
Just to prove you wrong, cause you kind of annoy me, I will learn Latin, k, thanks.

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Post by Ulpianus » Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:26 pm

Good luck.

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Wed Apr 12, 2006 11:22 pm

I remember when I mentioned in passing to a teacher of mine that I was considering studying Ancient Greek (at that point I was testing the waters for Ancient Greek), she thought it would be really difficult and that I probably wouldn't do it (but note that she did *not* tell me to not tgry). I think that motivated me more than if she had encouraged me.

But yeah, welcome to the club of teenage classicists!

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Post by bellum paxque » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:34 am

I'll second Ulpianus's exhortation. Good luck - and a good work ethic! Both are essential.

-David

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Post by pjj1020 » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:51 pm

Thanks everyone.

I'm going to the library today or tomorrow to get a book on Latin.

And GGG, I think your completely right about what you said.

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Post by mfranks » Fri Apr 14, 2006 7:39 pm

annis wrote:
Episcopus wrote:You'll never do it! You are 13!
Episcopus, is that really necessary?

And how old were you when you first encountered D'Ooge?
I think it's best to ignore him - I suspect his comments are simply aimed at getting a rise out of people.
Last edited by mfranks on Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Chris Weimer » Fri Apr 14, 2006 8:24 pm

O te miserum, Episcope! I happen to agree with you, though. It takes a lot for really studying anything on your own. Do you have the resolve to do it, kid? If you really are sure, we'll help, but only you can make that succeed. I don't want to hear any whining "But I wanna go see a movie!"

Time to buckle up and hit the trail.

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