Learning by heart

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It is wise to learn every paradigm by heart.

yes
20
83%
no
4
17%
 
Total votes: 24

Sanskrit
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Learning by heart

Post by Sanskrit » Wed May 03, 2006 7:19 pm

Do you think it's useful to learn Latin/Greek grammar paradigms by heart?
Last edited by Sanskrit on Wed May 03, 2006 10:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Fabiola
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Post by Fabiola » Wed May 03, 2006 9:15 pm

Yes, absolutely. How could you have a working knowledge of Latin/Greek grammer without knowing the paradigms?
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Sanskrit
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Post by Sanskrit » Wed May 03, 2006 9:44 pm

When we started to learn Latin in high school we had to learn some paradigms by heart. But after two years whe started to read texts and we were allowed to look the grammer up in a dictionary.

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Post by Kasper » Wed May 03, 2006 10:42 pm

Sanskrit wrote:When we started to learn Latin in high school we had to learn some paradigms by heart. But after two years whe started to read texts and we were allowed to look the grammer up in a dictionary.
That way you will never learn to read, only to translate, and very slowly with that. Just write them out a couple times a day for a month or two, you'll be fine.
“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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Post by Carola » Wed May 03, 2006 11:10 pm

Unfortunately yes! As I found when I was was learning music, the only way to play fluently or read another language fluently was to be able to recognise everything at sight.
It's a pain as I have to hammer everything into my brain relentlessly to remember anything - I can't even remember my car registration number, dates or anything important. I find using silly rhymes or singing things sometimes helps to remember vocabulary.
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Post by edonnelly » Wed May 03, 2006 11:10 pm

Pharr discusses this some in his introduction. He states:
Pharr: Homeric Greek wrote:Many forms in both Attic and Homeric Greek are so rare that it would be manifestly absurd to compel first-year students to memorize them.
I believe his feeling is that you should memorize the important and common forms, but not get bogged down on the rare and irregulars.
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library

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Post by Carola » Wed May 03, 2006 11:14 pm

edonnelly wrote:Pharr discusses this some in his introduction. He states:
Pharr: Homeric Greek wrote:Many forms in both Attic and Homeric Greek are so rare that it would be manifestly absurd to compel first-year students to memorize them.
I believe his feeling is that you should memorize the important and common forms, but not get bogged down on the rare and irregulars.
Yes, that is true, most of us wouldn't know every word in our native language, especially technical terms etc. But the common tenses and word forms should be learnt.
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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Wed May 03, 2006 11:17 pm

Well, yes. However, it is not necessary to use rote memorization. Though I did some of the rote thing, I mainly learned my forms by doing a lot of reading and running into forms frequently. And also, as it has been said it is not essential to memorize every bizarre form.

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Post by Deudeditus » Wed May 03, 2006 11:18 pm

If knowing all the different declensions was good enough for a Roman, it's good enough for me. maybe they didn't have to use flash cards, but they knew them. the same goes for any declensional language. that's my opinion anyway.

-Jon

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Post by Sanskrit » Wed May 03, 2006 11:26 pm

Carola wrote:Yes, that is true, most of us wouldn't know every word in our native language, especially technical terms etc. But the common tenses and word forms should be learnt.
The average high school graduate only knows 1500 English words. If you know 3500 words in English you belong to the top 5% of all English speakers.

Classical language teachers have given me different opinions. Some say that it's better to practise and use the language. You learn a lot from creating sentences and reading texts and less from memorising grammar.

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Post by Carola » Wed May 03, 2006 11:50 pm

The average high school graduate only knows 1500 English words. If you know 3500 words in English you belong to the top 5%.
Only 1500? That seems very low, especially if they have taken English Lit. I'll accept your figure as this has probably been researched by someone. I hardly ever see a word in a book that I do not understand, usually a technical term. But then, I read a lot!
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Post by Lucus Eques » Thu May 04, 2006 12:01 am

The ideal is to learn the paradigms, rather than memorizing, by context, the way the Romans did. I'd say writing them out once or twice is extremely helpful, but this should come after already possessing a rudimentary fluent reading knowledge of Latin. I realize this is a turn from my previous opinion regarding the Dowling Method, which I think can be effective if your mind works that way, but it's not necessary. Natural fluidity is the key.
L. Amadeus Ranierius

SCORPIO·MARTIANVS

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Post by Kasper » Thu May 04, 2006 12:13 am

I did not mean to imply that study should be confined to writing out paradigms. Learning paradigms without seeing them applied will not be that useful at all - knowing what an ablative/dative looks like is nice, but it is more important to learn how to use it. What I ment was to just write them, or part of them, out regularly in addition to learning grammar and reading. Eg. write out the first declension while your having breakfast or something, it will only take a few minutes.

I agree that you will really learn them and their uses by reading and writing a lot.
“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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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Thu May 04, 2006 2:40 am

Sanskrit wrote:The average high school graduate only knows 1500 English words. If you know 3500 words in English you belong to the top 5% of all English speakers. .
Are you talking about as a first or a second language. I would say, at present, my French vocabulary (that is, recognition at sight) is about 1500 words, though it used to be higher when I used French more. I would say that my Ancient Greek vocabulary is certainly above 1500, and l think there are at least 1500 words which I can call into my head, not just recognize at sight. And yes, I do a lot of reading in every language I know well.

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Post by bellum paxque » Thu May 04, 2006 2:52 am

I think 15,000 words might be more like it.

For instance, "Yet the average English speaker possesses a vocabulary of 10,000 to 20,000 words, Lederer observes, but actually uses only a fraction of that, the rest being recognition or recall vocabulary."

from http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/ ... /chal.html

Or here: "The average vocabulary of an educated native English speaker is about 24,000 to 30,000."

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story ... D=10377355

-David

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Post by Sanskrit » Thu May 04, 2006 10:21 am

Thanks for the links. I heard this in English class, but I think the teacher meant to say that avarage high school graduates only use 1500 of the many words they know during conversation or in writing. This amount will increase during college he said.
And yes, I do a lot of reading in every language I know well.
You're an above avarage student. :wink:

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Post by Michaelyus » Thu May 04, 2006 4:30 pm

Learning to recognise paradigms and forms is of the utmost importance. This is often just as important as learning vocabulary and syntax.
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Post by Rindu » Thu May 04, 2006 11:33 pm

I think it depends on the Language. Latin, yes. Greek, no.

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Post by edonnelly » Fri May 05, 2006 12:11 am

Sanskrit wrote:I heard this in English class, but I think the teacher meant to say that avarage high school graduates only use 1500 of the many words they know during conversation or in writing. This amount will increase during college he said.
Along these same lines:

1. According to the Pimsleur people (who make foreign language tapes): "For example, research shows that there are approximately only 100 words that make up 50% of any spoken language. The Saturday edition of the New York Times newspaper contains, on average, only 600 different words."

2. In The Frequency of Latin Words and Their Endings Paul Diedrich found 1471 words that occurred 20 or more times in a large group of key literature he examined. He found that these words represent roughly 85% of the words one will encounter in the Latin literature; he also found that about another 10% could easily be deduce either because they were compounds of these words or as obvious roots of English derivatives. Anyway, he put together a list of these words (grouped quite nicely to aid memory) and recommended that students of Latin focus on learning these words.
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library

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Post by Sanskrit » Mon May 08, 2006 10:08 am

pustakasy? tu y? vidy? parahastagata? dhanam |
k?ryak?le samutpanne na s? vidy? na taddhanam ||

Knowledge that is in note-books in (our) shelves, and
(our) money now in the hands of others, both are useless.
When time comes for their use neither that knowledge
nor that wealth will be available.

PS. edonnelly, it's funny to see your avatar change every time I check this forum. :)

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Post by Brendan » Mon May 08, 2006 12:35 pm

I think it depends on the Language. Latin, yes. Greek, no.
Just wondering--why?

Also, it might be helpful to make a distinction between receptive and productive vocabularies. Most people can understand many more words which they hear or read than they can accurately produce in speech or writing. Another interesting point is that some linguists make a distinction between language that is "learned" and language that is "acquired". I can learn a paradigm, meaning I've memorized it and understand it, but acquiring it means completely internalizing it so that I can communicate with it as effectively as a native speaker would have. So using those terms, I would try to "acquire" the most common paradigms (which probably comes from reading and writing them a lot) and "learn" all the rest.

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Post by Michaelyus » Mon May 08, 2006 4:42 pm

The ultimate aim of course is to internalise everything and allow the language to live within our minds. You can do it by learning paradigms by rote. But some people may prefer to do it differently.
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Post by Rindu » Mon May 08, 2006 10:07 pm

Brendan wrote:
I think it depends on the Language. Latin, yes. Greek, no.
Just wondering--why?
Because Greek features so many dialectical variations, and a high frequency of irregular verbs. You could spend a year memorising all your paradigms for Attic Greek, only to be at a loss when you start reading Homer. This isn't the case in Latin, which has uniform inflections.

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Post by catfish » Tue May 09, 2006 3:24 pm

I think yes, but then the way I learnt forms for latin and greek wasnt quite like that... I more just learnt little codes involving numbers and endings so that (with Greek in particular) some of the codes could have alternate endings easily, so that it included lots of exceptions... that sounds so nonsensical - basically I learnt them through numerical tables - but then, Im a freak, so dont listen to me.

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