The difference between "classicists" and "lat

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nostos
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Post by nostos » Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:54 am

Carola wrote:I'm not really convinced we should speak Latin in the classroom, after all, it's not like a modern language where you can practice on one of the native speakers (always a good test of how well you really know the language!) However, I do think the texts and especially the poetry should be read aloud.
One thing that I really should make clear before continuing: I think each of us has a different style of learning, and I respect them all.

Carola, personally I strongly disagree with the first half of your statement; though we no longer have native speakers, in a sense it doesn't really matter anymore: we do have an agreed upon restored classical pronunciation: that vowels may be a bit Anglicised, Hispanicised, Italicised, Swedicised (:D) etc. doesn't really matter: the rules are there and do make sense for us who want to speak it today. More importantly, there are ways to learn the language well enough (at least grammatically) to be confused with a native. I know several people who learned Spanish when they were older and grammatically are no less competent than a native (even better than many natives). Their pronunciation is also almost perfect.

This may seem contradictory to another post that I just wrote in Learning Latin, but it's really not (!)

And it may be just Kynetus' suggestion working on my subconcious over the last few days, but I've decided to go out and buy a microphone and make CDs of myself speaking Latin That way I can listen to it and get aurally conditioned, the same as happened when I learned Spanish - it makes it more living, more immediate, and more present, I feel.
Last edited by nostos on Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:01 am

"[...] my beef isn't with scholarship but with pedagogy." ~Kynete

Now we're talking.

"On the other hand many an Italian gentleman dabbled in love lyrics [...]. Not being an academic I can't say how much scholarly attention these treasures receive but I suspect that it may not be as much as they deserve." ~Kynete

No one remembers Petrarch for his poetry in Latin, but for his Canzionere, written in vulgar Italian. Something tells me that 700 years of critics can't be very wrong.

"[...] I keep hoping the auxiliaries will arrive soon." ~Kynete

Send me the list of Proffesors you want bumped off. 8)

About your picture, Kynete, was that a wave behind you, or a duck wake? :D

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:12 am

I think there is little point in resurrecting Latin or Greek as a lingua franca.

That said, I do think Greek/Latin students should converse in those languages in their classes. I, being the Glottal Greek Geek (vocal greek geek is more accurate, but it lacks the triple alliteration) do as much of my Greek studies aloud as possible, and I occasionally try to spontaneously say something in Ancient Greek, which is quite fun. I believe that the translation-heavy teaching method produces results, but I think an oral/conversational method produces better results.

I know there is a Greek textbook, Ancient Greek Alive which has a conversational approach. I wonder if there is an equivalent Latin textbook.

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Post by nostos » Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:17 am

GlottalGreekGeek wrote:I wonder if there is an equivalent Latin textbook.
Traupman's 'Conversational Latin'
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Kynetus Valesius
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Post by Kynetus Valesius » Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:26 am

Bardo, you wrote

No one remembers Petrarch for his poetry in Latin, but for his Canzionere, written in vulgar Italian. Something tells me that 700 years of critics can't be very wrong.

There were a great many besides Petarch. Every scrap of papyrus is treated as a major find - regardless of it's literary merits. Why similar enthusiasm shown for later works I don't know. Maybe one day you'll read a headline like this: Major finds from the Renaissance discovered in Europe's libraries - Experts predict these discoveries will throw considerable light on early modern cultural development!
Don't you think that any English or history major specializing in the Elizabethian period should know latin just so he/she can begin to understand how, say, John Donne and so many others were educated and thought?

About your picture, Kynete, was that a wave behind you, or a duck wake?

I've pulled the picture for other reasons. At takeoff that wave was well overhead. Down the line when the picture was taken it was still "shoulder high" was it not? I was actually trying to link to another picture that you can see at surfasc.com but for some reason that one one of the duck wave came up

Kynetus
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Post by Carola » Mon Oct 31, 2005 3:03 am

I am curious to know from you as a student how much writing in latin do your teachers require of you?

Kynetus
In this year, none, but in previous years we did lots out of the North & Hillard book. We wouldn't be able to do any "conversation" as we are all distance learners (and Australia isn't in the States :wink: !!).
I am actually learning Latin and Greek as an aid to studying historical texts, not to be a teacher (I have the greatest respect for them, but I couldn't do it for a living!). I know we are all going to have very strong views on this, but I think that reviving ancient languages and conversing in them is a bit of a dead end - after all, we can't know what they really sounded like and they haven't "evolved" naturally, they are stuck in a time warp so to speak. However, I know some are fascinated by doing this, just as some like to revive old music on original instruments or attempt readings of Chaucer with the original accents. But for me it would just be time spent on something I wouldn't use. However, if you enjoy this sort of thing then you should do it, as should the old music enthusiasts (and I'll stick to my new clarinet with all the keys and high tech mouthpieces - not the old ones with cross fingering and hand made reeds thank you!)
Of course reading textx out loud is different, and very necessary for poetry.

And from Nostsos
And it may be just Kynetus' suggestion working on my subconcious over the last few days, but I've decided to go out and buy a microphone and make CDs of myself speaking Latin That way I can listen to it and get aurally conditioned, the same as happened when I learned Spanish - it makes it more living, more immediate, and more present, I feel.
This was how I really got into Virgil - I used to play a tape of me reading it, complete with Aussie accent. Very strange :lol:
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Post by Kynetus Valesius » Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:25 pm

Wow, this has been a quite a discussion, one that helped me understand better where various folks are coming form. Thanks.

Our friend the Glottal Greek Geek recently queried about text books that teach latin with a conversational approach. Someone mentioned Traupman's Conversational Latin. Once again I'll make a pitch for Latin sans Peine from Assimil. The text is available in Italian and French. It's a fantastic series. The approach is similar to Traupman except that the text is hilarious in many parts and in that assumes no prior background as Traupman does. "Latin is Fun", also by Traupman, also takes a vivo modo approach.
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Post by Episcopus » Mon Oct 31, 2005 4:42 pm

Whilst I admire your zeal for the language, I do not believe that latin should be spoken in class. I do not go to the local market dressed in a toga. I find that English translations help greatly, when there is an ambiguity in the Latin or when I simply have no clue what the author is trying to say. If you take it to the extreme and instruct in Latin, perhaps only top class latinists such as benissimus and aurelia would understand, leaving the rest to wallow in a sea of vocal "ibus". Qvantvm ergo cvrvvm? However it seems that overall, and particularly in america, there is a distinct lack of composition going on. I am currently helping a Latin IV student with his language, I don't know much about the system of americans (those across the ocean), but I think it's the equivalent to our A level. I mean this boy has read Catullus Cicero and Vergil (he keeps saying "Carthago delenda est!" - 'meus optimum carmini') yet he can't write latin better than a dog. As with anything in life, I am of the opinion that a balance is healthy.

If you want general conversational latin in addition to the military vocabulary which most have acquired, just learn the names of the vegetables. I use daily garum meaning "fish sauce". qvid mali?
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Kynetus Valesius
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Post by Kynetus Valesius » Mon Oct 31, 2005 5:44 pm

Dear Epi,

You wrote the following concerning a supposedly advanced US highschool student

yet he can't write latin better than a dog.

The theory goes that everyone who learns to speak will automatically learn to write. Afterwall, what is writing other than a transcription of those silent conversations that we conduct upstairs with ourselves. In any event, anyone who gets to the proficiency level in conversation will be a better writer for it.

I still don't get why you would be opposed to active latin in the classroom. Aren't you a Brit? Didn't the Brits for many years follow this system? Wasn't it effective in turning out competent latinists and budding classicists? Was there something wrong with the older system which is now making a comeback as a revolutionary learning modality?

You are too modest, my dear Episcopus. You are an accomplished latinist. You too should consider one of the summer programs. Since I may soon become silent, I'd like to continue to urge and exhort everyone to become part of the solution to the problem that is bedevilling latin studies - to paraprhase Eldridge Cleaver. Write as often as possible on all subjects - in latin. If that isn't possible, without offense, here, then elsewhere. The grex comes to mind, especially if you'd like to know more about the movement about which I've been writing from persons who are more qualified than I am to represent it. They are brilliant folks and many of them are also accomplished, professional Hellenists. They are philologists of the highest order. I don't say that to put anyone here down for I can see that this too is a place where higher level thought and learning are sincerely cultivated.

Even if I do end up curtailing my posting here or even becoming silent, I still hope that the moderators here will one day see that hosting audible latin files would fit nicely within the purview of textkit's mission! Ditto for the Universae Phraeseologiae Corpus by Wagner!! And similar neolatin resources that are within the public domain! My finger tips are aching, so...

Cheers to all.
Kynetus Vester
amore latinitatis ardeo imis in ossis
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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Mon Oct 31, 2005 6:48 pm

"Aren't you a Brit?" ~Kynete

Yeah, you guys still use Latin in your coins! Elizabeth II D.G. REG. F.D. (God bless her heart). I can make out dei gratias regina; what does F.D. mean?

"Even if I do end up curtailing my posting here or even becoming silent [...] ~Kynete

I don't think that the Vocal Latin Movement is ready for a martyr yet. :D

When in Rome...

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Post by nostos » Mon Oct 31, 2005 7:17 pm

Kynetus Valesius wrote:Dear Epi,

You wrote the following concerning a supposedly advanced US highschool student

yet he can't write latin better than a dog.

The theory goes that everyone who learns to speak will automatically learn to write. Afterwall, what is writing other than a transcription of those silent conversations that we conduct upstairs with ourselves. In any event, anyone who gets to the proficiency level in conversation will be a better writer for it.

I still don't get why you would be opposed to active latin in the classroom. Aren't you a Brit? Didn't the Brits for many years follow this system? Wasn't it effective in turning out competent latinists and budding classicists? Was there something wrong with the older system which is now making a comeback as a revolutionary learning modality?

You are too modest, my dear Episcopus. You are an accomplished latinist. You too should consider one of the summer programs. Since I may soon become silent, I'd like to continue to urge and exhort everyone to become part of the solution to the problem that is bedevilling latin studies - to paraprhase Eldridge Cleaver. Write as often as possible on all subjects - in latin. If that isn't possible, without offense, here, then elsewhere. The grex comes to mind, especially if you'd like to know more about the movement about which I've been writing from persons who are more qualified than I am to represent it. They are brilliant folks and many of them are also accomplished, professional Hellenists. They are philologists of the highest order. I don't say that to put anyone here down for I can see that this too is a place where higher level thought and learning are sincerely cultivated.

Even if I do end up curtailing my posting here or even becoming silent, I still hope that the moderators here will one day see that hosting audible latin files would fit nicely within the purview of textkit's mission! Ditto for the Universae Phraeseologiae Corpus by Wagner!! And similar neolatin resources that are within the public domain! My finger tips are aching, so...

Cheers to all.
Kynetus Vester
amore latinitatis ardeo imis in ossis
Kynete,

I don't see any reason for you to have to leave these boards. The Bishop writes in several languages all the time (well over 2000 posts, he's got), not really caring which board he writes on, and even when he writes Anglice some of us (at least me anyway) have a hard time understanding just what he means. It's his style. I see no reason why you should have to modify yours based on our inherent 'tastes', as I was recently accused of trying to inculcate into others.

Also E., weren't you the one who said universitas trans mare were responsible for everyone's Latin going to Hades because they didn't care about whether or not you could pronounce the tongue? I believe Housman still pronounced Venus Venus (and not Weh-noos). But anyway it just seems a bit contradictory on yopur behalf :P :P
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Post by Episcopus » Mon Oct 31, 2005 8:15 pm

Accomplished latinist! Quantam insolentiam! I wonder if even whiteoctave would consider himself an accomplished latinist. I doubt it, therefore I am nowhere near. You should not consider ceasing your posting here - you should read my post in latin in the German thread. Last summer I was recommended a summer course in the Vatican but I simply don't have any money for such wonderful experiences. I just do not believe that a class should be taught entirely in Latin, I do however favour English to Latin in any way possible. AP/Latin IV students despite having read far more widely than I somehow are incapable of writing correct latin, let alone giving us any felicitous translations. Something like an actual Latin class is only a dream for me, let alone one in which every one speaks latin. I understand what you are doing K., if there is anything I would like to do with Latin is to resurrect it as a normal subject at school. In Britain very few have the opportunity to study it at all (and virtually no one greek). At University actually having a Latin and Greek class would spur me on to immerse myself in the languages and set out on the way to being an 'accomplished latinist'.

nostos - you should ask the octave about Housman - he loves him.
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Post by whiteoctave » Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:11 pm

Once more I am dragged away (haud tamen omnino inuitus) from my Sophoclean Aeolic cola to add a minor point to the undulating discussion.
The fact that K. can retain in sight the high standard that the Classics must preserve, especially in that field that constitutes their heart, the languages, is a pleasure. He (aut tu, K., si forte oculos ad talia uerba adiicias) stated earlier that the days of speaking Latin in Cambridge are gone. Once every week I spend 2 to 3 hours with a few friends speaking solely in Latin at one of our rooms, speaking on ex tempore subjects. The last session, over at John's (the college, not a/the person), involved translation of a number of pages of a really bad Classical literary critical book (I spare mentioning the author's name, for he was a Cantab) into Latin hendecasyllables. The entertaining thing about this was, since English could not be used at all, the given person holding the book for a sentence would have to try and paraphrase in Latin the essence of the English sentence (which in such verbose and off-the-wall literary works is not easily intelligible) in order that the others could use the information to form the hendecasyllabic line. Barbarisms like 'homoeroticism' and 'sociological' took some work. Any use of an English word is typically met with a curt 'Latine, baro' uel sim., and the drink moves away from them for some time.
Only last night around 1am was I walking back from a jazz gig back to coll. with a couple of friends, the half-hour journey of which was spent discussing music and the deal with kidney stones in Attic (occasionally worryingly Homeric) Greek and Latin.
Perhaps similar instances occur elsewhere.

~D

p.s. As to Housman, whose scholarship it can most fairly be said I love, it is true that he would have said Venus in the conventional manner in English discourse. Yet in Latin he would have adhered to the Classical pronunciation staunchly, i.e. [wεnus].
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Post by Democritus » Tue Nov 01, 2005 12:48 am

I learned Latin for years and years in the US, and we were never taught Latin composition. At most, we were given a few token exercises for translation from English to Latin, but nothing extensive. We were aware that some students in other places and times cultivated this skill, as part of a standard Classical curriculum, since there were whole textbooks devoted to the topic -- but we did not use these books. The instructors decided, for better or worse, that it was not a skill worth acquiring.

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Post by psilord » Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:12 am

It still boggles my mind that speaking and composition skills in dead languages are being debated as to their worth! To deny your brain the ability to speak and compose in a language is idiocy. A language is ordered markings on a page and sounds that have to be produced and interpreted. It is *purely* data to be processed by the brain.

A goal of anything less than excellent reading, writing, and speaking comprehension of any language being studied (either living or dead) is intellectual laziness at best and deterioration of linguistic pedagogy at worst.

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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Tue Nov 01, 2005 4:05 am

"I see no reason why you [Kynetus] should have to modify [your style] based on our inherent 'tastes', as I was recently accused of trying to inculcate into others." ~Nostos

Here comes martyr #2! :D

Man, our moderators should create a new sub-forum called The Circus, which you guys could use for immolation purposes! :D :D

"For vocal Latin! Aaaargh!"
"For the free flow of emotions! Aaaargh!
:D :D :D

Really, nostos, do you want to re-read my post and judge whether I accused you of anything or whether I played with your assertion (in the context of definitions) that you wouldn't trust any non-emotional thought (or something like that)?

By the way, I think that all thoughts originate from an emotion, but let's not get carried away.

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Post by Democritus » Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:22 pm

psilord wrote:A goal of anything less than excellent reading, writing, and speaking comprehension of any language being studied (either living or dead) is intellectual laziness at best and deterioration of linguistic pedagogy at worst.
It so happens that I agree with you. I'm in favor of using spoken Latin.

But let's not call it "laziness." These schools are trying to fit in all sorts of hard subjects, such as calculus, chemistry, physics, modern languages, not to mention history and religion classes. Students at some schools are already overloaded. Some schools eliminate Latin altogether, to make room for other subjects, and others throttle back on the sort of instruction they give. It's all a question of priorities.

Some instructors believe that it makes sense to teach mostly passive knowledge of Latin -- reading and translating, but not composition. We can disagree with the wisdom of this decision, but calling it lazy is counterproductive. Laziness is not the motivation behind this strategy.

The other day I met a university freshman who is planning to major in "bioengineering." When I was a wee lad, "bioengineering" was only found in science fiction. Let's give the young people some credit. They have a lot of subjects to learn.

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Post by psilord » Tue Nov 01, 2005 5:52 pm

Democritus wrote: But let's not call it "laziness." These schools are trying to fit in all sorts of hard subjects, such as calculus, chemistry, physics, modern languages, not to mention history and religion classes. Students at some schools are already overloaded. Some schools eliminate Latin altogether, to make room for other subjects, and others throttle back on the sort of instruction they give. It's all a question of priorities.
You may be very right, but I still don't have to like it. :)

I still argue a classical studies person having a reading knowledge of latin or greek is like a mathmatician having a reading knowledge of mathematics, but not able to construct proofs. To me, it just doesn't make sense. If the subject is deemed to be important enough to learn at all, it should be learned fully.

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Post by edonnelly » Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:52 pm

psilord wrote: I still argue a classical studies person having a reading knowledge of latin or greek is like a mathmatician having a reading knowledge of mathematics, but not able to construct proofs. To me, it just doesn't make sense. If the subject is deemed to be important enough to learn at all, it should be learned fully.
This may be unnecessarily stirring the pot, but here goes:

I think it depends upon your definition of "learning fully." Does that mean learning everything about the subject, even if that knowledge is obsolete? In the pre-antibiotic era there were many surgical treatments for TB, none of which have been performed for decades. Should someone learning to become a surgeon study all of these techniques (thus learning surgery fully), even though they are worthless in the modern era, or should he (or she) instead only study and learn the surgical techniques of relevance for today? Though there would be much to learn by studying those old techniques, it would be hard to fault someone for choosing the latter option.

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Post by psilord » Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:44 pm

edonnelly wrote:I think it depends upon your definition of "learning fully."
For language acquisition "learning fully" means: proficiency in reading, writing, composition, speech, and aural comprehension.

If you moved to a country where you didn't speak the language, then you would simply be forced into doing the above. Sure, you might not be a grammarian when you're finished, but you'd have the ability to process the language and use it meaningfully.

For people who specifically study a language (like us), the bar is higher. Instead of being proficient, one must excel since _there is no one else_ to do it.

How to pronounce Homeric greek was lost because noone from that time wrote it down. Think about it.

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Post by edonnelly » Tue Nov 01, 2005 8:17 pm

psilord wrote: For language acquisition "learning fully" means: proficiency in reading, writing, composition, speech, and aural comprehension.
I don't fully disagree with you, but your definition is given as if it is absolute, but you don't really say why you think that should be the definition. Sure, I agree fully for the case of studying a living language (as would be the case in your example where someone moves to a country with a different language) but that would not seem to have any bearing either way on whether or not someone studying a language which is no longer spoken and exists only in ancient writings should divert time away from the study of reading the language to the study of speaking and aurally comprehending it. (Yes, it can help some people learn and improve their reading skills, but I believe the discussion is about more than just that).

The statement about nobody writing down how to pronounce Homeric Greek, if true (and I have no reason to think it is not) only emphasizes the point that nobody knows how to pronounce it. So, you wouldn't even be studying the language itself, but rather what someone at a much later date thought about the language.

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Post by Lucus Eques » Tue Nov 01, 2005 9:43 pm

I haven't been following this thread at all, but as for the coin bit:

Image

Out of the Many, the One.
L. Amadeus Ranierius

SCORPIO·MARTIANVS

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Post by whiteoctave » Tue Nov 01, 2005 9:52 pm

sc. bellum?

~D
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Post by psilord » Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:17 pm

edonnelly wrote:I don't fully disagree with you, but your definition is given as if it is absolute, but you don't really say why you think that should be the definition.
Truth be told, I can't put my finger on why I feel this way--other than there is some tangible and important quality/experience of learning/teaching that I think is destroyed when only pieces of things are learned, like a musician who can't read/write music, an artist who can't explain what makes their art beautiful, or an avid reader that can't write a basic story in the genre they like.

I guess I feel that only being able to process data in one way (either consuming or producing) and not being symmetrically proficient in the other method somehow robs you of true appreciation/understanding of the data.

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Post by swiftnicholas » Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:20 pm

Well, I can't even read Latin, nevermind speaking or writing, but all this discussion reminded me of my gf's great-uncle: this past spring he celebrated his 50th year as a Jesuit Priest (which doesn't include 15 previous years of required study). All of his classes were conducted in Latin, and he had to write and defend his thesis in Latin as well. :shock:

And now I'm reminded about Montainge, whose father decided that the boy should hear nothing but Latin until he was six (?) years old. Of course, French eventually became his primary language (what a difficult existence otherwise!), but I think I remember from his essays that at moments of heightened emotion (like his father's death) his first reactions were in Latin. I hope I'm not giving any perverse ideas to those parents here at Textkit...

whiteoctave wrote:Chad, after the dissertation (and completion of my third undergraduate year) comes my ineluctable mphil, followed by phd, both of which will be strictly focused upon matters of textual criticism, primarily on the text of Lucretius, but there may well be some Manilinian dabblage. I will of course continue in my study in Greek textual criticism, which currently lies rather unsurprisingly with the Attic tragedians.
Dave, will you have access to actual manuscripts when you begin the mphil? Or is it primarily computerized these days?


~N

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Post by Adelheid » Thu Nov 03, 2005 9:29 pm

psilord wrote:It still boggles my mind that speaking and composition skills in dead languages are being debated as to their worth!
Do you really mean that? My experience is this: 5 to 6 years of education in English, German, French and Italian. All of these languages I can read, understand and speak in varying degrees (and I am by no means a language wonder woman ;-) ).

I have also had 5 to 6 years of education in Latin and Greek. No fluency there whatsoever.

Doesn't the word 'dead' have anything do do with that at all?

I, for one, do think so.

Dead languages are full of treasures, that's why I study them. But what is the use of being able to speak them or being able to write a letter in these languages? It serves no purpose at all, that's my humble opinion at least.

In another post you claimed: A goal of anything less than excellent reading, writing, and speaking comprehension of any language being studied (either living or dead) is intellectual laziness at best and deterioration of linguistic pedagogy at worst.

In living languages, sure. But in dead languages? I cannot disagree with you more.
Regards,
Adelheid
http://www.perispomenon.nl

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Post by ingrid70 » Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:14 pm

Adelheid wrote:
psilord wrote:It still boggles my mind that speaking and composition skills in dead languages are being debated as to their worth!
Do you really mean that? My experience is this: 5 to 6 years of education in English, German, French and Italian. All of these languages I can read, understand and speak in varying degrees (and I am by no means a language wonder woman ;-) ).

I have also had 5 to 6 years of education in Latin and Greek. No fluency there whatsoever.

Doesn't the word 'dead' have anything do do with that at all?

I, for one, do think so.
But isn't the lack of fluency a result of not learning to speak, write, and think in the language? In other words, if you had learned Latin and/or Greek as if they were living languages, wouldn't you have achieved fluency?

I don't think that you have to be able to hold extended conversations in Latin or Greek in order to read the texts, but I think it will enhance your appreciation of the nuances if you can at least compose in the languages.

Ingrid, not fluent at all in Latin, but striving.

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Fri Nov 04, 2005 1:02 am

ingrid70 wrote:I don't think that you have to be able to hold extended conversations in Latin or Greek in order to read the texts, but I think it will enhance your appreciation of the nuances if you can at least compose in the languages.

Ingrid, not fluent at all in Latin, but striving.
Exactly, this is where I'm coming from. I doubt I willlever be able to speak in Ancient Greek as well as I can speak in French right now (I'm good at holding conversations in French, but I still make too many mistakes to consider myself "fluent"), and I don't think that's necessary, but I believe composition is a must and having a limited ability to speak in the Ancient Greek helps one dig out the treasures within.

Bardo de Saldo
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Post by Bardo de Saldo » Fri Nov 04, 2005 5:06 am

I just found this, Kynetus, news radio in Latin:

http://www.radiobremen.de/nachrichten/latein/

.

You're salivating! :D

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