Learning Latin vs. Modern Languages

Here you can discuss all things Latin. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Latin, and more.
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Discipulus Tristis
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Learning Latin vs. Modern Languages

Post by Discipulus Tristis » Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:44 pm

Believe it or not, Latin is only language other than English that I have any ability to communicate in. This is a situation I'm looking to rectify.

After wading through the difficulties of Latin grammar, has anyone here found learning modern languages (especially Romance languages) to be any easier? I used to be incredibly intimidated by French, but now I feel that I could approach its complex grammar with some of the learning strategies I used with Latin. Any thoughts on this?

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Post by thesaurus » Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:23 pm

Latin was my first foreign language, and since I started it other languages and especially Romance languages have been pretty easy grammar-wise. I study Italian, Spanish, and Persian and I've had no problems with their grammar whatsoever. Greek still intimidates me, but slightly less, as I now just see it as a little bit more complciated than Latin.

In the Romance languages you'll notice that the verb conjugations all look familiar and simpler. There's a lot of shared vocabulary too, especially with Italian. It's fun to see how words have changed or maintained their meanings from Latin, and pointing it out will make you appear smart.

Conversely, I'm quite apprehensive about the non Indo-European languages I want to learn, Arabic and Hebrew... hopefully one will follow on the other readily enough.

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Post by strider » Sat Apr 05, 2008 2:44 am

Personally, I think the more languages you know, the easier it is to acquire a new one, if for no other reason than because you can learn new concepts by comparison to languages you already know. As for French, if you have a grasp on Latin, I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised by how easily French comes to you. As a nice example of French's affinity to Latin, compare the Passe Simple tense of the verb "etre" with its Latin equivalent Past Perfect.
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Post by elduce » Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:57 pm

I find French very difficult because there are so many rules. As an English speaker, it's tough to pronounce lots of French words. My tongue and brain are unfamiliar. Latin, conversely, I find relatively easy because there are fewer sounds to pronounce.
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Lucus Eques
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Post by Lucus Eques » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:14 am

Knowing Latin makes all other languages much easier, especially the Romance languages. For French, my absolute #1 recommendation:

http://www.learner.org/resources/series ... 71&pid=682
L. Amadeus Ranierius


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