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Has anyone here tried Latin

#1
Hi guys, I was wondering if anyone here in these forums have tried to study Latin before, this is something I always wanted to do since I was a kid, much like studying Japanese. Now it's my last semester in college and I'll have the opportunity to finally do it, I plan to do the semester following the class and the professor's instructions them proceed on my own, this shouldn't be too hard at this moment as I'm currently taking a break of studying Japanese(was worn out), I'm just practicing kanji. I really don't need any advice for resources as I already know most of the top notch (although if you have something you would like to share please do!), what I'm really looking for is your opinions regarding this subject of learning Latin, what do you think of it,have you ever done, would you ever do it in the future?
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#2
I studied Latin for four years. If you want to dabble, of course go ahead and enjoy life! If your dream is to become "fluent" in it, I'd suggest you give it some serious thought before you get trapped into the time-suck of serious language learning.

Like Japanese, you better find a reason to like it. For example ancient poetry, ancient Roman records, documents about Catholicism, college dissertations from about 1200 AD to about 1830 AD, etc. If none of that sounds interesting, be careful about choosing this language!

One thing that can be frustrating about learning a dead language is that there aren't many markers that show you when you've made progress. Okay, you've memorized all of these verbs and their conjugations but you don't have a conversation partner to try them out on. Instead you only have more poetry and more words that you don't know.

Another thing is that almost all of the stuff that you'd want to read (poetry, etc.) is on the advanced side of the skill spectrum. It's like studying Japanese in order to read 我輩は猫である. Sure, I guess you could go with it first and struggle through it, but it'd be better to start with some easy manga that you also have an interest in reading, right? I will admit that a lot of the stuff that Caesar wrote is not too hard.
Edited: 2017-02-21, 8:45 am
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#3
I'm biased because I teach Latin (and Greek) for a living, but I say go for it.

The frustrations that datrukup mentioned are all real. There are some ways to get around them. For instance, these days there are many "intermediate readers" of various popular texts that help a great deal by clarifying and explaining grammar in the notes, and sometimes even providing vocabulary.

For me, the effect of studying Japanese and benefiting from the tips here is that I am constantly thinking about how to apply what I've gained here to the languages I teach. I am still trying to figure out a good n+1 approach to Latin - it's tricky both because of the highly inflected nature of the language and because of the relatively advanced nature of the texts to be read.

I wish there were more frequency-based vocabulary lists for Latin. The best I have found among the shared decks only go up to about 1500 words, and I keep thinking about making a larger deck one of these days. But 1500 words will go a long way toward getting you started.

The hardest part is memorizing all the inflections, which really is essential. Anki can help here, but anki has never been ideal for grammar. You may want to use some of those other resources you mention knowing about to help.

If you decide to go ahead with it, I hope you'll share your frustrations and questions (and study resources) here - I for one would be glad to hear about them and work through them with you. It would help me as a student and as a teacher.
Edited: 2017-02-21, 10:16 am
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#4
(2017-02-21, 8:45 am)datrukup Wrote: I studied Latin for four years. If you want to dabble, of course go ahead and enjoy life! If your dream is to become "fluent" in it, I'd suggest you give it some serious thought before you get trapped into the time-suck of  serious language learning.

Like Japanese, you better find a reason to like it. For example ancient poetry, ancient Roman records, documents about Catholicism, college dissertations from about 1200 AD to about 1830 AD, etc. If none of that sounds interesting, be careful about choosing this language!

One thing that can be frustrating about learning a dead language is that there aren't many markers that show you when you've made progress. Okay, you've memorized all of these verbs and their conjugations but you don't have a conversation partner to try them out on. Instead you only have more poetry and more words that you don't know.

Another thing is that almost all of the stuff that you'd want to read (poetry, etc.) is on the advanced side of the skill spectrum. It's like studying Japanese in order to read 我輩は猫である. Sure, I guess you could go with it first and struggle through it, but it'd be better to start with some easy manga that you also have an interest in reading, right? I will admit that a lot of the stuff that Caesar wrote is not too hard.
This may be a bit irrelevant, but how did you get your 闇 avatar? Where did you find it?
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#5
Go for it!
We had to study Latin in secondary school (grades 8 to 12) and it was pretty easy to get the hang of. I had an excellent teacher, which helped :p

These days the Internet even has Latin language news to help you get some exposure that doesn't involve gods boning.

I've unfortunately forgotten almost all of it in the meantime, and don't think I'll ever have an incentive to remember it, but it's really fun, I definitely recommend you go through with it Smile
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#6
I studied Latin through all six years of high school and I'm glad I did. It has given me a lot of insight into how Indo-European languages work. The morphology requires a lot of memorization, but apart from that, the syntax and semantics are clear and compact. After all, an ancient Roman writer's greatest fear was to be misunderstood.
For what it's worth, we had about three* classroom hours a week, and started reading Caesar after two years, followed by Plinius Minor's account of the eruption of mount Vesuvius the next term. Two years with about fourty weeks a year, three hours a week gives us an approximate 240 hours. Keep in mind though that classroom study is inherently slow.

(N.B. In this post I'm strictly referring to non-poetic Classical Latin.)

* We were expected to study and translate about an hour on our own after each class, but most people didn't.
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#7
@datrukup; I totally get what you mean by getting "trapped into the time-suck of serious language learning", soon after I started learning Japanese I started to have this "urge" to go and start learning other languages, this has been bothering me for a while but after thinking a lot about the subject I realized how huge a commitment language learning really is, and that actively learning more than one language at a time is not really productive, I'll attempt to do that with Latin, maybe assigning some days of the week for Latin and some for Japanese but I really don't know if I'll be successful at that. Anyway I decided to focus on just a select few languages in my youth and sacrifice all the others that I would like to learn, I’ll focus on French, Japanese and Latin; French I had already started learning many years before Japanese and I’m at a level where I can read with the aid of a dictionary, Japanese and Latin. I don’t really need to actively study French anymore, and since I started playing my favorite JRPGs in French that should get me going with the language, as for Japanese and Latin, we’ll see how I’ll be able to manage those.
All of those things that you mentioned I’m interested in, I love history (I’m particularly intrigued by Roman history and society), ancient literature and I’m a religious person(semi-catholic), but those are not the only reasons that I want to learn the language, I just find the whole language, how it sounds, how it looks like when written, the kinship with my native language(Portuguese), it’s most complete grammar, everything draws me towards it, it’s as if the language is “calling on me”, if that makes sense.
Also I feel I’ll be more proactive with Latin than I am with Japanese and French, I intend to participate in online Latin forums(all in Latin) when I get to a level that I’m able to do so, maybe the fact that it is a dead language makes it more interesting to me to use it somehow.
 
@tanaquil; amazing that you teach Latin and Greek! Greek is also a fascinating language but it doesn’t have the appeal to me that Latin has, although it would for sure be incredible to read texts such as Ilyad in the original!
It’s good to know that there are good resources for intermediate Latin studies, could you please share some with me? So for I got a bunch of good ones for beginner Latin, and finding those for advanced students shouldn’t be hard.
One thing that I’ve been thinking a lot about my future Latin studies is by which approach I’m going to learn it, of course that at first I’ll just follow my classes and use whatever method the professor chooses (I’m a firm-believer of classroom language study for the first 4 or 5 years of learning), but after that semester is gone I’ll be all alone, so up to now I have a few choices:
 
Learn by the “Natural Method” with  Lingua Latina per se Illustrata by Hans H. Ørberg ; I’m usually a huge advocate of “natural methods” for language learning but I wanted to try something different with Latin, maybe for the grmmar method route.
 
Learn by the Grammar Method; Great choices such as Wheelock, which is highly recommended, and old forgotten books such as Adler’s. https://www.amazon.com/Practical-Grammar...op?ie=UTF8

After I've gone through basic grammar,  I plan to review my knowledge with Ollendorf’s Latin course in French. https://archive.org/stream/NouvelleMetho...7/mode/2up
 
There is also another possibility, and one that is deeply intriguing me, trying to learn Latin through a Renaissance Master method, or something close to that, you can read more about it here: http://latinum.weebly.com/latinum-information--faq.html. I love this “retro” approach to learning things, not only languages but things in general, and if I understood it correctly this seems to be a more “gentle” method that would allow me to spread my Latin learning through many years, taking it slowly and little by little, I don’t mind if it takes me a decade to learn it if it is done in a way that ease me through it which would in turn allow me to keep my Japanese in the meantime.
 
Whichever method I choose I found another treasure that will greatly help me down the road when I’m more advanced, the complete Thesaurus Linguae Latinae of Roberti Stephani which if I'm not mistaken is supposed to be one of the best Latin-Latin dictionaries, it’s hard to find good scans in the internet, most are in poor black and white and it’s hard to find the four tomes, after much digging I finally found the four tomes in natural color in the archive.org site, if anyone wants me to share them I’ll gladly do so.

Thanks for the incentive to go forth with this guys, I'm pretty anxious about my classes and I just hope I can cope with both Japanese and Latin. Rolleyes
Edited: 2017-02-21, 5:18 pm
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#8
Cool! Maybe it is off-topic, but I'd love to see you start a study diary thread in Group Study so we can commune about resources. Or if the forum gods decree, then keep your study diary thread in off topic, but I'll still read it. :-)

Both Lingua Latina and Wheelock are excellent resources, that represent diametrically opposed (but equally useful) approaches to learning. I would encourage you to keep up with some aspect of both regularly, if you can. I'd like to do more with Lingua Latina (I have more experience teaching out of Wheelock). What textbook is your professor currently using?

Good luck, and I will be happy to share more resources when I hear more about how your studies are going. It's easier for me to make recommendations when I know exactly what you're struggling with. And likewise, I would be grateful to hear more about the resources you're currently using - you have already mentioned a couple that I need to look into further.
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#9
(2017-02-21, 10:35 am)~柳暗花明~ Wrote: This may be a bit irrelevant, but how did you get your 闇 avatar? Where did you find it?

Before the forum had a major update/facelift, you could type your favorite kanji and automatically turn it into your icon. I loved that feature! If it ever comes back, I'm definitely going to change my icon to something a little more happy than 
闇.  Big Grin
Edited: 2017-02-21, 5:32 pm
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#10
PS Only marginally relevant, but a version of this was going around on Facebook lately and it made me laugh:

http://wanderingdame.tumblr.com/post/144...es-is-like

(The version on facebook had one additional line: "English: Welcome to hell.")
Edited: 2017-02-21, 5:40 pm
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#11
I haven't studied Latin, but I ran into an article a while ago about kids' books like Winnie the Pooh having been published in Latin editions, probably to help solve the lack of easy learning materials problem: http://mentalfloss.com/article/28021/win...rn-stories Stuff like that might be fun to go through when starting out.
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#12
(2017-02-21, 5:26 pm)tanaquil Wrote: Cool! Maybe it is off-topic, but I'd love to see you start a study diary thread in Group Study so we can commune about resources. Or if the forum gods decree, then keep your study diary thread in off topic, but I'll still read it. :-)

Both Lingua Latina and Wheelock are excellent resources, that represent diametrically opposed (but equally useful) approaches to learning. I would encourage you to keep up with some aspect of both regularly, if you can. I'd like to do more with Lingua Latina (I have more experience teaching out of Wheelock). What textbook is your professor currently using?

Good luck, and I will be happy to share more resources when I hear more about how your studies are going. It's easier for me to make recommendations when I know exactly what you're struggling with. And likewise, I would be grateful to hear more about the resources you're currently using - you have already mentioned a couple that I need to look into further.

My Latin classes haven't started yet, my semester starts at the beginning of march so I still have about a two-week wait, I decided to not study on my own like I do for Japanese until my classes are over, I want to keep things simple for Latin, because if I overcomplicate things I'll never be able to do both languages, but of course that I'll be studying at home what the professor teaches in class. 

Thanks very much for the offer of help, I'll be glad to share how I'm doing with the language, although I don't think it will be an interesting read, I don't plan to use a lot of resources at the same time for Latin, like I said, I want to keep things simple, because of this most of my reports will probably be pretty straightforward I think. I don't feel comfortable about creating a study log though, I think that maybe it wouldn't be appropriate due to the nature of the forums, so I guess I'll keep using this thread here if it's ok.

About the study approach, I'm kinda leaning towards using Orbis Sensualium Pictus once my semester is over, as I said, I'm greatly intrigued by using Comenius textbooks, which are supposed to teach the language patterns and vocabulary gently and little by little, as a bonus you get to get a great insight in what scholarship was like in the seventeenth century, you kinda "become" Comenius student! I don't know how the approach of my teacher will be but probably it will be the grammar based approach, which I believe is the standard in Latin education? If that is true what I expect is to gain a grounding in the whole of basic grammar and then after that proceed to master all of Comenius's textbooks.

One thing that is bothering me is regarding pronunciation, this is one of the reasons that I think this semester of Latin in college will be of so much importance, because I totally want to pronounce good Latin and I think that for learning good pronunciation the actual physical presence of an instructor is of the utmost importance.  As I understand, there are two possible ways to pronunciate Latin, Classical and Ecclesiastical, I hope I learn both at college but my pronunciation of choice is Ecclesiastical, the fact that it is the only living kind of Latin pronunciation, being preserved by the church since ancient times has great appeal to me, the fact that I'm a religious person and intend to attend Tridentine Masses in the future even add to this.

PS: That site is funny, it remembers me of my native language, Portuguese, where we don't use "yes" that much, instead we use the conjugated verb, example:

Você gosta de ir à praia. "Do you like to go to the beach?"
Gosto. "Yes" (We use something that would be translated as "Like"(I), instead of "yes")

I wonder what they mean by 3000 ways to refer to killing people? LOL

I suppose that I feel good about myself for English being regarded as so difficult, at least that language I have nailed down to a good level I believe, three more to go! Rolleyes

@ Bokusenou; Thanks for the link, it's good to know that I have that kind of material to look for, I'm especially interested in the Harry Potter books, it's a shame that only the first two seem to have been translated though.
Edited: 2017-02-22, 6:06 pm
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#13
One great thing about Latin and Greek if nobody mentioned it before is the Loeb Classical Library.
Just about anything you would want to read, Latin or Greek on one side, English on the other. Pretty much like subtitles.

I considered Greek at one point but I read around a bit and realized that although it would be cool, the lit just didn't do it for me. I read the Historians, some Philosophy, some plays that sounded promising and of course Homer [Dooh!,

Someone mentioned about the language being a time suck and to make sure you like what is there. Good advice for any language.
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#14
Honestly, even if you go with the grammar-translation route, I would still suggest picking up Lingua Latina and the associated supplements. It is, in my opinion, the best textbook out there for any language.
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#15
One little advantage. If you understand how particles work in Japanese you have a head-start on understanding the Latin case system.
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#16
(2017-02-23, 12:23 pm)CureDolly Wrote: One little advantage. If you understand how particles work in Japanese you have a head-start on understanding the Latin case system.

Yep, I felt the same, just the opposite way: I studied Latin in high school too, if only for one year (the one where it was obligatory for everyone; after that I chose the scientific route and never touched it again, while my fellows pursuing a more Humanities-oriented training kept studying it, along with classical Greek -- and I always thought it was a pity, but you know, lifetime is limited). So when my perpetual curiosity about Japanese started to evolve into something bigger and I began to read about its grammar, everything made perfect sense thanks to my previous experience with Latin because, even when they are clearly different, they have lots in common too, a lot more than the other languages I knew (all from western Europe).
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#17
(2017-02-22, 6:01 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: @ Bokusenou; Thanks for the link, it's good to know that I have that kind of material to look for, I'm especially interested in the Harry Potter books, it's a shame that only the first two seem to have been translated though.

Harry Potter...yuck.

If you're looking for Latin versions of English books, there are Latin translations of Alice In Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Pinocchio, Winnie the Pu, The Little Prince, Charlotte's Web, etc.

I own all those books in Latin (including Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) but I've never read any of them.  They're basically Latin translations of children's books so they don't interest me.  They're just curiosities that I've idly flipped through from time to time when I'm bored.

I did read all twelve books of Vergil's Aeneid in the original Latin though.  THAT I can heartily recommend.
Edited: 2017-02-25, 8:25 am
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#18
Being able to understand latin can be useful in many ways and people in the West don't know. Go for it
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#19
(2017-02-25, 8:21 am)phil321 Wrote: Harry Potter...yuck.
Edited by Mod.
Edited: 2017-02-28, 11:26 am by Katsuo
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#20
Speaking of this, there is a neat textbook coming out this fall.  It's based off ancient Roman textbooks. Here is a video of the professor giving a lecture about said textbooks. 

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#21
I went to college with her! She looked and sounded exactly like that at 18. (Scarily smart woman, has published a lot of really unusual and useful stuff for classics.) Thanks for the link, I will have to check that resource out when it appears.
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#22
(2017-02-28, 8:29 am)Stansfield123 Wrote:
(2017-02-25, 8:21 am)phil321 Wrote: Harry Potter...yuck.
Edited by Mod.

Ha ha ha...I wonder what the post said before the moderator edited it.
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