How hard to learn Latin?

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Chris Servanti
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How hard to learn Latin?

Post by Chris Servanti » October 22nd, 2015, 12:14 pm

How hard is it to learn Latin after having learnt Greek? I also speak Spanish and ASL plus a little bit of everything else.

Ken M. Penner
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Re: How hard to learn Latin?

Post by Ken M. Penner » October 22nd, 2015, 3:16 pm

Chris Servanti wrote:How hard is it to learn Latin after having learnt Greek? I also speak Spanish and ASL plus a little bit of everything else.
It's easy if you know Greek and Spanish. (I knew Greek and Portuguese when I took Latin.)
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: How hard to learn Latin?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 23rd, 2015, 5:44 am

I started with Latin. It made everything else easier. :lol:

Seriously, you have the idea of inflected languages down, which means you know about case endings and various endings for different verb tenses, mood and voice. You will find Latin more "regular" in terms of learning paradigms and vocabulary (yo, 6, count them, 6 irregular verbs in Latin).
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

cwconrad
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Re: How hard to learn Latin?

Post by cwconrad » October 23rd, 2015, 9:35 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:I started with Latin. It made everything else easier. :lol:

Seriously, you have the idea of inflected languages down, which means you know about case endings and various endings for different verb tenses, mood and voice. You will find Latin more "regular" in terms of learning paradigms and vocabulary (yo, 6, count them, 6 irregular verbs in Latin).
I think this is indeed the key: grasping the way an inflected language works. I have sometimes suspected that Latin is actually more difficult than (ancient) Greek, but that's hard to gauge. I guess it's not uncommon for those who get deep enough into Biblical Greek to realize that they'd like to be able to access the other chief ecumenical language of the era.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

George F Somsel
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Re: How hard to learn Latin?

Post by George F Somsel » October 23rd, 2015, 10:21 am

Latin is actually very easy
[1] Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.
No need to learn Latin — simply read it straight off the page :D

As they (jokingly) say, Latin is so easy that even the little children spoke it. :lol: Seriously though, I took Latin in HS and managed to get by. If a HS student whose mind is elsewhere at least half the time can learn it, anyone can.
george
gfsomsel



… search for truth, hear truth,
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
defend the truth till death.



- Jan Hus

cwconrad
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Re: How hard to learn Latin?

Post by cwconrad » October 23rd, 2015, 11:33 am

George F Somsel wrote:Latin is actually very easy
[1] Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.
No need to learn Latin — simply read it straight off the page :D

As they (jokingly) say, Latin is so easy that even the little children spoke it. :lol: Seriously though, I took Latin in HS and managed to get by. If a HS student whose mind is elsewhere at least half the time can learn it, anyone can.
Down, George! I taught Latin to some students too who thought that all they had to do was memorize the Latin text and memorize somebody's translation of it. Teachers teach differently and learners learn differently, some more successfully, some less so. Some methods are more successful, others less so. And it too often seems that some teachers can't teach and some learners can't learn.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Louis L Sorenson
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Re: How hard to learn Latin?

Post by Louis L Sorenson » October 23rd, 2015, 11:55 pm

I never studied languages in High School. In 1976-1977, I learned NT Greek using Sumner's textbook taught by a classic grammar-translation teacher. I then took a 2nd year college Greek class studying Galations. The summer between my 2nd and 3rd year of college (1978), I went to the University of Minnesota and took an intensive Latin course which taught the first year of Latin in six weeks. We used the textbook "Latin via Ovid" which was sort of a reader based approach. I also took the second summer session six week course (= a full year long content course) and read some of Cicero's letters. --So that was two years of Latin (or perhaps 1 1/2 in a period of 12 weeks). I worked really hard that summer -- those forms I memorized are still in my immediate retention.

....An interesting aside: That first six weeks, I drove to the UofMN each day. I found out that one of the students in that class lived near me. So I car pooled with him....picked him up and drove him to class. That person was Wayne Grudem, a student who just got his PhD from Cambridge University in Theology. He was teaching at Bethel College in Roseville, Minnesota at the time (Now known as Bethel University--- college and seminary). Currently, he is Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona. Wayne Grudem has written a comprehensive theology book which is considered to be one of the modern NT standard textbooks on theology....older books are by Strong, Berkhof, Hodge, Barth, Erickson, ktl. Wayne was a motivated first year teacher who had a new wife and a child (or 2) and knew where he was going. I was a 20 year old .. I suppose he was 27 at the time.

Latin was a really fun language to learn. Since I had already studied Koine Greek, the case system of Latin was pretty close to that of Greek, and so the forms and language structures of Latin were easily comprehensible to me. In my senior year of high school, we had to learn the Latin and Greek roots of 1000 English words. So I was primed for a strong desire to learn So if a learner knows a case language such as Spanish, Portuguese, German, etc. , they will have a much easier time learning Koine Greek. A person who already knows one of the modern Romance Indo-European case language like Spanish, has many of the tools, knowledge, language (case) frameworks which is needed to learn Koine Greek.

There are many books written in the 1700's, 1800's and early 1900's which have both ancient Greek and Latin side by side. A person who really wants to be a skilled teacher of NT Greek, needs to be able to read Latin, German, English, and French. Hebrew should be added to that list. Arabic, Italian, Coptic, Aramaic, Syriac are very useful. Add modern Greek, modern Hebrew to that list.

My recommendations: Start learning languages when you are 14-30 years of age. It is much harder to learn when you are older. Latin, however is an easy language to learn for people who already know a romance language or English.

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: How hard to learn Latin?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 24th, 2015, 7:50 am

Latin really is, from the learner's perspective, much more regular than Greek (and there are historical reasons for this, if one looks at the history of the language and how the Latin we learn became the dominant dialect in Rome). If you start with Latin, it makes learning Greek easier,and if you start with Greek, it certainly helps with Latin. I found beginning Greek more difficult than beginning Latin, but I found reading "real" Latin literature more difficult than Greek. Why? Latin, particularly Classical, is a relatively word poor language, so that individual lexical items tend have a wide semantic range. This can make it difficult, at times, to narrow down precisely what an author intends, especially if the the context is somewhat ambiguous. I found that when I looked up a word in a Greek author, it was usually a word that I had never seen before, but in a Latin author, it was usually a word that I thought I knew what it meant, but that the author was using in an unexpected (to me) way. But largely it's a matter of subjective experience and what the learner brings to the table.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Chris Servanti
Posts: 55
Joined: September 10th, 2015, 2:30 pm

Re: How hard to learn Latin?

Post by Chris Servanti » October 24th, 2015, 10:59 am

So for self study, where would you suggest I start? I have a curriculum, but i tries not to touch the grammar, which quite honestly is one of the most fun parts for me.

Wes Wood
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Re: How hard to learn Latin?

Post by Wes Wood » October 24th, 2015, 12:47 pm

What curriculum are you using? I am currently going through Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata, and it is my favorite of the ones that I have looked at. It is by no means a traditional grammar, though. If you aren't too deep in your studies, I wouldn't mind studying along with you if you are interested. I can always use an additional kick in the pants to make the time to do what I enjoy doing. I also own two (not sure which off the top of my head) editions of Wheelock and an old copy of Allen and Greenough that I picked up from a bookstore for less than a dollar, if this helps.
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

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