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#20582 - 03/09/01 02:13 PM Re: strange phrases and usages
Bobyoungbalt Offline
veteran

Registered: 11/22/00
Posts: 1289
learning Latin
I fear, O Helena, you are too sanguine in your advice to IacobusCanis. I take it from your comments you did not study Latin. I did, and I can tell you I doubt very much that anyone can do it on his own, no matter how hard he tries. It's too different from English; there are grammatical and syntactical concepts that are utterly foreign to the English speaker, even if he has a perfect command of the language.

So, Jimthedog, if you really want to learn Latin, I suggest you get yourself a text book (Bennet's New Latin Grammar is a classic and the one we used in my class long ago) and find someone who can offer some tutoring. If you are intelligent and you work very hard at it (I had Latin class one full hour every day in school and 2 hours homework every night, including Friday) you can get by with a minimum of help from the tutor -- just enough to get you over the stuff you will encounter which is totally foreign in concept.

But be warned. I was part of an elite accelerated program and we learned everything at a much more intensive and accelerated rate than normal classes. It took us one full school year to learn the basic Latin grammar and do some reading in Caesar's Gallic Wars, the famous book that begins, "Omnia Gallia divisa est in partes tres." We took the first 3 weeks in the following year to learn some fairly abstruse grammar concepts (including gerunds, the subject of recent posts), then tackled Cicero. When we began our third year, we took 2 weeks to learn the rules of poetry, the figures of speech, etc., then spent all year reading the Aeneid. So you can't learn it overnight, or even overyear, and that's with teachers wiht a PhD who spent a lifetime teaching Latin.

Having said which, I now say, by all means, try it. Even if you don't master it, you'll learn something and you'll get a lot out of it.

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#20583 - 03/09/01 02:33 PM latin
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
No-- it was dropped as "honor course" requirement as i entered HS--I was the kind of kid who wanted to do the least i could in school when it came languages.. I was perfectly willing to put in the time for math and chemistry (back in pre-pocket calcutator days) but i am old enough to have learned "church latin"-- and can still "sing" a mass in latin (if you call the croaking, off key sound that come out of my mouth as singing!) So i have learned latin vocabulary-- which is very useful for understanding words and roots-- and have, of course, picked up latin words and phrases.

I sent Jim a private note-- (I thought he might live in NYC) since latin is still taught in several NYC public schools-- my daughter commuted from queens to manhattan for HS, since the local school (an outstanding school!-- with lots of westinghouse/Intel science winners) was not to her liking. My ex (a teacher!) didn't like the idea of her commuting over 1 hour each day to get to school- but she loved it, and thought it worth the effort.
but a hearty mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa if seem to imply learning latin was easy!


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#20584 - 03/10/01 02:55 AM Re: strange phrases and usages
Capital Kiwi Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/13/00
Posts: 3146
Loc: Northamptonshire, England
Latin

My school was a public high school (really public, not the reversed terminology used in England), although one of the better ones (i.e. concentrated on the languages and arts rather than science and commerce subjects). This may be a nonsensical distinction today.

It was expected that we would learn Latin, although it wasn't required. I learned it for three years and only dropped it because I had to choose between doing three languages and doing two languages and geography at sixth form level.

Looking back, it was probably the one subject which I have found the most consistently useful after leaving school. From my perspective, that makes it virtually unassailable as one of the "must learn" subjects!



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