Karavinka-Latin

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Karavinka
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Karavinka-Latin

Postby Karavinka » 2011-01-25, 6:00

Salvete, everyone.

I guess it's my first appearance on this forum. I decided to make a leap to Classical Latin this year and I thought I might start a thread to keep my progress (and it's hard to abort in the middle when you think others are watching you, imagined or real).

Well, this is not my first time learning Latin. I taught myself the language a few years ago using Teach Yourself (without too great a success) and then Wheelock (with more success) but my intentions were not to read Cicero or Ovid back then. My first Latin author was Spinoza, followed by Thomas More, Aquinas and Anselm since I was interested in early modern and medieval philosophy. I barely covered the morphology and started reading Spinoza side-by-side in Latin and English and it did its trick, though my reading knowledge was severely limited to this kind of abstract writings. Then I stopped with Latin for about more than two years, though I read some Vulgate from time to time so I don't forget it entirely.

I wanted to recapitulate everything and get into reading some classical authors, so I started with reviewing Wheelock from the end of December last year. I quickly went through the lessons in about a month (you know, second reading...) but I still didn't feel like I have mastered the entire grammar of the language. Moreover, going directly to the heavily-annotated classical authors at this stage would not be as pleasant, as I would be deciphering rather than reading.

The idea is simple. Make the difficult stuff easier by being better prepared with more, easier stuffs.

So, instead of plunging in directly, I thought I might give myself more practice with grammars and readers so I won't need references as often. In fact, that's how one learns to read a modern language - using beginning and transitional texts to get prepared for the real literature. I'm not a big fan of "living Latin" things but having some productive skills (oral or written) helps in reading literature since the language is more immediately understood, without guessing or translating.

I set my plan thus: 1. use many, not one, textbook for more reviews, grammar-translation exercises and different vocabularies. 2. use beginning "immersion-style" textbooks concurrently with grammar-translations to cement the basics in the brain. (I have a habit of copying all example sentences and reading paragraphs; I need materials I can use when my arm is too tired or while commuting)

So, here's my checklist...
* Wheelock's Latin
* Latin Alive and Well by Chambers. Good for a grammar review. It teaches a minimum of vocab, but it has graded readings (with extra vocab) and succint grammar for easier review. I'm about halfway through here, and will finish it by next week, I think.
* Classical Latin by McKeown. Another great textbook, with more readings from classical authors. To be used after Chambers
* Latin: An Intensive Course by Moreland and Fleischer. This book actually almost drove me to tears when I first tried to use it (it's indeed intensive) but by the time I finish McKeown this shouldn't be that difficult. I think this is probably the first-year book that takes you to the highest level of grammar.
* Maybe more, depending on how I feel like...

* Lingua Latina: Familia Romana and Colloquia Personarum by Orberg. It's silly at times and sometimes plain annoying to read. But Orberg does one good thing: when a new declension is introduced, he shows you it in all case and number forms, and when a new tense is introduced, you get to see all number and person forms used. More, it teaches more vocabulary than most textbooks (about twice more than Wheelock.)
* Using Latin by Gummere. It's hard to find nowadays, and I got a Korean version of it at a local bookstore. Has about (rough estimate) 250 pages of Latin: mostly author's composition, but gets to Caesar at the end.
* Then to more "second-year" readers, like Wheelock's Latin Reader, Orberg's Roma Aeterna and the like... there are so many readers (as there are so many textbooks) that I'm still browsing through before I let my credit card bleed.

By now, I'm on my second textbook. I'm mostly finished reading Orberg for the second time, and I'm halfway through Gummere (got this one just this week; skipped the first baby-talk chapters). I don't know if anyone might care, but I'll keep posting about once or twice in a month to record my progress and keep me from being lazy.
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Stawrberry
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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby Stawrberry » 2011-01-27, 18:59

I'm soon gonna start studying Latin as well, so I'm definitely gonna follow your thread.

Bonam fortunam! :)

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loqu
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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby loqu » 2011-01-27, 19:58

Good to see you're learning Latin, Karavinka :)

I'm learning with Orberg and his texts may get boring, but you're right that you learn a whole lot of vocabulary with them and they feel kinda natural.

Apart from that, it's pretty useful that he released so many materials related to LLPSI. I used his Familia Romana vocabulary to make my flashcards.

Roma Aeterna is a bit tedious though, not as dynamic as Familia Romana.

Keep up the good work!
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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby Karavinka » 2011-01-27, 23:49

Yes, it appears that Orberg wanted his "Lingua Latina" series to be as complete as it can get. Apart from the two main textbooks, he also has a number of booklets with annotated texts from the Classical authors, such as Caesar, Cicero, Petronius, Virgil... which aren't terribly expensive.

However, although his Familia Romana was a decent optional review for me, it's still difficult for me to imagine how one could learn this language using this method alone. I still think it's better to use a traditional textbook concurrently with this, and if I had to discard one for the other, I'd discard Orberg. I didn't do "work" on Orberg in any serious fashion, I just read through the book twice, noting the vocabulary and inflectional forms, and it made the Wheelock's reading selections - Loci Antiqui and Loci Immutati - much easier. In one Cicero section of Loci Immutati, there are about 130 footnotes for the words in a single passage - I would have been hard pressed with these kinds of passages if I didn't have the vocab from Orberg and Gummere.

The old-fashioned rote works, but I noticed that if I learn a word just for that passage, I sometimes don't recognize the word when it is used in a different context, especially when the form is different. (Could happen very well in Latin, esp. with the words with peculiar perfect stems..)



That aside, if you're looking for a Roman pagan that's easy enough to read at the beginning-intermediate stage, I suggest Eutropius. Anyone who is in the latter half of Wheelock (say, chapter 30 and beyond) and/or finished mostly with Familia Romana should have little difficulty to tackle his Breviarum with an occasional use of a dictionary. He's a 4th century historian, so his forms aren't always strictly classical (that's what Wikipedia tells me at least) but as far as I know, you'll be hard-pressed to find a Roman whose style is simpler. It's kind of like a Roman cliffnote from Romulus to Valens. I'm in my second reading of Eutropius and I'm understanding +90% (well, maybe because I know the history fairly well already...)
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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby loqu » 2011-01-27, 23:56

Wow, thanks a lot for the info. I had never heard about that author, I'll look for that book. :D

I found Familia Romana really useful, and I used it alone, but because I already knew the declension and conjugation tables from years before when I first tried to learn Latin on my own. It helped me to 'internalize' the basic grammar.
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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby KingHarvest » 2011-01-28, 0:42

You're understanding Eutropius so easily because 4th century Latin is more similar to Medieval Latin than it is to Classical. Augustine is probably the most classicizing of the post-Classical authors, and even he sounds more Medieval than Classical.
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Karavinka
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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby Karavinka » 2011-02-07, 20:35

My work contract expired as of Jan. 31 and I've been sleeping a lot since then. And the Chinese New Year fell on the first week of February this year so I had to waste my time visiting relatives etc, losing the precious time that I could have used to... not to learn Latin but to be with my gf. ;) I still spent some time with Latin and I wanted to make a note before I take off to Jeju, a resort island off the southern coast, in a few hours.

Well, anyways. As of Feb. 8:

* Wheelock's Latin, Loci Antiqui and Loci Immutati : I read through the passages while making a vocab list. Didn't spend too much time with this, though. Both these sections and the reader volume seem too heavy on Cicero imho.

* Chamber's Latin Alive and Well : finished! It is actually awful like Wheelock, and many sentences and some reading passages are shared between the two. However, Chambers was nice enough to add review sheets (with answer keys) every few lessons, and he has more English to Latin exercises. (I don't think I just have the confidence unless I can produce it somehow) Most readings are adapted from classicals, heavy on Livy and Caesar.

* I'm about 20% on my way through Bellum Helveticum, a Caesar-based textbook available online with podcasts from Latinum. There are as many (if not more) English to Latin than just passively reading Latin, starting from a simple noun clause to full sentences. The podcast is helpful as well: though I'm not intent on speaking Latin, I still want to feel at least somewhat natural when I read out loud. I never knew there was elision in Latin. (Gallia est .. to Galliest.., according to the podcast.)



@KingHarvest: Yes, Eutropius reads differently from, say, Nepos or Caesar. But I'm still glad that it exists and there must have been some reason when the Renaissance schoolmasters picked it as the pupil's first Latin author... Thanks for the comment, I'll take a look at Augustine.
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KingHarvest
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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby KingHarvest » 2011-02-07, 21:44

Because Renaissance Latin is still very Medieval.

The elision they're using is based on how syllables are counted in Latin poetry.
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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby Bernard » 2011-02-08, 17:47

KingHarvest wrote:Because Renaissance Latin is still very Medieval...
I do not think so, KingHarvest.
Nonne, ut exempla proferam, Petrarca et Erasmus Roterodamus, Ciceronem aliosque aureae quae dicitur Latinitatis scriptores aemulati sunt? Contempsere enim pessimam illam scribendi consuetudinem, quae aetate quae vocatur media in usum venerat (cf. Epistulae obscurorum virorum).
:)

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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby KingHarvest » 2011-02-08, 18:32

You can't just hold up a couple of humanists (who were far more concerned about trying to reproduce Classical Latin than most other writers) and act like, overall, there is any major difference between Medieval and Renaissance Latin.
Most men are rather stupid, and most of those who are not stupid are, consequently, rather vain.
-A.E. Housman

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Re: Karavinka-Latin

Postby Karavinka » 2011-03-03, 10:29

As of March 3:

I didn't do much work in February. The first week was gone with the Chinese New Year, the second week was spent in vacation on Jeju (which was wonderful except that it rained all the time. grrr.) The third and fourth weeks were spent in job search, during which I was over-stressed to do anything meaningful. Something still got done, though.

I tried to start going through McKeown's Classical Latin and then gave up after a few futile attempts. It was too boring and I didn't feel like conjugating 1st conjugation verbs in the indicative present. I ditched that book and started working through Moreland and Fleischer's Latin instead, and went through about 1/3 of the book by now. It's a tough nut to crack, but seeing all subjunctive forms at once by chapter 2 was a great help. I tended to confuse one with another when I learn them one by one, which may be necessary at the beginning, but still confusing in the end. The subjunctive appears liberally after this point, making it easier to sink in.
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