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Posted: 21 February 2012 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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This is in response to Language hat’s post on “Why do people want to learn latin.”

You have mistaken my point, which was not “Why do people want to learn Latin?” but “Why do people want to translate random phrases into Latin, which they neither know nor plan to learn, and tattoo them on their body, print them on a t-shirt, or in some other way immortalize what will almost certainly be a mistaken translation and probably bad Latin to boot?” I applaud people wanting to learn Latin, or any other language, and I wish you the best in your studies, but that has nothing to do with what I was saying.

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Posted: 21 February 2012 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Dave Wilton - 21 February 2012 04:20 AM

There are basically only two good reasons for learning Latin:

I would add a third reason: ecclesiastical.

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Posted: 21 February 2012 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Learning any new language will give you insights into how languages, including English, work.

(This is just an observation, not an argument with LH or anyone else.  I knew, even before LH replied, that he wasn’t arguing against learning Latin.)

[ Edited: 21 February 2012 09:15 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 21 February 2012 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I would add a third reason: ecclesiastical.

That would fall under the general rubric of “you want to translate from Latin.” (I said “texts,” but it’s a bit broader than just reading. Although there aren’t many opportunities to hear Latin spoken anymore.)

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Posted: 21 February 2012 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Language Hat, mea culpa for misunderstanding, but I’m glad I did for I found Dave Wilton’s post useful.
I am glad to know that learning latin will not help me write better, but then on reading that it will help with my grammar there was again the pang of regret. Yes overcorrection is not what I want, but oversight with knowledge is better than with lack of it. Even so learning latin is not a possibility where I live. I do not think even in the big Universities they offer Latin whereas Sanskrit can be learned in a pokey little one room school tucked away in a corner of a crowded bazaar. I guess learning another language of latinate ancestry is the way to go. Thanks.

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Posted: 21 February 2012 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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"Even so learning latin is not a possibility where I live.”

Do they have the Internet where you live?

edit:
http://www.learnlatinonlinefree.com/

[ Edited: 21 February 2012 08:27 PM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 22 February 2012 01:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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languagehat: one reason to do this is to have a conversation starter. “What’s that mean?” “It’s Latin for Money Over Bitches.”
In the scheme of things it seems like harmless fun.

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Posted: 22 February 2012 03:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Thanks, but I am not quite so sure about this, Mr. Tipping. The first lesson is “Going to the market”.

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Posted: 22 February 2012 04:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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My point, and I believe that of others, is that learning any other language will help your understanding of grammar. (Most of my basic grammar instruction in English came in my high school German class.) If that is your goal, there are many more practical languages to learn than Latin.

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Posted: 22 February 2012 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Sure. Latin’s a shitfight. Spanish or Italian all the way.

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Posted: 22 February 2012 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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languagehat: one reason to do this is to have a conversation starter. “What’s that mean?” “It’s Latin for Money Over Bitches.”
In the scheme of things it seems like harmless fun.

Well, sure it’s harmless in the scheme of things; I wasn’t comparing it to the Gulag or anything.  I just don’t understand 1) in general, the impulse to put something you yourself don’t understand on your body/shirt/website, and 2) the specific need for Latin or Chinese characters (which I would guess between them account for over 90% of the demand for these translations).  I mean, there are an infinite number of possible conversation starters; why is this particular one so popular?  And don’t people worry that the conversation that will ensue might be “Sorry, I happen to know Latin/Chinese, and what you’ve got there doesn’t mean what you think it does and makes you look like an idiot”?

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Posted: 22 February 2012 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I’ll always be grateful for being taught Latin in my youth. It’s of immense benefit for those interested in the origins of English words.

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Posted: 22 February 2012 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Not to mention that many of these Latin (and I assume Chinese, but I don’t really know) expressions can mean a wide variety of things depending on the context. A phrase like amicus auxiliarus could also be read as “ancillary friend.” And in the feminine, amica auxiliara, it could mean “additional courtesan/mistress.” Translation can be a tricky business, ripe with unintended interpretations.

(And I should restate that, despite my seeming to come down on the anti-Latin side, I’m actually learning it. But then I need to be able to read Boethius in the original for my dissertation.)

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Posted: 22 February 2012 08:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I thought of a really stupid thing: are more adjectives of latin origin than nouns? Is there no basis to this thought other than a generalisation made out of a few examples? I was not going to post this then Mr. Tipping’s pluto post made me think - maybe?

[ Edited: 22 February 2012 08:29 AM by Avy ]
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Posted: 22 February 2012 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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I’ll always be grateful for being taught Latin in my youth.

Me too; it may not be my favorite language, but it’s got some great poetry and (obviously) is responsible for a lot of English vocabulary.

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