Give me a justification for learning Latin

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chove
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby chove » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:42 pm

Because you want to?
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby rdearman » Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:06 pm

wikipedia wrote:Latin was the language of the ancient Romans, but it was also the lingua franca of Western Europe throughout the Middle Ages, so Latin literature includes not only Roman authors like Cicero, Vergil, Ovid and Horace, but also includes European writers after the fall of the Empire, from religious writers like Aquinas (1225–1274), to secular writers like Francis Bacon (1561–1626), Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), and Isaac Newton (1642–1727).


I read somewhere (and can't find the citation) that only about 40-60% of latin texts have been translated, and only about 40-50% into English. So it seems there is a ton of stuff out there waiting to be read. Also, I heard that Newton guy had some crazy ideas you might want to look into.
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby Cavesa » Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:32 pm

Well, vast majority of the literature is really old, but 1.that doesn't mean it is bad, I'd say most of us have no clue about what we would like from it. But that doesn't mean there is nothing. 2. It's public domain! So, Latin might be one of the cheapest languages to learn and profit from. :-)

It is a dead language but there is a community of learners actively using it like Esperanto (and creating some new culture in it), they might be fun. And whether or not you are interested in them, there is a huge advantage to a dead language. No natives to make fun of your pronunciation or switching to English. And no omnipresent obsession with speaking. You can also learn to speak it, or not. It's up to you.

I found Latin to be useful not only for the medical terminology (which in some traditions like the Czech and German ones is the real Latin, not the mutilated Latin like for example in English :-D ), but mostly as a good vocab base for various stuff from fields I am not that knowledgeable about (which is sometimes really useful), as a great intellectual exercise (I personally liked the grammar heavy approach. Yes, tons of input are needed and vastly underestimated in classes, but it was refreshing to be just introduced to the grammar systematically), and as a good ego boost.

Too bad I've let my Latin rust away for the most part. I hope to get back to it one day.

I don't know, whether it is worth it for you. But I'd say it's one of the languages where even just trying out can be enriching. And if you find out it's not for you, it's no big deal. Not having learnt Latin won't have any impact on your career, I suppose :-D
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby cpnlsn88 » Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:48 pm

The reason needs to come from you to justify the use of your time and effort.

Reasons can include:

- prestige
- interest in reading Latin works in the original
- interest in how the language is put together
- interest in how Romance languages developed
- wanting to understand Latin quotes that you might come across

Learning Latin to expand your mind could apply equally to any language. There's something about how far Latin has affected various languages including English may interest some.

Other languages exist though. If you're interested in the New Testament of Homer then the various dialects of Ancient Greek may appeal. If you love Beowulf then Old English may appeal.

My reasons for learning Latin;

Because it's there
Theological texts contained Latin terms
Interest in literary texts
I thought it might help me to learn Old French (not sure it did)

The big question is - is there something in the language you want direct access to?
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby Querneus » Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:09 am

samfrances wrote:
T0NIN0 wrote:Almost all scientific, philosophical, theological and historical books for the last 2 thousand years were written in Latin. Most of which are still not translated, including many famous books.


Can you give me some examples?

I happen to have asked this recently to a guy who is interested in the history of philosophy, and he told me that most of the medieval and early modern philosophers who wrote in Latin have minor works that are still untranslated to this day. For some of the more prolific writers like Duns Scotus (1266-1308) and William of Ockham (1287-1347) (two major philosophers of their day), this is even a lot of works. Scotus' output fits in 5 thick volumes for philosophy and 10 for (Christian) theology, and most of the latter remains untranslated. Even some major works are still untranslated: you could be the person to finish translating the Disputationes Metaphysicae by Francisco Suarez (1548 - 1617)! Only some parts are available in translation. Alexander Baumgartner's (1714-1762, no Wikipedia page) Metaphysica, a Latin textbook that was important in shaping Immanuel Kant's thought, which Kant also used as a textbook in his lectures, was not translated until 7 years ago. (EDIT: to clarify, these were his examples.)

By the way, this guy I was talking to is currently well on his way to produce the first translation of the Commentary on Aristotle by Jean Buridan (1300-1360)—another untranslated major work of philosophy.

That said, I tried to find some examples of untranslated historical books for this post, and to my surprise I found at least one translation of whatever I looked up. :shock: Even things like the 4th Council of Toledo (7th c., Spain) and Fredegar's Chronicle (7th c., France), which I found in Spanish and French respectively, translated in the 19th century (I'm sure they've never been rendered into English though).
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby Ezra » Sun Sep 20, 2020 7:27 pm

rdearman wrote:I read somewhere (and can't find the citation) that only about 40-60% of latin texts have been translated, and only about 40-50% into English. So it seems there is a ton of stuff out there waiting to be read. Also, I heard that Newton guy had some crazy ideas you might want to look into.
Actually, it much worse (or better?). Absolute majority of texts in Latin is post-Roman. Here is what Jurgen Leonhardt writes in his book "Latin: Story of a World Language".
the quantity of post-Roman texts is so extensive that it exceeds the total of all extant classical Latin texts by a factor of ten thousand. 1 This means that all of the writings that have come down to us from ancient Rome, including all inscriptions, constitute at most 0.01 percent of the total output. Of this miniscule percentage, Christian texts from late antiquity represent approximately 80 percent. What is generally known as the lit erature of the Romans, as it is taught in school, the works of authors like Plautus, Cicero, and Tacitus, forms little more than an infinitesimal point in the universe that is Latin, albeit one that shines brightly.
And absolute majority of post-Roman texts is not translated. And a lot of text which are translated, translations are quite dated. I am reading now Augustine's "Confessions" in parallel with Loeb's translation — and for sure Augustine did not write in such archaic style!

And earlier it was hard to get to these post-Roman texts — but now they are just a click away on archive.org and other online libraries.
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby Kraut » Sun Sep 20, 2020 9:06 pm

Good for your brain development:

L’intérêt d’apprendre des langues anciennes selon Stanislas Dehaene

https://www.canalacademie.com/ida2602-L ... haene.html
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby Doitsujin » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:42 am

samfrances wrote:Can anyone offer me a good justification for learning Latin? :D
There are a couple of very accessible Latin textbooks:

If you love solving (language) puzzles, you'll enjoy learning basic Latin either with Lingua Latina per se illustrata or Latin via Ovid.
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby nooj » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:00 am

Many of the same arguments used for Latin can also be marshalled for learning other languages like classical Chinese, classical Arabic, classical Sanskrit etc.

If you learn Latin, and your devotion to your internal logic is consistent, you're obligated to learn a whole host of other languages. I see that as an absolute benefit. :D
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Re: Give me a justification for learning Latin

Postby thevagrant88 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:52 am

No.
Last edited by thevagrant88 on Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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