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Sahmilat's Languages Log (German, French, Latin, Ancient Greek)

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:19 pm
by Sahmilat
German: Reading Gruppe 47: Ein Querschnitt
French: Reading Le français par la méthode nature and Assimil, watching French in Action
Latin: Reading Bartolomeo Fonzio's Letters to Friends
Greek: Trying to find something interesting and easy to read
Sanskrit: Someday


Original Post, August 2018

I'm an American undergraduate taking a semester off from college for health reasons and I figure that to keep myself from going crazy from boredom, I'll spend some time writing down my progress in the langauges I'm studying.

I did four years of Latin in high school and got pretty good at reading it, but I haven't done much in a while and I want to do some extensive reading to get back into the swing of things. I've been pretty successful reading Caesar, Ovid, Virgil, Catullus, but I want to try to improve my reading fluency so that it goes more smoothly and is overall more enjoyable. For that reason, I'm starting with H. C. Nutting's Ad Alpes, and I think afterwards I might read one or two of the novels translated into Latin by Arcadius Avellanus before going to just reading classical authors. This website has a big catalog of Latin resources, including readers.

I took two semesters of introductory Attic Greek, using the Athenaze textbook. I like the large amount of reading practice it has. I'm trying to finish up the second book pretty soon so that I can move on to Attica, a textbook designed to help move from beginning Greek textbooks to reading selections of authentic classical Greek. I also found a book called Grund- und Aufbauwortschatz Griechisch by Meyer and Steinthal. It's divided into two main sections: one of basic vocabulary (Grundwortschatz) and one for vocabulary particular to various authors and genres (e.g. philosophy, history, tragedy). Once I finish Attica I think I'll figure out what author I want to start with and study their core vocabulary from that book. I'm leaning towards Plato or maybe Xenophon. Before I do all that though I have to finish the last ~5 chapters I have of Athenaze.

Against my better judgement, I wanted to also splash around a little bit in Sanskrit mainly out of linguistic, rather than literary, interest. I picked up Thomas Egenes's Introduction to Sanskrit. It's not a particularly in-depth textbook, and I'm still at this point working on learning the alphabet (much harder than the Greek alphabet!). I'm still not sure what I would like to do after this, but I'll probably find a more comprehensive grammar to read through and search for some beginner/intermediate readers, though I'm not sure they're quite as easy to find as Latin and Greek ones are.

Re: Sahmilat's Ancient Languages Log

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:51 pm
by indeclinable
Welcome! Glad to see more Greek and Latin learners here.

Nutting is a great choice! If you want more beginner/intermediate readers I recommend Rōma Aeterna and the rest of Ørberg's anthologies described in the following video:



Of course if you don't want to spend money, there's many out-of-copyright readers.

We have a list of resources here that I've updated into a more flexible webpage.

For Greek there's also many extra booklets for the Athenaze



If you want to read Plato I recommend Helm's and/or Weber's beginners editions of the Apology, but there's plenty to choose.




Si vis possumus etiam Latine sermocinare et inter nos garrire, dicas quaeso si dubia sunt tibi et ego libenter afferam auxilium.

εἰ βούλει, δύναμαι εἰς λόγους ελθεῖν ἑλλενηστί ;)

Re: Sahmilat's Ancient Languages Log

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:36 pm
by Sahmilat
Latin: I've read a few chapters of Ad Alpes and I'm really enjoying it. The stories in it so far are pretty funny too. It's a series of stories about a family traveling from the East back to Rome. My favorite episode so far involved a foreigner who spoke no Latin attempting to communicate with a merchant, when a slave steps in and "translates" for the foreigner, making him out to say silly things, such as that he wants to buy bears and shovels.

Greek: I finished chapter 25 of Athenaze, which covers the optative mood. I am pretty disappointed with the way the book handled the forms of the optative, because it just presents a huge list of forms for different verbs in the different tenses and voices without presenting any sort of phonological rules to help explain the formation. I think for now, because it's pretty easy to recognize, I'll just stick to making sure I understand the basic uses of the optative, which aren't too hard, and later I'll consult a reference like Smyth or something and try to make sense of the formation of the optative for when I start working with more composition.

Sanskrit: I had been working with a pdf of Egenes, but I found that copies of the books on amazon are pretty cheap so I went ahead and got them. Right now it's honestly just serving as a fun break from Greek.

Re: Sahmilat's Ancient Languages Log

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:08 pm
by Sahmilat
Greek: I finished chapter 26 of Athenaze. Currently it's telling the story of Croesus, which is nice because the story is familiar to me. The grammar introduced wasn't too bad. First the different kinds of conditionals, which aren't too different from Latin in the terminology (although the "future most vivid" is new to me). The syntax isn't exactly intuitive to me but there clearly is a pattern.

Past particular: past tense | past tense
Present particular: pres/perf | pres/perf
Future most vivid: future | future

Past general: optative | imperfect indicative
Present general: ἄν + subjunctive| present indicative
Future more vivid ἄν + subjunctive | future indicative

Past contrary to fact: aorist indicative | ἄν + aorist indicative
Present contrary to fact: imperfect indicative | ἄν + imperfect indicative
Future less vivid: optative | ἄν + optative

There were also some uses of the accusative introduced. Most adverbial uses of the accusative were mostly already covered, but this also added the accusative of respect, which I'm pretty familiar with from Virgil. The real new one was the accusative absolute, which is essentially a replacement for the genitive absolute when using an impersonal verb (e.g. δοκεῖ, ἐξεστι, δεῖ) that wouldn't have a subject to pair with it. πολύ ἔμαθον.

Sanskrit: I got my books and I worked on some of the translation exercises for lesson 6. I wish that the book had more vocabulary and reading practice rather than just translating, but I can appreciate the slow pace that it takes because I'm just doing Sanskrit on the side. After I finish this course I might move onto something more intensive, like Devavanipravesika, which is apparently a little too hard to be the first book you use, but would probably make for a good review and filling in the gaps of my basic grammar and vocabulary.

Re: Sahmilat's Ancient Languages Log

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:48 am
by Sahmilat
I haven't been doing much Latin lately. Hopefully I'll get back on that soon.

Greek: Even as the readings become harder, I feel like my reading confidence is increasing as I get to the end of this textbook. I just finished Chapter 27, which continues the story of Croesus, including an amusing story about his battle with Cyrus the Great, in which Cyrus places his pack animals, camels, in the front line in order to disorient the enemy's horses with their stench. It works.

The chapter introduced the forms created from the fifth principal part, the perfect and pluperfect mediopassive forms. Some of these are periphrastic, which has kind of tripped me up, and the forms are athematic, but otherwise the rules for augmentation and reduplication and the sound changes are pretty straightforward. To be completely honest, I'm sort of skimming these grammar sections, because I am more interested in the readings than in doing translation exercises.

Sanskrit: With the end of lesson 7 I finally have a complete noun paradigm for masculine nouns ending in -a. I scanned the page and pinned it up on the corkboard by my desk so that I can look at it whenever.
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I'm trying to learn the paradigm the Indian, not the European, way, that is, left to right rather than top to bottom.
I don't really like that the Sanskrit words I have learned from the book for the cases (prathamā etc. up to saptamī) are just the words for "first" "second" etc. Maybe there will be more specific words for them. I do have to say that the amount of Sanskrit grammatical terms in this textbook is probably my favorite part about it.
Now it's on to Sandhi rules all the time!

Re: Sahmilat's Ancient Languages Log

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:53 pm
by Sahmilat
Latin: I finally read a couple more chapters of Ad Alpes. One of them involved some story about a man fooling his guests into thinking he was rich. Unfortunately, I did not understand the punchline fully, but in the name of extensive reading I just went on instead of torturing myself over the details of the last paragraph. I think I'll revisit it another time. The next chapter had a Jewish slave telling the children stories about Samson and King David. There was also a nice little poem about the Babylonian captivity.

Greek: I finished chapter 28, which finishes the story of Croesus with his defeat at the hands of Cyrus and their reconciliation. It's a pretty heartwarming story to be honest. Less heartwarming was the perfect active. The paradigm itself isn't too hard, but having to memorize principal parts is never my favorite task. I've also noticed that there are a few bits of syntax that I am not comfortable with, especially indefinite relative clauses. I'll check Morwood's grammar to see if it has any tips for me.

Sanskrit: I'm about at the end of chapter 8, which has started to introduce sandhi rules. Right now the textbook only uses vowel sandhi, which hasn't been occurring much except in direct quotations, with sentences such as mrgas vane vasati iti naras vadati ("the deer lives in the forest" says the man) giving opportunities for vasati + iti to combine. I also have finally gotten practice writing in devanagari, which is difficult but rewarding. I'm enjoying this Sanskrit textbook a lot.

Re: Sahmilat's Ancient Languages Log

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:12 pm
by Sahmilat
Latin: I decided to start working on my composition with Bradley's Arnold. It's fun, though I wish the sentences in the text were more various. It also would be better if I had a teacher, because no answer key could possibly cover all the variations in style that are possible.
I also started working on translations of relatively simple passages using Corrigan's College Latin. It's probably at a lower level than is strictly necessary but that's ok, I have time.

Greek: I finally have moved on from Athenaze and I am using Claxton's Attica to transition to unadapted Greek. I like the guided translations before each reading a lot, she gives a lot of tips on recognizing certain constructions etc. The notes for the assignments are mainly things like "what tense is this verb? Why?" and rarely direct help, which is probably for the best. That said, I got stuck on one sentence in the first assignment because I hadn't seen ποιέω with two accusatives before and had to refer to an English translation to check what I had written (my initial translation of that section was not correct, haha).

Re: Sahmilat's Ancient Languages Log

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:27 pm
by MattNeilsen
I vote you add Hebrew to the mix because it's pretty ancient, and why not?

My vote has nothing to do with the fact that I'm learning Hebrew as well... :)

Re: Sahmilat's Ancient Languages Log

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:34 am
by Sahmilat
MattNeilsen wrote:I vote you add Hebrew to the mix because it's pretty ancient, and why not?

My vote has nothing to do with the fact that I'm learning Hebrew as well... :)


I would love to, that and Arabic, but I have to temper my enthusiasm somewhat! Once I've gotten to a certain point in Sanskrit I'll probably look into something new.

Re: Sahmilat's Ancient Languages Log

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:38 pm
by Sahmilat
Latin: Bradley's Arnold, still both fun and dry at the same time.
College Latin I decided was entirely too boring, so I opted for something more lively in working on Cicero's Catilinarians. Cicero was already my favorite prose author I'd read and the passion in this first oration in particular is palpable. I'm only a few paragraphs into the first one but I think this is a more sustainable and enjoyable path.
quo usque tandem abutere, Bradley's Arnold, patientia nostra?

Greek: Attica is going really well. The readings are from Xenophon's Hellenica, and deal with the end and aftermath of the Peloponnesian war. The Athenians have just made peace, torn down their walls and selected the men who would become the Thirty Tyrants. Xenophon feels the need to list all 30 of them. I did not feel compelled to include this in my written translation in my notebook.

Sanskrit: I've been having a little trouble keeping up with my work here but I am now finished with chapter 9. I found a website that has essentially short accompanying lectures for each section of Egenes, which has been really helpful. My biggest problem right now is with the alphabet. The grammar so far is simple enough that I don't really have any problems translating, but it takes me more time than I'd like to read out the devanagari.