Learning Latin

Mike Baker mbaker at rapp.com
Wed Oct 23 13:10:00 PDT 1996

If I may offer a variation to Gunnora's excellent advice concerning the 
learning of Latin, I would note two or three items.

First, for a reading acquaintance with Latin it helps immensely if one first 
learns the ROOT-level meanings of English-language words which have derived 
from any of the "Romance" (i.e. Latin-derivative) languages.  (I've been 
tested at 40%-plus reading comprehension of French, Italian, and Portugese 
based upon my English vocabulary...)  Comprehension by this method is 
reduced for colloquialisms, but even there a little common sense -- and 
awareness of context -- help immensely.

Second, when haunting the used-book stores, keep your eyes out for high 
school Latin textbooks published pre-WW II.  I have a knowledge of 
self-taught Latin using a text that my great-aunt acquired in 1918...

Thirdly, it sometimes helps to have a choral background as well -- many of 
the Latin songs include both English lyrics and translations.

Fourthly, learn heraldic terminology. Hey, yet another benefit of 
associating with the SCA at more depth than the "costumed party" level!

As in learning many languages, learning at least a basic level of Latin *is* 
easier when you know your own native (European) language at a deeper level. 
Conversely, learning Latin will also increase your comprehension of English. 
A genuine positive feedback loop!

Amr ibn Majid al-Bakri al-Amra
Mike C. Baker                      mbaker at rapp.com
Any opinions expressed are obviously my own unless explicitly stated 

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