Latin

Previous Topic Next Topic
 
classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
33 messages Options
12
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Latin

Robert Hansen
This is not math related, but it is in a way. My son is taking Latin (2nd year) and I am rather disappointed. I was expecting there to be more sentence translation, although I must admit, I looked into it a bit deeper, and it turns out to be quite difficult to take actual (classical) latin text and translate it into English and it not be mostly gibberish. When Latin was more popular (50 years ago?), was it taught at a deeper level and for many more years? It does not seem to be a language that you can simply "translate". You almost have to live it to be any good at it. I would say that he is getting some insight into grammar, but if his class isn't able to read latin, I can't see that being much insight. Or is "reading" latin something much more advanced than what "taking latin in high school" was?

Bob
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Louis Talman
Bob Hansen wrote:

> I was expecting there to be more sentence translation,
> although I must admit, I looked into it a bit deeper, and it
> turns out to be quite difficult to take actual (classical)
> latin text and translate it into English and it not be
> mostly gibberish.

It is difficult to translate most languages into English without producing gibberish.  This is especially true of synthetic languages like Latin or Russian, because they express a great deal of meaning through explicit use of inflection (word endings).  English, on the other hand is an analytic language that uses prepositions and position to express those meanings.  In Latin, for example, adjectives must agree in case, gender, and number with the nouns they modify---meaning that an adjective can begin a lengthy sentence but modify a noun at the end of the sentence.  Thus, Caesar's "Commentaries" begin "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur."  This translates as "All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, another the Aquitanes, and the third the Celts in their own tongue, the Gauls in ours."  

Note that there is just one preposition ("in") in the Latin, but four ("into", "of", "in" and "of").  

The adjective "omnis", which modifies the noun "Gallia" not only is not next to that noun, but splits the compound verb "divisa est" (which is written in the wrong order)---something very much frowned upon in well written English.  Maybe Yoda would say "Gaul divided all is..." (which repeats the structure of the Latin, if not the actual order of the words), but no native speaker would.  (On the other hand, verbs often come, Yoda-like, at the end of sentences in Latin.)

The verb form "incolunt" is a third person plural (I'm too lazy to look up the tense) of "incolere", "to inhabit" or "to live in".  The subject, "they" is implicit in the ending "unt", and need not be given explicitly in the sentence, though, in this case, it is.  English has almost entirely lost the inflections that carry person and number of verbs; only the third person singular of our regular verbs inflects at all in any given tense.

> When Latin was more popular (50 years ago?), was it taught
> at a deeper level and for many more years?

Perhaps.  We spent a good bit of our second year of high school Latin translating Caesar, poorly and slowly because we had our teacher cowed.  But then, everyone know that things were much harder back in those days---when we used to walk five miles between home and school, usually in sub-zero weather, uphill and against the wind both ways.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
Robert Hansen Posted: Dec 18, 2017 11:09 AM

>This is not math related, but it is in a way. My son is
>taking Latin (2nd year) and I am rather disappointed.

What textbook is he using?

Haim
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Joe Niederberger
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
Really? I used to translate on the fly in class rather than spend precious time after school, and I did fine.

"It does not seem to be a language that you can simply "translate".'

What? Does that mean one must understand before they translate? What a drag.

Seriously though, I never went beyond Caesar and his war commentaries, which are popular for good reason: he kept it simple.

Cheers,
Joe N
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Robert Hansen
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
Haim wrote ...

"What textbook is he using?"

Wheelock's. I will have to look at it next time to see what version/edition.

Bob
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Robert Hansen
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
Thanks Lou. Your example explains it well.

What set me off was that I was reading a translation that my son had done and half of it was gibberish. Naturally, I said to him "You can't turn this in, it is half gibberish." His response "Yeah, but that is how it is." "Huh?" I said. So I sat down with him to do it right, and after at least 2 hours of work on one sentence, we finally got something reasonable. The majority of the time was spent determining what each word meant. Not just its case, but what it actually meant. Especially the nouns. I wouldn't know, but off the top of my head I would say that Latin has far fewer words than English, or at least, far fewer specific words. Or maybe it is just the fact that unless you actually speak and read the language, you will never acquire the plethora of meanings we take for granted in English.  Eventually, I ended up making a list (under each original word) of all possibilities, and solved it from there. Although, I still needed some context from other translations. Some of !
the words would have never made sense, except to someone fluent in Latin.

From the feedback here, I guess my expectations were too high, and the teacher's probably a bit low. My advice to my son at this point, if he would rather the translations not be half gibberish, is to learn the language more. Learn the vocabulary more. Learn the forms more. And practice translating. With English, you do this mostly by reading a lot, but that approach does not seem practical with Latin. At least not at this stage.

Can any of you actually read a book in latin? Or does it end at translating sentences, unless you can put in the  effort to immerse yourself in it?

Bob

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Robert Hansen
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
By the way, I was aware of the Yoda like ordering, which caused me to misjudge the difficulty. In English, we seem to have no problem at all if the order of things are changed, so I thought that would be easy enough. But order isn't an issue in English because we know the words, their meanings and the context very well. Order is more convention than anything else. Thus, unless I missing something, for the same reason, order isn't the difficulty in Latin. The difficulty is those other things. Words, their meanings and context.

Bob
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Robert Hansen
In reply to this post by Joe Niederberger
I guess that is what they are starting to do (poorly), but they don't seem to have the vocabulary for it. What I meant by "simply translate" is that you cannot simply sit down with a dictionary and translate a sentence from Latin to English. Dictionaries simply do not contain all the meanings and nuances of words. Something that I think you can only acquire through usage (reading and writing). And maybe all languages are like that.

Did you do a lot of vocabulary exercises in your class? I would say that the class my son is taking is rather light on the homework and study.

Bob

On 12/18/17, 6:05 PM, "[hidden email] on behalf of Joe Niederberger" <[hidden email] on behalf of [hidden email]> wrote:

    Really? I used to translate on the fly in class rather than spend precious time after school, and I did fine.
   
    "It does not seem to be a language that you can simply "translate".'
   
    What? Does that mean one must understand before they translate? What a drag.
   
    Seriously though, I never went beyond Caesar and his war commentaries, which are popular for good reason: he kept it simple.
   
    Cheers,
    Joe N
   
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
Robert Hansen Posted: Dec 19, 2017 1:38 AM

>Haim wrote ...
>"What textbook is he using?"
>
>Wheelock's. I will have to look at it next time to see
>what version/edition.

Wheelock definitely has his strengths, but he would not be my first choice for a young student.  As I recall, Wheelock is suitable for college students already well versed in English grammar and with at least a passing familiarity with Roman history.  I imagine Wheelock is rather dry for a young student.

The Cambridge Latin and Oxford Latin series are designed for young students, and they are brilliant.  My son used Cambridge Latin, then "Ecce Romani", after which he started reading Caesar and Virgil.  I.e., the Roman literature came later, after my son developed a command of Latin, he was older (and somewhat more mature), and he knew something of world history.  Wheelock, I think, starts with the literature.  Great for college students, kinda rough for younger students, I imagine.

A quick word on translations.  Of course you have to know the dictionary definitions of words, but translating---from any language to any language---is never a mere dictionary exercise.  It is always a creative exercise simply because languages are structured differently.  That's the brilliance of learning a foreign language (any language, although Latin has special advantages for English speakers).  When translating from the other language into English, you have to think, deeply, about how English itself works.  As an exercise for young students, you couldn't ask for anything better.

As for Latin having fewer words than English, while that is almost certainly true, I'd bet you are getting tripped up by inflection.  Because Latin is fully inflected, when DesCartes said, "Cogito ergo sum", he did NOT say "Think therefore to be" leaving to us to figure out what he meant.  Because of inflection, "cogito" explicitly means "I think", without ambiguity.  And "sum" explicitly means "I am", without ambiguity.  "Cogito ergo sum" clearly and unambiguously means, "I think therefore I am."  So, DesCartes expressed in three words what an English speaker must express in five.

The most famous example of verbal economy (until Charles Napier) is Caesar's report to the Senate on his conquest of Gaul:  Veni, Vidi, Vici:  I came, I saw, I conquered.

The weird and wonderful thing about English is that while nouns have lost their inflection, pronouns have not.  That's why you can say

(a) Tom throws the ball to Dick and Dick throws the ball to Tom,
but you cannot say
(b) Tom throws the ball to him and him throws the ball to Tom.

Or, even more egregiously,

(c) He throws the ball to her and her throws the ball to he.

You have to decline the pronouns.  Who thinks of such things?  Unless you study Latin.

As a final example, because Latin is fully inflected, word order and word proximity are nearly irrelevant.  Thus, from Cambridge Latin I,

Caecilius amicum salutat means Caeculus greets the friend, but
Caecilium amicus salutat means the friend greets Caecilius.

If, like any normal English speaker, you pay too little attention to inflection and too much attention to word order, the above example must be gibberish.

As with any subject, eg math, if the teaching of Latin is done badly then it's bad.  But if it's done well, it's spectacular.

Haim
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Bishop, Wayne-2

"A quick word on translations.  Of course you have to know the dictionary definitions of words, but translating---from any language to any language---is never a mere dictionary exercise."


We were in Mexico City a bunch of years ago and were invited to attend an address by some American that, for the benefit of the locals, was to be simultaneously (well immediately thereafter) translated into Spanish.  It was delightful, the very bright and lively translator gave a much better speech in Spanish than the dull American in English.


Wayne



From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Haim <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 7:43 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: Latin
 
Robert Hansen Posted: Dec 19, 2017 1:38 AM     

>Haim wrote ...
>"What textbook is he using?"
>
>Wheelock's. I will have to look at it next time to see
>what version/edition.

Wheelock definitely has his strengths, but he would not be my first choice for a young student.  As I recall, Wheelock is suitable for college students already well versed in English grammar and with at least a passing familiarity with Roman history.  I imagine Wheelock is rather dry for a young student.

The Cambridge Latin and Oxford Latin series are designed for young students, and they are brilliant.  My son used Cambridge Latin, then "Ecce Romani", after which he started reading Caesar and Virgil.  I.e., the Roman literature came later, after my son developed a command of Latin, he was older (and somewhat more mature), and he knew something of world history.  Wheelock, I think, starts with the literature.  Great for college students, kinda rough for younger students, I imagine.

A quick word on translations.  Of course you have to know the dictionary definitions of words, but translating---from any language to any language---is never a mere dictionary exercise.  It is always a creative exercise simply because languages are structured differently.  That's the brilliance of learning a foreign language (any language, although Latin has special advantages for English speakers).  When translating from the other language into English, you have to think, deeply, about how English itself works.  As an exercise for young students, you couldn't ask for anything better.

As for Latin having fewer words than English, while that is almost certainly true, I'd bet you are getting tripped up by inflection.  Because Latin is fully inflected, when DesCartes said, "Cogito ergo sum", he did NOT say "Think therefore to be" leaving to us to figure out what he meant.  Because of inflection, "cogito" explicitly means "I think", without ambiguity.  And "sum" explicitly means "I am", without ambiguity.  "Cogito ergo sum" clearly and unambiguously means, "I think therefore I am."  So, DesCartes expressed in three words what an English speaker must express in five.

The most famous example of verbal economy (until Charles Napier) is Caesar's report to the Senate on his conquest of Gaul:  Veni, Vidi, Vici:  I came, I saw, I conquered.

The weird and wonderful thing about English is that while nouns have lost their inflection, pronouns have not.  That's why you can say

(a) Tom throws the ball to Dick and Dick throws the ball to Tom,
but you cannot say
(b) Tom throws the ball to him and him throws the ball to Tom.

Or, even more egregiously,

(c) He throws the ball to her and her throws the ball to he.

You have to decline the pronouns.  Who thinks of such things?  Unless you study Latin.

As a final example, because Latin is fully inflected, word order and word proximity are nearly irrelevant.  Thus, from Cambridge Latin I,

Caecilius amicum salutat means Caeculus greets the friend, but
Caecilium amicus salutat means the friend greets Caecilius.

If, like any normal English speaker, you pay too little attention to inflection and too much attention to word order, the above example must be gibberish.

As with any subject, eg math, if the teaching of Latin is done badly then it's bad.  But if it's done well, it's spectacular.

Haim
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Joe Niederberger
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
R Hansen says:
"Did you do a lot of vocabulary exercises in your class? I would say that the class my son is taking is rather light on the homework and study."

Sure, plenty of vocabulary building, along with fitting the new old words into sentences. I also went to a Catholic school and was reading from my Latin/English Missal for several years. Probably helped.

I had meant to post a link to an article suggesting reasons why Latin is found to be difficult by English speakers. Pretty much along the lines of what Lou said (though he notably forgot to mention the 3 feet of snow on the ground, as we trudged uphill to school.)

When I learned DEC10 assembler, I thought it a bit like Latin, with all its organization and inflections. I thought it rather mathematical.

Cheers,
Joe N
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Joe Niederberger
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
R Hansen says:
>I wouldn't know, but off the top of my head I would say that Latin has far fewer words than English, or at least, far fewer specific words.

Very few, even compared to ancient Greek:
http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4652

You can easily find estimates for English:
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/explore/how-many-words-are-there-in-the-english-language


Cheers,
Joe N
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
Wayne Bishop Posted: Dec 19, 2017 11:13 AM

>We were in Mexico City a bunch of years ago and were
>invited to attend an address by some American that, for
>the benefit of the locals, was to be simultaneously
>(well immediately thereafter) translated into Spanish.
>It was delightful, the very bright and lively translator
>gave a much better speech in Spanish than the dull
>American in English

And yet, the translator remained faithful to the original meaning of the English language speech.  That's hilarious!

As an example of the catastrophic failure of translation as a pure dictionary exercise, you bring to mind "The Alexandria Quartet" by Lawrence Durrell,
http://a.co/9Sdgjms
a charming work.

In one episode, the Irishman and the Frenchman are conversing in English.  In describing the previous evening's radio broadcast, the Frenchman refers to the "nocturnal emission".  While the translation from French to English is word-for-word, the meaning is, literally, lost in translation to much intended hilarity.

A truly great example of translation, as a creative exercise, is the Bible.  Originally written in Hebrew and Greek, one has only to compare the King's James Version to pretty much any modern translation, like the American Standard Version, to see the creative process in action.

The situation with the Koran is different in a wondrously revealing way.  It shows what happens when you don't have a dictionary, to begin with.  Fully 20% of the Koran is incoherent in the original Arabic.  Never mind that the Koran frequently refers to people, places, and events unknown to anyone, so the meanings of the parables are lost, there are Arabic words in the Koran that have never existed outside the Koran.

For these reasons, and maybe others, there is credible scholarly speculation that the Koran, itself, is a bad translation into Arabic from the original Syriac,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoph_Luxenberg

Consequently, when translating the Koran into English, the translator has to do more than choose a style---in the manner of Wayne's Spanish interpreter.  Rather, the translator has to choose an interpretive tradition.  Which is to say, in the act of translating the Koran, the translator has to choose which flavor of Islam he favors.  A mighty huge responsibility that maybe does not belong on the shoulders of a mere translator.

Haim
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Robert Hansen
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Are you saying that it might be better to learn to read Latin first, via something along the lines of Dick and Jane, before trying to translate its literature? :) I will look into the Cambridge and Oxford books.

Bob

On 12/19/17, 10:43 AM, "[hidden email] on behalf of Haim" <[hidden email] on behalf of [hidden email]> wrote:

    Robert Hansen Posted: Dec 19, 2017 1:38 AM
   
    >Haim wrote ...
    >"What textbook is he using?"
    >
    >Wheelock's. I will have to look at it next time to see
    >what version/edition.
   
    Wheelock definitely has his strengths, but he would not be my first choice for a young student.  As I recall, Wheelock is suitable for college students already well versed in English grammar and with at least a passing familiarity with Roman history.  I imagine Wheelock is rather dry for a young student.
   
    The Cambridge Latin and Oxford Latin series are designed for young students, and they are brilliant.  My son used Cambridge Latin, then "Ecce Romani", after which he started reading Caesar and Virgil.  I.e., the Roman literature came later, after my son developed a command of Latin, he was older (and somewhat more mature), and he knew something of world history.  Wheelock, I think, starts with the literature.  Great for college students, kinda rough for younger students, I imagine.
   
    A quick word on translations.  Of course you have to know the dictionary definitions of words, but translating---from any language to any language---is never a mere dictionary exercise.  It is always a creative exercise simply because languages are structured differently.  That's the brilliance of learning a foreign language (any language, although Latin has special advantages for English speakers).  When translating from the other language into English, you have to think, deeply, about how English itself works.  As an exercise for young students, you couldn't ask for anything better.
   
    As for Latin having fewer words than English, while that is almost certainly true, I'd bet you are getting tripped up by inflection.  Because Latin is fully inflected, when DesCartes said, "Cogito ergo sum", he did NOT say "Think therefore to be" leaving to us to figure out what he meant.  Because of inflection, "cogito" explicitly means "I think", without ambiguity.  And "sum" explicitly means "I am", without ambiguity.  "Cogito ergo sum" clearly and unambiguously means, "I think therefore I am."  So, DesCartes expressed in three words what an English speaker must express in five.
   
    The most famous example of verbal economy (until Charles Napier) is Caesar's report to the Senate on his conquest of Gaul:  Veni, Vidi, Vici:  I came, I saw, I conquered.
   
    The weird and wonderful thing about English is that while nouns have lost their inflection, pronouns have not.  That's why you can say
   
    (a) Tom throws the ball to Dick and Dick throws the ball to Tom,
    but you cannot say
    (b) Tom throws the ball to him and him throws the ball to Tom.
   
    Or, even more egregiously,
   
    (c) He throws the ball to her and her throws the ball to he.
   
    You have to decline the pronouns.  Who thinks of such things?  Unless you study Latin.
   
    As a final example, because Latin is fully inflected, word order and word proximity are nearly irrelevant.  Thus, from Cambridge Latin I,
   
    Caecilius amicum salutat means Caeculus greets the friend, but
    Caecilium amicus salutat means the friend greets Caecilius.
   
    If, like any normal English speaker, you pay too little attention to inflection and too much attention to word order, the above example must be gibberish.
   
    As with any subject, eg math, if the teaching of Latin is done badly then it's bad.  But if it's done well, it's spectacular.
   
    Haim
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Robert Hansen
I checked out the Cambridge series and asked my son a few lines and he did very well. That makes a lot more sense to me to start with stories written at a level that you can actually read and work your way up, rather than original classic works that must be painstakingly translated sentence (clause) by sentence. I think I will give these a try.

Bob

On 12/19/17, 2:56 PM, "Robert Hansen" <[hidden email]> wrote:

    The Cambridge Latin and Oxford Latin series are designed for young students, and they are brilliant.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
Robert Hansen Posted: Dec 19, 2017 3:01 PM

>I checked out the Cambridge series and asked my son a
>few lines and he did very well. That makes a lot more
>sense to me to start with stories written at a level
>that you can actually read and work your way up, rather
>than original classic works that must be painstakingly
>translated sentence (clause) by sentence. I think I will
>give these a try.

I predict success.

I know the Oxford Latin series only from a distance.  For all I know, it might be even better than Cambridge Latin.  But, my son used Cambridge Latin, I know it in some detail, and I think it is a work of genius.

Very much like "Dick and Jane", Cambridge Latin begins with simple vocabulary, simple grammar, and simple but charming stories often with a humor that is approachable by young students.  (It is a marvel to watch a small boy reading Latin and laughing at all the appropriate places.)

In progressively more complex grammar and vocabulary, the stories reveal the life of a real man, Caecilius Iucundus and his family, who lived in Pompeii and whose life we know in great detail.  In every story, we learn something about Roman life.  The stories explore issues of slavery, war and peace, the status of women in Roman society, even the institution of the gladiatorial fights.

At some point, English school children typically go on a field trip to Pompei.  They used to enter the house of the man they read so much about.  I'm not sure that still happens, although you certainly can walk the streets and see the houses from the outside.

In the study of Latin, my son learned

- - more and better history than in history class,
- - more and better geography than in...oh, they don't actually teach much geography, these days,
- - more and better civics than in...do they still teach civics in American schools?
and, of course,
- - far more and far better *English* grammar and *English* vocabulary than anything they are doing in "English Language Arts" (they don't even pretend to teach English literature, anymore).

For years, I used to wonder whether math was his best extra-curricular endeavor (we know they don't teach math in the public schools), or Latin.  Since he is now an engineer, I have to say it was the math.  On the other hand, my son is probably one of maybe ten engineers on the east coast who can construct a proper English sentence on paper.

Bob, if your son's experience with Latin is even half as good as my son's, you will be a very happy man.

BTW, I was able to take my son through most of the first book (through chapter 9, maybe?), when I had to throw in the towel and get a real Latin tutor.

It was a great experience.

Haim

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Bishop, Wayne-2
In reply to this post by Haim-5

>  A mighty huge responsibility that maybe does not belong on the shoulders of a mere translator.


Isn't that the idea?  If the responsibility is not carried out satisfactorily, remove the source from the shoulders?


My personal favorite from the religion of peace is from Surah 9 - At-Taubah (The Repentance, a.k.a.,  The Immunity):

5 Then when the Sacred Months (the Ist, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun (idolaters, polytheists) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.


Wayne

From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Haim <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 11:01 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: Latin
 
Wayne Bishop Posted: Dec 19, 2017 11:13 AM     

>We were in Mexico City a bunch of years ago and were
>invited to attend an address by some American that, for
>the benefit of the locals, was to be simultaneously
>(well immediately thereafter) translated into Spanish.
>It was delightful, the very bright and lively translator
>gave a much better speech in Spanish than the dull
>American in English

And yet, the translator remained faithful to the original meaning of the English language speech.  That's hilarious!

As an example of the catastrophic failure of translation as a pure dictionary exercise, you bring to mind "The Alexandria Quartet" by Lawrence Durrell,
http://a.co/9Sdgjms
a charming work.

In one episode, the Irishman and the Frenchman are conversing in English.  In describing the previous evening's radio broadcast, the Frenchman refers to the "nocturnal emission".  While the translation from French to English is word-for-word, the meaning is, literally, lost in translation to much intended hilarity.

A truly great example of translation, as a creative exercise, is the Bible.  Originally written in Hebrew and Greek, one has only to compare the King's James Version to pretty much any modern translation, like the American Standard Version, to see the creative process in action.

The situation with the Koran is different in a wondrously revealing way.  It shows what happens when you don't have a dictionary, to begin with.  Fully 20% of the Koran is incoherent in the original Arabic.  Never mind that the Koran frequently refers to people, places, and events unknown to anyone, so the meanings of the parables are lost, there are Arabic words in the Koran that have never existed outside the Koran.

For these reasons, and maybe others, there is credible scholarly speculation that the Koran, itself, is a bad translation into Arabic from the original Syriac,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoph_Luxenberg

Consequently, when translating the Koran into English, the translator has to do more than choose a style---in the manner of Wayne's Spanish interpreter.  Rather, the translator has to choose an interpretive tradition.  Which is to say, in the act of translating the Koran, the translator has to choose which flavor of Islam he favors.  A mighty huge responsibility that maybe does not belong on the shoulders of a mere translator.

Haim
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Louis Talman
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
Haim wrote:

> In the study of Latin, my son learned
>  
> - more and better history than in history class,
> - more and better geography than in...oh, they don't actually
> teach much geography, these days,
> - more and better civics than in...do they still teach civics
> in American schools?
> and, of course,
> - far more and far better *English* grammar and *English* vocabulary
> than anything they are doing in "English Language Arts" (they
> don't even pretend to teach English literature, anymore).

Given the way both left and right zero in on books they don't like, for whatever their leftish or rightish reasons may be, it could be just as well that the public schools no longer pretend to teach English literature.

But you've left out the most important things that your son learned from Latin.  He acquired the *basis* for a large English vocabulary, because somewhere between 60% and 80% of our words (particularly our multisyllabic words) came to us from Latin.  And he acquired a superb foundation for learning any of the modern Romance languages.  (They look like misspelled Latin.)

And that foundation extends beyond mere vocabulary.  The inflections involved in the conjugations of Latin verbs, inherited from the ancient Indo-European tongue as they do, are closely paralleled in many Indo-European languages, such as the Slavic languages.  When I first encountered conjugations of Russian verbs, I found a great deal more than just a hint of familiarity.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Bishop, Wayne-2

In Bonehead French for the PhD, a fellow student from India showed us a little Sanskrit.  The instructor had just written the conjugation for the present "ĂȘtre" (to be) and Rao went to the board and wrote the equivalent in Sanskrit.  My reaction? Oh.  That's what Indo-European languages means.


Wayne



From: [hidden email] <[hidden email]> on behalf of Louis Talman <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 6:00 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: Latin
 
Haim wrote:

> In the study of Latin, my son learned

> - more and better history than in history class,
> - more and better geography than in...oh, they don't actually
> teach much geography, these days,
> - more and better civics than in...do they still teach civics
> in American schools?
> and, of course,
> - far more and far better *English* grammar and *English* vocabulary
> than anything they are doing in "English Language Arts" (they
> don't even pretend to teach English literature, anymore).

Given the way both left and right zero in on books they don't like, for whatever their leftish or rightish reasons may be, it could be just as well that the public schools no longer pretend to teach English literature.

But you've left out the most important things that your son learned from Latin.  He acquired the *basis* for a large English vocabulary, because somewhere between 60% and 80% of our words (particularly our multisyllabic words) came to us from Latin.  And he acquired a superb foundation for learning any of the modern Romance languages.  (They look like misspelled Latin.)

And that foundation extends beyond mere vocabulary.  The inflections involved in the conjugations of Latin verbs, inherited from the ancient Indo-European tongue as they do, are closely paralleled in many Indo-European languages, such as the Slavic languages.  When I first encountered conjugations of Russian verbs, I found a great deal more than just a hint of familiarity.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Latin

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Robert Hansen
Louis Talman Posted: Dec 19, 2017 9:00 PM

>But you've left out the most important things that your
>son learned from Latin. He acquired the *basis* for a
>large English vocabulary...
>
>And that foundation extends beyond mere vocabulary.

Lou, I am totally with you and Wayne on this.

While I sort of hinted at it with my "far more and far better *English* grammar and *English* vocabulary", it is a major point well worth reiterating, emphasizing, and elaborating.  Thanks.

Now, this being Math-Teach and all, I am bound to point out the baleful influence of the Dark Side of The Force.  If men like you and Wayne find such deep value in the study of Latin, and I fully concur, how did it come to pass and what can it mean that the Education Mafia strove mightily, for years, to argue the study of Latin out of the public school curriculum?

Before 1960, perfectly ordinary high schools in Brooklyn, NY used to have---better sit down for this one---departments of classical languages.  So, while Latin was fairly widespread if not universal, at least a few schools also included Greek.  All this is gone only because of the tireless efforts of the Education Mafia.

Why?  One must assume the worst (about the Education Mafia).  And, if you will forgive me, in the dying days of Math-Teach I want to repeat a point I have made in the past.  I think the study of Latin is a model for the study of mathematics.

One issue that requires an explanation is this.  Why are the modern math textbooks so perfectly awful while the modern Latin textbooks are inspired works?  I think the answer is obvious.

The Education Mafia argue strenuously FOR the study of mathematics.  They pay a lot of attention to the curriculum, pedagogy, and textbooks for mathematics, and it's all awful.

On the other hand, the Education Mafia argue AGAINST the study of Latin.  Since about 1960, they have paid no attention to the curriculum, pedagogy, and textbooks of Latin, and they are uniformly glorious.

The question answers itself.  There will be a renaissance of math education if we could only argue mathematics out of the public school curriculum.  Once the Education Mafia lose interest in the teaching of mathematics, people like Lou and Wayne can write textbooks for students who actually want to learn the subject.

The rest follows.

Haim
12