Learning latin in school

Tiro

New Member
I finally came to the conclusion that learning latin in school sucks very hard. I will never reach a decent level I guess.... I think the school system in my country (Germany) is just too bad. First of all we don't have to learn any vocabular, we progress very slowly, after 4 years of latin many people in my cursed latin class still cannot decline nouns properly. They can merely form the imperfect, present, and perfect (ind.act only ofc) and they seem not to even show any kind of interest in learning the rest, and the teacher still wastes time explaining them over and over basics like the genitive of amicus is amici etc.... I am really annoyed, each latin lesson is a waste of time because I am just sitting there and listening to stuff we have already done like 100 times.

What do you think, am I overreacting or is the whole situation pathetic?
Do we progress slowly, or is it just normal?
I really want to learn latin but if I can't learn it in school, where then and how?
(Plz excuse my poor English the school is to blame :? )
 

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius
You can always try homeschooling. Pick up a good introductory Latin textbook and a dictionary and study at your own pace. Wheelock's Latin website is a good source for pronouncing Latin, since it has a spoken pronunciation guide, as well as spoken vocabularies.
 

Chamaeleo

New Member
The problem is that if you study independently, you will quickly be far ahead of your classmates, and the lessons will become even more unbearable for you. It's actually in your interest not to learn too much. This is the flaw in almost all education systems. When studying the first year of Modern Languages at university, my lecturer told me that I was at the level of the fourth-year students; but I was not allowed to change classes or alter anything. So, I stopped studying hard. The system kills enthusiasm.
 

Iohannes Aurum

Technicus Auxiliarius
Here might be a solution: try asking your teacher to modify his/her teaching methods to be more engaging, such as relating the learned material with literature and recommend him/her to give out contemporary Latin literature that can pique one's interests. Another solution involves trying to find a Latin tutor who can give out supplementary material and tutor in a way that would interest you.
 

maximilianus

Civis Illustris
CHAMÆLEO dixit:
The problem is that if you study independently, you will quickly be far ahead of your classmates, and the lessons will become even more unbearable for you. It's actually in your interest not to learn too much. This is the flaw in almost all education systems. When studying the first year of Modern Languages at university, my lecturer told me that I was at the level of the fourth-year students; but I was not allowed to change classes or alter anything. So, I stopped studying hard. The system kills enthusiasm.
Very true.

Educational systems suck everywhere. They favor the majorities and draw back the very few who want to move on and they let it happen for the mere purpose of not losing students. It happened to me when I began studying English. Every year the same vocabulary, the texts did not vary too much, hardly ever read a novel and the list of flaws grows on.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Iohannes Aurum dixit:
Here might be a solution: try asking your teacher to modify his/her teaching methods to be more engaging, such as relating the learned material with literature and recommend him/her to give out contemporary Latin literature that can pique one's interests.
I think that it's sensible. Of course, Tiro, you should ask your teacher to modify his methods only with respect to you. If you display a keen interest it's most probable that he will help you.

I believe you may try self-study. Chamæleo and maximilianus are pessimistic, but I don't think you should loose time and interest only because of imperfection of your school. At that nowadays you've got lots of available sourses via Internet (to tell the truth, I never even dreamt of having so many books at hand just a few years ago). You can download for free either classical textbooks and grammars or non-standard, like Adler's Grammar, Lingua latina sine molestia, Lingua latina per se illustrata; at that a great deal of dictionaries: Oxford Latin Dictionary, Lewis & Short, perfect English-Latin dictionaries, Georges' Latin-German and German-Latin dictionaries; when you become more advanced, you'll find lots of interesting books at books.google.com. How can one discard such a wealth? I encourage you to plunge into studies and to take pleasure. Don't care about your school; after all, you may learn there something new all the same.
 

maximilianus

Civis Illustris
Oops :doh: , I didn't pretend to sound pessimistic. I was just pointing out how I humbly believe that educational systems fail to meet their putative purpose.

Sorry if I sounded negative. Actually I'm very prone to self-learning and I encourage Tiro to go on along that path. It's the most advisable course of action, I think. ;)
 

paruos

Civis Illustris
Iohannes Aurum dixit:
Here might be a solution: try asking your teacher to modify his/her teaching methods to be more engaging, such as relating the learned material with literature and recommend him/her to give out contemporary Latin literature that can pique one's interests. Another solution involves trying to find a Latin tutor who can give out supplementary material and tutor in a way that would interest you.
Unfortunately, in some institutions, it's impossible. (In Brasil, for instance ...)

It might be interesting to show the teacher Evan Millner's SCHOLA.ning :roll: so that he could realize, if the fact is this, that he doesn't have a proficient Latin yet, which happens to be many cases (at least in Brasil).

(Unfortunately.)

:boohoo:
 

paruos

Civis Illustris
I'm a teacher, by the way, and I can say that I was very lucky to find one method through which I can teach elementary Latin grammar. So, I don't deceive my students. I tell them that there are a lot of things I'm learning, and have to develop. (The correct use of long vowels, for example.)

MY Latin ISN'T proficient. Not all teacher will admit/like to admit that, so, take it easy with your teacher. Everyone has some sort of pride. And some sort of knowledge he does have. You may need to find out how to take it out of there ...

And, if it be the case, to show him he needs to go back in his learning. (Because what seems to happen in Brasil is that we graduate, post-graduate, and get a job as "a Latin Professor", and a salary, and stability ... and once nobody else actually knows Latin, most people won't know whether you really know or are still learning or not. Unfortunately, many people care about the salary, but not about the quality of their job and teaching. They do "monkey see, monkey do" they learned a dozen years ago (or more). So, sometimes, or in some places/institutions, it's a difficult thing to change.)

Evan Millner proposes something interesting when he raises this matter: "Many school Latin teachers don't actually know Latin" ... It's worldwide, I can imagine.
 

maximilianus

Civis Illustris
It's very much the same that happens in Argentina. That's why on my previous post I sounded somewhat pessimistic when I talked about how educational systems suck! :(
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
Tiro, you may also want to check out Millner's podcast, a lengthy but worthwhile course in speaking, reading, and writing; it has greatly helped me in proficiency, so I recommend it at all costs.
 

Tiro

New Member
Seeing these posts makes me happy, seems like I am not the only one with such stupid problems.
I'll probably have to start learning latin from the very beginning again...There are too many things I am uncertain about and school won't help me for sure.

Gratias ago!Estne hanc sententia recta? Excusatio, mea latina mala est...In meum vocabularium semper multa verba remperio qua significant idem...Vos rogo, corrigete meas sententias, scio quas falsas esse.
(I know it sounds as if it was machine translated :shock: )

If you understood anything plz help me, if not I'll type it in english and you translate :D
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Tiro dixit:
Seeing these posts makes me happy, seems like I am not the only one with such stupid problems.
I'll probably have to start learning latin from the very beginning again...There are too many things I am uncertain about and school won't help me for sure.
I think starting from the beginning is a good idea. It won't be like taking up a new language, because you must know quite a lot by now. But a profound revision may appear very helpful.

I advice you to pay attention to the length of vowels if you haven't done it before. Then you'll be able to use either classical or school pronunciation.

If your teacher is not interested in Latin and if he's not likely to assist you, still you can hope to find someone experienced and keenly interested in Latin. There must be quite a lot of such people in Germany (take for example Bitmap :D ). And don't forget about this forum!

Tiro dixit:
Gratias ago!Estne hanc sententia recta? Excusatio, mea latina mala est...In meum vocabularium semper multa verba remperio qua significant idem...Vos rogo, corrigete meas sententias, scio quas falsas esse.
Grātiās agō! Estne haec sententia rēcta? Mihi ignōscite, Latīne male sciō. Multa verba reperiō, quae significat idem... Vōs rogō, corrigite (aut ēmendāte) meās sententiās, sciō eās falsās esse.

First of all, it's much better that any machine translation (no bot seems to be aware of a.c.i. :D ). I guess it's one of your first attemps, so you needn't worry about some mistakes. The rule of student: when learning, the mistakes are inevitable, so there's no reason to be afraid of them; but one should correct them.

The word vocabularium didn't exist in classical Latin and it's to be avoided. I decided that we can just omit that part of the phrase without much damaging the sense.

And you're quite right about the synonyms. When I began my Latin studies, I had no hope to find out the difference between ferō / portō / gerō and the like. Fortunately, now things are much better thanks to the internet. You may find following books interesting:

Doederlein Handbuch der lateinischen Synonymik

Ramshorn Lateinische Synonymik (B.1)
Ramshorn Lateinische Synonymik (B.2)

Doederlein's book contains less words, but the explanations are often more detailed.

You can also find some links in this thread.
 

Tiro

New Member
Thank you very much mate : ) the book looks nice ^^
apparently I suck at pronouns can anyone help me out, I know that I have to learn them by heart but can anyboy tell me the difference between:

hic, haec, hoc
iste, ista, istud
is, ea, id
ille, illa, illud

somehow they all mean the same
(I know that I am asking a lot xD)
 

Chamaeleo

New Member
Tiro dixit:
can anyboy tell me the difference between:

hic, haec, hoc
iste, ista, istud
is, ea, id
ille, illa, illud
‘Hic, hæc, hoc’ is ‘this, near me’
‘Iste, ista, istud’ is ‘that, near you’
‘Ille, illa, illud’ is ‘that, over there, not near us’

They are called demonstratives. The masculine and feminine forms often refer to people (e.g. ‘hic’ can be ‘he’, ‘this man’).

‘Is, ea, id’ is sometimes considered a demonstrative, and sometimes given other names such as ‘anaphoric’. It doesn't place things in space as explicitly as the demonstratives. Translate it as ‘this’ or ‘that’ according to context. It's also used as the closest thing that Latin has to ‘the’ and ‘he, she, it’.
 

Chamaeleo

New Member
Quasus dixit:
And you're quite right about the synonyms. When I began my Latin studies, I had no hope to find out the difference between ferō / portō / gerō and the like.
Actually, I find the hardest thing about Latin is that it doesn't have enough words with a similar meaning. I find myself wanting to say ‘insist’ without implying ‘treading’ or ‘standing’ on something. I find myself wanting to say ‘virus’ without implying ‘poison’ or ‘slime’. I find myself wanting to say ‘translate’ without implying ‘carrying across’. So many Latin metaphors like this have been borrowed into English as specialised terms, leaving us with a very wide and unambiguous vocabulary that Latin itself lacks.
 

Cato

Consularis
CHAMÆLEO dixit:
Actually, I find the hardest thing about Latin is that it doesn't have enough words with a similar meaning. I find myself wanting to say ‘insist’ without implying ‘treading’ or ‘standing’ on something. I find myself wanting to say ‘virus’ without implying ‘poison’ or ‘slime’. I find myself wanting to say ‘translate’ without implying ‘carrying across’. So many Latin metaphors like this have been borrowed into English as specialised terms, leaving us with a very wide and unambiguous vocabulary that Latin itself lacks.
This is an excellent point; Latin vocabulary is quite small not just by English or modern language standards, but even in comparison to ancient Greek. Moreover, even minor-league abstractions rely heavily on simpler, more concrete terms--insisto - "stand on" for "insist" is a good example.

It's my experience that with a verb like insisto, the correct interpretation must be heavily inferred from the substantives associated with the action. Yes, the verb literally means "stand in/on", but it may be better understood to have a base meaning of "remain, persevere" with more nuanced meanings indicated by the nouns/infinitves/whatnot surrounding it. For example, unless we have a story dealing with the politics of highway construction, viae insisto can only mean "I stand in the road" ("insist" would be indicated better by adding faciendae or a similar gerundive). On the other hand, spoliis insisto is most likely "I insist on the spoils" since it's a bit ridiculous to imagine a man literally standing on war trophies (if a writer truly wanted this literal interpretation, he/she would add pedibus).

IMO it works something like the way an English verb like "run" can have different-but-related meanings dependent on the object (e.g. I doubt anyone thinks about racing when they say their computer "is running"). Latin seems to follow this pattern of nuanced meaning from simple verbs much more frequently than English...
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Tiro dixit:
I finally came to the conclusion that learning latin in school sucks very hard. I will never reach a decent level I guess.... I think the school system in my country (Germany) is just too bad. First of all we don't have to learn any vocabular, we progress very slowly, after 4 years of latin many people in my cursed latin class still cannot decline nouns properly. They can merely form the imperfect, present, and perfect (ind.act only ofc) and they seem not to even show any kind of interest in learning the rest, and the teacher still wastes time explaining them over and over basics like the genitive of amicus is amici etc.... I am really annoyed, each latin lesson is a waste of time because I am just sitting there and listening to stuff we have already done like 100 times.

What do you think, am I overreacting or is the whole situation pathetic?
Do we progress slowly, or is it just normal?
I really want to learn latin but if I can't learn it in school, where then and how?
(Plz excuse my poor English the school is to blame :? )
I don't see the point of blaming your or your classmates' shortcomings on your school or your educational system. If they took their time to study Latin properly, your teacher would have the opportunity to go much further and deal with advanced topics in class. But what can your school do about their laziness?
There would of course be the option for your teacher to ignore the careless students and work with the few diligent and motivated ones - in which case, however, people would complain that Latin in school sucks because the teachers don't care about the weak students ... a vicious circle :roll:

In the end, what you learn is down to you, not to anyone else. Blaming your school or your educational system is just a means of finding excuse for you yourself not doing anything about the dire situation you're in ... or maybe it's just part of the German habit of complaining about everything :>

If you're not satisfied with your school and really want to learn Latin, you could always go to another school. There are humanistische Gymnasien in Germany, which cherish Latin and classical education much more than regular schools.
Apart from that, "Germany" is a really vague term when speaking about education in Germany. A lot depends on the federal state you're in, and the situation differs widely from state to state. I take it you're not Bavarian, are you?
 

Chamaeleo

New Member
I see what you mean, but I think you're too harsh. If learning truly were the responsibility of the schoolpupil, then we wouldn't have schools. In reality, you can't expect a kid to learn much without pushing him every step of the way, and so schools need to find out the best way of doing this. If they don't do it properly, they have failed, and fixing it is urgent. Kids' behaviour is human nature, and therefore immutable. Schools are a system, and therefore capable of improvement.

Tiro can do some independent study, but if the system causes this to increase his boredom and despair in the classroom, then it is not a good solution.
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
CHAMÆLEO dixit:
I find myself wanting to say ‘insist’ without implying ‘treading’ or ‘standing’ on something. I find myself wanting to say ‘virus’ without implying ‘poison’ or ‘slime’. I find myself wanting to say ‘translate’ without implying ‘carrying across’. So many Latin metaphors like this have been borrowed into English as specialised terms, leaving us with a very wide and unambiguous vocabulary that Latin itself lacks.
I don't think I quite understand it. Latin words are often polysemantic, but does it matter if you are not translating from Latin? You just use the same word for "to insist" and "to stand on" without taking into account the meanings that you don't need. At that, English vocabulary is much polysemantic, too, even though words of Latin origin are often more precise than their Latin counterparts.
 
Top