Lingua Graeca

sprog

New Member
I know this is a Latin forum, but I'm just curious how many people who know Latin also know Greek?

I've started Ancient Greek this semester, and so far its making Latin look rather like child's play :(
 

Iynx

Consularis
Greek kind of forces itself upon the serious student of Latin, doesn't it? One can't help but wonder (to cite only one of many possible examples) why the heck the accusative singular of Aeneas is Aenean.

But beyond Greek forms in Latin, I know only enough to hack my way through the New Testament one word at a time, with a dictionary to my left and a grammar to my right.

A better mastery is on my list of things to do. At the rate I'm going, I should get to it when I'm about 140.
 

sprog

New Member
I'd say I know how you feel, but unfortunately I've not progressed even that far with Greek yet.

It is small comfort that most of the people I ask about Greek, who actually know it, say that they pretty much always read it with a reference section close at hand.
 

QMF

Civis Illustris
I've learned a small amount, but I can't even conjugate regular verbs in the indicative anymore. I'd like to learn more (someday I will read the original Iliad and Odyssey without a grammar by my side...!), but I just don't have the time at the moment. I'll probably take some Greek classes in college though.
 

curiosus

New Member
sprog dixit:
I know this is a Latin forum, but I'm just curious how many people who know Latin also know Greek?

I've started Ancient Greek this semester, and so far its making Latin look rather like child's play :(
Greek can be overwhelming at first. Most people who say they know Greek in fact know only to read Greek authors (and that after a first preparatory reading). Now speaking ancient Greek fluently is a task for a lifetime (unless you are a gifted person, naturally).

A common mistake, in my opinion, is to begin your learning trying to read Homer, or the mature dialogues of Plato: that's a more difficult Greek than, let's say, Plutarch, and, I dare say, slightly less exciting. It's like if I had begun studying English with Shakespeare or Milton.

Anyway, learning Greek is perhaps easier for an European (or an American for that matter) than learning Russian or Japanese, and the intellectual reward is (forgive me Russian and Japanese people) far greater. For one thing, the barbarians, in the etymological sense of the word, are those who don't speak Greek: "Barbaroí oukh hellenízousin" :laugh:
 

AZA

New Member
sprog dixit:
I know this is a Latin forum, but I'm just curious how many people who know Latin also know Greek?

I've started Ancient Greek this semester, and so far its making Latin look rather like child's play :(
But greek is actually in my opinion easier than latin as the structures are less complex, and yes i know both.
 

x apatheia x

New Member
I am starting to learn Kione Greek, but that is when there is available time.


I believe the most difficult part is getting use to the alphabet.
Curiosus brings an interesting point though, that learning Japanese would be harder...
But learning and mastering any language is a grand task.


How far have any of you gotten in your study of Greek?
 

QMF

Civis Illustris
Apatheia: I strongly disagree about the alphabet point. Yes, it is most definitely an obstacle, but it is one that can be mostly overcome within about a month in my opinion. The real obstacle that stopped me in my tracks was the sheer level of complexity involved in just conjugating verbs. It's substantially more complex than it is in Latin, most definitely. It also doesn't help to have a substantially smaller number of cognates available to you.
 

x apatheia x

New Member
Mhm, my apologies.
My devotion to Greek has not been that strong, and therefore my knowledge is thin.
Though, I have found Greek shorter in forms compared to Latin.

How does the number of cognates stumble you, QMF?
 

QMF

Civis Illustris
I'd probably guess around a fourth to a fifth that of Latin, mainly based on a poster on my Latin teacher's wall that said roughly "English is 50% Latin, 13% Greek, and 37% other things."
 

Fulgor Laculus

Civis Illustris
Most people are already acquainted with the Greek alphabet to some extent, from high school mathematics for example. Its alphabet also bears many similarities to the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. Anyone studying this alphabet should acquire it within a few hours at the most. Now, if you want a really challenging alphabet, try the Arabic or the Sanskrit!
 

x apatheia x

New Member
Oh, yes those do sound fun.


Must you add Hebrew, or any logogram language?

I would like to learn ancient Hebrew, but that is a challenge for later.
 

jaffa

Civis Illustris
I have been learning Greek alongside Latin for the last few years. I must say I find Greek a lot harder, not so much the alphabet which I think is quite easily adjusted to, but the sheer number of irregular verbs. They have seriously begun to drive me crazy. I have therefore stopped Greek for the moment, just a pause for a few months, in order to concentrate more full time on the Latin. Don't worry, I will be back with the Greek later in the year.
 

Cato

Consularis
While it certainly wasn't this way in the ancient world, I think modern English speakers do far better learning Greek once they have a pretty good grounding in Latin. The Greek verb is complicated enough; breaking in with Latin--where you learn at least the nuances of tense, mood, and voice--makes learning the "extra" Greek moods and voice a little less demanding. Not to mention additional complications like the 1st & 2nd perfect, the aorist, the poetic dual...
 

Fulgor Laculus

Civis Illustris
x apatheia x dixit:
Oh, yes those do sound fun.


Must you add Hebrew, or any logogram language?

I would like to learn ancient Hebrew, but that is a challenge for later.
Actually the Hebrew alphabet is quite simplex. It resembles the Latin alphabet in the fact that every letter has a fixed, relatively simple, geometrical shape that does not change based on its location within a word. To appreciate its simplicity, contrast it with its cousin-language Arabic, whose alphabet is much more complex, having more letters, a cursive script in which the letters of a word are connected to each other, and up to 4 different shapes for every letter, depending on its location within a word. In Hebrew only 5 letters have an alternate shape (which is used when these letters appear at the end of a word).
Hebrew does have two scripts, however. The basic one is the printed script, which is used for all printed matter. The other one is the so-called 'written' script, which is commonly used on a daily basis, for example in writing a memo, making a shopping list etc. But the scripts are very similar. After one masters the printed script, comprehension and use of the 'written' script will in time come naturally with no special effort needed.
 

x apatheia x

New Member
That sounds most interesting. I have briefly looked over both Arabic and Hebrew scripts, but not fully in-depth studied them.
There is a fine book that, when there is time, I am reading. Basically it is about the evolution of our alphabet. It is called Language Visible.
Anyway, I brought that up because of how you mentioned the changes within those two languages, which I am aware of.
They are fascinating nevertheless.
 

S E Rowe

New Member
A number of years ago, while I was, at that time, into my second year studing Latin, I took two courses in Homeric Greek. I was told by the professor that learning Homeric Greek is nearly pointless unless you want to specifically read Homer or Hesiod. Yet that was the course that was offered.

I remember very little of it now (less exposure) and I never found it quite as beautiful a language as Latin or Anglo-Saxon.

My favourite semester of latin was when there were only two students in the class, myself and a woman, who was a friend of my future fiancee. Dr. Raymond Clark was the professor. Many extra tidbits of information and odd constructions you woudn't normally see came out in that course. I intended to study Vergil with him that fall, but he retired prematurely.


Steve
 
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