Jump to content


What's with the ads?

Photo

What are your personal pros/cons for Latin?


30 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 Shred Betty

Shred Betty

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 460 posts

Posted 13 November 2016 - 01:08 PM

If anyone is willing to share reasons why amongst a menu of languages they chose to teach Latin, and alternatively if you chose to NOT teach Latin and chose a different language, why it was not chosen for you homeschool? I'd like to hear your pros/cons, thanks!

Edit: if you choose to offer multiple reasons, it'd really help me if you can point out which reason you feel is the most critical or top reason that would really help me out!

Edited by Shred Betty, 13 November 2016 - 01:39 PM.


#2 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17470 posts

Posted 13 November 2016 - 01:24 PM

Living languages allow us to communicate with living people.

That is where we focus our energies in my family.

Edited by maize, 13 November 2016 - 01:25 PM.

  • Sadie and Shred Betty like this

#3 Laura Corin

Laura Corin

    She who plants flowers for bees

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22958 posts

Posted 13 November 2016 - 01:56 PM

We did a living language when the children were small and absorbing speech and grammar very naturally.  We then added Latin as a second language for the background on English and the Romance languages, and for the challenge - neither boy was interested in maths puzzles, so the puzzle aspect of Latin grammar was excellent for them.


Edited by Laura Corin, 13 November 2016 - 01:56 PM.

  • loesje22000, mamaraby, maize and 1 other like this

#4 SusanC

SusanC

    Hive Mind Level 4 Worker: Builder Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2845 posts

Posted 13 November 2016 - 02:22 PM

Like Laura, we started young with a language I could facilitate. There are a lot of resources available, targeted at young kids. There are not, however, many curricula choices for the "later elementary beginner-and-a-half" level we arrived at by fourth grade. So, while we continued to hunt and peck different approaches to that language we started Latin.

Latin has a wide variety of basic curricula available for the whole gamut of grades. It was easy to find one that did not need a knowledgeable instructor and is secular. About four times in my life I have thought, "huh, I wish I knew a bit of Latin." That is the basic reason we have spent some time studying Latin, and after this year, my olders will have checked that box and we can stop - unless, of course, somebody secretly loves it.
  • maize and Shred Betty like this

#5 Shred Betty

Shred Betty

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 460 posts

Posted 13 November 2016 - 02:29 PM

We did a living language when the children were small and absorbing speech and grammar very naturally. We then added Latin as a second language for the background on English and the Romance languages, and for the challenge - neither boy was interested in maths puzzles, so the puzzle aspect of Latin grammar was excellent for them.


What age did you choose to make this switch? Thanks!

#6 Laura Corin

Laura Corin

    She who plants flowers for bees

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22958 posts

Posted 13 November 2016 - 03:40 PM

What age did you choose to make this switch? Thanks!


It wasn't a switch. We carried on with the living language too. Chinese started from around 5; Latin added in at around 10; French added in at around 12.
  • loesje22000, maize and Shred Betty like this

#7 SarahW

SarahW

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2160 posts

Posted 14 November 2016 - 03:10 AM

Well, our life may be unusual, but there's different factors rolled together.

 

1) There are nearly none, or exist but hard to get in America, resources for teaching kids my DH language as a second language for kids. So when we started homeschooling in America is was just a lot easier to pick up SSL and do it. DH wasn't able to teach his language on his own, so it just never happened.

 

2) I was a History major who take plenty of classes through the Classics department. Greek and Latin are two subjects I actually feel comfortable teaching, lol. Additionally, Crazypants had absolutely NO desire to learn history (sob!).  I can get him to study Greek and Latin, and he picks up history from that. (And this method is, to boot, as good as, if not better than, reading a pre-digested history text anyways).

 

3) Crazypants, bizarrely enough, has a verbal reasoning weakness. He does not pick up new vocab from context easily. He just doesn't. I have to directly instruct his vocabulary development. Latin and Greek, with its work with derivatives, are another way I can work on vocabulary. Additionally, now that he is now becoming fluent in Dutch, he has a route to study the non-Romance derived English vocab. In other words, we are studying vocab in the most roundabout way possible, lol.  

 

So, availability of curriculum, method of teaching history, and method of teaching vocab, are pros to Latin for us. Though I will say that I am also a LCC-er at heart, and I am attracted to the old purpose of learning Latin (as a tool simply to be able to read Vergil, Caesar, and the historians, and Greek for Homer). Reading an English translation simply is NOT the same. I don't understand Latin curriculums which shove these reasons into a dark corner or don't explicitly intend to take students there. I'm sure people can come up with a host of reasons, I'm just saying that I don't understand them.

 

When it comes to a Living Language, ime, these are good when there is a good evident need to communicate in that language. With peers, especially. Theoretically, if DH was less anxious and less ADHD he could have kept Crazypant's Dutch fluent when we moved to America, but it still would have been an uphill battle. The human brain is primed to dump unneeded information, and a spoken foreign language is a huge file, so to speak. Without creating an incentive for the brain NOT to try to free up disk space, progress is difficult. This is, I believe, what stands behind the "I studied German for four years, but couldn't really speak it till I went to live in Germany for 3 months" stories.

 

Since we are now living in NL, very close to Germany, I am planning that once CP's Dutch is on grade level, to introduce German to him formally until he has at least a basic level. Then do the same with French. He can then decide to continue learning them in a formal way, or just keep up a basic level with kids cartoons, or drop them till he sees a need for him to be fluent in them. 

 

We spend a LOT of time with languages, even more now the CP's in Dutch school which is basically just a language immersion camp (he learns pretty much  nothing new at school, besides Dutch, hence the heavy afterschooling load). That means we spend less time doing other things, but like I said, I'm an LCC-er at heart. I believe a "grammar school" (in the particular sense, but also applying to modern languages) will pay dividends in later studies of the subjects we are currently "skipping." (But, I should maybe note, CP is likely in the gifted intelligence range, and he will sit down with an Unsborne book and after a quick read have very good recall of nearly all the info, so I'm not really concerned about his content knowledge, and spending a lot of time on it right now would likely be redundant anyways). 


  • Shred Betty likes this

#8 Alice

Alice

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4145 posts

Posted 14 November 2016 - 09:14 AM

We do Latin. I started my oldest as a 2nd grader, because he was my oldest and I was a crazy overzealous homeschooler. He ended up really loving Latin. It's still one of his favorite subjects. He is doing Latin 1 with Lukeion now and I think (unless something changes) will have Latin be his language through high school. I'd like to see him get through AP Latin.  He also likes logic and puzzles and Math and I think Latin fits that personality. 

 

The reason I chose to do Latin other than another foreign language is that I don't speak another foreign language and Latin was much easier for me to teach. I find speaking other languages very challenging (I'm also tone deaf and I think that may be be related). I didn't feel like I could adequately teach a language that I didn't speak and I didn't think I could learn it along with them.  If we lived in another country or had a family member who wanted to speak another language with the kids or had another resource for them to learn a living language at a young age I would have done that. 

 

My current plan is to do Latin through roughly early middle school with each kid and then have them choose if they want to continue it through high school or switch to a modern foreign language. I feel like at that age they will be better able to use online resources or other resources that don't require as much direct teaching from me. 

 

Pros: 

*Reinforces English grammar and vocabulary 

*Teaches them to think critically/problem solve. 

*Is difficult...I've seen benefits to them learning to struggle with a difficult subject. 
*Lots of good resources for homeschoolers, I have found it easy to teach and then to facilitate. 

 

Cons: 

*It's a dead language. 


  • Shred Betty likes this

#9 8FillTheHeart

8FillTheHeart

    Alice or Mad Hatter or maybe a little of both

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13612 posts

Posted 14 November 2016 - 04:26 PM

Pros:

I am a believer in Latin being an excellent tool for training the mind to analyze and think logically.  It also helps in the mastery of other grammar-intense languages.

 

Cons:

It is difficult to juggle the studying of multiple languages and it does take time away from mastering another language.

 

 

 


  • loesje22000 and Shred Betty like this

#10 Spudater

Spudater

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1415 posts

Posted 14 November 2016 - 09:39 PM

We use Latin for worship so I guess you could say for us it's only "mostly dead." ;)
  • Monica_in_Switzerland, aaplank and Shred Betty like this

#11 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17470 posts

Posted 14 November 2016 - 09:46 PM

pro - is that it helps understanding foreign languages better
con - it's dead


I don't see the point of your pro--if you want to understand, say, Spanish or French, you'll make much better progress by studying Spanish or French than you will by studying Latin.
  • Sadie and Mr. G like this

#12 8FillTheHeart

8FillTheHeart

    Alice or Mad Hatter or maybe a little of both

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13612 posts

Posted 15 November 2016 - 05:00 AM

I don't see the point of your pro--if you want to understand, say, Spanish or French, you'll make much better progress by studying Spanish or French than you will by studying Latin.


That is not our experience. My dd's strength and progression in French and Russian is due to her incredibly strong grasp of how language works through her study of Latin. Russian and Latin are intensely grammar-based. Her understanding of Latin declensions and conjugations is transferable across multiple languages. French would not have equally prepared her for Russian bc French is not as declension/conjugation heavy as Latin and Russian. (Russian as her initial primary language focus might have led to the same transferable skill as Latin, but Latin at home at a younger age was definitely more accessible and didnt require mastering another alphabet.)

Anyway, our experience has definintely been that Latin does make mastering other languages easier. (Her Russian teacher definitely says on her written evaluations of Dd that her strength in her mastery of Russian is her strong grasp of grammar. Dd and I both give her Latin studies that credit.)
  • crazyforlatin, Monica_in_Switzerland and mumto2 like this

#13 regentrude

regentrude

    Qualified Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 23887 posts

Posted 15 November 2016 - 08:04 AM

We did not teach Latin (except for one year with DS, see below). The main reason is that we are accidental homeschoolers; I had to withdraw DD from ps in 6th grade with little notice, and we had to start with  a crash course in French to be prepared for school abroad where French was the second foreign language started at the beginning of 6th grade (1st foreign language being English, so that was easy). So here we were, learning French, and we continued after our return to the US.

 

It is probably correct that learning Latin makes learning other foreign languages easier. OTOH, my kids are raised bilingually with a family language (German) that is highly inflected, has declensions and conjugations, so I am not at all convinced that Latin would have added much from a grammar/analytical point of view.

My own first foreign language was Russian, which is even more strongly inflected than German, and I found grammar in French very intuitive after that. Grammar in English which I learned as my second foreign language felt very easy.

 

If I had to homeschool again from the very beginning, I would probably still not teach Latin, but focus on multiple living languages. As it is, I failed with DS who is only bilingual but did not acquire a third language. If I could go back and be a better teacher or whatever, I'd rather he speak a third living language than know Latin.

 

ETA: We did one year of Latin with DS in the middle grades - because hanging out on a classical homeschooling board made me think this was a good idea. It was of limited success and we abandoned it in favor of other subjects.


Edited by regentrude, 15 November 2016 - 08:13 AM.

  • Roadrunner, maize and Mr. G like this

#14 G5052

G5052

    Retired Homeschool Mom -- they're in college!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8956 posts

Posted 15 November 2016 - 09:15 AM

I grew up trilingual in the U.S., speaking English, German, and Spanish at home and minored in German literature in college. My German and Spanish are rusty now, although I joke around with my teens in those languages. They know some basics.

 

I started mine with Latin in middle school at a slower pace with Henle, and then we outsourced. One did through AP Latin, and the other through Latin 4.

 

My oldest then did two semesters of dual enrollment Spanish (two years of high school credit), and also self-taught himself two years of Russian. He had considered a language major in college, but is now a sophomore in accounting. I didn't have any problems juggling multiple languages.

 

My younger one is more interested in art than languages, so she did just Latin and will take Spanish in college for her liberal arts degree. 

 

For us, it was a great choice. They both did beautifully on the SAT language portion. My oldest found college Spanish to be very easy.


Edited by G5052, 15 November 2016 - 09:18 AM.


#15 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17470 posts

Posted 15 November 2016 - 09:25 AM

That is not our experience. My dd's strength and progression in French and Russian is due to her incredibly strong grasp of how language works through her study of Latin. Russian and Latin are intensely grammar-based. Her understanding of Latin declensions and conjugations is transferable across multiple languages. French would not have equally prepared her for Russian bc French is not as declension/conjugation heavy as Latin and Russian. (Russian as her initial primary language focus might have led to the same transferable skill as Latin, but Latin at home at a younger age was definitely more accessible and didnt require mastering another alphabet.)

Anyway, our experience has definintely been that Latin does make mastering other languages easier. (Her Russian teacher definitely says on her written evaluations of Dd that her strength in her mastery of Russian is her strong grasp of grammar. Dd and I both give her Latin studies that credit.)

I understand what you are saying and believe that your dd has derived a benefit from Latin. I don't believe though that it is superior to what she would have experienced studying French and Russian during the time she studied Latin. It is entirely possible to learn how a declined language works from studying Russian directly.

Yes, learning one foreign language provides background and experience that is helpful with others; that is true though of any language, not a unique benefit of Latin. Had your dd studied, say, German, prior to beginning Russian she could have developed a similar understanding of declensions--and she would have the benefits of another living language to boot.

Edited by maize, 15 November 2016 - 09:27 AM.

  • Roadrunner, Sadie and Mr. G like this

#16 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17470 posts

Posted 15 November 2016 - 09:28 AM

The abundance of Latin materials available for homeschooling families is an advantage of its own :)

#17 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17470 posts

Posted 15 November 2016 - 09:31 AM

My foreign language priorities for my kids are Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. None of those would benefit significantly from time spent on Latin (Spanish somewhat because of vocabulary cognates, but direct Spanish instruction would be more time-efficient; with the other two, the grammar is too different for Latin grammar to be of much help and there are no natural cognates.)

The kids are now clamoring for French and German and Japanese as well, but where to find the time?!?

Edited by maize, 15 November 2016 - 09:53 AM.


#18 8FillTheHeart

8FillTheHeart

    Alice or Mad Hatter or maybe a little of both

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13612 posts

Posted 15 November 2016 - 10:03 AM

I understand what you are saying and believe that your dd has derived a benefit from Latin. I don't believe though that it is superior to what she would have experienced studying French and Russian during the time she studied Latin. It is entirely possible to learn how a declined language works from studying Russian directly.

Yes, learning one foreign language provides background and experience that is helpful with others; that is true though of any language, not a unique benefit of Latin. Had your dd studied, say, German, prior to beginning Russian she could have developed a similar understanding of declensions--and she would have the benefits of another living language to boot.

 

 Russian and Latin are similar in grammatical construction.  Studying French grammar wouldn't really have helped her studying Russian. (Similar to English grammar having limited value in studying Latin grammar.  While understanding English grammar makes Latin grammar accessible bc there is a basis for understanding basic grammatical relationships, English grammar is simple compared to Latin.) Studying Latin did help French and Russian.  Russian first could have helped French equivalent to Latin.  But it is moot b/c I couldn't have taught Russian at a younger age, but I could teach Latin.  She jumped into Russian with complete understanding of how all of those grammatical structures interact.  That meant her progression through Russian grammar was pretty accelerated and starting it at a later age was not really to her detriment.

 

Anyway, those are our pros.  You don't have to agree with our experience.  The con is that it meant she had less time for studying another language bc she did spend 5 yrs on Latin.



#19 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17470 posts

Posted 15 November 2016 - 10:37 AM

 Russian and Latin are similar in grammatical construction.  Studying French grammar wouldn't really have helped her studying Russian. (Similar to English grammar having limited value in studying Latin grammar.  While understanding English grammar makes Latin grammar accessible bc there is a basis for understanding basic grammatical relationships, English grammar is simple compared to Latin.) Studying Latin did help French and Russian.  Russian first could have helped French equivalent to Latin.  But it is moot b/c I couldn't have taught Russian at a younger age, but I could teach Latin.  She jumped into Russian with complete understanding of how all of those grammatical structures interact.  That meant her progression through Russian grammar was pretty accelerated and starting it at a later age was not really to her detriment.

 

Anyway, those are our pros.  You don't have to agree with our experience.  The con is that it meant she had less time for studying another language bc she did spend 5 yrs on Latin.

 

I don't think I am disagreeing with you. 

 

Your dd spent 5 years studying one highly inflected Indo-European language; that experience helped her when she turned her focus to another highly inflected Indo-European language. 

 

What I would disagree with is the assertion made by some people within the classical education community that studying Latin has uniquely powerful benefits. Latin is just a language, not somehow superior to other languages. 

 

And there is always that cost-benefit analysis--time spent studying Latin is time  not spent studying something else. From my perspective, given the choice I would rather put that time and effort into a language that my kids will be able to use in the real world. Unless one of them becomes a classical historian or archeologist, Latin is not the best option.

 

I have run up against scarcity of resources though, especially for Arabic. Sigh.


  • madteaparty, bibiche, Sadie and 1 other like this

#20 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17470 posts

Posted 15 November 2016 - 10:42 AM

I admit that language instruction has been one of the hardest bits of home education for me. I come from a highly multilingual family; we've got people fluent in at least a dozen languages--but almost all of that language skill was achieved in an immersion environment. I haven't been able to achieve that for my kids. I've made some attempts to speak other languages at home but haven't had the mental energy to keep it up given the lack of other speakers to converse with.


  • Roadrunner likes this

#21 Monica_in_Switzerland

Monica_in_Switzerland

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3862 posts

Posted 16 November 2016 - 06:21 AM

That is not our experience. My dd's strength and progression in French and Russian is due to her incredibly strong grasp of how language works through her study of Latin. Russian and Latin are intensely grammar-based. Her understanding of Latin declensions and conjugations is transferable across multiple languages. French would not have equally prepared her for Russian bc French is not as declension/conjugation heavy as Latin and Russian. (Russian as her initial primary language focus might have led to the same transferable skill as Latin, but Latin at home at a younger age was definitely more accessible and didnt require mastering another alphabet.)

Anyway, our experience has definintely been that Latin does make mastering other languages easier. (Her Russian teacher definitely says on her written evaluations of Dd that her strength in her mastery of Russian is her strong grasp of grammar. Dd and I both give her Latin studies that credit.)

 

I strongly agree with this.  Of course you would make great progress studying French directly, but it would be a pretty shallow understanding of the language.  Add in Latin and the understanding of French goes FAR deeper than any French as a foreign language course could go.  I assume the same is true for Spanish.  And unrelated languages (like English and French) can be compared and contrasted, especially if you can get to the base language of French (Latin) to better understand some of the modern-language modifications and simplifications.  

 

My kids will study Latin, beginning in 6th I think.  We are bilingual English-French, and are requiring to start German in 4th, so we will save Latin until 6th.  We've already started roots though.  

 

Reasons:

- a help for French grammar, spelling, and conjugation

- application in the sciences and literature 

- general cultural knowledge (and this is actually very important to me)

- discipline in logic and reasoning and perseverance

 

Cons:

- TIME SUCK.  AGGGHHHH!!! 


  • loesje22000 likes this

#22 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17470 posts

Posted 16 November 2016 - 08:47 AM

I strongly agree with this. Of course you would make great progress studying French directly, but it would be a pretty shallow understanding of the language. Add in Latin and the understanding of French goes FAR deeper than any French as a foreign language course could go. I assume the same is true for Spanish. And unrelated languages (like English and French) can be compared and contrasted, especially if you can get to the base language of French (Latin) to better understand some of the modern-language modifications and simplifications.

I'm curious. Have you studied Old English? Do you feel that anyone who has not has a shallow understanding of the English language?

Same question for German and Old High German.

Do you intend to study all three root languages or just Latin?

Linguistics fascinates me, and while I do personally enjoy delving into Old English a bit, I hardly find it necessary in order to feel comfortable with modern English. I would say the same for Latin and French--exploring the connections would certainly be enriching, but not something I would prioritize unless a child had a particular interest in it.

There simply isn't time to study every fascinating connection in the world.

Edited by maize, 16 November 2016 - 09:00 AM.

  • Mr. G likes this

#23 Monica_in_Switzerland

Monica_in_Switzerland

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3862 posts

Posted 16 November 2016 - 09:32 AM

I'm curious. Have you studied Old English? Do you feel that anyone who has not has a shallow understanding of the English language?

Same question for German and Old High German.

Do you intend to study all three root languages or just Latin?

Linguistics fascinates me, and while I do personally enjoy delving into Old English a bit, I hardly find it necessary in order to feel comfortable with modern English. I would say the same for Latin and French--exploring the connections would certainly be enriching, but not something I would prioritize unless a child had a particular interest in it.

There simply isn't time to study every fascinating connection in the world.

 

Yes, I have studied old English, and yes, I do believe it gives me a deeper understanding of English.  I could have *not* studied it and still be a very literate person, but I appreciate having enough background to appreciate Tolkien's delving into old and middle English for some of his middle-Earth languages (as one example).  I can quote the first lines of Beowulf, the first lines of the Canterbury Tales, and Shakespeare, and talk about the evolution of our modern English.  I didn't major in English, but I took a lot of credit hours in English and found the history of the language fascinating. 

 

But you're right, there isn't time in the day to study everything.  I do absolutely nothing in German.  That class is entirely outsourced for my kids, between the computer, a tutor, and my DH.  I would be MUCH more interested in taking a class on the history of Indo-European languages than I would be in modern German.  :-)  Also, I would not be surprised to find my KIDS would enjoy German more after taking a history class on the language.  Often times, interests are awakened when we can orient ourselves to the subject through culture, history, or usefulness.  

 

Choosing studies for our kids is complicated.  Yes, we should certainly follow their interests, but I think a child is simply too inexperienced with the BREADTH and DEPTH of knowledge to choose for themselves most of the time.  If we arrive at high school age, at which point my kids will have had 5 years of German and 3 years of Latin... and they just aren't interested (or not AS interested and time is an issue), then we'll have to prioritize according to their future plans.  But as much as possible in elementary and middle school, I will try not to close any doors.  

 

Language is one place where sometimes, it really is just about putting in the hours of study.  Acquiring language is a long process.  High school, and even college level sciences, on the other hand, assume no background often times.  

 

It may be that I'm a snob and I want my kids to recognize Latin references when they see them.  I also want them to recognize historical references and many other foundations of Western culture.  To me, this is part of what "educated" is.  I don't say this as a STEM-hater- my degree is in physics- but when I think of well-educated, I tend to think liberal arts.  


  • SarahW likes this

#24 Monica_in_Switzerland

Monica_in_Switzerland

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3862 posts

Posted 16 November 2016 - 09:35 AM

I'll add that it's obviously perfectly legitimate for someone to place an emphasis elsewhere than languages.  If I literally HAD to choose between a living language and Latin, I'd probably pick the living language.  But I don't.  

 

It may help to know that I do identify as a classical homeschooler, at that usually means giving at least some priority to studying the classics.  



#25 wapiti

wapiti

    Apprentice Bee Keeper

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11433 posts

Posted 16 November 2016 - 11:04 AM

Latin is just a language, not somehow superior to other languages. 

 

FWIW, IMO, inflected languages are superior to non-inflected languages for the purpose of understanding grammar at a deeper level.  I think it's especially helpful for visual-spatial/big picture/context learners when the word ending explicitly indicates so much about where it fits grammatically.

 

I don't happen to know which modern languages are inflected besides Russian and German.  Latin has advantages for certain types of students in that it is largely reading and writing with less importance on speaking; I realize my opinion on that may be controversial and that for other types of students, less emphasis on speaking might be a disadvantage.  Russian would seem to be the most interesting of the three to me, though the alphabet might be an extra challenge.  I don't know anything about German.

 

I need to find out about Mandarin, if anyone knows what the grammar is like.  It will be a high school option for a couple of my kids next year.


Edited by wapiti, 16 November 2016 - 11:12 AM.


#26 SarahW

SarahW

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2160 posts

Posted 16 November 2016 - 11:07 AM

I'm curious. Have you studied Old English? Do you feel that anyone who has not has a shallow understanding of the English language?

Same question for German and Old High German.

Do you intend to study all three root languages or just Latin?

Linguistics fascinates me, and while I do personally enjoy delving into Old English a bit, I hardly find it necessary in order to feel comfortable with modern English. I would say the same for Latin and French--exploring the connections would certainly be enriching, but not something I would prioritize unless a child had a particular interest in it.

There simply isn't time to study every fascinating connection in the world.

 

 

The other day my DH came to me to ask if there was such a thing as "reconstructed" old English. What? He had a book of a text written around 1020 in England, and it obviously had the modern English on the right page, but on the left page was the original text. And he was wondering whether that original text really was really the original text, or if there was some way it was updated or something. Turned out, he was confused because he could practically read the original. And he was shocked he could read something written 1000 years ago. First, he has a hard time realizing just how stable English is (compared to Dutch, which has had massive revisions). Second, I looked over the text he was reading (just to check it really was early 11th c. English) and I realized that since DH is a native speaker of Dutch, can also read German, is fluent in English and familiar with "high" liturgical English, and had a brief stint studying Swedish - Yes, he could understand understand 11th c. English far better than I could. In fact, if he had the interest, he could start studying old English seriously and within a short time be an expert at it. 

 

So no, DH probably isn't going to spend the time becoming an expert in Pre-Norman English. But if he did, say, develop a deep interest in Anglo-Saxon Poetry, he'd get there a lot faster than I would. There are connections, and knowledge leads to knowledge. And when you're 12, you don't really know what you'll be interested in knowing when you're 40. That's all.

 

My DH's background is unique. But there is a history of pre-reqs in language study. Until recently, it was assumed that anyone studying Ancient Greek had already studied Latin, for example. Sure, modern books have largely wiped that away, but that assumption of the pre-req had some logic behind it. I have learned some languages where the introduction has some lip service to how the book doesn't assume any prior knowledge, but once you get into it, well.....like hell you'd better! Plus, you also run into the issue of resources. If you want to learn a small African language, for example, the best grammar book, with the best explanation and the most up to date vocab, may be in French. Even if you aren't terribly fluent in French, your knowledge of that African language may come faster and be more accurate if you know enough French to at least use it as a resource.

 

Language study is a time sink, for sure. But as long as you are always learning and being engaged with the world, I don't think anything learned is time wasted. Even if the pay off isn't always obvious.


  • 8FillTheHeart, Tress, Monica_in_Switzerland and 1 other like this

#27 crazyforlatin

crazyforlatin

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3779 posts

Posted 16 November 2016 - 03:19 PM

I chose Latin for DD when she was young but we were also studying Chinese and Spanish through kids' classes and picture books. I believe in the benefits of Latin, but I would never have chosen it over a living language especially since we're in an urban area where foreign language classes for kids are in abundance, and I would have been judged harshly for depriving DD of a foreign language when most kids here speak another language besides English. Latin is great when resources are limited, and I don't see it as just a language. I guess with DD studying Attic Greek as well it does take away from other studies, but she doesn't study these dead languages for any immediate benefit.

Wapiti, there's not much grammar in Mandarin or at least the grammar isn't difficult. It's not Latin. And grammar isn't the problem really. For Cantonese I think there are 7-8 tones and 4 for Mandarin. She is in one of those popular local Saturday classes, usually found in more urban areas. There are a lot of characters to memorize. And of course the student has to get the tones, but I don't think that's a problem if there is a teacher. DD has been studying Chinese at a school for about 4 years and I think she may have only memorized around 300 characters. Each year they learn perhaps 150 characters, but without regular studying or reading, it's sometimes hard to maintain it.
  • wapiti likes this

#28 lovelearnandlive

lovelearnandlive

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2937 posts

Posted 16 November 2016 - 03:31 PM

Pros:
I am a believer in Latin being an excellent tool for training the mind to analyze and think logically. It also helps in the mastery of other grammar-intense languages.

Cons:
It is difficult to juggle the studying of multiple languages and it does take time away from mastering another language.


I agree with all of this. My 7th grader is studying Latin and Chinese and my 5th grader is studying Chinese and will add Latin in a couple years. My 7th grader wants to study a third language in high school.

#29 maize

maize

    Maizgyver

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 17470 posts

Posted 16 November 2016 - 04:31 PM

FWIW, IMO, inflected languages are superior to non-inflected languages for the purpose of understanding grammar at a deeper level. I think it's especially helpful for visual-spatial/big picture/context learners when the word ending explicitly indicates so much about where it fits grammatically.

I don't happen to know which modern languages are inflected besides Russian and German. Latin has advantages for certain types of students in that it is largely reading and writing with less importance on speaking; I realize my opinion on that may be controversial and that for other types of students, less emphasis on speaking might be a disadvantage. Russian would seem to be the most interesting of the three to me, though the alphabet might be an extra challenge. I don't know anything about German.

I need to find out about Mandarin, if anyone knows what the grammar is like. It will be a high school option for a couple of my kids next year.


Here's a overview of Chinese grammar. It has very little in common with any Indo-European language.


https://en.m.wikiped...Chinese_grammar
  • wapiti likes this

#30 drjuliadc

drjuliadc

    Hive Mind Worker Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 93 posts

Posted 17 November 2016 - 11:43 AM

I wondered these things about Latin.  I was surprised how long I lurked on this board and still didn't know WHY to do Latin, other than the fact that my mother told me to.  She is dead now so I can't ask her why.

 

Brillkids Little Reader, which I have loved for English as a first language, has Arabic, which I haven't used.  Our nanny speaks Arabic as a first language and I still don't have the guts for it.

 

My trick to doing Brillkids is to start it young enough that the child is still in a highchair and show it to them while they are eating.

 

I could not be more enthusiastic about Brillkids.



#31 madteaparty

madteaparty

    Hive Mind Worker Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3973 posts

Posted 18 November 2016 - 06:31 AM

I'm in the "just another language" camp. Removing the accent issue makes it more accessible. I don't think there's any sort of incremental Latin magic dust (except that if you would not study a language at all, and you study Latin because it is accessible, then of course there's the advantage of just studying *a* language).I speak Italian (very close to Latin as I understand) and it has helped me tremendously with DS's French study. If I spoke French better then it would help me study Italian, or Latin I imagine.
  • maize and Mr. G like this