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s/o Can Modern Lang Replace Latin (may need OhElizabeth help)


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I know the argument of learning Latin, but am still hesitant in doing it because I'm planning two inflection-based modern languages ( Arabic and Spanish) for my children to study grade 1-12. In addition, my children know Indonesian (our language, not-inflected and has a completely different structure from Romance language).


Here's my plan on replacing Latin:


1. Latin for logic and grammar.

--> replaced by studying two inflection-based modern languages.

(This is based on my thinking and OhElizabeth saying that inflection-based modern language will do this job).


2. Latin for broadening vocab.

--> replaced by studying the roots.


3. Reading original works in latin.

--> Not our goal.



Is there any more benefit of Latin that I miss/don't address ? What do you think ?

Edited by mom2moon2
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I think the benefits of Latin are two-fold (well, probably more, but these I'd guess to be the biggies)


1. Latin roots

2. Grammar structure that shows case and tense more explicitly than English, which can lead to a more thorough understanding of English grammar


For me, learning two modern foreign languages covered more than enough of that.


1. Spanish, or any other Latin-based language, also covers many roots (though not all, but do you ever get to "all"?) I do supplement with a roots program for good measure.


2. Spanish and German both have much more explicit tense, especially Spanish - German verbs are closer to English. German, though, is great for case (direct object, indirect object and possessive), and also for identifying subordinate clauses, as the verb position changes completely.


I know Latin also has noun declensions, but there are quite enough adjective declensions in German to keep me busy, thank you.


Also, learning a foreign language early offers benefits that Latin never will, but your dc are already bilingual, so you've got that covered.


I have no idea how Arabic is structured or if it has case declensions, but my guess is that learning three modern languages in addition to English, with one of them Latin-based and two not, will more than make up for Latin. I also have no great desire to read original works in Latin, but have very much enjoyed reading original works in the other languages I speak. Any language learned well enough will allow you to read original works in that language. (And I can actually read a good amount of French, Portuguese, Italian and Latin from knowing Spanish well - any Latin-based language will help with any of the others).

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Arabic noun declines depending on its position in a sentence, whether it's definite or non definite, etc.


The verbs are also conjugated. In short, it's a very logical and precise language. I would say it's as complex as Latin (more complex I heard).


Indonesian, in the other hand, is the easiest language in the world. No tenses, no gender, no plural. It only has prefix and suffix to make something either passive or active. Infinitive is for command, and to make an interrogative sentence, just add either ? or question words like how, what, etc. Its structure is also a bit more like Arabic (not like Romance language) and it has many Arabic words.


No wonder I had such difficult times learning English as a child. :tongue_smilie:

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Dian, I have no idea what the ultimate answer should be in your situation, but I did want to clear up what I think may be a misunderstanding about inflected languages. By inflected language, I was referring to languages that have a strong case structure where each part of speech must inflect (conjugate or decline by means of additions and subtractions) to suit it's function or meaning. Some languages are heavily inflected, for instance russian, hungarian, greek, and latin. English has only mild inflections (some pronouns that change, for instance) that are remnants of its past. In fact, the inflections of english are so mild that when hit with the concept of case structure, many people don't "get" it or get why it's necessary. Even having studied a heavily inflected language (russian), when I first met someone who approached english from that perspective grammatically and claimed english has "cases," it still surprised me, hehe! So while I don't know spanish, my understanding is it would not be considered a heavily inflected language. Also, I would suggest that, living in Texas, your dc will probably pick up spanish pretty naturally, without a lot of grammatical study. So that discounts that from the equation entirely.


Now as far as the arabic, we dabbled in that for a linguistics class I took in college, but that was SO long ago, lol. I do know it blew my mind. The comment someone else made, that arabic is a key language, a foundational language for many others in that part of the world, makes good sense to me. In that sense, it does what latin does for romance and more western languages. And arabic, from the little we did, seems quite complicated, with its rules and whatnot. So in that sense, I think it fulfills the logic/thought-building purpose of latin. However what I would caution you to consider is your own ability to IMPLEMENT the arabic study. Besides your own knowledge, do you have arabic classes or age-appropriate curriculum or something to keep it practical? I just know that ahead of you looms the days where you intend to get a lot done and don't always accomplish everything you intend. :)


So I would suggest that if you WANT them to learn arabic and if you have the RESOURCES to make it consistently happen, by all means pursue it. Further, I would suggest that you not feel compelled to do latin on top of arabic at this time. There is a limit to what is practical, and if you value arabic highly enough to teach it at this time, it should take first slot. In that sense, arabic becomes your latin and latin could be an elective they do later, say in junior high or high school. You're not saying never, just not right now.


Is that helpful at all?

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Thanks for the wisdom.


This has been my dilemma. Latin can be easy to implement because there are many open and go program, even up to higher level. And it's dead :001_smile:, so I don't need to provide my dc with Latin-speaking people so-to-speak.


Spanish can be easy too because of the amount of easy-to-use Spanish curricula in the HS market. However, none of us speak Spanish and we actually do not have easy access to Spanish-speaking people unless I pay someone to tutor my child.


Actually French is going to be better since my dh speaks French fluently. I also learned French for two years at college. (DOn't ask me anything in French though. I can't even translate my dh's French recipe book properly.) But Spanish is just more practical. MAy be I should teach French instead of Spanish ?? I love the sound of French though ... :001_smile:. I had quite a lot of French friends when I was in UK and I always loved the way French was spoken. But Spanish will benefit my dc more, right ?


Arabic -- this is part of our heritage. We both know some Arabic and I'm learning more Arabic now. There are curricula for children but mostly are for Arabic speaking children. The ones I saw for English-speaking children are not really age-appropriate. I currently use a curriculum geared for adult and can be used by 7th grader up (I think). The teacher explains everything very clearly on the DVD. But it's not suitable for younger children. May be I can use it for a fifth grader with a lot of modification including slowing down the pace and leaving some parts which require analysis. Yes, Arabic can be the hardest to teach because of the scanty resources (for children). My children can have access to Arabic-speaking people. However, unless I pay someone, then this will not happen regularly.


Any suggestion ?


It's always good to have the wisdom of Hive's mind. As I'm not always that wise.

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Thanks for the wisdom.

Actually French is going to be better since my dh speaks French fluently. I also learned French for two years at college.


Arabic -- this is part of our heritage. We both know some Arabic and I'm learning more Arabic now.



Honestly, I'd pick French and Arabic if I were you.


What made me pick the languages I did? I speak them fluently. There is no better reason to pick a language. Your dh speaks French fluently - use that resource! You both speak some Arabic and it's part of your heritage - a no-brainer, imho.


Also, on the "Spanish is more practical" front - I worked in software for 10 years, and managed software localization - what were the languages that all the software got translated into? German and FRENCH. It's probably widened since then, but in the 10 years I worked in international marketing, I pretty much never needed Spanish - but French I dealt with all the time (the Spanish was helpful in that it helped me understand the French). So, you never know. (and now I can read computer manuals in French :tongue_smilie:).


There have got to be some Arabic resources for kids out there, even if not so much in this country - have you got any relatives in Indonesia, or do you ever visit, where you could maybe pick some up there??


If you've got a good base, I'd bet you can use the "adult" curriculum from about 5th grade - I'm using a Spanish curriculum meant for much older kids with my 5th graders and it's working fine (though I'd say this is the first year I could've used it).

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