Books, dictionaries and texts

Most texts and materials on this site have to do with the Latin language, including its perception in popular culture: movies, tattoos, inscriptions, engravings, bits of ancient philosophy, online Latin resources and company names. There is also information about learning Latin and Greek: textbooks, dictionaries, DVDs and software that can be used in a homeschooling environment.


Latin and Greek Courses by Assimil (the "sans peine" series) -- a review

 
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 16:37 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Ancient Greek Language, Learn Latin Language, Reviews
Posted by Administrator
Got a chance to have a look at these:

Assimil - Le Latin Sans Peine
Assimil - Le Grec Ancien Sans Peine

One needs to realize that the Greek and Latin courses are strikingly different. I believe, the Latin one is older. It resembles other Assimil courses designed for modern languages. Le Latin Sans Peine operates under a whimsical assumption that a somewhere a country exists where one frequently hears conversations such as this:

- Quanti costat locusta?
- Decem francis!
- Nimio constat.

If you happen to concur with the writers of this textbook, and also happen to know where knowledge of this kind of Latin might serve you well, good luck and bon voyage. Even as the course progresses you do not see much in terms of real Classical Latin that you perhaps wish to read one day. This is the same problem that exists the Rosetta Stone Latin course exhibits. At least in Assimil there is enough wit and solid grammar.

The Greek Assimil course is more in tune with the needs of Classical education. The audio tracks sound almost eerily authentic. I am no expert, but it sure seems that if you want to learn Attic pronunciation this is one of the best ways to do it.

As far as I know, these two courses are not available in English. It would be great to see them translated, especially the Greek one. And even if you don't know French, but are serious about learning Ancient Greek listening to the audio tracks would probably be most beneficial.

See also: Rosetta Stone review

Latin course online - paid for by the British government!

 
That's right! A simple course, good enough for a beginner is available at the website of the National Archives:

The tutorial covers the period between 1086 and 1733, when Latin was the official language of documents written in England.

Knowing Latin will help you to read documents from this period. After 1733, official documents were written in English.

No previous knowledge of Latin is required.


Their mission is pretty clear and laudable. What makes these efforts special, they are aimed to teach Medieval Latin, which is somewhat rare, even though the demand for such courses is quite high, I believe. You can find a good number of quality textbooks online that cover Classical Latin, but for Medieval Latin there are only a few books that you probably have to buy. I particularly enjoy, as I have made it clear, the government involvement in this project.

Latin Course online (Beginner's Level)

Latin Course online (Advanced Level)


Latin vs. Sanskrit

 
Monday, February 18, 2008, 14:22 - Books, dictionaries and texts, World History: Ancient, Medieval & Modern, Learn Latin Language
Posted by Administrator
Interesting article:

http://info.anu.edu.au/mac/Newsletters_ ... nscrit.asp

Iíve seen a figure of 1.4 million Sanskrit manuscripts currently in existence. For Classical Greek and Latin combined, there are 30,000 manuscripts. This is Sanskritís monument, that vast scope of surviving, hand-written documents sitting in peopleís libraries and temples. The size of the corpus is absolutely enormous. And the breadth of material boggles the imagination. Everyone knows the Kama Sutra, for example, which is a manual on sexual technique. But there are also texts on elephant-raising, architecture, astrology, medicine, grammar, spiritual traditions, geography Ė the vast scope of subjects covered by Sanskrit documents is amazing.

An elderly Sanskrit scholar, who had spent 50 years studying the language, was once asked what it was like to have spent so long on the subject. He replied, ďSanskrit is a boundless ocean, and I am still standing on the shoreĒ. There is no such thing as finishing Sanskrit. You donít have to worry about getting anywhere. You should always look behind you and get your satisfaction from what youíve done, because itís a journey without an end.

What is its future?

I am the only person, possibly in the world, who truly believes that Sanskrit is the language of the future. We canít easily read Shakespeare without a glossary. Thereís no way you can read Chaucer without a glossary because English is changing so quickly. But I can pick up a Sanskrit document written in the last 2,000 years and make a good fist of it. It hasnít changed. In 1,000 years time, Sanskrit will still be the same, but every other language will have changed beyond in recognition.


How fortuitous! I was just thinking about picking up another book on elephant raising! Seriously, I have deep respect for Sanskrit literature, but my allegiance forever lies with Latin. I also know a few people who are convinced that Latin is the language of the future, of which I am highly doubtful. There is also a small discrepancy in saying that Sanskrit is a boundless ocean (and even an elderly scholar feels like he is only standing on its shore) and proclaiming that Sanskrit has not changed and one can easily understand ancient texts. True, it must have been better codified early on, but Classical Latin ain't changing either. Besides, if you know Classical Latin you can read with ease many medieval texts. Anyway, I just don't see the point in saying that a certain language is so much better and more important than others. Those other languages are equally important linguistically (kudos to Mr. Chomsky!) and may have produced great literatures, even if the people who wrote in those languages did not have much to say about elephant raising!

Is it possible to learn Latin language using an audio course?

 
Sunday, February 17, 2008, 14:33 - Books, dictionaries and texts, Learn Latin Language, Reviews
Posted by Administrator
Well, that depends on the course. There are a few options that one can very easily research on Amazon or wherever, but almost all of these audio courses must be used in conjunction with a textbook. I may write about these courses one day. However, it is not so widely known that the absolute best and most complete Latin language textbook exists on CD:

Latin: an intensive course /
Moreland, Floyd L.
University of California Press, 1990
RFB&D Product#: DT-HA037


RFB&D stands for "Recording for Blind & Dyslexic"

You need to be registered with RFB&D in order to order this book, but this must be a possibility, especially if you indeed are vision-impaired or dyslexic. Once again, this is simply the best Latin course that exists, in my opinion. I would not mind having a copy on CD. The grammar summary in the back of the book is truly superb.

http://www.rfbd.org/

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