quarta-feira, 18 de junho de 2008

Learning Latin in Order to Learning More English

When someone wants to learn another language it is important in the first place, to understand lots of additional aspects of this new language. Acquiring a new language is a long process of new discovering and closer contact with a different human tradition. As Hjelmslev (1975) has written: “language is the instrument through which man models his thinking, feelings, emotions, his efforts, his desires and acts…” So the questions about a new idiom are beyond vocabulary or accents, there are lots of civilization features in the background of a new idiom.

In addition, the modern languages come from a long tradition of other languages not current any more. Some good examples could be English or principally the Neo Latin languages like Portuguese, French, Italian, etc. Lots of vocabulary, grammar and syntax characteristics of these new languages come from Latin. So it is very important to understand Latin and its implications to the modern languages.

But Latin is not an easy language, it is not for children, you have to be patient and your understanding and vocabulary come slowly.

The first great impact you have during the first lessons are the nouns declensions, that we do not have in a modern language like English. Declension system sends you to another language world because you have to use the nouns almost like verbs! And worst of all, you have to decline these nouns considering their syntax function.

Neo-Latin (modern languages), as we have already cited, more frequently than English language we are used to conjugating verbs for each person and each tense. In Latin, something similar is made with nouns, but in Latin this noun declension is concerned directly with the meaning of the sentence. So those grammar lessons of syntactic analysis you would like to have forgotten forever you will be needed for you to remember the function of the word (gender of the word). Latin has three genders: masculine, feminine and neutral.

In Latin Declension system we have six cases to define each syntax function: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, ablative and vocative. Each case represents a different syntactic function of the word in the sentence. As things are not too easy, you also have five different declensions related to the end of the word and its gender

You have to memorize each function and each case, each declension and each gender of each word. It is not simple, it is similar to making gymnastics with your brain. Your head muscles will be strong as Sylvester Stallone’s muscles. This is really a very good way to reinforce your illation capacity.

After you understood the cases and verbs conjugations and all this knowledge is well fixed in your mind you can start reading and if you also take care with the different pronunciation of this old language, you are able to speak and listen. Latin has different vowel lengths; they can be short or long. But there is a simple rule for accentuation: there is no oxytone in words with more than one syllable.

After all, if you are still alive, you can start understanding the applications of this complex world of Latin in the English language, like the genitive case that remains in modern English to indicate the possession or, for instance, the use of pronouns where we say: ‘I like beer’, not ‘me like beer’; ‘she loves me’, not ‘her loves I’, and something like that.

Last but no least, it is good to understand Latin prior to English, because in ancient Britain (during the Romans occupation) it was the official language, believe it or not.


JONES, P. V.; SIDWELL K. C. Reading Latin – Cambridge University Press.

FIORIN, J. L. Introdução à Lingüística – II Princípios de análise – Contexto, 2003.

terça-feira, 17 de junho de 2008

Proverbs and Sayings in Europe

This page is interesting because shows us that most proverbs that exists cames from Latin for example “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” has its roots in the Latin phrase “Ad praesens ova cras pullis sunt meliora” or “Still waters run deep” in the Latin one “Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi”.
At the end of this page it is possible to find other sites related to the theme of proverbs.


The Influence of the Study of Latin on the Student's Knowledge of English Grammar

This article was written by Cyrus Lauron Hooper a Chicago Teacher College. The text talks about how important is
The professor started his text telling us "It has always been maintained that the study of Latin has a marked influence on the student´s knowledge of English grammar, and incidentally on his skill in composition..." He gives classes to people who had already studied Latin during four years, three year, two years, one year or none at all. And he can see the difference between all of them.


Understanding English Grammar

This site refers to language as a cognitive procces in our brains that accumulate a store of words and rules in order to use them through the life.
It intends to explain the relationship between Latin and English Grammar (EG) as since EG is based on a more or less imitative recapitulation of Classical Latin Grammar. There are differences obviusly but the origin of EG came from the Latin.


sábado, 14 de junho de 2008

grafic I

This grafis shows us the languages that had ifluenced the English and it division: Old English, Middle English and Modern English.

What are the origins of the English Language?

This page brings briefly the origins of the English


sexta-feira, 13 de junho de 2008

Latin Words and Phrases in English

This page brings a lot of words in Latin and where it is used - educational phrases, legal phrases, used in writing, math, science and logic, medical words and phrases... As it is possible to see, we can use Latin words in different occasion.