Saturday, December 11, 2021

Wanna Learn Latin?

Holy eggnog, not another post about Latin! In teaching yourself Latin, one of your best resources is this one. 

Of course, right off the bat you have to make a very important decision. Shall I use the classical or the ecclesiastical pronunciation? The ecclesiastical is probably the more authentic as it is still spoken by many. Latin is most certainly not a dead language. Listening to the Bible being read in Latin is probably the best single thing you can do if you want to attain a good pronunciation of the language. Simply go to Latin Audio Bible and have at it. 

Of course, you don't have to study Latin -- unless you want to study textual criticism or want to read the early church fathers in the original language or want a leg up when you begin to study a Romance language like Spanish or want to master English grammar or are going into medicine or desire to understand Sephiroth's theme. I suppose you could even use Latin to talk to the Swiss guards at the Vatican Library. (Actually, when I was there, they preferred Swiss German.) 

I personally study Latin because I want to dabble in the Latin versions of the New Testament and the writings of the fathers, especially when the latter comment on such things as the origins of the Gospels or the authorship of certain books of the New Testament. I also think that learning Latin can help us learn English vocabulary, but then again, I'm no English teacher. I have kept up my reading of Latin for many years now. Sure, it takes a lot of practice to achieve language fluency, but if you are willing to work you can make it happen. 

When I got to Basel in 1980 I was expected to know Latin and, in fact, when I graduated with my doctorate three years later I had to swear my doctoral oath in Latin during my graduation ceremony. And, as you have probably noticed, listening to sacred music in Latin is one of my favorite hobbies. 

So much more could be said. But I hope I've whetted your appetite to at least explore the study of Latin.