https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristianofPeace

Tips for learning ancient languages?

Does anyone have any tips for learning ancient languages? Is it really possible to be fluent in languages like these?

Biblical Hebrew

Biblical Greek

Latin

Aramaic etc

March 12, 2017

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristianofPeace

Thanks for all the links. Very helpful.

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/E.T.Gregor

Depends a bit on what you mean by fluent. Being able to fluently read ancient languages is absolutely possible, many people have done it. Becoming a fluent speaker is a bit of a different matter. This is partially because you have so few opportunities to practise, but also because most language learning material is aimed only at understanding and translating written texts. Active knowledge of the language (i.e. speaking, writing) isn't the goal of most people learning these languages. It is still definitely possible (f.ex. I know three people who were fluent in Classical Latin when we were in High school together), but I think it will take more dedication on your part.

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristianofPeace

I mainly mean reading. Thanks for this.

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Loyoshe

http://lexicity.com/ has resources for learning Aramaic, Latin, and Hebrew, although I'm not sure if it's biblical Hebrew. And it has many other super cool ancient languages besides. Go wild.

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristianofPeace

Thank you very much

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/slogger

Great questions. Please accept a dozen lingots.

Specifically for reading (as you clarified for E.T.Gregor) it is definitely possible, and people have become quite competent at writing and (less frequently) speaking as well. Here are a few discussions in English of method by two different people, who both recommend much the same thing:

They both recommend Hans ├śrberg's Lingua Latina per se illustrata for Latin, to start with, which teaches completely in Latin from the beginning, and one of the two also mentions the Assimil Lingua Latina sine molestia audio course (from the 1960's and lately re-issued w/ different recordings). You can hear and read the first chapter of ├śrberg's book here, read by the author. They recommend, following that, "extensive reading" to gain fluency.

Note, however, that both of these people did not use LLpsi to learn Latin but instead began w/ a traditional primer, such as those recommended by JohnWycliffe, and then went on to practice extensive reading, so beginning more traditionally also can work out just fine.

There are dozens of examples of fluent Latin on Youtube, such as the ones given by JensBu. There are also "newscasts" in Latin from Finland and Germany (look under "Service" and "Archivum"), as well as an online "newspaper" from Poland.

Here, see my comment, is an earlier discussion on this subj. for Latin. There are many other, w/ slightly varying suggestions, such as this one or this other one.

(You may want to learn Latin first, as that will then unlock all the "primers"/introductions for the other languages, to be found among google books and archive.org, that were written in the last 500 years or so. ;))

As you can see, there are plenty of people interested in the subj., so don't hesitate to ask questions.

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HK-FTW

I don't know about Biblical Hebrew or Greek, but Latin and Amharic already have lessons on the Duolingo forum by volunteer users

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeviPolasak

Aramaic isn't Amharic, they're totally different. It's like Chinese with English

March 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PolyglotCiro

LOL, but their names are similar, ain't they? XD

March 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristianofPeace

I'll look out for them. Thanks!

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JensBu

If you learn the language like a modern language it is possible to speak it fluently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVBN0_UOL6I this for example. There are a lot more people who speak Latin than people who speak the other languages.

Here on Duolingo you find people who speak Old English fluently.

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SporadicAspirant

Here on Duolingo you find people who speak Old English fluently.

Although, don't just blithely take their word for it. I came across one person who claimed to speak it fluently, but the one simple sentence they had written had mistakes in declension, conjugation, and word choice.

This is not to say that there aren't others who actually can speak it well. Just a caution that some exist who make that claim erroneously or intentionally falsely.

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JensBu

You're right. I meant the two who speak it on YouTube. I don't know any others here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvgYLAKpU5g for example. However, I don't know how well and how much they really speak. They also teach it.

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristianofPeace

Thanks!

March 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsakNygren1

Check out Memrise. I have used that website YouTube and I study Biblical Hebrew and have studied Koine Greek (Biblical Greek) on college level.

March 12, 2017
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