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Poll: Have you studied an ancient language?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

Ian Keith Jones Williams  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:32
Member
German to English
+ ...
Dead as dead can be Nov 2, 2011

I took Latin as one of my O' levels (school certificate at 16) as they told me it would be useful if I was interested in languages. As it is a dead language, it didn't interest me much. I would have preferred to study Spanish, for instance. As we used to say at school:

Latin is a language, dead as dead can be, first it killed the Romans, now it's killing me

All respect to those who love it as it helps us to understand western civilisation and languages...
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I took Latin as one of my O' levels (school certificate at 16) as they told me it would be useful if I was interested in languages. As it is a dead language, it didn't interest me much. I would have preferred to study Spanish, for instance. As we used to say at school:

Latin is a language, dead as dead can be, first it killed the Romans, now it's killing me

All respect to those who love it as it helps us to understand western civilisation and languages
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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:32
Italian to English
In memoriam
A shared language of language Nov 2, 2011

Many of my clients, particularly in publishing and journalism, did their secondary education at traditional Italian "licei classici", where the more assiduous among them acquired a good knowledge of classical grammar. This provides a very useful shared framework of reference for the discussion of linguistic cruxes and translation options in the client's language.

And of course a knowledge of classical literature and history is often helpful if you are translating from neo-Latin lang
... See more
Many of my clients, particularly in publishing and journalism, did their secondary education at traditional Italian "licei classici", where the more assiduous among them acquired a good knowledge of classical grammar. This provides a very useful shared framework of reference for the discussion of linguistic cruxes and translation options in the client's language.

And of course a knowledge of classical literature and history is often helpful if you are translating from neo-Latin languages or Modern Greek.
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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:32
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Latin and medieval variants Nov 2, 2011

I was trained to be a medievalist, so Latin, Middle High German (and variants) and Middle English were required. Latin comes in handy occassionally for paid work.
But at the moment it's priceless in my reading group. We're translating a 15thC combat manual written in Latin and Early New High German, and my ability to both decipher the 3 different scripts involved (the German is in a cursive that prefigures Suetterlin), and decode the Latin has been incredibly beneficial to determining wha
... See more
I was trained to be a medievalist, so Latin, Middle High German (and variants) and Middle English were required. Latin comes in handy occassionally for paid work.
But at the moment it's priceless in my reading group. We're translating a 15thC combat manual written in Latin and Early New High German, and my ability to both decipher the 3 different scripts involved (the German is in a cursive that prefigures Suetterlin), and decode the Latin has been incredibly beneficial to determining what the author was trying to express.
It's been a load of fun and I've been invited to a symposium to talk about the languages and the scripts!
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Brita Fiess
Germany
Local time: 15:32
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
YES!!! Nov 2, 2011

I am a graduate of "Indogermanistik" (Historical Linguistics with a main focus on Indo-European Languages), and Latin, Ancient Greek, Sanskrit as well as Old Irish, Avestan, and the Continental Celtic Languages were among the languages I studied. Although I can only refer to Latin and Ancient Greek for my translation work, I still believe that studying classical languages is of extreme value for one's understanding of how languages work.

 

Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 16:32
Member (2010)
Greek to English
Sort of... Nov 2, 2011

Like Ty, I consider my source language (Greek in my case) to be an ancient language. It is somewhat streamlined compared to the 'ancient Greek' some of you learned, but it is essentially the same language. It still uses 4 cases (the dative case has been dropped, although it survives in certain expressions) and still has a medio-passive verb form. The spelling of most words has remained constant throughout the millennia. Even where everyday words like 'horse' have changed (it was 'hippos', now 'a... See more
Like Ty, I consider my source language (Greek in my case) to be an ancient language. It is somewhat streamlined compared to the 'ancient Greek' some of you learned, but it is essentially the same language. It still uses 4 cases (the dative case has been dropped, although it survives in certain expressions) and still has a medio-passive verb form. The spelling of most words has remained constant throughout the millennia. Even where everyday words like 'horse' have changed (it was 'hippos', now 'alogo') the ancient form is still used for some purposes, especially compound words (the modern words for race-course, horse-racing and jockey all use 'hippo-').

I started learning Greek when I was 10. Did it help me? Yes, very definitely! The knowledge of complex grammar has been priceless (making all other languages, except Welsh, seem easy). Modern Greek vocabulary is so similar to ancient Greek that the meaning of medical terminology has always been quite 'obvious' to me. Knowing modern Greek spelling (which, in most cases, is the same as the ancient spelling) is very useful when trying to spell many words in UK English, and forming the plurals of words like 'crisis'.
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Patricia Charnet
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:32
English to French
yes but not to job Nov 2, 2011

studied Latin and found old French interesting too but never help me for work except a few words in Latin for Legal documents and reading church plaques and old praying books when I did some translations of old documents as for Medical documents they tend to use Greek more often

 

Hassan Lotfy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 15:32
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
yes; very useful; native speaker of an Ancient language Nov 2, 2011

My target language "Arabic" is an ancient language.

 

Eric Dos Santos
France
Local time: 15:32
Member (2010)
Italian to Portuguese
+ ...
No, but I would love to study deeply Latin... Nov 2, 2011

I have never studied Latin, except for a short while as autodidact, but I would like to study it seriously. Italian is quite near but Latin is richer and very expressive language and his knowledge can help to learn other latin languages as Spanish, Romanian etc and German, even if it's not a latin language.

 

Elena Carbonell  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:32
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, Latin and Greek Nov 2, 2011

I did three years of Latin and two years of Greek.
I remembered I hated Latin because my teachers were beyond boring, Greek on the other hand I loved. It was my favourite subject, the teacher knew how to make us love the language and the culture. His classes were always inspiring and fun.
Both Latin and Greek have helped me later in my studies. Sometimes they also help me with my work. And when I used to sing in choirs I remembered how I loved to sing in Latin. It sounds so powerfu
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I did three years of Latin and two years of Greek.
I remembered I hated Latin because my teachers were beyond boring, Greek on the other hand I loved. It was my favourite subject, the teacher knew how to make us love the language and the culture. His classes were always inspiring and fun.
Both Latin and Greek have helped me later in my studies. Sometimes they also help me with my work. And when I used to sing in choirs I remembered how I loved to sing in Latin. It sounds so powerful, so intentional, every word is meaningful. It's a beautiful language, pity I didn't enjoy it in high school.


[Edited at 2011-11-02 22:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-11-02 22:14 GMT]
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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:02
English to Tamil
+ ...
In memoriam
Yes, but then the ancient language in question happens to be my mother tongue!! Nov 3, 2011

Quite a tongue in cheek reply but then it is the truth. My mother tongue Tamil is quite ancient and there is no doubt about it.

And another happy circumstance is that I do get quite a number of jobs to translate from German/French/English into Tamil and of course a lot of Tamil to English translation assignments.

What more can one wish for?

Regards,
N. Raghavan


 

Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:32
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
yes.. a few Nov 3, 2011

7 years of Latin at school (very useful, every day), then Old High German, Middle High German and Old Church Slavonic at university. Many years later, I took some Hebrew classes, to honor my family’s past. I have found that the knowledge of earlier German language variants these days often helps me decipher / translate old genealogical scripts. Oh, and in a moment of panic I once used the glagolitic alphabet to entertain a bunch of very bored Canadian kindergarten kids.. .. and it worked... See more
7 years of Latin at school (very useful, every day), then Old High German, Middle High German and Old Church Slavonic at university. Many years later, I took some Hebrew classes, to honor my family’s past. I have found that the knowledge of earlier German language variants these days often helps me decipher / translate old genealogical scripts. Oh, and in a moment of panic I once used the glagolitic alphabet to entertain a bunch of very bored Canadian kindergarten kids.. .. and it workedCollapse


 

Leïla Fressy-Parvin  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:32
English to French
+ ...
Yes, Latin - still useful Nov 3, 2011

I studied Latin at secondary school, along with Sciences - quite unusual, there were not many of us! It gave me a strong cultural background - thanks to a wonderful teacher - and a solid basis for languages. I can still refer to Latin to help my son with his Spanish - which I unfortunately never studied.

 

JESUS L VIEITES
Local time: 15:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, OE or Anglo-Saxon Nov 3, 2011

3 years of Latin at school and 2 of ancient Greek while at school. Later, during my university studies, I did Old English, Middle English, Old High German and some Old Icelandic.

All of them are really fascinating and quite useful for my current career as a translator.

I encourage all of you who do not have had the luck to attend university lessons in ancient languages to take the step and get enroll in one of those courses for adults being run at UK universities (suppo
... See more
3 years of Latin at school and 2 of ancient Greek while at school. Later, during my university studies, I did Old English, Middle English, Old High German and some Old Icelandic.

All of them are really fascinating and quite useful for my current career as a translator.

I encourage all of you who do not have had the luck to attend university lessons in ancient languages to take the step and get enroll in one of those courses for adults being run at UK universities (suppose that in other countries, too)
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Radosveta Golden  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:32
Member (2010)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Yes, Old Latin Nov 3, 2011

Yes, I studied Old Latin, and I actually took extra classes. It is extremely helpful and useful for my work.

 

Mokan  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 15:32
English to Serbian
+ ...
Serbian freelancer Nov 3, 2011

Yes, I studied Latin which helps me a lot in my work, especially while translating medical texts. They say that in English there are 50% of words with Latin roots, not to mention French, Italian and Spanish...

 
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