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A little bit of grammar
#31  hollowpoint 04-24-2019, 11:54 AM
Quote Pulpmeister
When I was a schoolboy, a long time ago, I was taught some grammar.
Nice post, enjoyed reading it. Your views on each of the grammar examples sound similar to those held by Steven Pinker. Especially in his recent book, Sense of Style. I was prepared to have an internal dialogue with Pinker but surprisingly found myself agreeing with him again and again throughout that book.
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#32  hollowpoint 04-24-2019, 11:59 AM
Quote DiapDealer
I always thought the church Latin was what was considered "vulgar" Latin? I know I always had difficulty switching from classical Latin studies (long, long ago) to the singing of songs in Latin. The former was "waynee, weedy, weeky" while the latter was "vaynee, veedy, veechy."
Vulgar and Medieval or Church Latin are not exactly the same thing. Vulgar Latin co-existed with classical Latin. Not that it matters much at this point. The good news is the Medieval Latin is readable by a classical Latin reader if, as has been said, you can understand or at least find a lexicon to help with the specialized terminology around theology, church organization, philosophy, law, and science.
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#33  evanhson357 04-26-2019, 05:44 AM
Trying to make sense of what the so called experts say can be really frustrating.
Posts like this are a good reminder that I'm not going mad.
I wonder how many of the so called experts online have ever even written a book.
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#34  gmw 04-26-2019, 12:17 PM
Quote evanhson357
Trying to make sense of what the so called experts say can be really frustrating.
Posts like this are a good reminder that I'm not going mad.
I wonder how many of the so called experts online have ever even written a book.
Rather more than might seem credible, I suspect. It seems to me that the majority of online advice comes from writers.

I think the reason is that writers obsess. It's what we do; writing wouldn't happen if we did not obsess about ... everything. So, because we spend so much time thinking about writing, many also spend an inordinate amount of time writing about writing, much of which ends up splashed around the 'net. Regrettably, we writers also tend to be an excessively introspective and self-obsessive bunch, so our writing about writing doesn't always take in the wider perspective, and it seems that sometimes we end up going rather more boldly than we have the knowledge to justify where others have made a similar sort of mess before. (That really didn't have a Star Trek sort of ring to it, did it? )
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#35  hollowpoint 04-27-2019, 03:51 PM
Quote HarryT
Except, of course, that it didn't . Spoken Latin is alive and well today [...]
A nit: Totally get the point--spoken Latin is still used--but not sure I'd describe spoken Latin as alive and well. Among the several hundred residents of Vatican City, apart from official Vatican business where the spoken language is required to be Latin, I wouldn't expect they'd speak Latin as their primary, spoken language of choice during daily life. They probably speak mostly Italian, English, or other preferred languages from their homelands, and use Latin when required to do so in an official context. For example, a ceremony affiliated with the Holy See. I'd describe spoken Latin as dead or at least on life support: it's not growing in usage that I can see beyond the tiny group of people who use it in official church settings, and no group of people I'm aware of uses it as their spoken language of choice.

None of that is a putdown to Latin. The language is amazing, and we are all beneficiaries of the linguistic legacy it has left us. And that brings me back to the subject of grammar. I agree that the huge influence of Latin on English, led scholars from earlier times to develop Latinized grammar rules for English, some of which were a terrible fit. This is another thing that Pinker touches on in Sense of Style.
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#36  Sarmat89 04-27-2019, 09:40 PM
Quote HarryT
The people who always struggle on language courses are those who are not equipped with the vocabulary to understand how their own language "works"
How exactly is that supposed to help? Even such basic terms like 'noun' or 'verb' means different things in Latin and English, like similar only in name. When we go outside of the IE family, the Latin grammar terminology more hinders then helps.
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#37  HarryT 04-28-2019, 02:55 AM
Quote Sarmat89
How exactly is that supposed to help? Even such basic terms like 'noun' or 'verb' means different things in Latin and English, like similar only in name. When we go outside of the IE family, the Latin grammar terminology more hinders then helps.
It helps because these are the technical terms used to talk about language, even non-IE languages. I study ancient Egyptian, for example, and all Egyptian grammar books use terms like "noun", "verb", "participle", etc, even though ancient Egyptian, like modern Arabic, is not an IE language.
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