Modern Languages for Classicists

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turbotimo
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#1
Report Thread starter 11 months ago
#1
Hey everyone,

I'm going to be doing a master's program in Classics next year. I studied Latin, Ancient Greek, and German in undergrad. I'm hoping to start studying either French or Italian in the months leading up to my master's program.

I've heard that French is generally more useful if you work on the Greek side of things, while Italian is more useful on the Latin side of things. Is there anything to this?

I'm most interested in later Roman history and Latin texts. I also learned some Italian in elementary school (though I've forgotten nearly all of it). Because of all this, I'm leaning towards Italian. I'm open to any advice, however.

Many thanks!
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tinygirl96
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#2
Report 10 months ago
#2
Pros and cons of each
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studygirl388
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#3
Report 10 months ago
#3
Not sure about the vague answer above?

Latin and Italian are similar because Italian is a neo-Latin language, but so is French. I'd say overall though, you may find learning Italian easier than learning French due to your experience with Latin. There are many lexical cognates and similarities. Aside from Romanian, Italian is found to be the closest to Latin in terms of phonology, inflection, syntax, vocabulary, and intonation.

I am a speaker of French and have also studied Greek in the past. They are both Indo-European languages so there are some similarities, but obviously they have an entirely different alphabet. And the similarities that are present, aren't really there in abundance. I've not really found that knowing vocabulary in one has helped with the other.

Given your interests in Roman history etc., I'd pick Italian.
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turbotimo
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#4
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#4
(Original post by studygirl388)
Not sure about the vague answer above?

Latin and Italian are similar because Italian is a neo-Latin language, but so is French. I'd say overall though, you may find learning Italian easier than learning French due to your experience with Latin. There are many lexical cognates and similarities. Aside from Romanian, Italian is found to be the closest to Latin in terms of phonology, inflection, syntax, vocabulary, and intonation.

I am a speaker of French and have also studied Greek in the past. They are both Indo-European languages so there are some similarities, but obviously they have an entirely different alphabet. And the similarities that are present, aren't really there in abundance. I've not really found that knowing vocabulary in one has helped with the other.

Given your interests in Roman history etc., I'd pick Italian.
Hey! Haha, yeah.

I definitely take your point about Italian being easier to pick up for someone who knows Latin.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear: I've heard French-language scholarship is more useful to Hellenists while Italian-language scholarship is more useful to Latinists. Just to clarify, at the end of your post, are you saying it's more useful to be able to read Italian if you're working on Roman history?

Thanks for taking the time to answer!
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turbotimo
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#5
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#5
(Original post by turbotimo)
Hey! Haha, yeah.

I definitely take your point about Italian being easier to pick up for someone who knows Latin.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear: I've heard French-language scholarship is more useful to Hellenists while Italian-language scholarship is more useful to Latinists. Just to clarify, at the end of your post, are you saying it's more useful to be able to read Italian if you're working on Roman history?

Thanks for taking the time to answer!
And by useful, I mean there's more secondary scholarship (in French for Hellenists; in Italian for Latinists) both in terms of quantity and importance.
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turbotimo
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#6
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#6
(Original post by turbotimo)
And by useful, I mean there's more secondary scholarship (in French for Hellenists; in Italian for Latinists) both in terms of quantity and importance.
*sources 😅
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studygirl388
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#7
Report 10 months ago
#7
(Original post by turbotimo)
Hey! Haha, yeah.

I definitely take your point about Italian being easier to pick up for someone who knows Latin.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear: I've heard French-language scholarship is more useful to Hellenists while Italian-language scholarship is more useful to Latinists. Just to clarify, at the end of your post, are you saying it's more useful to be able to read Italian if you're working on Roman history?

Thanks for taking the time to answer!
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't clarify that I don't have specific experience with Classics studies. I just saw that you had no real reply so I thought I'd give more of a linguistic perspective (that's my specialty, not Classics haha).

So I'm not entirely sure whether Italian would be more beneficial to you whilst dealing with Roman historical texts. I can't really give an opinion on that. But from a linguistic point of view and what you've already mentioned, it sounds as though Italian is a good choice.

Sorry if this wasn't much help!
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turbotimo
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#8
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#8
(Original post by studygirl388)
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't clarify that I don't have specific experience with Classics studies. I just saw that you had no real reply so I thought I'd give more of a linguistic perspective (that's my specialty, not Classics haha).

So I'm not entirely sure whether Italian would be more beneficial to you whilst dealing with Roman historical texts. I can't really give an opinion on that. But from a linguistic point of view and what you've already mentioned, it sounds as though Italian is a good choice.

Sorry if this wasn't much help!
Haha, no problem. Thanks for the suggestion! I really appreciate it.
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