Is Latin A Waste Of Time?

#15

Postby immense » Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:44 pm

davidbanner99@ wrote:"For example, understanding a dead language could lead to discovery of a lost city. Or maybe it leads to evidence that humanity came to earth from outside the solar system."

This is surprisingly probable. The language you would study for that would be Sumerian, written in cuneiform. It has not been fully translated. The Hebrew Bible seems to have borrowed from earlier Sumerian creation stories where men were created by gods. Our very first account of a "genesis" involves gods who reproduced with homo sapien females, producing giants and freaks. The Hebrew Genesis also includes this account, blamed on fallen angels.
It's not to be ruled out there was life on a nearby planet. Personally I think modern terms such as "angels" essentially mean they originate from the heavens. Ancient peoples didn't imagine even normal flight was possible so "the heavens" had to be some mysterious, supernatural abode of gods. Yet today, we forget ancient peoples couldn't linguistically conceive of even an Apollo rocket or shuttle.
I figure ancient Rome was ahead of us in some aspects of culture such as architecture and cuisine. However, they had no electric, engines, advanced medicine or antibiotics.


My understanding is that the Hindu/Vedic texts also speak in terms that could be interpreted as early man trying to describe the gods having spacerockets, spacesuits, loudspeakers, large landing pads, genetic engineering, and nuclear war. 'Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.'

Also, it is arguable that humans have a lot of weird/unique biological characteristics, compared with the other mammals on earth.
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#16

Postby immense » Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:47 pm

davidbanner99@ wrote:I always found Latin hard too. The grammar is complex and the word order can be tricky. People I met who have this interest always tended to be interesting and eccentric.


Enjoy Donna Tartt's The Secret History, if you haven't already :-)
And Jonathan Black/ Mark Booth's The Secret History, come to mention it.
Both good books.
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#17

Postby immense » Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:53 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:
davidbanner99@ wrote:In ‘decision science’ I find it fascinating that the word decide can be traced back to Latin “de” meaning “off” and the suffix “-cide” comes from “caedere” meaning “to cut or kill”.

Think about words like homicide, genocide, pesticide. They all refer to killing. So decide is to cut off or kill the other options.

This is different than a choice, which is traced back to French and can mean to taste or try. A choice then, is reversible as the other options remain available.

How useful is knowing the above? For most people it probably isn’t very valuable, but for me it can make a significant impact. How a system is designed, to be a decision or a choice can be important.


Genuinely interesting, thank you R!

I also like recognise (re-cognise) (to know again) and educate (from e-ducare - to draw out - the idea that we are not blank slates but rather we already have intuitive understanding of many things, and a teacher's role is to skillfully draw that out of us. - and 'bring it to light' as it were.

I haven't yet cracked 'understand' -- underneath what thing are we standing??
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#18

Postby davidbanner99@ » Thu Oct 07, 2021 9:22 pm

Here's something interesting that came to me: I tried reading the story of Jonah as it's very short. It was translated from Hebrew to vulgar Latin around 380 AD. Now, the pagan Latin I was already reading was written around 60 AD. So, that's a gap of over 200 years. I noticed differences in the Latin and, to me, it's similar to the way Victorian English differs from modern English. In both cases, I figure language became simpler and more basic. Anyone who reads even a 1940s novel or watches a 1940s movie should see how English changed. I mean, "I say, old chap, could you be so kind as to convey my highest regards to the good fellow whom I saw yesterday."
Latin by 400 AD was becoming simpler. It finally got to the stage where dialects got stronger and grammar rules dropped. The result was Italian, Spanish and French - all much simpler than Latin.
The question is does social decline lead to major change in language?A lot of Latin speakers in 400 AD lacked the ability to speak like Caesar so language gradually got closer to Spanish. Shorter, more direct and less complicated.
English I think has declined, as has Russian.
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#19

Postby davidbanner99@ » Thu Oct 07, 2021 9:40 pm

immense wrote:
davidbanner99@ wrote:"For example, understanding a dead language could lead to discovery of a lost city. Or maybe it leads to evidence that humanity came to earth from outside the solar system."

This is surprisingly probable. The language you would study for that would be Sumerian, written in cuneiform. It has not been fully translated. The Hebrew Bible seems to have borrowed from earlier Sumerian creation stories where men were created by gods. Our very first account of a "genesis" involves gods who reproduced with homo sapien females, producing giants and freaks. The Hebrew Genesis also includes this account, blamed on fallen angels.
It's not to be ruled out there was life on a nearby planet. Personally I think modern terms such as "angels" essentially mean they originate from the heavens. Ancient peoples didn't imagine even normal flight was possible so "the heavens" had to be some mysterious, supernatural abode of gods. Yet today, we forget ancient peoples couldn't linguistically conceive of even an Apollo rocket or shuttle.
I figure ancient Rome was ahead of us in some aspects of culture such as architecture and cuisine. However, they had no electric, engines, advanced medicine or antibiotics.


My understanding is that the Hindu/Vedic texts also speak in terms that could be interpreted as early man trying to describe the gods having spacerockets, spacesuits, loudspeakers, large landing pads, genetic engineering, and nuclear war. 'Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.'

Also, it is arguable that humans have a lot of weird/unique biological characteristics, compared with the other mammals on earth.


Take a look at this:
(1)"In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Jerusalem Bible
(2) In the Beginning, the Shining Ones looked (down) with pleasure upon the Highland pastures and the Lowlands. Christien O Brien's alternative.

""All modern concepts of the Garden of Eden stem from a few verses in the biblical Book of Genesis, none of which is entirely free from ambiguity", begins the O'Brien analysis after a short preface and introduction. Many intelligent and well-read individuals would agree with this statement however very few can argue coherently on or near the point. The Genius of the Few stands ready to arm the most reluctant of debaters with evidence and clarity sufficient to maintain a sturdy, well-informed posture when debating the early biblical texts.

The book provides a flowing stream of references and illustrations along with bibliography and appendices to satisfy the slightest curiosity of scholar, student and weekend researcher. The principal sources for the work are:

1) Sumerian Tablets from the Library at Nippur (held at at the University of Pennsylvania and partially deciphered by George Barton in 1918);

2) Ancient documents from the Hebraic Books of Enoch (Ethiopic, Slavonic and Greek Syncelles and Akkhim framents versions); and

3) The biblical Book of Genesis (Jewish Torah, Jerusalem Bible, King James and Authorized Versions).

The chapter entitled "Eastward in Eden" looks at the Old Testament terms Elohim and YHWH and proposes an alternative interpretation of the words with all due respect to former translators. Elohim is interpreted as "the shining ones" by means of etymological origins in Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian. "
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#20

Postby immense » Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:32 am

davidbanner99@ wrote:Here's something interesting that came to me: I tried reading the story of Jonah as it's very short. It was translated from Hebrew to vulgar Latin around 380 AD. Now, the pagan Latin I was already reading was written around 60 AD. So, that's a gap of over 200 years. I noticed differences in the Latin and, to me, it's similar to the way Victorian English differs from modern English. In both cases, I figure language became simpler and more basic. Anyone who reads even a 1940s novel or watches a 1940s movie should see how English changed. I mean, "I say, old chap, could you be so kind as to convey my highest regards to the good fellow whom I saw yesterday."
Latin by 400 AD was becoming simpler. It finally got to the stage where dialects got stronger and grammar rules dropped. The result was Italian, Spanish and French - all much simpler than Latin.
The question is does social decline lead to major change in language?A lot of Latin speakers in 400 AD lacked the ability to speak like Caesar so language gradually got closer to Spanish. Shorter, more direct and less complicated.
English I think has declined, as has Russian.


Great questions. In the 20th C context, in the English-speaking large economies, since WW2 I observe a decline in the quality of written and spoken English, in step with social decline in those countries.

Especially in the early stages of social decline, the dumbing-down of language (the removal of nuance, loss of commonly understood usage and meaning, criticism and ridicule of those who use language well) encourages social decline, rather than the other way around. Wouldn't you agree?

You can argue that when people are starving and homeless in war-torn places, language simplifies even further, but it's more interesting to study the subtler, early stages of gradual decline.

Think of books like Little House on the Prairie and Jane Eyre. People lived in the countryside without electricity or modern plumbing, and yet speaking and writing the language properly was considered a necessity and a matter of grave importance to all people of consequence... and to those who wished to influence them. Valuable time was spent in educating the youth in the art of conversation and rhetoric. Clarity and accuracy in language were recognised as necessary: for commerce and science; for peace and stability; to maintain what had been achieved by previous generations; for connection to one another; and for communicating crucial abstract ideas such as morality, humility, forgiveness, honour.
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#21

Postby immense » Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:37 am

[/quote]

Take a look at this:
(1)"In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Jerusalem Bible
(2) In the Beginning, the Shining Ones looked (down) with pleasure upon the Highland pastures and the Lowlands. Christien O Brien's alternative.

""All modern concepts of the Garden of Eden stem from a few verses in the biblical Book of Genesis, none of which is entirely free from ambiguity", begins the O'Brien analysis after a short preface and introduction. Many intelligent and well-read individuals would agree with this statement however very few can argue coherently on or near the point. The Genius of the Few stands ready to arm the most reluctant of debaters with evidence and clarity sufficient to maintain a sturdy, well-informed posture when debating the early biblical texts.

The book provides a flowing stream of references and illustrations along with bibliography and appendices to satisfy the slightest curiosity of scholar, student and weekend researcher. The principal sources for the work are:

1) Sumerian Tablets from the Library at Nippur (held at at the University of Pennsylvania and partially deciphered by George Barton in 1918);

2) Ancient documents from the Hebraic Books of Enoch (Ethiopic, Slavonic and Greek Syncelles and Akkhim framents versions); and

3) The biblical Book of Genesis (Jewish Torah, Jerusalem Bible, King James and Authorized Versions).

The chapter entitled "Eastward in Eden" looks at the Old Testament terms Elohim and YHWH and proposes an alternative interpretation of the words with all due respect to former translators. Elohim is interpreted as "the shining ones" by means of etymological origins in Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian. "[/quote]

Hmn... Shining with a self-producing light, or shining in metallic spacesuits? I tend to think the former.

Thanks for the book suggestion.
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#22

Postby davidbanner99@ » Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:54 pm

"Especially in the early stages of social decline, the dumbing-down of language (the removal of nuance, loss of commonly understood usage and meaning, criticism and ridicule of those who use language well) encourages social decline, rather than the other way around. Wouldn't you agree?"

I agree. I recall TV in the 1970s was pretty decent. Only three channels but the content was good. I also recall there was a culture of learning skills and a respect for those who went to college. College classrooms were pretty busy with language and literature courses.
I have a dvd on the decline of the Roman world and it states intolerance was a major part of the fragmentation. Minorities were persecuted. The language gradually broke up into dialects and was simplified.
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#23

Postby davidbanner99@ » Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:22 pm

I think Christien O Brien really made an impact that is now not as openly discussed. His position that "Elohim" was mistranslated as "God" singular, instead of "Shining Ones" (plural) has a real basis. One clue is the sentence in Genesis that reads, "Let us make man in our own image". There was no way here to use a singular, so the Sumerian version stays as it was.
O Brien suggests God was possibly an extraterrestrial race, represented culturally as gods, or polytheism. The Sumerians were polytheistic, as were the Canaanites.

Take a look at this:


"In Gen 11:1, it says, in my new translation (The Stone Edition, Tanach, ArtScroll series),

"The whole Earth was of one language of common purpose. And it came to pass, when they migrated from the east they found a valley in the land of Shinar (Sumer) and settled there."

Later on, Yahweh saw what they were doing and said,

"Behold they are one people with one language for all... come let us (plural) descend and there confuse their language, that they should not understand each other."

In Sumerian Mythology by Samuel Noah Kramer from a tablet that was in the Ashmolean museum,

"... Harmony-tongued Sumer... To Enlil in one tongue gave speech...” a few lines later "... Changed the speech in their mouths, put contention into it, into the speech of man that had (until then) been one."

Was it Yahweh or Enlil that changed the speech of man? In this case Enlil was changed into Yahweh. "
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#24

Postby immense » Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:21 pm

Later on, Yahweh saw what they were doing and said:

"Behold they are one people with one language for all... come let us (plural) descend and there confuse their language, that they should not understand each other."


This is a divide and conquer strategy.

In addition to language / dialect, accent is another interesting manifestation of the divide and conquer strategy applied to language.

George Bernard Shaw wrote: 'It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him."

British accents/usage vary by social class and also, notably, by geography. Although the British Isles cover only a small land area, there is remarkable diversity in regional accents (beautifully illustrated in a YT video by 'Anglophenia').

Mutually intelligible accents and dialects are interesting (politically) in that they facilitate factual communication (eg for commerce) while simultaneously slowing down humanity's natural tendency toward trust, connection, loyalty, fellow-feeling, etc.

So, did the significant regional variation within England come about by accident (as many assume or are taught), or by design, in a deliberate process similar to that described in the ancient texts?

Interesting to ponder.
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#25

Postby immense » Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:02 am

davidbanner99@ wrote:"Especially in the early stages of social decline, the dumbing-down of language (the removal of nuance, loss of commonly understood usage and meaning, criticism and ridicule of those who use language well) encourages social decline, rather than the other way around. Wouldn't you agree?"

I agree. I recall TV in the 1970s was pretty decent. Only three channels but the content was good. I also recall there was a culture of learning skills and a respect for those who went to college. College classrooms were pretty busy with language and literature courses.
I have a dvd on the decline of the Roman world and it states intolerance was a major part of the fragmentation. Minorities were persecuted. The language gradually broke up into dialects and was simplified.


Well... if intolerance fragments friendships and families then, in like manner, it will fragment a society, which is a large collection of relationships. If the media, education system, entertainment, workplace culture, legal system, religious institutions etc encourage intolerance, the results are predictable. 'Divide and conquer', at work again :-)

On another note...

When you speak of Latin breaking up into dialects and becoming simplified, are you implying a loss of meaning & accuracy? (i.e., fewer nouns, fewer forms of verbs, less sophisticated grammar, few dictionaries, few books, fewer literate people, etc)
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#26

Postby immense » Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:32 am

davidbanner99@ wrote:
Take a look at this:
(1)"In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Jerusalem Bible
(2) In the Beginning, the Shining Ones looked (down) with pleasure upon the Highland pastures and the Lowlands. Christien O Brien's alternative.

""All modern concepts of the Garden of Eden stem from a few verses in the biblical Book of Genesis, none of which is entirely free from ambiguity", begins the O'Brien analysis after a short preface and introduction. Many intelligent and well-read individuals would agree with this statement however very few can argue coherently on or near the point. The Genius of the Few stands ready to arm the most reluctant of debaters with evidence and clarity sufficient to maintain a sturdy, well-informed posture when debating the early biblical texts.

The book provides a flowing stream of references and illustrations along with bibliography and appendices to satisfy the slightest curiosity of scholar, student and weekend researcher. The principal sources for the work are:

1) Sumerian Tablets from the Library at Nippur (held at at the University of Pennsylvania and partially deciphered by George Barton in 1918);

2) Ancient documents from the Hebraic Books of Enoch (Ethiopic, Slavonic and Greek Syncelles and Akkhim framents versions); and

3) The biblical Book of Genesis (Jewish Torah, Jerusalem Bible, King James and Authorized Versions).

The chapter entitled "Eastward in Eden" looks at the Old Testament terms Elohim and YHWH and proposes an alternative interpretation of the words with all due respect to former translators. Elohim is interpreted as "the shining ones" by means of etymological origins in Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian. "


The researchers I'd previously seen in this field are Arthur David Horn, Erich von Daniken, and Zacharia Sitchin. Horn's book is a nice clear read, but now out of print. Sitchin more famous. Have you looked into either of them? If yes, are you able to comment about how their findings/ assumptions would compare with O'Brien's? Thank you.
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#27

Postby davidbanner99@ » Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:59 pm

"When you speak of Latin breaking up into dialects and becoming simplified, are you implying a loss of meaning & accuracy? (i.e., fewer nouns, fewer forms of verbs, less sophisticated grammar, few dictionaries, few books, fewer literate people, etc)"

I was briefly reading The Vulgate.That is the Latin Bible, because it's considered easier. It's supposed to represent how people actually spoke in the 5th century AD. I found sentence structure a bit blocky plus a lack of clarity. I got the feeling of the gradual move towards Spanish. At some point, the cases dropped and more prepositions were used. For example, "man" in Latin could be "homo" "hominis" "hominum" and so on. In Spanish it's just "hombre".
It's a good bet later Latin on the street was a far cry from Caesar's speeches. The same thing seems to have affected English. Words like "whilst" and "whereupon" aren't normally heard. Except maybe in Harry Potter.
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#28

Postby davidbanner99@ » Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:25 pm

I figured out why I always found Latin hard. Writers tended to be vague. This had me bogged down all yesterday:

"Laetum ad mortem coegit misso a se veneno: ipse enim inter suasores Getae mortis primus fuerat, qui et primus interemptus est. Ipse mortem eius saepissime flevit."

"He forced death upon Laetus, sending him poison. He himself was first among the supporters of Geta's death, and the first to be killed. He himself frequently cried over his death."

The context is that Caracalla (emperor) had had Geta his own brother murdered so as to take power. Caracalla then set about killing all Geta's supporters and sympathisers. So, what baffled me was why did Caracalla want Laetus to take poison, when Laetus had been the first to plot Geta's murder?? The confusion arises due to the masses of "he", "his" "himself" where you have three individuals involved.

Here is how it should have been written:

Geta forced death upon Laetus, sending him poison. It was Laetus who had been the first to support Geta's death yet he himself was the first to be killed. The reason for that was his excessive grief over the murder.

It took me ages to work out the whole puzzle. Maybe the fact they wrote on scrolls led to vague accounts. Only ages later it struck me it was Laetus who had been crying so tears = regrets. However, being HFA causes me to require precise detail. I'm not that intuitive.
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#29

Postby davidbanner99@ » Mon Oct 11, 2021 9:35 pm

I knew the guy who is currently professor in Latin at Manchester. I also recall an academic who threw a party at a lovely house on campus. His main field was ancient Greece and he spoke about 13 languages.

"Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was far more than just a Hollywood superstar. The actor, who enjoyed a career spanning six decades, was an accomplished singer, an author and had enjoyed a distinguished career in the British Army. He was also a polyglot. Indeed, Lee spoke five languages fluently, plus he had an excellent understanding of three more. Such an ability undoubtedly came in useful during his time first as a special forces secret agent and then as a globe-trotting actor.

Born in London in 1922, Lee’s mother was an Italian countess. Naturally, then, he grew up bilingual. When young Christopher was still a young boy, his parents separated and he went with his mother to Switzerland. Here, he started his private schooling and picked up the French and German languages – as well as the acting bug after a starring role in a school production of Rumpelstiltskin. After a few years, he returned to England and studied the Classics, becoming adept in Greek and Latin. "
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