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Learning language through using language roots


rmel
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I've heard that some people learn languages by learning languages like Latin then studying languages that derive from that particular root. Has anyone else heard of people trying that method? If you've heard of  people using that method what root language(s) did they use? Would you think there would be any advantage to that method over just learning a language then learning closely related languages? Has anyone ever tried learning more than one closely related language at the same time (I once met a guy who was trying to learn French, Spanish and Italian at the same time as they were closely related).

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I can only imagine how time consuming that would be if you would still try to learn the roots of a particular language, considering that it is already hard and time consuming enough to learn one language fluently. I'm sure there are lots of people who are willing to do that, but it's not my cup of tea. I like to learn only the language that I'm interested in, and all the more if I can use that language for practical purposes, like getting to land a better job, for example.

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Honestly it depends on each person's strengths, but I imagine that it'd be insanely time-consuming for most of us. It's not the most natural way to learn a language, especially if you want to speak it in ordinary conversation (which I'm assuming Latin learners don't really need to do :grin:)

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And come to think of it, Latin is already extinct, right? So I don't see any point in exerting lots of effort and time to learn a language where no one speaks anymore. Unless you count the priests or other people who chant or speak Latin words, it's not practical and you can't find someone to converse Latin with in this day and age anymore.

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I have heard about this method before, but I knew such a thing could never work for me. I know myself and how I learn languages best! In my opinion this kind of method is not that good but it does for some people. Sadly I am not one of the few lucky ones who find it easier to learn languages this way.

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Learning through the use of language roots I think is an helpful tool for vocabulary building. I remember having classes on learning Greek and Latin roots when I was younger. What I gained from those lessons was the ability to know the meanings of several words by the mere use of language roots.

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I agree with a few of the posters that learning a language through language roots can be tedious and time consuming especially since learning a foreign language is already so taxing in terms of having to grasp all the different vocabulary and grammar.

It is however also a good method of learning a new language, only for someone who is advanced and obviously very passionate about that particular language they are learning.

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I don't think it's entirely necessary nor would it help much, since I'd guess that even natives often don't know these studies themselves. I ink just learning the language at present state is already good enough, especially considering that it's already very complex and challenging to learn in itself most of the time.

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I can only imagine how time consuming that would be if you would still try to learn the roots of a particular language, considering that it is already hard and time consuming enough to learn one language fluently. I'm sure there are lots of people who are willing to do that, but it's not my cup of tea. I like to learn only the language that I'm interested in, and all the more if I can use that language for practical purposes, like getting to land a better job, for example.

I can sort of see the benefit, but I'm with you on this Sidney! My interest does not extend that far, really. I just want to speak the language decently and be able to write it too. I also like to learn a bit about the background and history of the language, but nothing further than that.

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I'm also first to recognize that learning a language through study of its roots can be tedious. While it can be tedious, I still believe that it is helpful especially with English learning where most of its words had Greek and Latin origins. Knowing the meanings of roots have truly helped me understand certain words because of familiarity with the Greek/Latin origins.

But I also understand why many would think it's not helpful especially if the immediate goal is to get by with the new language.

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I am not familiar with anyone learning a new language this way and I would think of it to be more of a strain. However, the experience could be different for each person. Some may find it more confusing while others may find it an asset as they would be able to draw from one language in order to master the other.

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Learning language through use of language roots can indeed be found wanting especially if the end goal is to achieve (at the very least) simple conversational skill enough to get by or get around or to write sentences and coherent paragraphs.

I personally think that a person wanting to speak the very basics of his TL will only end up frustrated if the teacher impresses upon him to learn language through study of language roots. I don't think you can achieve basic conversational skill or writing skill if focus of study is the use of language roots. At best, in studying language roots a person will have an extensive vocabulary, but not necessarily ability to string these words into meaningful sentences.

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I do not know anyone who has ever learned a language this way. Although I could possibly see the benefit in it if you are really determined and wanted to learn multiple languages that are closely related. Such as Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish which are extremely closely related. I have spoken with numerous native's of those languages and they all say if you learn one you can pick the other ones up extremely quickly. It is not something I would ever do though because it would take a whole lot of time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a high school English teacher make me learn prefix, suffix and root words in Greek and Latin. It helped me learn a lot of different languages because the words are all so similar. It helped me learn the romance languages very quickly.

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I find it very useful as supporting method. For instance, knowing German you not only get the meaning of a lot of words in English, but also could guess which verbs are irregular and how they conjugate.

If the languages are not that close, but still from the one family, it's not that helpful, but still an interesting occupation and interesting insights do happen.

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