Latin: Easier than Spanish?

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JLanguage

Senior Member
USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
Is Spanish easier than Latin? I am considering switching from studying Latin at school to Spanish. Latin is a very difficult language, and it is not nearly as useful as Spanish in the US. I'm not exactly sure why I decided to take it in the first place.

Thanks,
-Jonathan.
 
  • moira

    Senior Member
    spanish, catalan (Spain)
    It depends on you, but I don't think latin is very useful nowadays (unless you are thinking to move to the Vatican). I studied latin at school and I found it very difficult too.
     

    JLanguage

    Senior Member
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    ecce consentis tu, latinus difficillumus est

    EDIT: This is actually the first sentence that I have ever written in Latin. I suppose that's one of the reasons I'm dissatisfied. We never write Latin, never speak it, and rarely read it aloud. I feel my teacher has not put enough stress on proper Latin pronunciation.
     

    garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    It's many years since I did Latin at school (feels like about 200) but I remember how much effort was involved, even though languages were fairly easy for me. Not only did the verbs have dozens of different endings, the nouns did too! Out of the 5 languages I've studied (Spanish, French, Russian, Latin, English), Spanish is far and away the easiest.
     

    JLanguage

    Senior Member
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    garryknight said:
    It's many years since I did Latin at school (feels like about 200) but I remember how much effort was involved, even though languages were fairly easy for me. Not only did the verbs have dozens of different endings, the nouns did too! Out of the 5 languages I've studied (Spanish, French, Russian, Latin, English), Spanish is far and away the easiest.
    I've heard Spanish is a pretty easy language to learn. I knew virtually nothing about Latin linguistics-wise when I signed up to take the class. If I had bothered to do my research I would've read about it's heavy use of inflection. It's hard to remember all those different endings. This is one of those many times I wish that I had an eidetic memory.
     

    garryknight

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    JLanguage said:
    It's hard to remember all those different endings.
    Usually the only time a Spanish noun changes its ending is when you pluralise it. Otherwise, they tend to end in -o, or -a, or something else. But you only have to learn one form and a couple of rules about how to make them plural.

    The endings for Spanish verbs are much more regular than in any other language I've studied. The future-tense and conditional-tense endings are the same for all but a handful of verbs. For other tenses, almost all verbs follow one of two 'tracks': verbs that end in -ar and verbs that don't. The endings for each 'track' are regular for every verb, although there are a handful of them (mostly the same handful as for future and conditional) that are different. The endings for person (I, you, he/she/it, etc) follow very regular patterns; the preterite is the only tense for which you have to learn a different set of endings for each person. Many verbs undergo stem changes when the stem is stressed rather than the ending, but these also follow very regular rules. In my opinion, you can learn how to conjugate pretty much any verb in just a few hours of reading/listening and practice.

    The grammar takes time to learn, but I don't think it's any worse than for any other Romance language; in fact, the flexibility of the word order makes it easier. The things that take a while to learn are idiom, metaphor, proverbs, and so on. But then that's true of any language.
     

    LadyBlakeney

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I studied a little Latin in high school (then I chose the scientific-technologic option of the academic system), but I never mastered it, especially because our teacher focused in teaching us classic culture and history, mithology and ethimology (the latter, in order to learn how to infer the meaning of a Spanish word by looking at its Latin/Greek roots). I found all that knowledge much more useful than the declinations. Nonetheless, I wish I could quote some famous Latin speeches and texts, I would look cleverer than I am. ;)

    Totus tuus.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    JLanguage said:
    Is Spanish easier than Latin? I am considering switching from studying Latin at school to Spanish. Latin is a very difficult language, and it is not nearly as useful as Spanish in the US. I'm not exactly sure why I decided to take it in the first place.
    Spanish is a living language, spoken in many countries around the world today, and there are many Spanish-speaking immigrants in the U.S. It's one of the languages of the future.

    As for difficulty, I usually believe that each language has its own difficult points. However, I think you'll find that Spanish grammar is in many ways more similar to English grammar than Latin grammar.

    So, unless you have some special reason to study ancient languages, go ahead and switch to Spanish. It will open many more doors to you than Latin.
     
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