Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Latin textbook makes no sense

I realize that writing a new grammar for a language that has been taught for thousands of years requires a bit of confidence. It says, "The other ways in which this language is taught are not good enough, but my ideas are the bee's knees."

However, the grammar I'm using (Latin for Reading) makes no sense when it comes to listing the cases of nouns and adjectives. Instead of the standard Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Ablative, and perhaps the Vocative, this text lists them as: Nominative, Accusative, Ablative, Dative, Genitive.

So, if I memorize the paradigm for a noun using this order, I'm imagining that I'll run into problems if I continue studying Latin elsewhere and they use a different grammar. It won't be that much of an inconvenience, but it seems like such an arbitrary change that has no benefits.

3 comments:

Stephen C. Carlson said...

There's a whole thread about this at Textkit: Order of Cases.

The short answer is that the Nom Gen Dat Acc Abl is the traditional one, while the Nom Acc Gen Dat Abl, popular among German grammarians, is thought to be pedagogically more logical or easier to remember due to similarities of the endings.

Nathan said...

I assumed it was beacause students learn the cases in that order (i.e. nom, acc...)
Josh, why not make your own charts? Then you can be cool like everyone else, agricola agricolae agricolae...

Doug Chaplin said...

N (V) Acc G D Abl has long been the normal English (and AFAIK European) order of cases and N G etc exclusively American. Latin and Greek are of course European languages, so I'm sure you ought to do it our way!