Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 470s

478: Learn Latin by Peter Jones

DDC_478

478.2421: Jones, Peter. Learn Latin: A Lively Introduction to Reading the Language. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1997. 169 pp. ISBN 0-7607-0842-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 400: Language
  • 470: Italic and Latin languages
  • 478: Classical Latin usage
  • 478.2: Structural approach to the classical Latin usage
  • 478.24: For persons whose native language is different
  • +21: For persons whose native language is English

Latin is by default an odd language. No speaks it anymore, but knowing it is considered a sign of erudition, and the countless books for learning Latin out there speak to a demand for learning the language. One of the many problems with Latin is that it is incredibly compact and nuanced. Changing the order of the words, the endings of verbs, or even missing a single letter changes the entire meaning of what is being said. Peter Jones’s Learn Latin is a rather interesting approach to learning the language that deserves a closer look.

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475: Essentials of Latin Grammar by W. Michael Wilson

DDC_475

475: Wilson, W. Michael. Essentials of Latin Grammar: A Practical Guide to the Mastery of Latin. Lincolnwood, IL: Passport Books, 1995. 119 pp. ISBN 0844285404.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 400: Language
  • 470: Italic and Latin languages
  • 475: Grammar and syntax of classical Latin

If you really want to get down to the nuts and bolts, the nitty-gritty, and the no-nonsense study of Latin, then this one is the way to go. W. Michael Wilson’s Essentials of Latin Grammar takes a spectacular page from Strunk and White’s Elements of Style and omits needless words almost to a fault. There is a two-page preface and then it’s off to the races. One hundred forty-one rules later, you should emerge with a head full of Latin.

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470: Latin Alive by Joseph Solodow

DDC_470

470.9: Solodow, Joseph B. Latin Alive: The Survival of Latin in English and the Romance Languages. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 331 pp. ISBN 978-0-521-51575-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 400: Language
  • 470: Italic and Latin languages
  • +.9: History

Latin gets a bad reputation for being a boring language long past its expiration date, but one of the things many people forget to remember is that English owes a lot of its existence to Latin. Joseph Solodow’s Latin Alive is a look at the history, grammar, usage, and repercussions that the Latin language brings to bear on the present. Solodow does very well to show how Latin wasn’t just a language, but rather a way of life for most of Europe. Latin is a dense language but only so far at it was meant to be compact; each word, and even each inflection of word, imparts some meaning to the whole. Nope, no filler here.

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477: Ad Infinitum by Nicholas Ostler

DDC_477

477: Ostler, Nicholas. Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin. New York: Walker & Company, 2008. 319 pp. ISBN 0-8027-1679-2.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 400: Language
  • 470: Italic and Latin languages
  • 477: Old, Postclassical, and Vulgar Latin

Nicholas Ostler’s Ad Infinitum is a monumental effort to catalog the travels and metamorphosis of the Latin language throughout European history. Latin changed in varying degrees based on the peoples it met on its journey, but the modern family of European languages all trace their roots back to a single language from a once-small area in Central Italy known as Latium. While there are times when he gets bogged down in the minutiae of word transformations and grammatical construction, his thesis is that the language survived through a combination of early Roman acculturation and the swift expansion of the Catholic Church. There is an interesting interplay that always seems to happen between a language and the lives of the language’s speakers. Language, culture, and history all seem to effect each other and make for a “three body problem” when discussing any of these facets. Latin is no different. This is, however, a very intriguing read for language lovers.

471: ABC Et Cetera by Alexander and Nicholas Humez

471.11: Humez, Alexander & Nicholas Humez. ABC Et Cetera: The Life & Times of the Roman Alphabet. Boston: David R. Godine, 1985. 246 pp. ISBN 0-87923-587-X.

Dewey Construction:

  • 400: Language
  • 470: Italic Languages and Latin
  • 471: Writing systems, phonology, phonetics of classical Latin
  • 471.11: Writing systems

The Humez Brothers are at it again and this time they attack the Roman alphabet. As with Alpha to Omega, Alexander and Nicholas Humez, in ABC Et Cetera, journey through each letter of the Roman alphabet, detailing a few words that begin with that letter, and willfully wandering into digressions that combine both those words and Roman life and culture (Sorry about the run-on sentence).

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