Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > History Help Forum > Academic Guidance
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Academic Guidance Academic Guidance - Academic guidance for those pursuing a college degree... what college? Grad school? PhD help?


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old July 2nd, 2016, 06:19 AM   #11

Tulius's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: May 2016
From: Portugal
Posts: 1,542

Knowledge of Latin is always a plus in many history studies.

But I would only consider it essential for Classic Studies to the Middle Ages in West Europe. And that is because many sources are written in Latin. For England in the Modern period I think that can be languages that will help you more. What I would consider essential would be Palaeography and Diplomatics.
Tulius is offline  
Remove Ads
Old July 5th, 2016, 02:25 PM   #12
Scholar
 
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 638

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulius View Post
Knowledge of Latin is always a plus in many history studies.

But I would only consider it essential for Classic Studies to the Middle Ages in West Europe. And that is because many sources are written in Latin. For England in the Modern period I think that can be languages that will help you more. What I would consider essential would be Palaeography and Diplomatics.
Many Medievalists these days don't even know Latin beyond a rudimentary 'Latin for Medieval Studies' course. Many Medieval Latin texts are lying untranslated still. But in general, the language you need is the language that is most needed for your specialism. Classicists don't need to know a single word of Latin if their speciality is ancient Greece. The average Early Modern historian under 40 these days probably doesn't know Latin hugely well, depending on their specialism again.
Copperknickers is offline  
Old July 5th, 2016, 11:52 PM   #13
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,083

Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperknickers View Post
Many Medievalists these days don't even know Latin beyond a rudimentary 'Latin for Medieval Studies' course. Many Medieval Latin texts are lying untranslated still. But in general, the language you need is the language that is most needed for your specialism. Classicists don't need to know a single word of Latin if their speciality is ancient Greece. The average Early Modern historian under 40 these days probably doesn't know Latin hugely well, depending on their specialism again.
Are you talking about the Netherlands, or the US? In Germany, almost every history student has to have a proven ability to read Latin. Everyone not specializing in Modern History has to have the Latinum which is a certificate you earn for completing 4 years of school Latin. As Latin isn't taught in all schools anymore, or many pupils substitute it for French or another, second foreign language (the first is always English), universities offer intensive courses (4 days a week) to earn it in two semesters. Furthermore, you have to pass a written test in Latin and you are expected to read it during class and use Latin sources for your assignments. Ancient history majors also have to have the Graecum and modern history majors need to prove ability in at least three modern languages (one has to be English), if they do not wish to be tested in Latin. I remember graduate students and aspiring PhDs having a very good command of Latin or at least very good reading comprehension, with few exceptions.

As the OP wants a language for the Modern history of England, I think Latin and French are the best choices. However, I'd recommend to learn both Latin and French. Without being able to read Latin or French, a wealth of sources will be unavailable.
Entreri is offline  
Old July 6th, 2016, 04:33 AM   #14

Far Flight's Avatar
Citizen
 
Joined: Jun 2016
From: A Shell of Steel
Posts: 22

I just wanted to give an update which I received from the university, because I see some are interested. Ultimately to receive a Phd a minimum of two languages besides the native language are required. For studies of modern Europe it is typical to obtain the combination of French, German, and English, but sometimes other languages will be added or substituted depending on the area of interest. It also is the case, clearly given, that if one wishes to conduct research on another region or topic, the knowledge of the source language(s) will be integral to one's study.
Far Flight is offline  
Old July 16th, 2016, 03:02 PM   #15
Scholar
 
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 638

Quote:
Originally Posted by Entreri View Post
Are you talking about the Netherlands, or the US?
I was talking specifically about the UK.

Quote:
In Germany, almost every history student has to have a proven ability to read Latin. Everyone not specializing in Modern History has to have the Latinum which is a certificate you earn for completing 4 years of school Latin.
Really? For undergrad? Not even the Classics students in the UK have to have a proven ability to read Latin at undergrad.

Quote:
As Latin isn't taught in all schools anymore, or many pupils substitute it for French or another, second foreign language (the first is always English), universities offer intensive courses (4 days a week) to earn it in two semesters. Furthermore, you have to pass a written test in Latin and you are expected to read it during class and use Latin sources for your assignments.
Latin in the UK is getting rarer and rarer, although most independent schools still offer it, and the odd state school. Language skills are not valued at all in history: if you do a Masters in medieval history at one of the top 10 or so unis you'll probably be expected to take intensive Latin plus an intensive medieval language course if you are not already up to the right standard, but otherwise languages aren't really necessary.

Quote:
Ancient history majors also have to have the Graecum and modern history majors need to prove ability in at least three modern languages (one has to be English), if they do not wish to be tested in Latin.
That's surprising. Many Brits even at the very top level wouldn't enter university with any foreign language skills for a subject like history. If they went to a public school or a top grammar/state school they'll probably have studied French/German/Mandarin/Spanish, Latin and Greek, but otherwise languages are not often taken beyond GCSE-level even by humanities students.

Quote:
I remember graduate students and aspiring PhDs having a very good command of Latin or at least very good reading comprehension, with few exceptions.
I'm a Classics graduate and I wouldn't say I had a 'very good reading comprehension' of Latin. I can just about struggle through an easy primary text with a lot of help from a dictionary. It doesn't help that I am from Scotland, where Latin is taught in a slightly bizarre way in which you aren't expected to have any real knowledge of vocabulary by the time you start university, nor an advanced knowledge of grammar. The focus is idiomatic translation and text comprehension, rather than language learning per se.
Copperknickers is offline  
Old July 16th, 2016, 04:36 PM   #16

Pacific_Victory's Avatar
Conseiller du Roi
 
Joined: Oct 2011
From: MARE PACIFICVM
Posts: 7,255

For the Early Modern period, French is absolutely necessary. German or Spanish would be a good second choice, depending on your particular era and area of concentration.

One thing that's really great about French is that because it has been heavily regulated, it has changed much slower than English. French texts from the 1600s are relatively easy to read, even for someone who has learned French as a second language. This is not the case in English.
Pacific_Victory is offline  
Old July 16th, 2016, 11:17 PM   #17
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,083

Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperknickers View Post
I was talking specifically about the UK.
I see, thank you for the answer.

Quote:
Really? For undergrad? Not even the Classics students in the UK have to have a proven ability to read Latin at undergrad.
Yes, here is the description for admission to the BA program at my Alma Mater: History What they, unforetuneately, don't tell you on their website is that you have to pass a translation test in all these languages during your so-called Proseminars. Proseminars are basic seminars which are used to introduce a historical period and the methods to investigate that period to first and second semester students. I did my Middle Ages Proseminar on the crusades and the professor gave us a text from a writer on the 4th crusade to translate.

Quote:
Latin in the UK is getting rarer and rarer, although most independent schools still offer it, and the odd state school. Language skills are not valued at all in history: if you do a Masters in medieval history at one of the top 10 or so unis you'll probably be expected to take intensive Latin plus an intensive medieval language course if you are not already up to the right standard, but otherwise languages aren't really necessary.
Really? That is baffling. I thought the UK would be one of the most "proud" when it comes to classical education, but my impression here comes almost solely from here-say and watching television shows about the Monarchy and Oxbridge .
Entreri is offline  
Old July 17th, 2016, 03:08 AM   #18
Scholar
 
Joined: Mar 2013
From: Breakdancing on the Moon.
Posts: 898

That's baffling. I read Classics as an undergraduate and it certainly required a strong knowledge of both Greek and Latin from a reading and a philological standpoint. I don't know anyone who made it through the system without being able to read fluently. Let alone for post-graduate studies. That's leaving aside ancillary languages either for comp phil or for research.

Now, regarding the OP, this reminds me of an anecdote that I at least find funny. I was enjoying a college dinner at the end of Michaelmas term when a friend of mine, who was reading history, sat down next to me and we got around to talking about Latin. Bear in mind he was a medievalist. "I've had a couple of weeks of Latin by now" he mused "which means I probably know it better than my sources".

Obviously, a hyperbolic joke, but you get the idea as to a lot of medieval Latin..

I'd say every single person I know in that area at the very least starts off with Latin but might find themselves wandering off into different languages depending on where they focus. I've a friend who focused heavily on Anglo-Norman interaction as an undergraduate (So, French, Latin, English) but by the time he went for his DPhil he was looking at Syriac and Arabic.

Basically a) Latin is extremely useful in and of itself and b) it is also v. useful to be able to show admissions committees you have the ability to learn languages in case you need to switch later, which you might.
World Focker is offline  
Old July 22nd, 2016, 02:51 PM   #19
Scholar
 
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 638

Quote:
Originally Posted by Entreri View Post
Really? That is baffling. I thought the UK would be one of the most "proud" when it comes to classical education, but my impression here comes almost solely from here-say and watching television shows about the Monarchy and Oxbridge .
Not at all, we're very far behind the rest of Europe when it comes to Classics. Oxbridge and the elite public schools like Eton place a very high value on Latin, but not the state education system. I wouldn't base your views on the UK on documentaries about Oxbridge anyway, to most people in Britain (including many university educated people) people who go to Oxbridge are a different species. They inhabit a totally different world to the one most of us live in, watching those kind of documentaries is the closest we get to it, no different to yourself.

As for the monarchy, the Queen might as well be a space alien to most of us. We have a joke that she must think the whole country smells of paint, because she rarely goes anywhere that hasn't been massively redecorated for her arrival.

Quote:
Originally Posted by World Focker View Post
That's baffling. I read Classics as an undergraduate and it certainly required a strong knowledge of both Greek and Latin from a reading and a philological standpoint. I don't know anyone who made it through the system without being able to read fluently.
When was that? Well it's not possible to study Ancient Greek as a school subject in Scotland, so all of us have to start it from scratch if we do a Classics degree, which obviously limits the proficiency you can develop in it. And these days some people who do Classics have never taken Latin either. So it's impossible to expect people to read it. We never had to work with any Latin text that we hadn't prepared beforehand, except when we were practicing unseen translation.
Copperknickers is offline  
Old July 25th, 2016, 06:21 AM   #20
Scholar
 
Joined: Mar 2013
From: Breakdancing on the Moon.
Posts: 898

No, not really. By any metric Oxford isn't just the best Classics department in the world, but by an incredible margin. At this point insurmountable.

I will further say (though this is getting off topic) that I'm as normal as you, despite my Oxbridge education. Furthermore yes we do expect people to be able to read Latin and Greek without prior preparation. Regardless of whether or not students took either subject at school (I had no Latin). No, Oxford isn't the only university that requires this in the UK either.

You have an odd chip on your shoulder and a very odd, narrow, viewpoint.
World Focker is offline  
Reply

  Historum > History Help Forum > Academic Guidance

Tags
early, english, language, learning, modern



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
history of english language agatka_1991 History Help 0 November 13th, 2012 05:44 AM
Early Modern History Question Of The Day MrStoff1989 American History 4 November 9th, 2006 06:14 PM
Early Modern History Question of the day MrStoff1989 American History 5 October 25th, 2006 06:56 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.