Hello I am about to start to learn Linguistics.There are atr two different sections i need to choose from that are quite different one teaches the Generative paradigm and the other teaches mainly fuctional theory. I don't have so much knowledge as of now to know exactly how do they differ. Any suggestions as to what to do?

Also, I am required to learn an old language and the possibilities are: Latin, Sanskrit and old Greek. I want to know Latin but I am a practical person and there is not a real value in Latin when considering money. But I wonder if knowing Sanskrit will help me learn modern Hindi? What say you? I thank everyone that will contribute.

  • I am no linguist, but as a matter of fact, I happen to have learnt Sanskrit in school. Many words in the Sanskrit carry over to modern Hindi and Bengali and some other Indian languages. And there are many similarities between Sanskrit and modern Hindi. So, if learning modern Hindi is your target at some point, Sanskrit can indeed help with that. Moreover if you use Devanagari script then even better, because you can write modern Hindi in Devanagari. – fogof mylife Sep 14 at 11:47
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    IMO, Sanskrit is so different from Hindi that very little carries over, though there is a fair load of Sanskrit learned vocabulary in Hindi (that's the source of beliefs of similarity). A Latin-Romance analogy is apt, and the differences in the languages are smaller. You already know the alphabet. – user6726 Sep 14 at 15:40
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    You didn't say where you were going to school, nor what languages you already have studied, nor why you want to study linguistics. If you are in India, learn Sanskrit, since you already know Devanagari and it has more relevance there than elsewhere. But you really must learn Greek and Latin, too. They're not that hard if you know English, and they're absolutely necessary to understand Indo-European linguistics. As for the theory choices, avoid making them if you can. Especially if you're in India. – jlawler Sep 14 at 16:56
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    I am going to a university. I know English, Arabic, Hebrew and I have interest in languages and the comparisons between languages is something I like to read about and atymology fascinates me. Currently, I am leaving in israhell but I plan to leave here and therefore I want to acquire skills that will help me to successfully immigration. Linguistics is nice but unless one is very brilliant he can't make a living from it. That is why I want to learn some important languages as i – IloveIl Sep 14 at 21:40
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    Thanks Alex. It made more sense to me but as I mention my judgements is very superficial for the time being. – IloveIl Sep 14 at 21:45

I can answer the second question of yours ("Sanskrit vs. Modern Hindi", as described by you).

You mentioned that the primary goal is to learn an old language, with only three choices (perhaps restricted by course availability), and you want to choose the one which helps you with your secondary goal of learning modern Hindi.

So, I suggest you go ahead with Sanskrit. It will help in your learning of Hindi in the following ways:

  1. Grammar: Sanskrit and Hindi are quite similar in existence and rules of features like sandhi (joining, means modification of adjacent sounds for ease of pronunciation, or space-saving), samaasa (compound words), prefixes, suffixes etc. These will help in reading and writing Hindi, especially if you learn Sanskrit in the Devanagiri script.

  2. Vocabulary: Hindi has words derived from many languages, but most of them are from Sanskrit and Prakrit, a derivative of Sanskrit. I am unable to find a number, but I believe Sanskrit loanwords form the largest section of Hindi vocabulary.

However, an important part of learning Sanskrit is shabdroop (noun/adjective inflections with formative particles as suffixes) and dhaaturoop (verb inflections). Every shabd or root word is not used directly but modified as per ending sound (~15 types) of that root word, its gender (3), cases (8), singular/dual/plural(3). So, a whole lot of tables of shabdroop are to be learned (approximately 15×3×8×3 ≈ 1080 different suffixes!), and similarly for dhaturoop. This memorization of inflections is not at all necessary for learning Hindi noun forms (which is done by use of helping words that vary only by 8 cases and sometimes gender, used in a particular word-order). Thus, someone intending to primarily learn Hindi would rather learn it directly than going through the Sanskrit route.

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  • THank you very much my friend. I appreciate the detailed answer. Latin sounds also food, no? – IloveIl Oct 13 at 17:12
  • I haven't studied Latin at all, I'm afraid I won't be able to help you with it. – Sanjit Jena Oct 16 at 6:01

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