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Question about Alexander Arguelles

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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Po-ru
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United States
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 Message 1 of 10
11 January 2010 at 1:27pm | IP Logged 
I read his bio several times and I go on his webpage a lot and I just have a question
about why and how he learned all of those extinct languages.

I understand that he was very interested in comparative literature and philology but how
did he get materials for those languages and how did he go about applying their use.

For example, on his site he says that his OLD NORSE ability is 3, 3-, 2(on his chart)
which is the extremely good. I am just wondering how he went about doing this for a dead
language.


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tractor
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Norway
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 Message 2 of 10
11 January 2010 at 2:49pm | IP Logged 
Po-ru wrote:
I read his bio several times and I go on his webpage a lot and I just have a question about why and how he learned all of those extinct languages.

I understand that he was very interested in comparative literature and philology but how did he get materials for those languages and how did he go about applying their use.

For example, on his site he says that his OLD NORSE ability is 3, 3-, 2(on his chart)
which is the extremely good. I am just wondering how he went about doing this for a dead language.


Old Norse is quite close to Modern Icelandic so I guess he could use materials for learning Icelandic. If he knows a Scandinavian language he could probably also find some materials written in Norwegian, Danish or Swedish for learning Old Norse.
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Po-ru
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 Message 3 of 10
11 January 2010 at 3:24pm | IP Logged 
But Old Norse is not the only extinct language which he's learned. Old English, Middle
High German, Middle Dutch, Old French, Old Church Slavic, Old Greek, Old Irish, Old
Welsh. You just can't go to a book store and find material to become fluent in them.
According to his classification chart, he is relatively fluent in these(many of them 2 or
3), which means he can read texts fairly easily.
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tractor
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 Message 4 of 10
11 January 2010 at 3:41pm | IP Logged 
Po-ru wrote:
But Old Norse is not the only extinct language which he's learned. Old English, Middle High
German, Middle Dutch, Old French, Old Church Slavic, Old Greek, Old Irish, Old Welsh. You just can't go to a book
store and find material to become fluent in them. According to his classification chart, he is relatively fluent in
these(many of them 2 or 3), which means he can read texts fairly easily.


At least for Latin and Ancient Greek there are quite a lot of materials available. I suppose the other extinct
languages he's studied are relatively well documented. Nevertheless, his achievements are impressive.

Edited by tractor on 11 January 2010 at 4:53pm

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Gusutafu
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 Message 5 of 10
11 January 2010 at 3:41pm | IP Logged 
Well, you can learn to read texts by reading texts. That's how I taught myself English. The only problem is that Old Norse literature tends to be less easy-reading than modern English.
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Captain Haddock
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 Message 6 of 10
11 January 2010 at 4:41pm | IP Logged 
This is why the Professor explains that French and German are crucial languages for aspiring polyglots. A lot of
materials on unusual and extinct languages is available in one or the other, and not in English.
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Iversen
Super Polyglot
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berejst.dk
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 Message 7 of 10
11 January 2010 at 4:54pm | IP Logged 
You can find much more about Professor Arguelles here in the section "Lessons in Polyglottery", including this with his autobiography. He has also contributed toa thread about 'dead languages' here, but it does not tell you exactly how he learned these languages. There are pasages in other threads that give some information, but usually interspersed with techniques to learn living languages.


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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 8 of 10
11 January 2010 at 5:34pm | IP Logged 
"As for Old Norse, the classical language of the North, I learned this is the idyllic circumstances of several quarters' worth of semi-private tutorials during which one other student and I met frequently in the professor's office. As Old Norse has the most source material, I naturally spent the most time immersed in it, ultimately developing the true reading fluency necessary to write my dissertation upon it."

One can imagine that he must have come across a lot of relevant material in order to be able to write "Viking Dreams: Mythological and Religious Dream Symbolism in the Old Norse Sagas". Abstract here.

Some suggestions are mentioned here:
http://foreignlanguageexpertise.com/polyglottery_links.html# NGE


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