Saturday, September 14, 2013

I was reviewing the Wikipedia entry for caesura in order to feel more confident about explaining it to my students. (I'm still not entirely clear about its purpose in Anglo-Saxon poetry.) And it included examples from the Iliad and the Aeneid. In those examples, they first quoted the line in the original language (including the double-pipe to mark the caesura) and then below it they gave the translation.

While I could read the Latin, because we still use the Latin alphabet, the Greek was - well - Greek to me! It looked like a bunch of squiggles and zigzags. But what I found was that when I looked at it more carefully, I could figure out the phonetic pronunciation based on my curiosity about New Testament Greek some years ago. And then based on my knowledge of roots and cognates, and with the help of the translation being right there, I was able to understand some of the words!

It was fascinating! It went from looking like Mnviv aeide oea nnvniadew Axivnoc to menin aeide thea Peleiadeo Achileos which is probably a miserable transcription but makes some modicum of sense to me.

Friday is my grading-day. But I generally do a pretty good job of keeping up with it. I'm wondering if maybe I couldn't dedicate some of my planning time on Fridays to reviving my study of Greek. It seems like a bit much, though… maybe I'll look into it once I've finished grading the research papers that were handed in today!

Anyway, I've just been thinking about how amazing it is that I can just look at words and KNOW what they mean. You know? Heck, when you really think about it, writing and reading is like… I mean… wizardry. Seriously, think it over: when you read classic literature, you are absorbing the thoughts of people who are dead.



Philip said...

I think about this a lot.

Clix said...

Wizardry in general, or are you talking specifically about asynchronous telepathy?

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