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Monday, September 12, 2011

"Like any language, Latin seeks to be understood"

This is a line in my ($75!!!) Latin textbook. It's not clear why this is a thought worth writing, no less publishing, but nonetheless, there it is. One imagines the scene in which this line might be spoken, with a teenaged Latin embroiled in a heated dispute with his hypothetical parents, Indo and European.

Indo: Why are you always out causing trouble? Why do I keep hearing from other language families that you're stealing their usages? I was on the phone with Etruscan for hours yesterday, getting an earful about your disgraceful behavior!
Latin: I just want to try new things! Experience the world's possibilities! Dispense with definite articles!
European: Why can't you be more like your older brother, Greek, who stays close to home and minds his parents' rules? One day, you'll realize how important definite articles are and you'll be sorry you didn't listen to us!
Latin: Ugh, you're too old! You just don't understand!

And, for those of you keeping track at home, it seems that there is a certain logic to the usual course of studies whereby one learns Latin before Greek and not vice versa. The good news is that, if you happen to reverse this order, your serial Greek failures might someday be vindicated by the euphoria of coasting through introductory Latin. So far, at least.

Tomorrow: TAing for the first time. Pretty excited. Going to try to avoid making dramatic exhortations about "the virtue of a human being and citizen."