Posted by Dennis » 1 Comment »
Eighty-some years ago a Latin teacher by the name of Wren Jones Grinstead (and what a name it is) wrote a piece for the Classical Journal about the use of projects in the beginning Latin class.
By far the most interesting and provocative part of this most interesting article is the suggestion that we introduce our students to two characters whom they should always keep in mind: Romanus (who knows no English) and Barbarus (who knows no Latin). The argument goes that Language exists in a dualistic mode, between the first and second person, one aiming to be understood, the other to understand.
Now one of the chief reasons for the stiff and silly translations too often offered in our classes lies in the fact that the pupil does not visualize Romanus as the speaker of the Latin sentence, and then in turn make himself the utterer of the same thought to the English- speaking Barbarus in his own vernacular. Hence he is merely solving a puzzle, and his only criterion of success is the teacher’s authority; whereas it should be found in the socialization of his own imagination. For the perennial query to the teacher, “Is this right?” the pupil should come to ask Barbarus (or Romanus, as the case may be), “Do you get me?”
This is shockingly good, and I plan to introduce these guys immediately.
(Grinstead, Wren Jones. “The Project Method in Beginning Latin.” The Classical Journal 16.7 (1921): 388-398.)
Posted by Eric » Add Comment »
In the derivatives of dormio in the vocabulary section of ch. 31, Wheelock lists ‘dormouse’. I gave it a quick look-up in the OED. The etymology was interesting, so I thought I’d post it here.
[Origin obscure: the second element has been, at least since c 1575, treated as the word mouse, with pl. mice, though a pl. dormouses is evidenced in 16-17th c. The first element has also from 16th c. been associated with L. dormire, F. dormir to sleep, (as if dorm-mouse; cf. 16th c. Du. slaep-ratte, slaep-muys); but it is not certain that this is the original composition.
(Skeat suggests for the first element ON. dár benumbed: cf. also dial. ‘dorrer, a sleeper, a lazy person’ (Halliwell). (The F. dormeuse, fem. of dormeur sleeper, sometimes suggested as the etymon, is not known before 17th c.).]
Posted by Dennis » Add Comment »
What makes a "teacher's guide"? Is it the editor's helpful notes on lesson planning or specific problems in the text? Is it the guidance in effective approaches, or making connections to secondary material? Is it the insight into the editor's intent and the choices made in selection and presentation, that allow you to make up your mind as to whether you agree, and if not how to adapt?
I suspect it's all these things and more. What a "teacher's guide" is not, however, is a bare set of translations for teachers who don't have enough Latin to read the texts they're assigning to their students.
This is what I found today when I received a new classroom set of Minkova & Tunberg's Reading Livy's Rome (Bolchazy-Carducci).
When ordering the book, one receives no hint of the subtitle: "Translation of Paraphrases," or the blurb headed "Ease the Time Crunch of Daily Classroom Preparation." Reading bits of Latin is the least of my concerns as a teacher, and yet it's the one area in which a teacher of Latin can least afford to cut corners. I neither need nor can benefit from translations: I know Latin well enough to read it, and only by reading it (rather than a translation) can I anticipate and respond to the difficulties my students will face.
Was I wrong to expect a "guide" or was Bolchazy-Carducci wrong to call it that?
I was acting a time crunch when I ordered the materials, being told during the last period of the day that I had until the final bell to put together an order. So it may be argued that I was rash in ordering copies of the "guide" for my colleague and myself. And yet if it had been appropriately titled, or explained at all, on the publisher's site, my school could have purchased two more student texts instead.
Then again I might have guessed from the "guide" to Boyd's Aeneid selections.
Isn't there a better name for this sort of thing? Like "trot"?