Reading v Translation

It’s hard to move forward if you don’t know in which direction forward is.

Latin teachers and professors of the last hundred years have had divided opinions over the ultimate goal of their students. Some think that students should be able to quickly and smoothly translate at the end of two years. Others think that reading should be the final receipt. Reading and translation may seem like the same  end, but in world of Classical languages they are oceans apart. The ability read Latin involves mastering the language in a way that a student can read a hundred lines at a speed comparable to a French V student reading Les Miserables. Working out a sentence one word at a time, one grammatical structure at a time, is not reading, it’s translating. Understanding is the defining characteristic of reading. A student can read a Latin sentence, and understand the ideas it is trying to express, without knowing all the vocabulary. How many times, when you read, do you mentally skip over vocabulary you don’t know, but are able to continue right on reading and understanding the full meaning of the sentence? Students in Latin 101 know what it is the have to translate those short “sententiae antiquae” from Wheelock and other textbooks which use real snippets of Latin prose from the beginning. The bits chosen may have easier vocabulary and simple constructions, but many times you end up going “huh?” after translating. It’s hard to understand the meaning in these sentences when they stand along, and you approach them one word at a time.

Data, Data, Data

I’m now several weeks into the data analysis portion of the ride.  Choosing to focus on a variety of factors that could have an impact on communication has meant choosing to analyze several different types of data.  While at times the different programs and kinds of data felt overwhelming, overall I think I’ve been happier to be able to mix it up a little from day to day.

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