Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Latin Institute - DAY 4, 6:44 a.m.

Floyd Moreland's genius, 40 years ago, was to put Latin grammar together like a jigsaw puzzle in which pieces of morphology alternated with pieces of syntax, and heavy morphology days alternated with light morphology days. So, while we slammed our students with most of the present active verb system in the first two days of the program, yesterday, DAY 3, was a gentle romp through second declension nouns, first-second declension adjectives, substantive use of the adjective, sequence of tenses, relative time of the subjunctive, purpose clauses, and result clauses. Yes, of course, it still sounds like a lot, and it is; remember, the Institute is always at least one week of traditional classroom Latin in one day. Nevertheless, thanks in part to the brilliant lecture technique of my colleague, Aaron Shapiro, all of this new morphology and syntax went down like a refreshing cup of frozen yogurt from a midtown luncheonette, and there was even time to work through some of the Unit 3 drills.

I had fun leading the optional lunchtime sight reading, the second installment in a simple prose version of the story of Dido and Aeneas (our students will be reading the real thing, Book 4 of Vergil's Aeneid, in four weeks).  By the middle of next week, the optional sight will be a liberally adapted passage from Cicero's first Catilinarian, and by the end of next week, it will be unaltered selections from Catullus and Martial. One of the highlights of my own Institute experience as a student at the Latin Institute in 1982 was reading Catullus 58 on DAY 7 with Rita Fleischer, especially the verb glÅ«bit, which the text defines as "bark, peel, skin," but which Rita defined for us as (and I quote absolutely verbatim), "It can mean s*** or f***; you pays your money, you takes your pick."

Rita Fleischer, dea mihi es!

OK, time to shave, shower, dress, and get to work.

More soon... 

Note: The opinions expressed in this blog entry are those of the blogger, and do not represent the opinions of the CUNY Latin/Greek Institute, its students, faculty, or administration.

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