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Litteras Ciceroni

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Litteras Ciceroni

Postby Odysseus » Sat May 10, 2003 10:07 pm

I've started reading Cicero's letters and they remind me of a join the dots game, where the numbers are slightly faded; you're not completely sure where you should go for the next one.<br /><br />I'm seeing that when a sentence would be translated back to English, often you have to jump to the end of three or four lines just to get the frist word. Is this symptomatic of most Latin texts? t<br /><br />I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I've got punctuation ;)
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Re:Litteras Ciceroni

Postby benissimus » Mon May 12, 2003 5:19 am

Haha. Only in "good" Latin ;)
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae
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Re:Litteras Ciceroni

Postby Milito » Wed May 14, 2003 2:49 pm

[quote author=Odysseus link=board=3;threadid=106;start=0#446 date=1052604469]<br />I've started reading Cicero's letters and they remind me of a join the dots game, where the numbers are slightly faded; you're not completely sure where you should go for the next one.<br /><br />I'm seeing that when a sentence would be translated back to English, often you have to jump to the end of three or four lines just to get the frist word. Is this symptomatic of most Latin texts? t<br />[/quote]<br /><br />... It seems to be symptomatic of Cicero.... He does the same in De Officiis, which I'm plowing through. I was a mite stunned to discover that his first sentence went on, and on, and on, for a grand total of 8 lines plus, was full of subordinate clauses, and, if I'd tried to start an essay with it while in school, would have had my English teachers shrieking about violations of all principles of good written English! Amen to thanksgiving for punctuation! <br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Litteras Ciceroni

Postby vinobrien » Wed May 14, 2003 4:25 pm

Yes, but the fun is like solving a crossword puzzle - suddenly the sentence comes into focus and you understand what it was all about. Sometimes.<br /><br />I've long wanted to be able to read Latin as Latin, not by squinting at the page and waiting for the spirit to move me. In Verrem was the most approachable Cicero I came across and some of the ad familiares letters. I recently did try starting Pro Cluentio earlier this year but found the sentence length a real hurdle for one who tends to read on a train journey to work which may yet form the basis for a Disneyworld ride (cf. my comment on Xenophon elsewhere).<br /><br />As a small help, though, you might look at an article called "The Art of Reading Latin: How to Teach It.<br />AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE ASSOCIATED ACADEMIC PRINCIPALS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, DECEMBER 28, 1886. " Of course I've lost the name of the author but I can send you a copy if you want. His descriton of reading Latin by not finding the verb/antecendent first gives hope... <br />
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Re:Litteras Ciceroni

Postby Milito » Wed May 14, 2003 4:34 pm

[quote author=vinobrien link=board=3;threadid=106;start=0#512 date=1052929553]<br />Yes, but the fun is like solving a crossword puzzle - suddenly the sentence comes into focus and you understand what it was all about. Sometimes.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />You're very right - it is a lot of fun. (Or maybe I have a fever, which has lasted for a few years......)<br /><br />I jumped into Cicero because I wanted to learn to read Latin "properly", or at least, more or less the way I read English. I may have set a tall order for myself, but no one has told me that this is either difficult or impossible, so I am blithely continuing on in the belief that it is neither.... And I truly am seeing progress, which is encouraging.<br /><br />Thanks for the reference.... I will set out on a Quest for it; it sounds most interesting.<br /><br />Kilmeny
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Re:Litteras Ciceroni

Postby Erica » Thu May 15, 2003 4:05 am

This is hillarious for me because for some time I had the same frustrations re: line after line of the never-ending sentence. But, at some point, having read so much Cicero I actually started writing in English that way....until a professor commented on a paper that I obviously had studied Latin --because how else could I write a sentence in such a way as to occupy the better part of a paragraph?<br /><br />As Vin O'Brien said, you will eventually just start gleaning the meaning and nuance of Latin itself instead of reading Latin whilst "thinking" English...sounds wierd but will happen, and won't be nearly as strange as the first DREAM you have in Latin...you will wake up freaked out, but it is a great experience.
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Re:Litteras Ciceroni

Postby Odysseus » Sun May 18, 2003 9:40 pm

[quote author=vinobrien link=board=3;threadid=106;start=0#512 date=1052929553]<br /><br />As a small help, though, you might look at an article called "The Art of Reading Latin: How to Teach It.<br />AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE ASSOCIATED ACADEMIC PRINCIPALS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, DECEMBER 28, 1886. " Of course I've lost the name of the author but I can send you a copy if you want. His descriton of reading Latin by not finding the verb/antecendent first gives hope... <br /><br />[/quote]<br />Fantastic reference, thanks. Here's a copy online:<br /><br />http://www.bu.edu/mahoa/hale_art.html<br /><br />I'll agree with what others have said here by taking the sentence from left to right, rather than darting around the sentence looking for subject, verb, object, subordinate clause in that order. My lecturer has encoraged us to look for the verb first, but that could just be something to help you in your early days.
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Re:Litteras Ciceroni

Postby Carola » Mon May 19, 2003 2:45 am

I have a wonderful little book called "Via Vertendi - a Latin Unseen Course" by B W M Young, published in 1962 by Longmans, Green & Co, which takes you step by step through the whole business of translating from scratch. As it is not in the "antique book" class you may see it in a 2nd hand bookshop. <br />It sets everything out very clearly and was obviously written by someone who understood the Keep It Simple adage!<br />I was lucky enough to be on the spot when my university was clearing some of the old stuff out of their Classics library and picked up a whole load of books for about $Aus16 ( a bit under $US10).
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