Re: A Question

D. Hampton (
Sun, 8 Sep 1996 21:50:52 +0800 (WST)

On Sun, 8 Sep 1996, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> Welcome to you, Debbie; it's always nice to see "little Greeks" "coming out

Thank you for the welcome.

> of the closet," if I may phrase it so. When Jonathan Robie (I think it was
> he?) started this self-deprecating "I'm just a little Greek" business, I

Absolutely you may. I like it. I liked Goodrick's "low-roader" as well.

> couldn't help thinking of the passage in Juvenal's satire on reasons for
> leaving the city of Rome: he says that one type of person one runs into all
> over town nowadays (later first c. A.D.) is the GRAECULUS ESURIENS, the
> "little Greek who can't get enough to eat." GRAECULUS is a diminutive of
> contempt here, of course, as used by an impoverished aristocratic Roman
> whose only remaining pride is in his ethnic purity.

I for one won't hold it's base origins against it. :)

> Jonathan has started
> the new fashion of using "little Greek" for the ambivalent figure somewhere
> between the bare beginner who doesn't even know what questions to put to
> the teacher, on the on hand, and on the other, the very clever but
> unpretentious learner who is much farther along the way than he/she will
> readily admit, and who delights in posing innocent questions which threaten
> to stump the supposedly "older and wiser" teacher. It is a marvelous
> pedgagical device that Jonathan has invented, one that works wonderfully to
> level the playing field of grammatical discussion and to expose the fact
> that we are in fact, all of us who concern ourselves with Greek, not
> experts but learners, GRAECULI ESURIENTES, "little Greeks who can't get
> enough to eat"--at least when it comes to grammatical understanding.

I like that. But I'm all too aware that the playing field is far from

> >I am unlurking because I have a question. I am doing an
> >undergrad course in Education Studies and for an
> >assignment I have to write a course outline, using
> >Bloom's taxonomy. I want to outline a course in Basic
> >Greek.
> >
> >My problem is that Bloom categorizes translation as a
> >comprehension skill at a lower level than skills like
> >application of knowledge, analysis of elements or
> >relationships or synthesis of unique expressions. He
> >seems to have categorized it with the view of words and
> >expression in different languages having simple
> >one-to-one equivalence of meaning.
> This sounds awfully naive, if you're describing it accurately. I wouldn't
> think that anyone who has worked seriously with languages very long
> continues to think in terms of "one-to-one equivalence of meaning."

He divides behaviour in the cognitive domain into hierarchical levels.
Translation is categorized under comprehension which is defined as "the
lowest level of understanding". Application, analysis, synthesis and
evaluation are "above" it.

I don't know that he did any serious work in languages. This taxonomic
scheme was written for educators in general.

> >I would like to argue in my paper that the skill of
> >translation involves the elements of analysis of the
> >elements of a Greek expression, applying knowledge of
> >grammar, structure and usage to interpret the functions
> >given to words and expression in the Greek, identifying
> >these functions, generating English expressions that
> >convey the same functions and synthesing a unique English
> >language expression with meaning equivalence.
> >
> >Is this a justifiable view of translating Greek?
> It may well be that you have entered into the discussion at precisely the
> right point, although the archives (alas, poor archives, I knew them
> once--but they have ceased to exist on the web where anyone can readily
> access them) would show a lengthy thread a year or so ago on the whole
> question of "dynamic equivalence" and whether or not it is a viable
> concept. At any rate, our present discussion of tense and aspect has made
> it clear that the differences between Greek and English ways of expressing
> time relationships threaten (a) the task of the grammarian who seeks to
> categorize and explain Greek tenses and their aspect and varied actual
> usage, as well as (b) the task of the learner who would translate any given
> Greek text into appropriate English (or some other language). The learner
> wants to know what such and such a tense form IMPLIES in terms of mode of
> action and in terms of the range of expressions available for conveying
> temporal relationships in English (or whatever). It would appear that the
> grammarian, unless s/he was born an ancient Greek, is looking at Greek
> structures through lenses that cast upon those Greek structures images of
> the structures of her or his own language: the resulting vision seems
> always to be slightly out of focus. It is the old Kantian problem of the
> knowing subject's inescapable imposition upon the object of knowledge the
> structures of the subject's own apprehensive apparatus. To some extent we
> know that we are understanding the Greek text aright because it "makes
> sense," but it doesn't quite make COMPLETE sense. All of which is my way of
> saying that, yes, I think that is a justifiable view of translating
> Greek--so long as sufficient allowance is made for a healthy sense of humor
> and the humbling awareness that we are all "little Greeks."

Thank you very much for your help here.

Considering the inaccessibility of the archives can you recommend a text
that might cover this area of consideration?

Thank you so much for the time you've already taken.

:-Debbie Hampton