Date: Wed May 07 1997 - 07:45:41 EDT

my suggestion about trying to generate gr. from lat. and lat. from gr. can be
applied eng. to gr. and gr. to eng. years ago on my first trip to greece, when
i was trying to learn va nazapeuw = na pazarevo 'to bargain' like a native, it
became immediately apparent that the need skill to get along better would have
to exceed recognition and passive/ receptive understanding. i would need
immediate capacity to generate what i wanted to say, and this implied choosing
the right words & structures. in other words, you don't know a language much at
all until you can speak it or write it without acting like an embarrassing
daughter at a piano recital. "who's daughter is that?" daddy might say.

when i was a grad student under leon at texas in the 50's, to try to sharpen
ability to compose in ancient languages -- as you know, a very different game,
since you can't talk with apollonius dyscolus or some other grammarian, i
started using the following trick:

e.g. to write like plato. find a fairly close but in good english translation,
say like shorey's work on the dialogues in a loeb edition, then, i assure you,
very painfully at first, looking at the english, decide what the greek ought to
say. then look at the greek and see what it does say. at first i could hardly
do any cogent guessing, except with great pain.

the possibilities here prove infinite. if one wanted to write latin like the
springhetti or one of the best vatican secretaries, one could use a fairly
close loeb of some part of cicero chosen for nature of translation + subject
matter preferred, scil. philosophy, oratory, epistolography. a student can
probably learn more, faster this way than even if you know enough german to use
hermann menge's repetitorium lateinischen syntax und stylistik. still, his is
one of the most thorough syntactical aids to composition one could imagine.

after a few months in greece of typically apologetic attempting -- npocna0w va
emfanicw thv evvoiav mou = prospathw na emphaniso ten ennoean mu "i'm doin my
best to convey just what i'm thinkin" -- i started having some dreams wherein
the participants might speak greek to me. it was then i realized the
inestimable value of working mostly in the other direction from what's typical,
scil. from your own into the alien linguistic pool.

cheers & shalom,
bearded bill of asheville <>
unca not having approved either whom or thereof.

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