More Fun With Ovid

Lughnasa                                                 Waning Harvest Moon

More fun with Ovid.  The curtain has begun to roll back a bit more.

Many of my friends have second and third languages, but until now I only had the one.  A bit of French.  A little Hebrew.  A little Greek.  But nothing solid.  The ability to look on a page filled with Latin words, words I would once have brushed over with little attempt at comprehension, and see meaning emerge delights me.

The words still look strange to me, foreign, but now they carry a pulse of meaning, one I can get if I look a bit longer, or turn to a book.

The same work I mentioned above, All Things Shining, that critiques Western individualism, has a section on the decline of craft, the disappearance of embodied learning, of skill at making.  Again, I find myself pushing against their analysis and in this instance Latin came to mind.

To translate requires a subtle knowledge of the original language and an idiomatic grasp of the home language.  This type of intellectual work is a skill, a craft like that of. woodworkers or, the example used in the book, wheelwrights.  It requires a mind numbing series of early, simple steps that build only gradually into a suite of skills.  My guess is that the traditional seven years to move from apprentice to journeyman is not far off for Latin.


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