Scribe, ut possis cum voles dicere: dices cum velle debebis (Pl. Ep. 6.29)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Methodology, Crossing Rivers and Harry Potter

The semester paper i wrote for the Lithuanian grammar course, "Uses of the Illative case and Other Expressions of Direction in Vincas Krėvė's 'Galvažudys'" was surprisingly well-received by my Linguistics professor. Well, i did design the document exceptionally well, complete with footnotes, glossary and bibliography, full morphological analyses of all excerpts, and what's more -- i really astonished myself by the fact that almost all of the conclusions of my research turned out so convenient and orderly without the need to fake the results. On the other hand, i grossly misused the word "paradigm" throughout; i should've used "construction" instead. This is a pretty bad mistake, but at least the misuse was consistent, so she understood and even praised my "methodology". Yeah, baby. I must note that my MS-Word, VBA and Perl skills were extremely helpful.

Exams in "Advanced Latin I" didn't go that well. First of all i missed more than half of the classes. Furthermore, reviewing the grammar and syntax was so boring that i rediscovered the "Black & White" game that Elad brought me a couple years to try out and was consumed by it. This game is a little old and a little weird, has a lot of bugs, but hey -- finding something more interesting than Classical Latin syntax is not so hard at all. I received 72 in the exam. It was Caesar, De Bello Gallico 1.13. I translated about half of it wrong, and transported Helvetic, instead of Roman soldiers across the river, made the Helvetians accuse themselves, instead of Caesar, of immoral military misconduct et cetera. While preparing for the second attempt, i had to give the CD, which is required to play the game, to Hadar and ask her to hide it in a place where i can't find it. The second time seemed better; it was ibid 4.27, where Caesar's soldiers pass the channel and shamelessly conquer Britain after making peace with it. I still don't have the grade, but at least i know i got most of the translation right.

As a side note, i've got to admit that dealing with snippets of ancient Roman history, culture and philosophy through Latin language exercises, despite being quite hard and often boring, has given me some desire to learn Classics a bit deeper. As far as statesmanship ("respublica"), law ("dura lex sed lex"), morality and honor ("officium") and self-promotion ("ars rhetorica") are concerned, they were no suckers at all and our generation would do better to get back to studying it properly. Compared to Classics, post-modernism often looks pretty dull and ignorant to me now.

In the meantime, the second semester came, bringing along "Advance Latin II" with a different professor, about whom it will suffice to say that she has more character and grit than any other HUJI lecturer i met yet and that i really like her. She gives quite a lot of homework, but it is pretty solvable.

Of course it is still very easy to do something much more interesting, albeit not very useful, instead. Last week, for example, it was "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". Actually i think that i liked this book more than all the others, although it could be shorter of course; the actual plot only begins at about page 300.

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