Thursday, September 24, 2009

Classical "Memoria"

By Jen G.

This fall, I started graduate school to earn my masters in English. For my doctorate, I knew I would eventually need to be proficient in two foreign languages. I studied French in college, so that took care of one, but what about the second?

Let me think.

Ah yes, Latin. I took two years of Latin in high school with Classical Conversations. I have vague recollections of "vestis virum reddit" and "aquila non capit muscas," but little else. This could be interesting.

Now a month into my intensive elementary Latin course, I can testify to the power of memory and recall. Not always the best Latin student in high school, I may have been confused about the difference between the ablative and dative cases, or when to use the imperfect or the perfect tense, but somehow my brain took in (and remembers) "-bam, -bas, -bat, -bamus, -batis, -bant" (the endings for the imperfect tense of verbs).

Because I memorized the grammar, now I find it much easier to translate readings and sentences, and to re-learn the more complicated concepts I missed the first time around. When you are juggling other classes and work, NOT having to start that new account in your memory bank from zero makes a big difference.

In a very real way, I am rediscovering that memory work early on - even if separated from comprehension - is not in vain.

Happy belated birthday, Caesar Augustus.

...because everyday adventures can be classical opportunities too...

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