Learning Classics is a bit like putting on a magic pair of 3-D glasses. Once you start delving into the language and the culture, you'll start to see it all around you. This blog is a record of the club's journey through the worlds and language of ancient Rome and Greece... and through modern times, too, searching for the influence of classics all around us. You'll also be able to find vocab, home tasks, links and generally enlightening info here, too.

14 March 2015

Lesson 18 - Consolidation, comedy and a competition

Finally! At last we got on to some comedy! But first, we consolidated our language learning for the term...

Punishing that grammar
A quick-fire quiz on Latin noun endings started the proceedings, followed by some parsing work-outs. Is the word a noun, verb or adjective? What is the gender, case and number of the nouns in the sentence? Which adjectives agree with which nouns? Where is the verb, and what does the ending tell us? We're getting quicker and slicker at this task, so after Easter, it'll be time to introduce some new parts of speech, cases and possibly a new tense too.

Mercifully free of technical hitches this week, we watched the
Comic genius and heir to Plautus
Fawlty Towers clip we tried to view last lesson. OK, many of you didn't find it so very funny (maybe sense of humour does change over time?), but it illustrated the point, as so eloquently summed up by Gizem, that comedy involves:

  • characters that are larger than life​
  • situations involving confusion or mistaken identity​
  • slapstick, falling over or violence​
  • hyperbolic or emotive language

​Jamellia and Lorenze then took on the roles of Pyrgopolynices and Artotrogus from the opening scene of Plautus' Miles Gloriosus (The Braggart Soldier), with Jamellia cranking up the pomposity, and Lorenze skillfully flipping between sucking up to his patron and making snide asides to the audience. Not bad for a first reading!

Since this is our last lesson of the term, the club have a holiday challenge: to write a poem, rap or song to help teach the present tense endings (o, s, t, mus, tis, nt). Here's some inspiration for you:

Good luck, happy creating, and have a great holiday!

07 March 2015

Lesson 17 - In total agreement

Agreement - very important in Latin
After our vocab test today, we did a big push on language, to bring together much of the knowledge we've acquired over the past two terms. We recapped the following Latin language facts we'd already learned:

Fact 1: Verbs change their ending (o,s,t,mus,tis,nt) according to who and how many are 'doing' the verb.

Fact 2: Nouns change their ending depending on whether they are the subject of the verb (nominative) or the object (accusative).

Fact 3: Adjectives have to agree in gender with the nouns that they describe. This means you have a 'bonus servus', a 'bona filia' and a 'bonum vinum'.

We then added a new fact to our arsenal:

Fact 4: Adjectives also have to agree (i.e. have the same 'word ending code') in number (singular/plural) and in case (nominative/accusative).

Just nobody sneeze...
The class were then the lucky recipients of bags full of Latin nouns, adjectives and verbs which needed to be sorted out into piles. The take-away from this (OK, slightly tedious) exercise is that there are many Latin variations of words for what in English is a single word: our 'good' pile, for example, included bonus, bona, bonum, bonam, boni, bonae, bonos and bonas. We then used these words to translate English sentences, and we'll do more on this next week.

We then moved on very briefly to our new topic, with a discussion about situation comedy (sitcom). Unfortunately, a technical hitch (despite Benedict's best efforts - thanks, anyway!) prevented us from watching a modern sitcom classic, so here's what we would have seen:

Over the next few sessions, we'll be taking a look at Plautus' comedy Miles Gloriosus, and hopefully you'll be convinced that what makes people laugh today wasn't so different in Roman and Greek times.