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.
A double dose of language work today kicked off our first encounter with the lingua Latina. A quick Grammar 101 Quiz showed that we were all up to speed with the concepts of nouns, verbs, subjects and objects, singulars and plurals: most of us also encountered the terms 'nominative' and 'accusative' for the first time. Next up, our contemplation of boys, fish and eating (and various combinations of those words) showed us that in English, word order is critical to the meaning of a sentence - BUT NOT IN LATIN! We learned instead that the endings of words are codes we need to crack to see what job a noun or verb is doing in a Latin sentence.
gallinae rident? stultae sunt!
And so on to our first 'word ending codes' - how to analyse the end of a verb to see whether a verb is being done by one or more than one person (or, indeed, animal!). We spotted -t for singulars and -nt for plurals.
After all that language work, we settled down to think about one of the best aspects of Classical culture: Greek mythology. We watched Polyphemus the Cyclops snack on a (crunchy) man, Perseus chased by a snaky Medusa, and Cerberus seeing off Harry Potter et al. Fun stories, but this is Classics Club, where we like to dig a bit deeper. What's the point of these myths? How did they come about? What do they tell us about human beings, modern or ancient? This week's home task is to research a myth from any time or any culture. Next week we'll have a look at some of the reasons - psychological, sociological, political - why myths have arisen and continue to arise today.
Welcome, and not just to a new school year but to thirty new Classics enthusiasts!
The world's toughest French lesson?
We started Classics Club with an exploration of the English language, to show just how much Latin we already know in the form of modern words that have their roots in the ancient language. Students flew through the task of matching familiar English words to their etymological ancestors. We also explored the notion of language as an organic entity that is constantly changing, from the transition of Latin into French, and then the imposition by the Normans of their language on the English from 1066 A.D. onwards. And, of course, more l8ly, the impact of technology changing language 4eva.
Not forgetting the Ancient Greeks, we also had a go at learning the Greek alphabet, so that we could design some name badges for ourselves, as well as crack a few codes written up on the board. This week's hometask: find a modern word or object that has an association with Latin, Ancient Greek or Classical culture. * = once more from the top