Sunday, January 15, 2006

MY LATIN PAST

A strange factoid about me: I majored in Classics at college.

A lot of people don't even know what Classics is, exactly. Basically, it's Ancient Greek and Roman sh*t. Assorted, all-encompassing sorts of sh*t, like philosophy, language, art history, drama, and general history. Which meant that on top of everything else that I had to do - required courses, minor courses, keg stands, dating, etc. - I had to take Latin and Ancient Greek classes.

I can hear you asking me how my background in Classics enriches my day-to-day life. It doesn't.

It did, however, teach me to type fast. You'd better type fast, if you think you're getting those 3 25-pagers in this week (on top of all those keg stands). Knowledge of Latin and/or Greek can be an absolute godsend when vacationing in a country where a Romance language is spoken. It bolstered my immunity to heavy workloads. In my freelance translation work, I routinely zip through 30-40 pages a day. Not that I choose to spend my days killing large expanses of brain through translation overload, but having completed linguistic boot camp, I'd like to think I'm entitled to a little bragging now and again.

But the best thing about my classes would have to be the people I met*, including Kerry, the last person you would expect to be in your early-morning Latin group. First of all, she was cool. In a way that Latin will never be. Second of all, she was a snowboarder. And third of all, like me, she was so not a morning person. I started calling her in the morning to make sure she was up, which ended up really improving my attendance record.

Anyhow, to make a long story short, Kerry made a good point today, when she said:

we should figure out a way to incorporate a little latin in our day-to-day lives. i can't think of another person who would want a little latin in their lives, but i do, and maybe you do too. to start us off, some sage advice:

semper ubi sub ubi (tee hee, actually, that's not really funny at all)

4 years of college... And it took me forever to decipher the riddle as "always where under where" - perhaps an ominous sign that my sense of humour is as rusty as my Latin. Dang I love geek jokes.

From now on, whenever I remember to do so, I will include a Latin phrase in my post, because:

Quidquid latine dictum sit altum viditur.
(Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.)

*Em, the sweetest, most innocent-looking girl, who would shock everyone first thing in the morning with stories about her boyfriend taking tequila shots out of her belly-button; Dimitri, of the wavy, flaxen ponytail, who wore a sheathed sword to class every day; Leah, who was 6 foot 2 in her heels, bald, beautiful, and so f*cking funny I'd go to class to hear her speak; Tim Ball, who was just about the smartest guy around... and a bunch of others who were so hilariously hopeless with the whole Classics thing that I never saw them again after first semester. Sigh. I miss y'alls.

2 Comments:

Blogger ZaZa said...

Wow. I did a couple years of Latin in High School. I was one of the hopeless ones. Campus Martius = Martian Camp. Sigh. I admire anyone who actually learned to speak or write the stuff.

10:43 AM  
Blogger e! said...

Don't worry about it. I doubt anyone can REALLY speak Latin - including the Pope.

1:46 PM  

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