Saturday, February 18, 2006

Enthusiasm is the Key

About a year and a half ago, one of my students who is a youth correspondent for the "MyLine" section of The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia) wrote:

Latin? I love Latin!
By Amanda Potter

Arma virumque cano--I sing of arms and a man.
Here are the opening words of Virgil's "Aeneid," written over 2,000 years ago about the glory of Rome's past, present, and future. It embodies pietas: duty to the gods, country and family, in that order.
Known as the dead language, I shudder at the thought, the insult, branded upon my beloved Latin.
How does the supposed "dead language" hold the interest of students for four and five years?
In September, my Latin teacher of three years expressed the importance of enthusiasm. And being in AP, we're held to higher standards.
He described to us an Old Navy commercial. A girl, during a college lecture, jumps up out of her seat proclaiming her love for history. My teacher wants us to do the same.
Latin? I love Latin!
We comply. The enthusiasm spreads.
Roots?! I love roots!
Classical literacy?! I love classical literacy!
It has become unintentional, habit.
This isn't a fa├žade; there is genuine appreciation for the language. We translate Virgil's "Aeneid" rather than the usual fake Latin written for text books.
It's a connection with the past, with Rome.
We can feel the rhythm of the Latin, the dactylic hexameter. Spondees and dactyls sit side by side on the page, line after line, long-long, long-short-short. Virgil was indeed an artist.
Old Navy claims this enthusiasm is due to their clothing.
I know better. Those ads can't fool me.

Date published: 12/7/2004


I am proud of my student for her work and appreciate her comments. Indeed, enthusiasm is the key for success in anything!

No comments: