Friday, May 28, 2010

Writing Strategy: Opposites

A powerful way to organize a sentence is through OPPOSITES. So, when you look at the Vocabulary Challenge words, start by asking yourself if you can find some pair of opposite words to use in building your sentence and expressing your ideas.

Some words instantly seem to conjure up their opposites! In this list - crux - bellum - meus - qui - quoque - I knew right away that I wanted to build my sentence based on the opposition between bellum and pax, war and peace. So, I ended up with two parallel phrases: in bello and in pace. I like the interplay between having opposite words used in parallel constructions! If you are curious, you can see how the rest of it turned out here.

Other opposites are not immediately obvious. For example, when I saw this list - equus - res - discipulus - iste - animal - I thought of the contrast between equus and asinus (a very common opposition in Latin fables and proverbs!), and I built my saying around that; take a look if you are curious. Another opposite that could work with this same set of words is discipulus-magister, so you could build your sentence around that contrast. Not every word in a language has a clear opposite, but if you can figure out, in Latin, what the opposites of the words in your list would be, that gives you one very good strategy for writing your sentence!

In this list - primus - sanctus - arripere - aetas - ex - I thought of creating parallel pairs, taking the positive words primus and sanctus and pairing them up with their opposites. I paired primus with pessimus and sanctus with scelestus. So, not only was this a great way to build my sentence based on opposites, it also gave me a parallelism and alliteration, too! You can see the results here if you are curious.

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Do you have some good strategies for doing the Vocabulary Challenge in Latin? Share your ideas here! Here are some strategies that I've used in writing my responses.

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