Sunday, May 30, 2010

Writing Strategy: Parallel Structure

The use of parallel structures is very common in Latin. Instead of saying something once, you say it twice - perhaps with a subtle variation between the two different instances.

If you are using opposites, for example, you can put those opposites into parallel expressions. 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. 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.

You can also create more elaborate kinds of parallel constructions. For example, in this list - primus - sanctus - arripere - aetas - ex - I recognized right away that while primus and sanctus are not synonyms, they do have something in common that I could use to build a parallelism - they are both "good" attributes. So, I used that parallelism to create my sentence, which features a number of parallels and repetitions. It is will be more clear if I write it out this way:

Omnia fert aetas,
e manibus meis - arripiens - et PRIMA et pessima
tollensque - e mundo - et SANCTA et scelesta.

Each of the "good" words - prima and sancta - end up in two parallel phrases. Each of those parallel phrases contains a participle, a prepositional phrase, and an object of the participle which pairs the good word with its opposite. To vary things a little bit, I put the prepositional phrase before the participle the first time, and the second time I put the prepositional phrase after the participle. One of the fun things about working with parallelisms is that by emphasizing the similarity you also get to play around with little differences, too!

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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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