Sunday, May 30, 2010

Writing Strategy: Proverb Commentary

When you read a list of words, perhaps that list will somehow remind you of a Latin proverb or saying that you already know. You can then use your sentence to provide a kind of introduction to or explanation of that existing proverb. You can quote the existing proverb in your response, and add your own words as a kind of commentary on that proverb.

For example, when I saw this list - equus - res - discipulus - iste - animal - it reminded me of the medieval proverb about someone sending his "asinus" son off to the university, in the mistaken hope that this would turn the "asinus" into an "equus" instead: Parisios bipedum si quis transmittat asellum, si fuit hic asinus, non ibi fiet equus.

When I saw this list - longs - ars - puer - invito - is - I could not help but think of Horace's dictum Ars longa, vita brevis, so provided a kind of commentary on that saying, making it explicit that even if we live to be a ripe old age, we cannot hope to have perfected our art. Here's how it turned out.

So, I wrote a sentence that explains the metaphorical thinking of that proverb, and attached it to the proverb. 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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