Thursday, September 19, 2013

Brilliance in Latin II, III, and V

Today we were working on some review of verb forms in the Latin 3/4, or second-year Latin class.  The depth and brilliance of the questions and comments were truly striking.  For example, after reviewing the difference between the forms of sum when used alone or in conjunction with the perfect passive participle, one student observed that we do not need to talk about voice in the simple uses of sum and then went on to think aloud and come to a conclusion why that was.

In response to our discussion of so-called defective verbs that lack a fourth principal part, another student quickly observed that this meant they could have no passive voice, at least in the perfect system.

In the Latin V (or Latin 9/10) class, which is reading Ovid's Metamorphoses, the discussion of how and to what extent Ovid may have used the Latin passive voice in imitation of the Greek middle voice was outstanding.  Students quickly realized the philological analysis that would be necessary to make a significant conclusion about his usage, and one student asked questions about the composition of the Metamorphoses in relationship to his time of exile and whether or not his encounters with primarily Greek-speaking people would have influenced his style.  This was on top of their deep engagement and genuine enjoyment of the Actaeon story in Book II.

In the final period of the day, which is our Latin III (or Latin 5/6) class, we began Cicero's In Catilinam I.  The first few lines are so rich in rhetorical style that we were flying fast and furiously through anaphoras, tricola, and hendiadys, but the students managed not only to keep up, but to ask significant questions about whether Catiline would have been required to sit through the whole speech and to what extent the senators would have known the details of his conspiracy before Cicero's speech.

Hey, it was just another day with the extraordinary Latin students of North Central High School!

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