I Do Not Know Greek

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Location: Burnsville, NC 28714

I Do Not Know Greek

Post by cwconrad » August 7th, 2012, 11:54 am

another snippet from the old curmudgeon (Laudator Temporis Acti):
http://laudatortemporisacti.blogspot.co ... greek.html

In fact, it's another citation from a letter of Stephen McKenna; noteworthy especially, ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ (I haven't cited the whole text from the blog, but I've added the emphasis):
I do not know Greek: I add that I have personally met only one who did know Greek, and I would find it hard to believe that in any one decade in any one country there have been as yet more than ten people who do know it. Mainly a matter of proper teaching: teach ancient Greek as a living spoken language (a very possible thing) for the long beginnings, then carry on by the back-translation method, and we could all know it, we who care, just as we can learn French or Russian. It's the barbarously imbecile teaching by rules and exceptions, by comprehensive paradigmas, and by premature mixing of dialects, and with stupid choice of texts and stress on foolish notes—all that most cursed folly has stupefied us into inability, at my age, to hold Greek in our poor old weary skulls.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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