Posted by: Ingrid | September 12, 2008

It’s still (sometimes lovely, sometimes infuriating) Greek to me

Stumbling through the first semester of Greek has its dark days. Of course, those generally occur at the end of the week, particularly if I’m tired and hungry. Like last night, when Mounce was being particularly annoying in his (blatantly false) claims that there were hardly any differences between first and second declension and third. As if different case endings, and disappearing t‘s and k morphing into a different letter entirely were oh so normal. I almost threw my book at the wall, but then remembered that I was in the Fitness Center and one must maintain some sense of decorum.

It really is a mixed bag. I love languages, but Greek isn’t a normal spoken language. And it’s not like I get to memorize conversational Greek: Hey! What’s up! How are you? How is the weather? Where is the bathroom? Do you have a cigarette? (Sorry… flashback to trying to learn French from a tape with a friend. That phrase was permanently scarred on my second grade memory.) No Greek is all about memorizing some words and then memorizing all the ways those words can possibly change in all possible worlds. Not to mention the fact that they have multiple words for the same thing. Do you really need that many words for not and in while only having one word for that, since, because? And 24 different forms of the word the…? To be polite, we call Greek “highly inflected”. When I’m not being polite… well, that’s a whole other kind of language.

Thank God for the fiercely beautiful moments when I can decline the nouns and map out the sentence and find myself suddenly looking at a bit of Scripture. That I translated. From Greek. And then suddenly I’m reminded again that this is a very cool, very hard, very rewarding process.

 

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