September 09, 2006

Welcome to Latin Audio Proverbs!

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And why not start a Latin Proverb blog of your own? Blogger.com is free, and easy to use! One of the recommendations I made for Latin students using the Latin Via Proverbs book is to create a "commonplace book," where they can record their favorite proverbs, along with their own thoughts and reflections. Below you can read an excerpt from the preface to Latin Via Proverbs where I explain something about the purpose that commonplace books served in the past, and how they can be useful for Latin students today. I've created this Latin Audio Proverb blog as my own experiment with a "commonplace book," and I hope this will inspire other fans of Latin to create their own blogs. Come on, people, we need more Latin blogs!

I'll be publishing a Latin proverb each day here, along with a nifty little Flash audio feature that should make it easy for people to hear the audio. I have really struggled with audio in the past, finding it very difficult to manage the plethora of file formats, browser options, and media players that are floating around the virtual world. This Flash option should make it possible for people to listen to the audio easily and unobtrusively. This is also the same approach I am taking to the audio content at the LatinViaProverbs.com website.

Here's the blurb about commonplace books from the preface to Latin Via Proverbs:
Study Tip: Create a Commonplace Book

To keep track of your progress with the proverbs, you might want to create a “commonplace book” where you record the proverbs in Latin, along with your thoughts and reflections in English. You can include every single proverb if you want, or you can just include the proverbs that you find the most intriguing, either because you agree with them strongly (or disagree with them), or because there is some stylistic or grammatical feature in the proverb that interests you.

The commonplace book genre became widely popular in the Renaissance, when the recent advent of printing resulted in a veritable “information explosion” rather like what we are experiencing in a new way today with the Internet. In order to cope with the flood of printed information they were reading, students and scholars would keep a “commonplace book” where they would record key passages from their reading (these passages were the loci communes, or “common places”), along with their own reflections and commentary. Another term used for such a collection is florilegium, “gathering of flowers.” From the corresponding Greek term, anthologia, we get the English word “anthology.”

There are many ways to create your own commonplace book or florilegium. You might organize it as a diary, adding at least one proverb every day. Or you could organize the book by topics, such as “proverbs about love,” “proverbs about money,” etc., with separate pages for each topic. You can use a physical notebook, writing the proverbs out by hand (splurge and buy yourself a nice journal to write in!), or you can create your notebook electronically, using a word processor. You might even consider creating your commonplace book online, as a “proverb blog.” There are free blogging services you can use to create your proverb blog, such as Google’s blogger.com. Whatever format you choose, make sure you write about the proverbs often. Writing one entry, no matter how brief, each and every day is the best way to reinforce your growing knowledge of Latin.

1 comment:

Ana said...

Wonderful idea! I'll try to do the same with my students.
Thank you for sharing these nice proposals.