September 06, 2007

Dicunt enim et non faciunt

In English: For they speak, and do not do it.

I'm taking a brief pause from the fable-based proverbs I've posted over the past few days (don't worry: I'll pick up that theme again tomorrow), because I just had to post a proverb about hypocrisy today, purely for self-therapy!

Normally, the work I do online brings me great pleasure, since I get all kinds of interesting emails from people about their Latin studies and experiences, with comments and questions where I feel like we are collaborating together online, using the Internet to promote the study of Latin in a positive, new way.

At the same time, I do receive the occasional rude email from someone, complaining about something, in particular about the audio. Some people seem to think that they have they have been given a mission to make everyone adhere to their own system for reading Latin, and they lose sight of the fact that Latin is a dead language now, so really, anyone making any noise at all in Latin is to be commended IMHO. Moreover, Latin was spoken for millennia by people with all kinds of accents all over Europe and the Americas (and taken by the Jesuits to Asia, for that matter), so even if you are a promoter of reconstructed Roman pronunciation, Roman pronunciation and Latin pronunciation are not one and the same.

When someone sends me an email about this thorny subject, I can write back to them, and we can attempt to engage in some kind of useful dialogue about our differing positions on the subject. Dialogue is always good.

Today, however, I was struck by a very rude, anonymous comment that someone left at this blog about the audio. That was a new low! When someone leaves a rude, anonymous comment, there is nothing really to be done: it's like having someone throw trash in your yard. For those of you who blog, you know the feeling. Yuck.

So, I picked today's proverb to point out that the RIGHT thing to do is not to complain about other people's pronunciation by leaving rude, anonymous comments at their blog. If you are going to be rude, at least sign your name. But really, the truly right thing to do is to put your own audio online! Using Audacity software, which is free for both Macintosh and Windows, anyone can create audio which can be shared online. Insulting other people's reading of Latin does nothing to further the cause of better Latin - but for those people out there who work harder on Latin pronunciation than I do, and there are many such people, I certainly wish they would devote at least part of their Latin effort to putting the audio online so everyone could listen and benefit. If you tag your Latin audio webpages or blog posts or podcasts with the del.icio.us tags latin+audio, it's easy to find what audio Latin resources are available online, if you are willing to ignore the occasional salsa music site that will also show up in that listing!

Meanwhile, for the people who complain about other people's audio online without publishing audio yourselves, today's proverb is for you. It comes from the Gospel of Matthew, and contains another wonderful proverbial turn of phrase. Jesus is describing the hypocritical scholars and Pharisees who tell others what to do but who themselves provide no model worthy of imitation: Dicunt enim, et non faciunt. Alligant enim onera gravia, et importabilia, et imponunt in humeros hominum: digito autem suo nolunt ea movere, "For they speak, but they do not do it. The fact is that they bind on weighty burdens, and burdens impossible to bear, and they place them on people's backs, but they refuse to move them with so much as a finger of their own."

So, here is today's proverb read out loud - with no apologies offered for the audio... and remember, nobody is forcing you to listen, if you don't want to... cuique suum, as another saying reminds us! :-)

1572. Dicunt enim et non faciunt.

The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.

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4 comments:

mengstro said...

I was sorry to read your comments today regarding those who would criticize your Latin. It has been more than 35 years since I studied Latin. My instructor back then was fiercely demanding. For four years, five days a week, I attended his classes. I have forgotten much of my Latin, but I will never forget his pronunciation dissertations. For what it's worth, I have found your Latin to be refreshing. My old professor would have been pleased. You would have been his favored pupil. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for sharing your gifts. Thank you for helping me to recapture a part of my education that for far too many years has lain dormant. Thank you for your daily break from the mundane.

Laura Gibbs said...

Thank you, too! I would do the blog even if there were no readers at all out there, since it is also MY daily break from the mundane... but it is all the better if the blog can be useful for other people, too. I have met so many people who are wanting to revive their Latin from days gone by, and it seems the proverbs are a nice way to do that. Small doses, familiar words: that's why I like proverbs myself. Thanks again for your comment! :-)

Diane said...

I have to echo what mengstro said. It has also been over 35 years since I had the pleasure of studying Latin with Mrs. Fellows - with a bit of Greek tossed in for good measure. I've remembered the rules of pronunciation that she taught us, although I've wondered over the years if my memory is correct. So I enjoy your audio versions of the proverbs (which I can mostly translate!) and listen to them regularly to hear how it can/should be done. I wanted to ask you why you roll your r's. Is that standard for reconstructed Roman pronunication?
I had started relearning Latin a few years ago, but I got interrupted when I began work on a Ph.D. However, I've promised myself that as soon as I'm finished with the Ph.D., I'm going to pick up where I left off with Latin and Greek. So when I found your excellent website, I was delighted. It's my daily dose of something I really enjoy. Thanks for sharing your time, your talents, and most of all, your enthusiasm.

Laura Gibbs said...

Hi Diane, thanks for your nice comment, and I am glad the materials are useful to you! I've been posting less often to this blog (just once a week) because I have been so busy finishing up a book of Latin Bible verses for Latin students; I'll be starting a new blog soon so that I can add the audio for those, too. About the rolled r's - I first started doing Latin about 25 years ago, and I don't even remember which teacher it was that got me doing that - it's so automatic now, I don't really even think about it, although the American "r" is a distinctively American thing, that's for sure - in England, I remember some English folks who took endless delight in imitating the American "r" and laughing all the while. So whatever "r" the Romans had, I am sure it was not the American "r"... although just what kind of "r" the Romans had is a mystery to me - until someone finds "The Dead Sea CDs" like the Dead Sea Scrolls to let us hear some snippets of ancient speech, I am not sure we will ever really know for sure! :-)