February 06, 2011

Tamdiu discendum est homini, quamdiu nesciat

Recording also available at iPadio using this link.

Today's saying is Tamdiu discendum est homini, quamdiu nesciat. In English: "A person should keep on learning so long as there are things he does not know."

Given that "lifelong learning" is central to everything I believe about teaching and learning, I'll probably have a lot of proverbs like this one, sayings that urge us to keep on learning for all of our lives, not just while we are in school. You graduate from school; you never graduate from the obligation to keep learning. The special virtue of this saying is that it explains just why it is that we have to keep on learning all our lives: since there are always things we do not know yet, we always need to keep on learning. Of course, if someone did manage to learn everything and to become omniscient, okay, I guess that person would be exempt from lifelong learning. But for the rest of us, who don't expect to become omniscient any time soon, we need to keep on learning all the time: Tamdiu discendum est homini, quamdiu nesciat.

In terms of Latin grammar, this proverb is organized using the elegant Latin correlative adverbs, tamdiu and quamdiu. The wide range of correlative adjectives and adverbs in Latin allows for some very clear and concise proverbs; we'll see plenty of such correlative pairs before this particular proverb project is finished!

For those of you who are fans of macrons, here is the Latin written with macrons:

Tamdiū discendum est hominī, quamdiū nesciat.


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