As my son has started Latin this year (40 boys applied for 20 places), we do it in the car going to school. However, this has made me dust off my Latin books as I did it for matriculation and I have been enjoying reading Harry Potter (1st book) in Latin. I have read it in French and have ordered the Ancient Greek version which is reviewed as being charmingly written.
The Latin version is also charming and it is great to see how skillfully the translator adapts Latin to modern words eg toaster, car, milk bottles. Indeed this is the most wonderful part of the book. I have ordered the Latin version of Chamber of Secrets and have a book of 1000 modern Latin words eg for aeroplane, dishwasher etc as per the Vatican Latin masters.
May I commend those of you schooled in these ancient and dark arts to buy the Latin version, and with the English one by your side, delve into the wonder and sheer hedonism of languages other than your own. I realise I may be speaking to a select few as natural selection is choosy with regards H. sapiens nerdiensis.
I am also trying to obtain the Modern Greek version but so far to no avail as I live in a far flung outpost of the Federation of Muggles, called Terra Australis. If anyone can help I’d appreciate it.
For me, language is a great ocean waiting to be charted. At first we dance along its sandy shores and pick up sea shells washed up by its rolling surf. Then we venture out in our fragile barks to explore the coast and see the horizon from a new perspective. This ocean is alluring like the Sirens’ beckoning us; to touch her shores and sound her shoals until we feel confident to leave behind that familiar world to discover new islands, new reefs until we find ourselves in the land of the lotus eaters, far from home, forgetting our native tongue for just a moment, where we become the stranger, the ξένος, welcomed by the hospitality of a strange idiom and tongue, food and folklore until our thoughts enter this new paradigm and we dream its dreams.
When this happens we are changed forever, like Odysseus, that man so wary and wise. We are transformed as our eyes are opened. We can never go back again. We have seen a new world which is different from our own like those creatures on that beautiful planet in Avatar and we see in 3D like we do when we become doctors. O how medicine wearies us and makes us her slave.
“Sing, O Muse, of the man so wary and wise, who in far lands
Wander’d whenas he had wasted the sacred town of the Trojans.
Many a people he saw and beheld their cities and customs,
Many a woe he endured in his heart as he tossed on the ocean,
Striving to win him his life and to bring home safely his comrades.”
Odyssey, Book 1 by H.B. Cotterill MXM11 (I like this as he translated Greek iambic hexameter into English iambic hexameter although he has his detractors.)
We strive to do the same in medicine but instead of our comrades pulling oars and setting sails, they are our patients. The ocean of language to me is the ocean of paradigms of the human condition which is no different now than in Minoan times. To explore this gives to me the greatest pleasure, akin to sailing boat on the ocean.
“There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not;
The way of an eagle in the air; the way of the serpent on a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.” Proverbs 30:18-19