Thursday, October 21, 2010


Today I used an adverb I hadn't used in probably 6 or 7 years. And it came out so easily that I sat and admired it for a minute and wondered why I'd neglected it for so long. It was French, the language I studied for about a year in high school.

Three days ago I started taking Latin again. It's a good year and a half since I took Aesop's with Mr. Griffith, and it's obvious I haven't done a whole lot since then. It has been sneaking away, one little verb ending at a time, and I find that I need to start scouring the countryside to re-collect everything I once owned.

Tonight I need to translate Numbers 1:1-21 from the Greek. It sounds fabulous to be doing both Latin Vulgate and Greek Septuagint - reading and translating Scripture for homework. This is a beautiful kind of work, and I just want every word that I note and look up to be written in my mind with an iron pen and lead forever.

I want to know all of these languages well. I want to keep a journal like Gerard Manley Hopkins of words and their origins and even make up a few of my own; I want to choose the word I say because little strings connecting it to other words tug and ease and twist and tease it to mean exactly the right thing. I want to savor their long vowels and roll their R's and dwell on the silent letters hanging off the ends of the French words. I want to eat these words and let their shapes change me as they enter me. I want language, like food, to not be merely fuel for energy and efficiency but something that alters, shapes and remains with me, and those I share my words with. I want words for the Eschaton.

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