Latin at Lower Lab

Alas, May is alas our last month of Latin at Lower Lab for this year. In June, Akiva will run the Latin/Greek Institute at CUNY.  In September we will resume again!

(By the way, many of the exercises we do in class at Lower Lab are also done by college students during the summer – another thing for Lower Lab students to be proud of!)
We will be wrapping up our year with an exploration of grammar and sentence structure. Our study of Latin has prepared us to start examining English with a new lens and dabble in the lost art of diagramming sentences.
We will be practicing the following concepts in both Latin and English:
— the parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction)
— syntactic functions (subject, object, predicate)
— sentence structure (main and subordinate clauses)
There’s a cute rhyme to help us remember the parts of speech:

Three little words you often see
Are articles aan, and the.

A noun is the name of anything,
As school or gardenhoop or swing.

Adjectives tell the kind of noun,
As greatsmallprettywhite, or brown.

Instead of nouns, the pronouns stand,
Her head, his face, your arm, my hand.

Verbs tell of something being done-
To read, count, laugh, sing, jump, or run.

How things are done the adverbs tell,
As slowly, quickly, ill, or well.

Conjunctions join the words together-
As men and women, wind or weather.

The preposition stands before
A noun, as in or through a door.

The interjection shows surprise,
As Oh! how pretty! Ah! How wise!

The whole are called nine parts of speech,
Which reading, writing, speaking teach.

One of my favorite topics is the internal architecture of sentences. Seeing long sentences with the x-ray vision clause-structure is a big boost to reading comprehension.
Image result for sentence diagram illustration
If you’d like to try your hand at finding clause structure in a passage, try the following progressive exercise that we did in class:
pandoras box.jpeg

PART 1 (EASY) The section below has every verb underlined and clause boundaries between the verbs marked with a big vertical line:  |. Read it and continue to part 2.

In ancient Greece there were two brothers named Epimetheus and Prometheus. |  They upset the gods | and annoyed the most powerful of all Gods, Zeus.

| This was not the first time |  that humans had upset Zeus | and once before, as punishment, he had taken from humans the ability to make fire. | This meant  | that they could no longer cook their meat | and could not keep themselves warm.

| However, Prometheus was clever | and he knew | that, on the Isle of Lemnos, lived Hephaestos, the blacksmith. | Prometheus travelled to Lemnos | and stole fire from the blacksmith.

| Zeus was furious | and decided | that humans had to be punished for their lack of respect.

PART 2 (MEDIUM EASY) The section below has every verb underlined but no clause boundaries. Add them yourself with a big vertical line | . Remember, every verb must have a boundary between it!!!

some good clues of a clause boundary:

— period and question marks and sometimes commas

— “that”

— “and”

— “but”

— “when”

— “even though”

Zeus invented a very cunning plan to punish the two brothers. With the help of Hephaestos, he created a woman from clay. The goddess Athene then breathed life into the clay and Aphrodite made her very beautiful and Hermes taught her how to be clever. Zeus called her Pandora and sent her as a gift to Epimetheus.

Zeus gave Pandora a wedding gift of a beautiful box. There was one very, very important condition however: she must never open the box.  Pandora was very curious about the contents of the box but she had promised that she would never open it. Finally, Pandora could stand it no longer.

PART 3 (DIFFICULT) The section below has no verbs underlined. Underline every verb and mark the clause boundary with a big vertical line | . Remember, every verb must have a boundary between it!!!

When she knew that Epimetheus was out of sight, she crept up to the box, took the huge key off the high shelf, fitted it carefully into the lock and turned it.

She opened her eyes and looked into the box. But there was no gleam of gold or treasure. The look of excitement on her face quickly turned to one of disappointment and then horror. For Zeus had packed the box full of all the terrible evils that he could think of, all shaped like tiny buzzing moths. The creatures stung Pandora over and over again and she slammed the lid shut.

The last creature inside was Hope. It fluttered from the box like a beautiful dragonfly, touched the wounds that were created by the evil creatures, and healed them.

PANDORA’s name means “a gift to all”. [PAN=all DORA=gift]