[B-Greek] Learning Greek kills English...

Eric Ciampa erciampa at gmail.com
Tue Jul 27 15:35:57 EDT 2010


I have a bad habit of reading old books, books that now sit on old shelves with thick-yellow paper. I just started Edwin Abbott's, How to Write Clearly and came across a few lines that i thought i would share... 

Boys who are studying Latin and Greek stand in especial need of help to enable them to write a long English sentence clearly. The periods of Thucydides and Cicero are not easily rendered into our idiom without some knowledge of the links that connect an English sentence.

There is scarcely any better training, rhetorical as well as logical, than the task of construing Thucydides intogenuine English; but the flat, vague, long-winded Greek-English and Latin-English imposture that is often tolerated in our examinations and is allowed to pass current for genuine English, diminishes instead of increasing the power that our pupils should possess over their native language. By getting marks at school and college for construing good Greek and Latin into bad English, our pupils systematically unlearn what they may have been allowed to pick up from Milton and from Shakespeare. 

This got me wondering how my English might have become worse at the expense of learning Greek. 

Eric Ciampa



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