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Yay to integrity and a sense of duty - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
December 10th, 2003
03:06 pm

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Yay to integrity and a sense of duty
I really appreciate my Greek teacher. In Monday's class, she was explaining some phenomenon, I forget which, and uttered the sentence: "In Latin [whatever it was] is different, because the propenultimate [second-before-last] syllable can never be stressed." This is, of course, nonsense: In Latin, either the penultimate or the propenultimate syllable is stressed; it is the ultimate syllable that is never stressed. This is probably what she means, I thought to myself, as did most of the others, I suppose, as we're all taking Latin as well. No one, not even I, felt it necessary to correct her, and she went on. I figured it was a slip of the tongue -- I certainly don't doubt her Latin, which is at least competent, and promptly forgot all about it.

This morning in Greek class, she was there early, writing up some tables and forms to be used later in today's lesson, as she always does. In the corner of the whiteboard, though, was the following sentence: "Correction to ridiculous mistake: the propenultimate syllable can be stressed in Latin (e.g. obLIvio, CIcero)." And in smaller print "it is the ultimate syllable that's never stressed".

She must have realized her mistake while making it, or shortly thereafter, or some time after class. The point is that although she knows we all have enough Latin to recognize it for a slip of the tongue and not be confused by it, she felt responsible for uttering nonsense in class, and chose to make explicit her recognition of that mistake.

I admire this behavior with all my heart. This is good teaching ethics, in my book.

Current Mood: calm
Current Music: Mendelssohn -- Gondellied: Andante cantabile [Barenboim]

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From:gaal
Date:December 10th, 2003 05:49 am (UTC)
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I thought the term was antepenultimate?
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From:ijon
Date:December 10th, 2003 06:12 am (UTC)
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Both are correct. Antepenultimate is more common by far, but my Greek grammar book uses propenultimate.
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From:mux2000
Date:December 13th, 2003 10:54 pm (UTC)

How about Antlepenultimate?

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From:gaal
Date:December 16th, 2003 11:25 am (UTC)
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Interesting. I looked in the volume of the OED that starts with Poise and could not find it.
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From:ijon
Date:December 16th, 2003 11:39 am (UTC)
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I assure you I have not made it up... :)

I suppose it's a Latin form chiefly used in the context of Latin and Greek grammar, then, whereas antepenultimate is indeed the accepted English term. Thanks for pointing it out.
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From:jdm314
Date:December 10th, 2003 06:19 am (UTC)
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Yay! I have a real issue with professors who can't admit their mistakes- the point of the class is to teach, not to demonstrate that you are always correct.
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From:greenshade
Date:December 10th, 2003 06:52 am (UTC)

Yay!

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Warms the heart.
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From:tfooyeh
Date:December 12th, 2003 02:17 pm (UTC)
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That is really not to be taken for granted and bless you for noting it. I am quirious, what has stopped you from clarifying the subject right on the spot or right after class?
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From:kvschwartz
Date:December 17th, 2003 10:46 am (UTC)

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ultimate = last
penultimate = 2nd to last
propenultimate = 3rd from last
prepropenultimate = 4th from last
anteprepropenultimate = 5th
penanteprepropenultimate = 6th, etc
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