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Languages

If you're planning on going into the humanities and doing any kind of graduate work, what I didn't realize as an undergraduate is that it is not possible to learn too many languages. There will always be more crucial languages that you just don't know yet, so you might as well learn some of as many as possible now.

The languages I don't know this week are Russian and Greek. The poem I only just discovered and really do need to read is in Greek. The critical edition has notes in German, which I can at least work through, but working through the apparatus isn't at all the same as reading the text. Unless secondary sources translate enough of Meliteniotes' Sophrosyne, I'll be needing to find myself someone competent in the reading of Greek in the next few months. (Although further work indicates that I might be able to read it with French annotations instead of German. Either way, not the text.)

As for Russian... well, I'm more certain I know people who can read Greek at the moment.

Update: At least I've found a five page English summary of Sophorsyne, albeit one which doesn't focus on the elements I'm most interested in. Still, it's very useful as a guide and for narrowing down where I do need to look!

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
kashmera
Apr. 13th, 2004 01:22 pm (UTC)
If you can't find local help the I'm sure I can help on the Russian front if you need it (and if it's modern). My friends Misha and Roman (Krasnich) are from Belarus (SP?). Misha (Roman's dad) would be more help, but sometime he doesn't know the English equivalent..
owlfish
Apr. 13th, 2004 01:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, it's modern Russian. I don't think I really have to read it, so much as it would behoove me to. I'll keep you posted if it looks important enough to work on.
chickenfeet2003
Apr. 13th, 2004 02:36 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I know of many professional fields where a knowledge of multiple languages isn't useful. Had I but known how, I have had professional opportunities to use French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese and Italian. Unfortunately I am only competent in one of those with a smattering of one other.
suslikuk
Apr. 14th, 2004 02:52 am (UTC)
Professional field where knowledge of multiple languages isn't useful = software engineering (peeved). The only language I've had occasion to use is German, and it quickly turned out that the papers I was trying to read in that language were facile and pointless. All the interesting stuff is in English. Generally badly-written and ungrammatical English, but English all the same.

However, it does seem to be important to be able to speak and understand American Englishes and it's useful to understand Canadian English. The past five years really opened my eyes to the fact that these languages are not even close to British English, notwithstanding the superficial similarity in vocabulary and syntax.

cwjat
Apr. 14th, 2004 07:27 am (UTC)
Ahh yes...languages
I know how you feel. I've studied five languages other than English and can read one other whilst knowing a smattering of words in at least three other languages. And yet I still have at least three languages that I need to learn for my Ph.D., although only two are essential (Hebrew and German). Just when you think that you don't need another language, you discover some vital piece of work that you need for you research and it's in one of those languages that you don't know yet. As for the Russian, I did study it for four years in my undergrad so if you need someone to help with it, let me know. I'm a bit rusty but I'd welcome the chance to brush up on my Russian.
owlfish
Apr. 14th, 2004 07:30 am (UTC)
Re: Ahh yes...languages
How good to hear from you! I'm off to take The Exam this afternoon and then go socialize with everyone.

If you actually want a chance to brush up on Russian, I'd happy track down the article and send it to you. I'll be able to tell you generally what about the article I'm most interested in, since it's an expanded version of a shorter paper I already have in English. The note at the end of the English paper tells me that the Russian paper focuses on things of greater interest to me, however.
cwjat
Apr. 14th, 2004 07:34 am (UTC)
Re: Ahh yes...languages
Please send it on. I'd like the chance to have something fun to work on when I get tired of my dissertation work.
Good luck on the exam. Have fun socializing. That's the part I miss most about the Latin exams.
owlfish
Apr. 14th, 2004 07:41 am (UTC)
Re: Ahh yes...languages
I'll track it down next week - I'm leaving tomorrow for a conference and probably won't have time for another library trip before the weekend. Thank you so much!

Thanks also for the good wishes. I don't have my hopes up, but I need to take it. Oh well.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )