Speaking in Tongues

Being woken at 4:30am by the startling sound of the bin crashing to the ground and the rubbish making its escape on the howling wind isn’t comforting. I simply couldn’t sleep with the prospect of the two entirely full bins littering the street, so I got up and brought them into the back garden. As I made my way into college a few hours later, I was gripped by a sense of foreboding. Angry winds swept along the road, growling and whipping at the temerity of those few who dared to brave the elements. I passed a huge tree that had been uprooted during the night and watched in awe as tree-surgeons frantically tried to remove branches and debris from the road, while needles of rain stabbed relentlessly at my eyes. As I crossed the the river the wind assumed a sense of urgency, seemingly intent on slowing me down, but I soldiered on. Talk about pathetic fallacy.

Over the Summer, I decided to undertake a Masters in Classics, feeling that the course will allow me to explore, professionally, subjects which are of great interest to me; ancient history, cultures and their lasting significance to the modern world. A concern that has emerged, however, is that I am expected to learn Latin and Ancient Greek. A daunting prospect indeed. The idea behind learning these languages, of course, makes absolute sense: if you can read ancient texts in their original language, you can make your own interpretation. Cut out the middle-man.
I studied French and German at secondary school and I excelled. I didn’t particularly enjoy the study of modern languages ā€“ it didn’t enthral me – but I was good at it. In fact, I was actually about to study both subjects at A-Level in St. Columb’s before, on the first day of sixth-form, the snide demeanour of my French teacher put me off studying the language altogether ā€“ I can still remember the condescending look I got. I picked up Ancient History instead and the rest is, well funnily, Ancient History. The problem I have with learning languages, is that become too easily frustrated by the fact that I cannot express myself as well, so imagine the joy I felt when stumbling and stuttering over the Greek alphabet in my first class. Hence my consternation. The modules in Ancient Greek and Latin are beginner level, but learning any language requires a patience that I do not possess.
I still have to do it though and as I did through the storm winds of Hurricane Katia, sometimes you just have to put your head down and soldier on.

Leave a Reply