« PreviousContinue »
questions in Grammar, many of them based on the given extracts. But, above all, let the candidate avoid making those trivial comments on mere details which unexpectedly reveal his superficiality of mind, and prejudice him in the eyes of the examiner.
With regard to the method of studying the Greek author and the proper use of a translation we have little to add to what bas been said under the head of Latin. The same principle will apply to both languages, perhaps more to Greek than to Latin ; for, owing to the strangeness of the alphabetical characters, the form and inflection of Greek words are usually more difficult to remember than those of Latin ; moreover we do not derive so many French and English words from Greek as from latin, and therefore do not find the same help and suggestiveness from our other linguistic studies, in reading the former language as we do in reading the latter. The only way of overcoming this .obstacle is a thorough familiarity with Greek letters and forms of words by constant reading, combined with the study of Grammar. All the chief varieties of declension and conjugation should be first mastered, and then the student should try, as we have formerly pointed out, to discern the meaning of his author, clause by clause, and paragraph by piragraph, never referring to his key until he has done his best to ascertain the drift of thought for himself. If he proceed by this method the true translation will be far more likely to recur to him the next time he turns to any particular passage, either when in his own study or in the examination-room. Of course it will be advisable for him to go through his author more than once, for only by frequent reading can he make himself as familiar as he ought to be with every sentence and almost every word of the book which has been selected by the Senate. Before meeting the examiner he should be able, without more than a moment's glance at the text, to write down the correct rendering, for it is only by a rapid translation of the given extracts that he can reserve sufficient time for the questions in Grammar, all of which must be well done before he can have a fair chance of
If he will practice himself in the written translation of extracts taken at random, keeping himself away from his key and dictionary at the time, he will prove the truth of our remarks, and will find that he cannot be too well-versed with his author. An additional reason may be found in the fact that the examiners, in order to test a candidate's acquaintance with the given book, and to give no one an excuse for utter failure, base most of their questions on words and idioms employed in that book. This fact is often overlooked by candidates, and leads to unpardonable and ridiculous mistakes. A candidate has been known, for instance, to decline according to the Second Declension a word which belonged to the Third Declension, and yet the hint was given him by its inflected form in one of the extracts on his paper.
A merely literal or “word-for-word” rendering of Greek, or of any other language, should be avoided ; “for it cannot be denied that a literal translation, however faithful, will not always express, at the same time, forcibly and neatly, the sense of a Greek or Latin author. Besides the numerous peculiarities of diction which every language must exhibit, we find in ancient productions many references to customs and opinions to which modern ages furnish nothing quite analogous; so that on some occasions it is necessary to depart a little from the letter of the original in order to preserve its spirit and reconcile apparent incongruities.” We confess it is not ea-y to find the golden mean between a merely verbal translation and that wandering indefinite paraphrasing which loses itself in a cloudy wordiness. And yet it is that golden mean, in which the art of a forci' le, free, and faithful rendering of the spirit of the original consists, at which the student should aim, so as, by a continual mental effort, to grasp the real and precise meaning of his author. As models of clear, thoughtful, spirited, and idiomatic translation, we would commend to our readers' attentive study Lonsdale and Lee's faithful rendering of Horace and Virgil in the Globe Editions of those authors (38. 6d. each, Macmillan). We hope the same translators will shortly give us Homer and Xenophon in the same scholarly style.
Some of the most delicate characteristics of Greek which, like tinted sbades and aromatic flavours, it is so difficult to seize, are : (1) The flexibility and expressiveness of its Participles, which cano't always be rendered in the same form in English with that perspicuity which the various inflections of the Greek cases never fail to secure in the original.” (2) The peculiarity and force of its Middle Voice, its Optative Mood, and its variety of Tenses, especially the Aorist as distinguished from the Imperfect and Perfect. (3) The full meaning of its Prepositions, both singly, when they govern cas--s, and in their composition with Verbs, when they mouify both the siguification and the goverument of the Verbs. It is important to observe that the “Greek Prepositions appear to have been originally Adverbs of place, and when they retain this idea of position they invariably retain their own adverbial meaning, together with the mean'g of the case with wh ch they are associated. Thus trapá is alon zside of; tapá with a Genitive means from alongside of; with a Dative, at alongside of; with an Accusative, motion alongside of ; Útó means under; and so with a Genitive means from under; with a Dative, at uniter; with an Accusative, motion under. Consi tently with this, åró, which means from off, is associated with a Geuitive vnly ; év with a Dative only; els with an Accusative only.' (4) Iu addition to the idiums and the idiomatic use of some of
* Notabilia Quædam (1s. 6d., Bell and Co.).
the parts of speech-important peculiarities in every language
- we may mention, as worthy of close attention in translation, the Greek Conjunctions (copulative, adversative, temporal, final, causal, &c.), and especially Greek particles of inference and emphasis, such as γέ, δε, άρα, τοί, δητα, δήπου, δήπουθεν, άν, γούν, πέρ, and others, simple and compound. For these particles the English language has no exact equivalents, and their force can only be imperfectly expressed by some modification of the general meaning, which can only be caught by diligent observation and comparison of passages. “In Greek they are of very frequent occurrence, where scarcely any sentence begins without some little word or particle to indicate the lɔgical relation in which one clause or sentence stands to another, or to point out the function of a particular word in a sentence." The candidate should certainly try to give some expression to the peculiar force and emphasis of the more significant particles ; at all events be should show that he appreciates the turn they give to the thought, and that he has endeavoured to understand their distinctive and idiomatic uses. We say this notwithstanding the general truth of the following remarks of Canon Farrar in his unique and thought-s imulating work, A Brief Greek Syntax, and Hints on Greek Accidence (4s. 6d., Longmans) : “A perfect knowledge of the particles in which Greek abounds can only be obtained by extensive reading. The manner in which, especially in Homer, 'they sustain and articulate the pulses of emotion' is in itself a fruitful and valuable study. By them alone we can perceive that Greek was the language of a witty, refined, intellectual, sensitive, and passionate people. It would be impossible in any book to tabulate the delicate shades of meaning, the subtle intricate touches of irony or pathos, the indescribable grace and power, which the particles lend to many of the grandest passages in ancient literature. Indeed, these can often be only felt at all by a scholarly appreciation of the entire context, and of the circumstances which dictated the particular expression.
In short they are often untranslatable, and can only be approximately represented by some look, gesture, emphasis, or tone of voice. Thus Mèv and 86, two of the commonest Greek particles, correspond to the English on the one hand,' 'on the other hand ;' but to substitute these long and heavy paraphrases for them in all cases would be utterly unidiomatic and would not in any way represent their force and meaning in Greek.” It is in reference to particles and significant "airy nothings” like these, " the beauty, the blossom, the glory, the auréole of language," the full and precise meaning of which will be settled and defined when the truant schoolboy has bound the rainbow to a tree,” that Mr. Earle, in his suggestive work, The Philology of the English Tongue (78. 6d., Macmillan)—a work which has twice been selected for the University Examination in English-says, the Greek particles were the product of usage, and as usage produced them so use alone can teach them. “And this is why the skilled examiner will proced to test a knowledge of Greek by selecting a passage not with many hard words in it, but with this symbolic element delicately exhibited. Hard and rare words are useful as a test whether the books bave been got up, but even then the examination is no check on cramming; whereas it is a part of the distinct character and peculiar iridescent beauty of the symbolic element that it cannot be acquired by sudden methods ; it can only be learnt by a process of gradual habituation, which is study in the true sense of the word, and which cannot fail to open the mind. You cannot tack on mechanically a given En lish word to a given Greek word in the symbolic element as you do in the presentive.* Symbolic words require different terms of rendering in different connections. They have a diversity of states and powers and functions like living things. This is in each language the pith, the marrow, the true mother tongue.
The following passage shows it well in Greek, and it is a passage borrowed from an examination paper. The symbolics are underlined :
«Εγώ μεν ούν έστε μεν αι σπονδαι ήσαν ούποτε έπαυόμην ήμάς μεν οικτείρων, βασιλέα δε και τους συν αυτώ μακαρίζων, διαθεώμενος αυτών όσην μέν χώραν και οίαν έχοιεν, ώς δε άφθονα τα επιτήδεια όσους δε θεράποντας, όσα δε κτήνη, χρυσόν δε, εσθήτα δέ. Τα δαν TÛV OTPATIWTÔV Ómóte,” &c.t-Xenophon, Anabasis, III.
We have only to state further, that in reading his author the student should keep his manuscript book by his side and note down whatever he may find it desirable to remember on the following points as well as those we have above enumerated : (1) The Tense and Mood of all the more difficult verbal forms, some of which are always given to be parsed, and to be referred to their First Person Singular, Indicative Mood, Active Voice. Should the reader not have a complete list of the Irregular and Defective Verbs in his Grammar, he should purchase Marshall's Table of Irregular Greek Verbs (18., Macmillan), or the exhaustive and well-arranged Catalogue of Greek Verbs, Irregular and Defective (28. 6d., Bell and Sons). by Mr. J. S. Baird. The latter also cont ins the leading tenses and dialectical inflections arranged in a tabular form, with an Appendix containing paradigms for conjugation and general rules for the formation of
(2) The Declension of all Irregular Nouns, especially observing the Genitive and Dative of the Third Declension. (3) All exceptional and peculiar constructions, more particularly those which are found in long and involved sentences, of which the candidate should try to remember the turning-point or keynote, on which the entire meaning of the passage depends.
* Mr. Earle attaches a special meaning to the words symholic and presentive. † For the entire passage sec Mr. Earle's book, page 217, first edition.
Let not the aspirant for Univerzity honours be misled by the phrase in the regulations, “together with easy questions in Grammar.” If he think it will be sufficient to skim the surface of Greek Accidence and Syntax—if he imagine that the elementary knowledge of Greek with which he passed his Matriculati'n will be enough, and that he can safely leave his Greek for a rough and rapid scamper over it just before the examination, he will certainly discover, when it is too late, that the questions which look so short and simple to one who has his text-book before him, are not "
easy” for him when they come upon him as a surprise in the examination-room. Indeed, when we look at the variety and range of the questions already asked in the First B.A., and consider the almost critical acquaintance with Greek which some of them imply, we wonder at the Senate retaining the somewhat misleading word “easy” in the Regulations, unless it is intended to operate as a check upon the examiners rather than as a plenary indulgence to candidates, which hitherto they have not been free to revel in and enjoy.
Should our reader be one of those few candidates who take German in lieu of Greek at Matriculation, he ought to spend at least six months of uninterrupted study of Greek Accidence and the main rules of Greek Syntax, as taught, for example, in Dr. Smith’s Initin Græca, Part I. (3s. 6d., Key, 18., Murray), or Arnold's First Greek Book (5s., Tutor's Key, 1s. 6d., Rivington). The latter is not so easy and well graduated, but it is more comprehensive and thorough, and lays a good foundation for future acquisitions. But if, as is more probable, the reader has already mastered the simpler elements of Greek, we would urge him to make his study of Grammar contemporaneous with his study of the language as found in the Greek book selected for the year of his examination. For instance, having once glanced carefully through all the chief Rules of Syntax, before commencing to read a portion of his author on any day, let hiin again run over and closely observe all that is said in his Grainmar on the uses of the Article and the government of the different cases, and he will be surprised at the freshness and cheeriness of the light thrown on these points by his author. Let him the next day read what is said on the moods and tenses of the Verbs and then see how their principal uses are illustrated in his author; and so on with the Prepositions and Conjunctions, and other parts of Grammar. He will thus every day bu making a definite and practical study of Greek Grammar, easy to remember ; and at the same time he will be making clear and intelligent progress with his translation. , It