Wednesday, February 20, 2013

When Words Just "Click": Fun Today With Visual Latin

The sweet girl has been working through Lesson 17 of Visual Latin this week. In the reading/translation section of the lesson, she's up to the story of Noah and the ark. VL uses an adapted version of the Vulgate for these sections.

As part of the "immersion" approach, the Visual Latin teacher, Dwane Thomas, first reads the passage aloud while the student just listens. Then he reads it again, more slowly, pausing between sentences or phrases, while the student repeats it after him. (The words are written on the screen each time too.) Then the student works through the same passage to translate it, with any new vocabulary for the week listed at the end of the passage.

This means that by the time the student actually has the passage in front of them to translate, they've already heard all the words twice and said them once. Sometimes it's fun to see the brow wrinkling that can go on when the sweet girl is listening to a passage and a word she hasn't heard before pops up. I saw that today when the teacher read: "Signum est arcus. Nimbi sunt in caelo. Arcus quoquo in caelo est."

She knew the word "arca" from last week, and from earlier in today's passage. She knew it meant ark. But "arcus" -- close to arca, and yet so far -- was a brand new word. The brow definitely wrinkled when he read "Arcus quoque in caelo est," because if you translated "arcus" as "ark," it would read, "The ark is also in the sky."

Sure enough, when she got to that part of the passage, she wasn't quite sure what to do. I pointed out that "arcus" was a different word than "arca" and told her to go to her new vocabulary sheet. Light dawned as she realized that "arcus" can mean "bow, arch, or rainbow."

"Oh!" she said, "I get it! The RAINBOW is also in the sky. Not the ark. I was wondering. I was thinking maybe it was talking about when the ark landed on the mountain!"

We had a good laugh, and then a fun marvel over the closeness of the words. It had never fully dawned on either of us that the rainbow "arch" in the sky is really the inverted shape of the "ark" in the water.

Don't you love it when you learn new things about words, and when words just suddenly "click"?

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