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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Education
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0607  Friday, 1 March 2002

[1]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Feb 2002 12:35:42 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 13.0583 Re: Education

[2]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Feb 2002 11:13:57 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0598 Re: Education


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Feb 2002 12:35:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Education
Comment:        SHK 13.0583 Re: Education

What on earth does Andy White mean by 'a linguistic monoculture'? Is it
different from a mono-linguistic culture? The United States is neither.

T. Hawkes

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Feb 2002 11:13:57 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0598 Re: Education
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0598 Re: Education

I took Latin in high school because I felt that it would offer a better
perspective on the etymology and basic functions of the English
language. I didn't really learn much of it well and I ended up mostly
translating The Aeneid for the last three years.

However, bizarrely enough, I soaked up enough of it that I felt in
latter years and even to this day that it has enhanced my grasp of the
English language. The comparison is that Shakespeare might have had less
Latin that his contemporaries (certainly less than Ben Jonson in his
humble opinion). Certainly, with the experience I had, and the raw
genius that he happened to be born with, he could have written what he
did.  And I think a less thorough Latin education in his time was still
ten times more thorough than mine. He would have been immersed in Latin
rhetoric and grammar and the Greco-Roman tradition of which even we
still freely quote today. Certainly enough to parody those traditions as
he does so often in the comedies.

It is also important to remember the loose rules of the English language
then. He was writing it as he went along! And I think the amount of
Latin he had, even if not as complete as a university level, was
certainly enough to grasp whatever English linguistics there were and to
adapt them to his will.

As far as educational standards, certainly our expectations have
plummeted. I think there is TOO much catering to those who take the
easier way out, who find reading boring and only "watch movies". Of
course, I should also say that we do not have nearly enough teachers,
classrooms, funding or even support to do what needs to be done. The
future, in my mind, is dire again. I really think that the "elite", as
in those who motivate themselves to be educated, to read and KNOW
things, are going to the universities.

However, since it is open to everyone, perhaps we are having unrealistic
expectations that EVERYONE should go to college? School is indeed not
for everyone. Obviously Shakespeare didn't see the value in a university
education and look what he did. It's quite a frustrating problem in my
mind. Especially when most bachelor's degree are now becoming as near
worthless in the real world as a high school diploma used to be.

Brian Willis

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