Thursday, October 16, 2008

Father Foster explains it all...

...to Bill Maher. (Listen here on NPR, if you can stand the smarminess. I honestly found it amusing.) While filming his silly anti-religion movie, Maher went to the Vatican and ran into none other than... Reggie Foster, everyone's favorite Latin Lover! Fr. Foster took him up to his office, all the while making scandalous comments and telling "bad jokes in Latin." What really made me laugh was that Bill Maher carried away the impression that all the Vatican clergy are like Fr. Foster! (What a thought.)

4 comments:

Santiago said...

man, there's a Foster disciple in my Greek class who keeps pushing the professor to agree with him that learning to speak Greek would be a worthwhile endeavor... "Oh, you're a Foster kid? Get out of my class," was the prof's response. "Why would we waste time learning to speak it, when we can instead use that time to read really cool stuff?" I am neutral on the debate, but then again, it's hard enough to read for me, I am just hoping to be able to read some prose with a little facility one day...

Simone Weil used to discuss Nietzsche in Greek with his brother. But they were geniuses.

Santiago said...

her brother. Andre Weil. Not Nietzche's brother.

Meredith said...

I know how to say in Greek, "Hello," "Lord have mercy," "Die, dog!" "You're right," and "Aieeee!" Simone Weil terrifies me.

Marcello said...

Yes, ancient Gk is crazy hard. But I think the same argument for learning to speak Latin--that it ultimately makes it much easier to read--is supposed to apply. I see where the prof is coming from, but anyone who has had any experience with language production can tell you that a little goes a long way towards comprehension.

This is basically the argument of my old teachers, profs Minkova and Tunberg at Kentucky, regarding Latin. You can read their take in the article "Oral Latin: Loquimur quo Melius Legamus" here:

http://www.apaclassics.org/outreach/
amphora/2005/Amphora4.2.pdf

But for Greek? Well, I'm still kinda on the fence myself. But I do have a couple of friends who speak Gk to each other on Skype. I don't know if they're geniuses, but their reading ability is really good. There's a prof at UNC (Peter Smith) who uses oral Gk in his prose comp class. I hardly think the time I've spent trying to stammer out ancient Gk sentences has been wasted. For your prof to be justified in making that statement about effective use of time, (s)he would have to have already tried speaking and found it a big waste, or at least to have known of people who tried and wasted their time. Is this the case? I doubt it.

Anyway, spero te bene habere, Meredith: Sorry about the long post. Athens is good! But modern Gk is hard! Santiago, may all your Gk learning endeavors be Agathei Tychei! Peace, Marcello