Tag Archives: foreign languages

Modernismo

“Modernismo: A literary movement that arose in Spanish America in the late 19th century and was subsequently transmitted to Spain, In their quest for pure poetry, the modernists displayed a dazzling technical virtuosity and technical perfection that revolutionized Spanish literature.

According to some critics, the publication of Jose Marti’s Ismaelillo (1882) marks the beginning of the movement. Others assert that, while Marti exerted enormous influence on Spanish-American writing and thought, his poetry is so individual that he cannot be considered even a precursor of modernism. There is no disagreement, however, as to the dominant role of Ruben Dario, whose work defined and stimulated modernism in America and in Spain. The publication of his Azul (1888) is sometimes said to signify the birth of modernism, and Prosas profanas (1896) is held to show modernism at its zenith. Other early modernist poets (often considered precursors of this movement) were Manuel Gutierrez Najera, Jose Ascuncion Silva, and Julian del Casal, the Cuban. Modernists of the later, post-1896 phase include Leopoldo Lugones, Jose Enrique Rodo, Julio Herrera y Reissig, Jose Santo Chocano, Amado Nervo, and Rufino Blanco Fombona.

In rebellion against romanticism, from which, however, they were not always able to free themselves, the modernists drew their initial inspiration and technique from European, particularly French, sources. From French Parnassians and symbolists, such as Gautier, Coppee, and Verlaine, came their pessimism and melancholy, their belief in art for art’s sake, their zeal for technical excellence and musicality, their love of exotic imagery and a vocabulary in which swans (one of Dario’s favorite symbols), peacocks, gems, and palaces abound. Another distinctive characteristic of the modernists was their unceasing experimentation with old and new verse forms, In their desire to escape from the sordidness of reality, the early modernists usually shunned political and native themes. Their successors, however, inspired no doubt by impassioned verses that Dario hurled at Theodore Roosevelt in his ode to Argentina, turned increasingly to American subjects, as exemplified by Chocano’s Alma America (1906). In prose writing, particularly the essay, modernismo fostered a new simplicity and elegance, the finest examples of which are to be found in the works of Rodo.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Word Root Exercise: Lith/o

Here is a worksheet on the Greek word root lith/o. It means stone and rock. Simple enough, and useful if you happen to be teaching geology.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Matriculate (vi/vt)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the verb matriculate, which is used both intransitively and transitively. This is the last of the Words of the Day from Merriam-Webster while I was away for the Labor Day weekend. 

Teachers, especially high school teachers, as well as guidance counselors, will agree, I hope, that students ought to know this word as they proceed toward their graduation days. It’s probably worth mentioning, for linguistic purposes, that after students matriculate, work for four years, then graduate, their relationship with their college is characterized by the noun alma mater, i.e. “nourishing mother.” These words stem from the Latin word roots matr, matri, and mater, which mean “mother.” 

In fact, I’ll link to this word root exercise on matr, matri, and mater in the event you want to take this inquiry a bit further.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Word Root Exercise: Arium, Orium and Ary

Can you use this worksheet on the Latin word roots arium, orium and ary? They mean, simply, “a place for.” When you consider words like aquarium, emporium, and aviary, you begin to see just how productive this word root is in English.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Word Root Exercise: Aqua

Here is a worksheet on the Latin word root aqua. Do I need to tell you it means water? It is an extremely productive root in English as well as the all the Romance languages.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Word Root Exercise: Ornith/o

Last but not least, today, here is a short worksheet on the Greek word root ornith/o, which means, of course, bird. If you’ve downloaded other word-root worksheets from Mark’s Text Terminal, please be advised that this one is a much shorter exercise. Its purpose is as a do-now exercise, something short to start off a class period.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Word Root Exercise: Hexa, Hex

This worksheet on the Greek roots hexa– and hex builds students’ English vocabulary with words based on these two roots, which means six. Needless to say, these two roots are very productive in English, especially producing words used in science and mathematics education.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

7 Vowels

Alpha * Epsilon * Eta * Iota * Omicron * Upsilon * Omega

The vowels have always been linked to the seven heavens, most famously in Hebrew, where the seven unwritten vowels created the sound for God—Jehovah. The link between the language of man and the presumed languages of the seven Heavenly spheres has always been speculated upon. However, it is one of the more arcane secrets of the mystics which of the seven planets is linked to which vowel.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Ne Plus Ultra (n)

Several years ago, an old friend of mine enrolled her middle-school-aged son in a prestigious private school in Connecticut. One afternoon she mentioned in passing that she struggled to help him get through his Latin homework.

Latin homework for a middle-school student?!?

In fact, as I started to think about this, an experience from my own education suddenly made sense. As an undergraduate in the Five College Consortium, I studied the Russian language in one of the colleges in that system. I’d had a year of Spanish in high school and learned a functional version of the language in my travels through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. So I understood gendered nouns and conjugating verbs, though I was no expert at the latter.

Russian, however, was the first heavily inflected language I’d encountered. I really did struggle with oblique cases and all the rules that governed them and the usage rules they themselves governed. My fellow students appeared at ease with Russian. When I gave some thought to my friend’s son studying Latin, it suddenly occurred to me: my fellow Russian students almost certainly gained their understanding of the inflected structure of Russian because they had studied Latin–either in middle or high school.

It so happened that I began using Latin and Greek word roots–with which the English language is relatively rife–for vocabulary building early on in my teaching career. Because many of my students spoke Spanish as their first language, Latin was inevitably a bridge to English for them, and they figured that out quite quickly. They also figured out that as a rule, Latin is offered in in some of the best high schools in the United States, so there was, even in the limited way they were learning it with me, some status and prestige in learning the lingua franca of the Roman empire.

So I figured that if Latin was good enough for students at Phillips Exeter, it was good enough for the inner-city kids under my tutelage. Over the years, I’ve developed a number of materials on Latin and Latinisms (if you search those two terms on this blog, you’ll find a plethora of materials) for use in my classroom.

So when it was the word of the day a few days back at Merriam-Webster, I let if go by at first; but within a few hours, I’d worked up this worksheet on the Latin noun ne plus ultra. It means, as I think the comparatively strong context in its sentences indicate, “the highest point to be attained.” Will our students ever use this noun in conversation? Not very likely. Will they encounter this word in academic or scholarly prose? There is at least a chance of that. Will this worksheet school them in an analytical reading method? My experience is, in using context clues worksheets for years, that it will. Will kids think it cool to possess this piece of arcane knowledge? In my experience some if not most do.

So that’s the reason for this post.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

 

The Weekly Text, August 21, 2020

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the Latin word roots man, mani and manu, all three of which mean hand. Even a cursory glance at these three words divulge their productivity in the English language: manicure, manufacture, and manual all come immediately to mind.

I open this lesson with this context clues worksheet on the noun digit in its meaning as “any of the divisions in which the limbs of most vertebrates terminate, which are typically five in number but may be reduced (as in the horse), and which typically have a series of phalanges bearing a nail, claw, or hoof at the tip — compare FINGER 1, TOE.” I wanted this do-now exercise to hint for students what the word roots in this lesson might mean.

And, at last, here is the worksheet that is the primary work of this lesson.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.