“NOW IT’S KILLING ME” NO LONGER
Latin is a dead language,
As dead as dead can be.
First it killed the Romans,
And now it’s killing me!
Many generations of Latin students have employed this little rhyme to voice their frustration over learning a language so very different from English. Granted, they might not get too much sympathy from those readers of this blog who have undertaken Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and other Semitic languages, but for the average high school student, an inflected language like Latin can be bewildering.
Even for those who have learned Greek and Hebrew and other Semitic languages, there are times when you need to consult Latin texts such as the Vulgate, and if you don’t work with Latin every day, you may find the going a little rough.
Now there’s help for new students and rusty scholars alike. For some time now, we’ve been developing a grammatically-tagged and lemmatized version of the Latin Vulgate. The New Testament is now complete and was recently released at the annual conferences of ETS and SBL. Users of the tagged Vulgate can now drag their cursor over Latin words to get the full parsing information, and can find all inflections of a given lexical form.
The new tagged Vulgate module can’t bring the Latin language back from the dead, but it can reduce its ability to “kill” the Latin student!