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Odds and ends - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Odds and ends
Much calmer now. I love my grandmother. She is going to help me get my furniture here, so I don't have to live in the bare apartment.

Is it odd that I'm really looking forward to getting a lot of old, used furniture? I mean, even more than I would be to getting new stuff. My mom said, "Oh, there's that ugly old dresser with the linoleum on top, that your doll collection is on... I don't suppose you'd want that? I know I don't."

And I'm like, "Wow! The low dresser! With the ugly green linoleum on top! I always had that!"

My move to Boston was accomplished in stages--first to a dorm room, then to an itty bitty apartment, then to a bigger apartment with a roommie who had a houseful of furniture already and no room for all my stuff, and now, finally... my stuff. I've been panicked about life stuff lately, but I'm really, really looking forward to seeing my doll collection, my real desk (too fragile to put my computer on, so it's mostly decorative), my wicker shelves, my dark wood mirror, my pretty wooden table, and my ex-step-grandfather's smoking chest, which is a handy little endtable with storage space, which happened to sit right beside the chair where grown-ups used to read to me when I was little. It's like... wow. Continuity is going to come back to my life. Granted, it's ugly green linoleum continuity, but continuity is continuity, for a'that and a'that. I'm really looking forward to being surrounded by stuff I know. I think that will make my head work better. I won't object to eventually getting some new stuff, but I wouldn't want to have all new stuff, you know? Or am I just odd that way?

Okay, unrelated, I was looking for some Tonks fics at FFN, and didn't click on any. I happened to see one that included in the summary, "I'm a metamorphmagi."


I could see accidentally using "metamorphmaguses" as a plural--JKR, after all, uses "patronuses." But using "metamorphmagi" as a singular? JKR does use the word, if I recall, but even if you don't know the rules of Latin plurals, the context makes it clear that "metamorphmagi" is a plural word. And it's used in the same scene as Tonks describing herself as a "metamorphmagus." Doesn't the word sense alarm go off, if the two words have been seen so close together?

And yes, I cringe when people say, "I'm an alumni of..." No. You're not. Alumnus, alumna, just "alum," whatever. I'll even let it skate if several women (and no men) say they're "alumni" instead of "alumnae," but "alumni" is a plural form. I've never taken a day of Latin in my life and I know that much.

That said, I really want to learn Latin. It strikes me as a useful sort of thing to know. Then again, I might have skewed priorities on what's useful. But I love knowing how words break down and where they come from. Give me Latin and Greek and maybe some old English and Norman French. I think I could make use of that.
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cambryn From: cambryn Date: September 26th, 2005 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Latin is more useful in the 'oo, fun, I know stuff' way and not much in the 'this will truly come in handy' way. I know because I took it for 6 or so years. :) If you truly are curious you should get one of those 'study aid' sheets they sell at book shops. It covers the basics of the cases etc.
(Am such a nerd.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can also get my hands on Latin for Dummies. ;P Or Sorcerer's Stone in Latin, if I feel like it. (Who says it's not useful?)
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amelia_eve From: amelia_eve Date: September 26th, 2005 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I eat off my grandmother's Blue Willow dishes every night, and have for the past 15 years. I love them, and I love knowing that my sister has the other half of the set, and we continue the family tradition. I totally understand your longing for the green linoleum.

But learning Latin as an adult requires a level of dedication I couldn't maintain. For starters, there are seven declensions of each noun. My brain is not wired for that type of memorization. And there's no conversation practice to make sense of things. It's cool to know it, though.
volandum From: volandum Date: September 26th, 2005 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm? Each noun is just one declension, but gets 5-8 cases. One can just use tables, though they slow one down.
likeafox From: likeafox Date: September 26th, 2005 11:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Ugh. Botched Latin endings bother me too. (Although, for some random reason I'm completely nonplussed about the whole horcruxes thing... weird.) And if bunch of women say they're alumni outloud, there's not exactly any way to tell if they have it right or not, but writing that down? Annoys me. Not that there's much chance of a group of only women alumnae, but still. :P
volandum From: volandum Date: September 26th, 2005 11:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, "apparation" annoys me.
sophonax From: sophonax Date: September 26th, 2005 11:20 am (UTC) (Link)
'Alumni' as singular has always bugged the hell out of me too. It's especially maddening when I hear otherwise smart and educated people using it--doesn't ANYONE KNOW A GODDAMN THING ABOUT LATIN ANYMORE???

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alas, the answer is "apparently not." Hell, I've always been interested in linguistic origins, and I still can't say I properly know a thing about Latin. (Though at least I recognize a plural when one bites me, Greyback like, on the face.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 26th, 2005 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
The worst mangling of "alumni" I've ever seen is someone using "alumnae" as the plural of "alumni."

Yes, you read that correctly. They thought that "alumni" was the singular and "alumnae" was the plural. I find it rather bizarre that a person who hadn't been exposed to enough Latin to recognize gender or recognize that "alumni" is already plural had even encountered the word "alumnae."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2005 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ouch, just... ouch.
narnian_dreamer From: narnian_dreamer Date: September 26th, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, according to my high school Latin teacher, "alumnae" should be pronounced with the "nae" rhyming with "pie," while "alumni" should have a "ni" that rhymes with "see."

So actually, the way we pronounce it in this country, all-male and mixed classes are calling themselves "alumnae."

terrathree From: terrathree Date: September 27th, 2005 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
What your teacher taught was the Classical pronunciation, then. There's also the anglicized pronunciation where "alumni" rhymes with "pie" and "alumnae" with "see"...yes, totally reversed. :-) Or there's the ecclesiastical pronunciation where "alumni" rhymes with "see" and "alumnae" with "say"...They're all valid, but if one pronounced both words to rhyme with "pie", that would be inconsistent - using two different modes of pronunciation at the same time.
From: sleepingfingers Date: September 26th, 2005 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I won't object to eventually getting some new stuff, but I wouldn't want to have all new stuff, you know? Or am I just odd that way?

No, you're definitely not odd - or, if you're odd, then I guess I am, too. Living in a house full of new furnitures would strange - very strange, indeed. It wouldn't feel like living at your own house/apartment, and the strangeness could take a while to get used to.

Latin is definitely a very useful thing to know. It makes me wish I had taken Latin instead of Spanish as my foreign language class. Ah, well, I can always take it in college. :)
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: September 26th, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm all about family continuity. It definitely makes sense. Even the ugly things can be special. I was very excited when Mom found my great-grandmother's old kitschy hamburger press and gave it to me, and a lot of the things in my bedroom as a kid belonged to my mother and aunt. When we visit my grandparents, I always try to sleep in the room with that same great-grandmother's childhood bedroom set. So I sympathize.

On the Latin grounds, I always wanted to learn, but never really had an opportunity. I'm not certain if they even had it at my college. "Alumni," though, I think may be making its way into common usage. I wouldn't be surprised if were in the dictionary as an acceptable singular in our lifetimes.
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tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: September 26th, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
And what drives me bonkers is when a supposedly high-level medium, like The New York Times uses words like "stadiums" or "forums" or "indexes."

That doesn't bother me. They're writing in English, not Latin.

The one that does bother me is when people can't backform the correct singular from the latinate plural; the one I see most often is "vertice" (apparently pronounced ver-ti-see) instead of "vertex".
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terrathree From: terrathree Date: September 27th, 2005 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
That said, I really want to learn Latin. It strikes me as a useful sort of thing to know.

Hear, hear! Okay, so I'm a Latin teacher and probably therefore biased, but I definitely think it's been one of the most gratifying and fulfilling things I've learned....the most comprehensively instructive...not perhaps always useful in the practical, everyday sense, as e.g. algebra; but useful in giving me points of reference on so many fronts. Language, literature, history, etc. And all the handy abbreviations borrowed in English, q.v. throughout this paragraph. ;-)

If indeed you want to learn it, I recommend starting at http://wheelockslatin.com/ - in my opinion, the best textbook for adult learners of Latin; plus there are links to online study groups using Wheelock's.
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