Wednesday, August 8th, 2012...10:37 amChris Francese

Show Me the Scansion

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I have been experimenting with a nifty iPad app and teacher community called ShowMe as a way of teaching the basics of scansion and reading aloud. It has a sort of “telestrator” feature that seems tailor made for this kind of thing.

I have one on the very basics of Latin prosody,

and one on Latin vowel quantity and diphthongs.

If you have the time take a look and let me know what you think!

Making the one on vowel quantity taught me a lot about diphthongs. A simple search through Aeneid 1 for the various diphthongs revealed starkly how wrong it is to just tell students (as the grammar books do) that  “ei” is  a diphthong, or “ui” is a diphthong. In actual fact they are almost always NOT diphthongs. And the same is true of “eu,” and sometimes of the others. So this will definitely change the way I teach scansion.

The reason to use a tool like this is to take the most difficult and technical aspects of scansion out of the classroom, and into homework, where a student can look at and listen to the explanations as many times as necessary to really get it. In class, most rational people will not raise a hand and say “I still don’t get that,” and as a result many never really catch on to some of these basic concepts.

I plan to do more of these, as a kind of video commentary on the wonderful metrical introduction to Ovid’s Amores 1 authored by William Turpin, to go in the forthcoming Dickinson College Commentaries edition. You can see it here (still under construction, though).

Thanks, Chrissy Schanes, for putting me on to ShowMe. And thanks to all of you for any feedback and suggestions.



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