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    FFL translation nuance

    Talk to me about how you grade when a translation is done that is one option of a given definition but isn't the best fit for those words with multiple meanings, like magnus--large or great, altus--high or deep, or erro--to err or to wander. This is not a case of an adjective of size/quantity coming before a noun vs. an adjective of quality coming after a noun. Do you take points off if the translation doesn't make sense but it was "available" as a definition? I always point out how different words make more sense (i.e., the sun doesn't err, but it does "wander" in the sky). Also, what do you do when a cognate is substituted for a definition that wasn't even taught? For instance, frequently "demonstrate" is given for demonstro, even though the technical definition is to show, to point out. I'm getting big sighs of "same difference," but I keep taking off the points because I feel like it reflects not remembering the actual definition instead of reaching for a cognate.
    Mama to 2

    Spring start MP1
    Summer start 5A

    Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
    SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

    #2
    In cases in which the meanings of a word are clearly not the same, e.g., altus, as in a high wall or a deep ditch, the sentence should clearly show which is correct, and you can grade accordingly. I would not give credit for an answer that made no sense.

    In some cases, demonstro would not mean demonstrate, would not refer to a process of demonstrating something, but is more precisely point out, as you said. It is wonderful for students to see that an English derivative might be used for the Latin word, but it may not work well in all cases. If they want to bring in a meaning they were not taught, you might require that they also include one of the meanings they were taught, for example, demonstrate/point out.

    Some cases are more of a judgment call: either large or great might work just as well for magnus in some sentences, e.g, a large number, a great number, where there is no appreciable difference -- whereas, for example, great courage is clearly preferable to large courage.

    Bonnie

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      #3
      When it is a matter of a nicer translation (err vs wander), I might comment, but I don't take points off for it, especially at the First Form level. When it is a matter of cognates instead of the definition given in the book, you might let them prove their case using a Latin dictionary. This makes a bit of a game out of searching the Latin dictionary - always a plus, in my book.
      Amanda - Mama to three crazy boys, teacher at St. Dominic Latin (FFL, TFL, 4FL, Traditional Logic 1&2), Memoria College student

      2021-2022
      9th grade - a mix of MPOA, Vita Beata, Lukeion, and AOPS
      8th grade - 8M with modifications
      4th grade - 4A

      "Non nisi te, Domine. Non nisi te" - St. Thomas Aquinas

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        #4
        Is this on homework or quizzes? For us, there’s a distinction. We don’t grade our homework but do make corrections. When a type of problem or particular question is missed a couple of time in a row, we drill it all week along. If using a cognate instead of the given definition is becoming a character issue, I would drill it all week along with some written practice to help address the underlying character issue. If it’s truly forgetting to use the given definition, which is your preference, then I would continue to correct it as is. However, I personally remember some definitions based on the cognate. I’ve also noticed some differences in definitions based on different editions and levels. Marcus, supero are two that come to mind.

        On quizzes, if it is an area we have addressed, such as translations making sense, and the given answer doesn’t make any sense, ie the sun erring, then I would take off points. Part of learning Latin is paying attention to the details. One detail is translations that are correct and make sense.
        Heidi

        For 2021-22
        dd- 6th
        ds- 3rd
        dd- 1st
        ds- adding smiles and distractions

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          #5
          This is interesting - do you feel like she's just always choosing the first meaning, or maybe the only one she remembers, instead of discerning what applies? In other words, do you think she needs more vocabulary review, or does she need practice with discerning the best word in a list she knows well?

          I won't give you grading advice since I don't give grades at that age yet - I do feel that I could not in good conscience take a point off for that "demonstrate", if she was simply asked for a definition, because if you look in a Latin dictionary, that is a perfectly acceptable translation. It's up to you to figure out if she took a little mental shortcut - you may well want to discourage that, you should explain to her it can lead to trouble, but in this case I feel she managed to squeak through. Maybe you could be explicit with her that with vocabulary exercises you are looking for the main meaning, even though it's a good thing to be aware that many verbs offer many possibilities, well beyond those she's asked to memorize - it goes back to the ability to discern the best option.
          In other words, by taking a point off you don't want to teach her that demonstro can never be translated as demonstrate - it can, sometimes. If you take a point off, you should make clear to her that it is only because she was aware she was supposed to only give the basic meaning.
          But I am a total softie with the early grades - I prefer discuss these things and leave grades out of the picture.
          DS (15)
          DD (14)
          DS (7)

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            #6
            These are great points -- to be more lenient in grading younger students and to take into account whether the word is tested in isolation or as part of a sentence which affects the best choice of English meaning. If you do check words in a dictionary with your student, that is an opportunity to discuss whether meanings are truly synonyms and are equally acceptable as an answer, (e.g., jacio, throw, hurl)-- as opposed to those that may overlap somewhat in general idea, but are used with different meaning in context.

            Keep in mind that textbook writers have selected definitions (out of a range of dictionary meanings) with the intent to give the student a headstart in the early years of reading classic Roman authors (generally, Caesar and Cicero). To go back to the example demonstro, Caesar uses this dozens of times to mean show, point out (which could describe a simple gesture or a quick mention), but he does not use it to mean demonstrate, as in to establish, prove, illustrate. A younger child might not be expected to understand the difference, but an older child could. And it may just be a phase that a student wants to substitute English derivatives for the textbook meanings.

            Bonnie




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