Quickly understanding A level texts

An interesting approach to reading Latin, which might be used or adapted for teaching set texts, particularly unadapted prose texts, is explained here.

Claude Pavur of St Louis University has put on line some examples from Cicero, Livy and other authors, set out in short lines, with subject, main verb and object left-justified, and other parts of the sentence indented. He uses a system of visual clues for particular bits of syntax – examples:

Parentheses set off prepositional phrases.

Slashes and braces enclose various other word-groups or phrases within phrases (e.g., ablative absolutes, participial phrases, or genitive and ablative phrases).

Italics identify the very important accusative-with-infinitive construction along with the verb or expression governing it. The general practice will be to put the subject of the infinitive flush with the infinitive itself; the object of the infinitive will be indented by one tab. Thus the reader will be able to see which accusative stands as the subject of the expression, and which as the object. Historical infinitives are treated like regular main verbs in independent clauses.

Small caps will sometimes be used for structurally significant particles like “both…and”; “so much… [that]”; “not only…but also”; etc.

It’s the sort of thing we have all written on the blackboard. Would it be useful to have A level texts available as Google Docs, for example, using this or a similar system?

Caesar BG III is on line here, with all the bells and whistles of the system.

By contrast, Pliny letters are given minimal treatment here.

I suppose that Caesar’s longer and more involved periods call for the full treatment, whereas Pliny needs only to be broken up into short lines.

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