Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits

I've been wanting to post about our Adventures in Wonderland for a couple of weeks now. Since I didn't post it last week, I'll have to lump it all together.

Last week, we were strolling through Wonderland with Alice. (I love this classical education we're getting!)  We were with Alice, when we came to this lovely, funny, "Ha! Ha!" that we might not have understood a year ago. Alice was swimming in a pool from her tears, that she had cried a few moments before, when she was a giant, but now she was only several inches tall. She heard a noise in the pool, and found it was a mouse. She tried to speak to the mouse, but it didn't respond. 

"O Mouse!" -- Alice thought this must be the right way of speaking to a mouse; she had never done such a thing before, but she remembered having seen in her brother's Latin grammar, "A mouse--of a mouse--to a mouse--a mouse--O mouse!"
Which, in case you are not studying Latin (which we are), is a take off on the first verb declensions studied: "Amo, Amas, Amat, Amamus, Amatis, Amant".  That doesn't translate exactly, but it is clearly what Lewis Carroll was implying. It was so funny!

She thought, "Oh, maybe it only speaks French!" So she said to the mouse the only French she could remember, "Ou et ma chatte?" (which means, "Where is my cat?"), which was the first lesson in her French book. The mouse reacted by suddenly leaping out of the water and quivering with fright. I'm so glad the mouse, at least, understand French... heh! heh!
So this week's funny (today's funny, actually), was from later in the book when Alice was chatting with the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. Alice asked the Mock Turtle what he studied in school. He answered, "Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with," ("Reading and Writing"), "and then the different branches of Arithmetic--Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision." ("Addition", "Subtraction", "Multiplication", and "Division".)  And then there was also "Mystery", "Mystery--Ancient and Modern, with Seeography, then Drawling--the Drawling Master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: he taught us Drawling, Stretching and Fainting in Coils." (That would be "History--Ancient and Modern, with Geography, then Drawing...  ...he taught us Drawing, Sketching and Painting in Oils.")

All that word substitution JD really enjoyed understanding the implied and what was actually said. Later in the reading she learned from the lobsters that whitings (a type of fish) were for whiting boots (whereas Alice would put blacking on her boots), and that boots under the see are made of soles and eels (types of fish, instead of "Soles and Heels"), and that no wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise. ("Don't you mean 'purpose'?" said Alice. "I mean what I say," the Mock Turtle replied in an offended tone.)

The nonsense in this book is so extreme that my son wonders if the author was in the habit of sharing that hooka with the caterpillar on the mushroom....

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