Category Archives: Lingua Franca column

Qui docet discit

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Years ago, when I was a young university student living far from home, I signed up for a beginner’s Latin class. I remember my stomach knotting itself into a bag of pretzels while I waited for the course to start. At the time, I had certain beliefs about my learning abilities, (by “beliefs”, I mean “fears”).

A quick glance at my old report cards would show I was an average student in every subject save one: English. Combine that singular skill with an aptitude for daydreaming, a tendency to angst out over assignments, and a mild case of generalized anxiety—et voilà: a scholar-in-training is born.

Flashback sequence: I grew up in a home with a mother who thought it was unhealthy to read too much.  Continue Reading →

Lingua Franca column

I just called to say I hear you


Recently, my father’s telephone stopped working. Picture an old timey, push-button lifeless landline and one old timey, annoyed senior. Since my dad has no interest in techno-gadgets, the most cutting edge equipment he ever owned was somewhere on the Human Advancement Timeline between electric can opener and a lawnmower.

This necessitated a trip to Home Hardware where I asked the store clerk several head-scratchy questions about the replacement I was planning to purchase: “Will this work if I just plug it into the wall phone jack thingy?” and “Is there something special I have to do?”

“Noooo.” The young woman spoke slowly. “It’s just a regular phone.”

I nodded like I knew what she was saying.  Continue Reading →

Lingua Franca column