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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Can You Read?

It is a simple enough question, right?  Can you read?  I can read.

But there is an underlying question, you see.  Can you understand what you are reading?  Not always.

When reading for fun or pleasure (and ladies I use that term loosely...hahaha), you might stumble across a word you might be unfamiliar with.  You might not know how to pronounce it or know what it means.  However there are a few ways to figure out what it means.

  • Read the full sentence...you might get the general idea.
  • Dictionary.com...not only will you find out the meaning BUT (and this is what I love about it), for most words anyway, it will actually SPEAK the word so you know how to pronounce it!  BTW...I have it downloaded to my Droid 2 from the Google Play Store (I was going to attach a link but as I am currently logged in I do not know if the link would work).  Oh and it is FREE!!!
  • Even though I always have my phone with me, sometimes I could care less on having the word spoken to me, in which case I love reading from my Nook Color.  All I have to do is press the screen at the word I want to look up and simply press the "Look Up" button and it will give me the definition.
  • Just a side note...it really drives me INSANE when the word is used as part of the definition.  Really people?  I do not know what the word means and you are going to use it as part of the definition?  That would be like the definition of SLEEP being TO SLEEP...okay but what does it mean...(I seriously just spent like a stupid 10+ minutes trying to come up with something cleaver and that is really what I came up with...it has been a long day!)
When reading for the sake of learning, you will come across terms that you do not know but can look them up, like I mentioned above or in the glossary if your book has one.  In my case I am just screwed.

I have officially completed my first week of English Literature: Beowulf to 18th Century as of 5:59am tomorrow morning (6am is when week two will start).  As I am a VERY slow reader, I wanted to start reading next week's material this week while it is just the introduction week and no real work is being done.  I have three reading assignments:

  1. "Beowulf"
  2. "Caedmon's Hymn"
  3. "The Dream of the Rood"
Prior to this class, I thought that Beowulf was an era of writing in English Literature.  I did not know that it was a poem (if it did not have punctuation I would relate it to Homer's "The Odyssey"...except I understand that one) originally written in Old English and translated.  Same with "Caedmon's Hymn" (which I have not started yet).  These were translated into English yet I have absolutely no idea what I have read!  Seriously!!!

I just came to the realization though that the link to "Beowulf" in my classroom (check it out here and tell me if you can understand it...)and the eBook that I downloaded from the library are translated by someone name Gummere...HOWEVER when I was having issues trying to figure out how to download my eBook from the library to my computer and onto my Nook, I placed a hold on the hard copy the library had and I just pulled it from my backpack and discovered that it is translated by someone else...Seamus Heaney...and when I opened it up I could read it AND understand it!!!  It may not be the version that my professor wants me to read but it is the one that I can understand and, damn it, it is the one I am going to read!

This post just too a turn with this new discovery!  Okay...well now that I know I will understand it, I am gonna go read!  Plus I plan to watch the 1999 version of "Beowulf" on Netflix after I finish reading.  Wow...Until Next Time!