This is another retroactive post, written from the future. I really need to stop doing this. I am writing just before one am on the seventh of June, but this post is destined for the fourth. While I am here, I really ought to come clean: I have had writer’s block. I have a plan, and have been percolating this paper in my head for a solid week now- and yet I cannot write. I sit down to write, and nothing comes forth. I scrawl plans and make notes and then stare at the blank page and sigh, and mutter about doing it tomorrow, and watch television on my computer. I do not blog, because if I can blog, I can write, and then I feel guilty about two things, and then it piles and piles and leans and–
enough. I think you understand why I missed today’s post. Not to worry, because it is here now.
I was poking around the internet trying to look up the poem intended for this coming Wednesday (9/6), and stumbled upon the Linguistics Research Centre at the University of Texas. Not only did I find the text I was looking for -and a reference to an edition I preferred- but it also turns out that the LRC has several online courses for early Indo-European languages! Such joy I felt!
There are texts for Old Irish, and Old English, Old French, Latin, Classical and New Testament Greek. Oh, it is wonderful. University quality teaching, for free, online, with easy access for all. I wish I had found this site earlier. Even more exciting, the texts are not limited to those I just listed, oh no. One can find online tutorials for Latin or Classical Greek or Old Norse all over the internet.
No, the best aspect about this site are the languages no-one ever expects to see on the internet: Tocharian, the easternmost of all Indo-European languages. I had not even heard of this until I studied Old Irish last year. Old Church Slavonic! It takes all my willpower not to try learning this immediately. Hittite– again, until last year I had assumed that Hittite was an Semitic language. There are several others as well, if your language interests are better met by other distant cousins on the Indo-European family tree.
I could only be happier if Classical Hebrew and Finnish were on the site as well, but they are not IE languages- and besides, we must not be greedy. Not with all this treasure heaped before us, ready for an intellectual feast. The site includes the beginnings of an Indo-European Lexicon for those of you who (like myself) love to know the origins of things.
I wish I were able to be more coherent in this post, to say something insightful. Yet all I can do is stare at this website, and mutter about essays which are due, a thesis still to research and write, and languages I am already studying to understand. “Here,” I say instead, “share my pleasure in the dead tongues spoken by extinct cultures.”