I must begin my report this year on an unhappy note. It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Patricia Pepall, who for many years has been a loyal supporter of the CAC Greek and Latin Sight Competitions. The following recollection of Mrs. Pepall was provided by her son George:
"After hearing the Principal of Upper Canada College promote the study of Greek at a Bishop Strachan School commencement ceremony, Patricia (Thompson) Pepall became part of the first Greek class at BSS in Toronto in the early thirties. She resumed her Greek as an undergraduate at University College, U. of T. and as an occasional student in the late thirties. Both her sons studied Greek in school, her son George taking Classics at Trinity College in the sixties and then teaching Latin into the mid-seventies. She always kept up an interest in matters archaeological, both in the Old World and the New. Even as she became quite elderly, she prided herself on her ability to recite the Greek alphabet without prompting."
Mrs. Pepall passed away on March 18 of this year.
The 2004 Competitions
The 2004 Sight Translation Competitions were held on January 12 (High School papers), January 15 (Latin papers), and January 22 (Greek papers). The arrangements for advertising the competitions and the timing of mailings followed the usual schedule. Despite a few glitches due to the inexperience of the new director, things went fairly well.
As the following figures indicate, submissions were generally up over 2003. There was a marked decline, however, in the number of submissions for the High School Competition: clearly, I will have to find some way to communicate more effectively with the relevant schools.
Jr. Greek: 71 (submissions for 2003: 54)
Sr. Greek: 28 (submissions for 2003: 28)
Jr. Latin: 113 (submissions for 2003: 61)
Sr. Latin: 69 (submissions for 2003: 47)
High School Latin: 54 (submissions for 2003: 78)
The results are as follows:
Latin Competition for High School Students
1st Prize: Stephanie Hamel (College Saint-Maurice)
2nd Prize: Xiaodi Wu (University of Toronto Schools)
3rd Prize: Alexandre Labelle (Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf)
Honourable Mentions: Chen Chen (Markham District High School) and WilsonWong (St. George's School)
National Junior Latin Sight Translation Contest: Recipients of the Margaret H. Thomson Prizes
1st Prize: Guillaume Moreault (Université de Montréal)
2nd Prize: Brian Marrin (University of Winnipeg)
3rd Prize: Justin St.-Charles (Université de Montréal)
Honourable Mentions: Tristan Sharp (University of Victoria) and Andrea Lane (Dalhousie University)
National Junior Greek Sight Translation Contest: Recipients of the Margaret H. Thomson Prizes
1st Prize: Elsa Bouchard (Université de Montréal)
2nd Prize: Jane Burkowski (Queen's University)
3rd Prize: Caitlin Smith (University of Victoria)
Honourable Mentions: Matthew Siebert (University of Winnipeg) and Victoria Goddard (Carleton University)
National Senior Latin Sight Translation Contest
1st Prize: Lindsay Gayle Driediger (University of Calgary)
2nd Prize: Philippa Geddie (McGill University)
3rd Prize: Paulette Jenner (Queen's University)
4th Prize: Anthony Laughrane (University of British Columbia)
5th Prize: Andrew Snelgrove (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
National Senior Greek Sight Translation Contest
1st Prize: Brian Marrin (University of Winnipeg)
2nd Prize: Michael J. Griffin (University of British Columbia)
3rd Prize: Adrial Fitzgerald (University of Toronto)
4th Prize: Philippa Geddie (McGill University)
5th Prize: Stephanie Stringer (University of Toronto)
Honorable Mention: Aaron Kelsh (University of Guelph)
At the university level, 21 awards were presented in all (2 in the Maritimes, 5 in Quebec, 6 in Ontario, 4 in the prairies, and 4 in British Columbia), to a total of 12 institutions. The outstanding performers were the University of Montreal (with 3 awards, two of them first place) and the University of Winnipeg (3 awards).
The Junior Greek paper (Achilles Tatius, Leucippe & Cleitophon
2.21.1-4) was set by G.I.C. Robertson of the University of Waterloo, who writes: "There was a large number of entries for the Junior Greek paper this year, and most candidates seemed able to understand the general sense of the fable. I am pleased to report that the prize-winners produced very nearly perfect translations, and that several others were not very far behind. The second half of the passage seemed to cause more difficulty than the first; a number of people did not recognize the adverbial nature of *mikro\n*
and some were apparently put off by the slight illogicality in the conditional sentence. Here, the protasis seems to have created an expectation of a future construction, which is logical enough, but not what the apodosis actually has; many students rendered *te/qnhka*
as OI would/will die', but OI'm dead', however illogical, more accurately represents the Greek and would be common enough in colloquial speech. Finally, almost everyone translated the last four words as Oso that even an elephant is afraid' vel sim., which is again a fair rendering of the general idea, but preservation of the active voice of *fobei=n*
is important: Konops
emphasizes the power of the gnat, rather than the weakness of the elephant!"
The Junior Latin paper (Cornelius Nepos 4.2) was set by Rory Egan of the University of Manitoba, who writes: "The 113 entries showed a great range of ability in Latin and in the target language, particularly when the latter was English. In many instances the quality of expression in English was atrocious, more blatantly so by contrast with several very eloquent efforts in either French or English. The passage from Nepos represented, I believe, a good sampling of the morphological and syntactic repertoire of the language. I noted no particular form or construction that proved to be consistently difficult. I would say, however, that the majority of the entrants found the passage very challenging overall, while about twenty per cent did a very creditable job with it. The best ones were very good.
"I have a couple of observations about the administration of these competitions. In several instances I think that I inadvertently divined the institutions to which the entrants belonged. I wonder if, in future competitions, the numbers assigned to institutions might be scrambled so that entrants from each institution are not in numerical sequence. Uniform writing paper might also be provided to all institutions by CAC.
"A small number of entries had evidently been reviewed by an instructor. At least there were some with corrections and comments in a different hand and in different ink. I can see why an instructor might wish to have a sort of post-game review with the student and I can see the pedagogical value of doing so. It could easily be done, though, from a photocopy of the student's script, leaving the script in its original state for the adjudicator.
"One entry was neatly machine-printed. It would of course facilitate the reader's task if there were no handwritten scripts to decipher. The obvious possibilities, though, of a student preparing the translation on a computer are disturbing. I wonder if CAC should offer some guidance on such things for future competitions.
"In this instance I read all of the entries referred to in the two preceding paragraphs without prejudice. In the event none of them were among the strongest contenders."
The Senior Greek paper (Ps.-Plato, Minos
320C321A [abridged]) was set by Martin Cropp of the University of Calgary, who writes: "The competion piece proved to be fairly demanding, but half of the twenty-eight entries (including one in French) offered respectable attempts at the whole passage. The winning entry was almost flawless, while the next five never went far astray but included, increasingly, minor errors of vocabulary and syntax. All of these did well in handling the awkward first and fourth sentences in Socrates' second speech. Apart from these, the phrases that proved most troublesome were hoson epistatein en tois dikastêriois
("so far as to preside in the lawcourts") and adelpha toutôn
(metaphorical, "things akin to these"); only the first prize-winner had both of these right."
The Senior Latin paper (Lucan, Civil War
5.790-810) was set by Cedric Littlewood of the University of Victoria, with the assistance of Gregory Rowe. Professor Littlewood writes: "Of the 74 entries most got the gist of the passage. It was a shame then that Latin idiom was so slavishly followed. Well done to the person who wrote, Oas they drew apart neither could bear to be the one who had said, "Farewell"', rather than the more popular, Oneither leaving endured to have said, "Farewell"'. Poetic vocabulary was a problem, and I'm sorry that the very first sentence proved so awkward: most did not recognize fata
(790) as the perfect participle of for;
all but a few translated amens
(791) as the present participle of amo; maesti
(804) and, strangely, mora
(792) were also common problems. Many who had translated amplexu
(793) perfectly well were at a loss when faced with conplexa
(809) later on. Even in some good papers there were ugly errors, e.g. making pectora
the subject of sustinet
(792-3), translating the conjunction cum
as the preposition (803) or translating Pompeium fugit
(805) as Ofled to Pompeii'. Knowing how to scan a hexameter (and thus to recognize the quantity of a final -a)
would have helped in a few places. Durata
(798) was generally translated just as dura."
The High School paper (Livy XXX.12-15 [adapted]) was set by James Lynd of O'Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute, who writes: "I found the entries to vary greatly in ability. Some students could make little sense of the passage, so they made up their own funny story. Others understood most of the passage and missed the meanings of only a few words. As the contest is advertised for High School Students, I wonder if students from grades 9-11 entered. I was aiming the contest mainly at grade 12 students in their third year of studying Latin. I wonder if we need to say that is for whom the contest is recommended."
I would like to extend my thanks to all of those who set and marked this year's competitions, and to those who took the time to administer the examinations to their students. All had to endure my learning curve in my first year as director of the competitions — some more than others!
Both for the sake of efficiency and to reduce costs, I will attempt to employ electronic communications more extensively in the future, at least at the university level. I will also consult with colleagues in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia on ways in which I might communicate more effectively with the high schools.
On the financial side, I regret to report that voluntary contributions continue to be rather sparse. Particular thanks are owed to Mrs. Patricia Pepall and St. George's School (in Vancouver) for their support over the past year. The Classical Association of Canada continues to pick up any shortfall in the administrative costs of the Sights.
Finally, I would like to extend special thanks to Patricia Calkin. The 2004 competitions could not have taken place without her meticulous organization (which presented me with such a brilliantly lucid blueprint to follow) and generous guidance over the past months.
I am currently seeking volunteers to set and mark the 2005 competitions. Any qualified individuals who are interested should contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
John R. Porter
Prof. Ernesto Virgulti, Chair
Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
St. Catharines, ON
CANADA L2S 3A1