Promoting Classical Languages at York University

Last December I received an email from the Classical Studies department chair, Anne-Marie Lewis, asking if I’d be interested in doing a video to promote the department’s language program. York University, like many other schools, has been very proactive in getting its members out on the internet, and the Classical Studies program was totally stacking the web with its students.

Of course, I said yes.

And then spent the next few weeks panicking.

What would I say? I love languages, but they really are a solitary sport. How do I convey the pure excitement…of memorizing pages of vocabulary? The thrill of victory that comes from…pinpointing an exceptional use of the distributive preposition κατα? You see what I’m saying. The other students talked about going to the Mediterranean, where they dug about in the sands of history. I spend an undue amount of time holed up in my office twittering about off-colour Smyth entries.

Luckily, the folks at York’s communications department were on my side. Together we were able to make studying Greek and Latin seem almost exciting while dispelling the myth that learning a dead language is an irrelevant skill in today’s society. This video has something in it for everyone: There’s a nod to the Dead Sea Scrolls, a cameo from Pope Benedict (!), and of course, my smooth baritone voice which drives all the fellas wild.