A STRUCTURAL ARRANGEMENT OF TEXT
Rebecca R. Harrison
This paper presents a method of arranging text by its structure. Modern research has shown that readers comprehend text easier when the line divisions coincide with semantic divisions. The system that I have developed is especially useful for intermediate and advanced Latin (or Greek) students, and has been very popular with my students. The text is broken into units or chunks, with each chunk on a separate line. This helps students to see what words go together and to learn to read in units rather than by individual words. The lines of text are also arranged by a system of indenting to mark off subordinate clauses versus main clauses and smaller parts within each clause. This helps students keep track of which clause they are in, where a new clause starts, and how it is related to the previous clause. Parallel structures are lined up below each other, which helps illustrate gapping. As an additional aid, depending on what level of training wheels one wants to give the students, omitted elements can be indicated by brackets with the word filled in or by empty brackets or by a blank space.
This graphic representation of the structure also highlights stylistic features such as tricola, chiasmus, and anaphora, as well as allowing ready comparison of the style of different authors. Examples will be given to illustrate and explain my method. Once students have become familiar with the method, they can also begin analyzing and arranging text themselves.
Bold face or underlining can be used within a line to mark separated elements, such as noun-adjective combination or preposition-object.
There is also plenty of room in the margins for students to make notes (rather than interlinear word for word “translations”).
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