Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Chaucer Project Continued

While I was chanting my lines aloud, and every so often stopping to try and work out what the various words meant, it struck me I was reading back at the level of a beginner reader. The stage that reading teachers call 'decoding'.

When the beginning reader knows all the sounds and the letters and maybe some of the sound combinations. They have a good speaking vocabulary, so that when they sound out words, and the sounds start to resemble something recognisable, that word is grabbed and the letters/sounds in question are made to fit the guessed at word.

When meaning is gained, it feels good though laborious.

(There's a thunder storm happening overhead and I wonder if I should disconnect my modem. One of those fragilities in the communication system. I'll hurry, maybe I'll get this done before the storm comes any closer.)

As I was saying, decoding is intensely laborious. Back in the Prologue still, line 824, I came across the following words, 'And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok'.

I must have tried to say 'gadrede' and 'togidre' in ten different ways to get meaning.

I tried breaking the words up into syllables. Gad-re-de. To-gid-re. Which didn't work.

Tried to relate them to Dutch, French, German.

I rued again the day that I found an Anglo Saxon dictionary on the information highway, but didn't take notice of the landmarks and hence can not find it again.

In the end I said the whole line quickly with the accent on 'alle in a flok' and suddenly heard myself saying  'And gathered us together, all in a flock'

Of course! That had to be it. I was chuffed working it out.

A word that is still stumping me, is 'clepen'. I'd have no idea if the translation column hadn't said. It doesn't appear to have any relationship to any other word I've come across, and it is relationshipping that helps more than anything, even in decoding.

At present, I'm abiding in the Knyght's Tale. I'm reading about the tyrant Creon's war with Theseus. The mynotaur is in it. And two young knights, Arcites and Palamon. I'm getting used to reading 'cosyn' as 'cousin' instead of a mathematical process.

But since I don't remember the content of the story well enough to retell it, I can see I'll have to re read that section.

This is another characteristic of the decoding stage in learning to read. Meaning of the whole often goes lost when so much energy is spent on getting meaning for each word. I'm at the stage where I know what the story is when I read it, but the next day I've lost it.

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