Sight reading Latin and Greek is a pleasurable activity, if you learn how to do it. By definition, it is a prima vista reading – i.e., you are reading a text you have never seen before. What can you do in order to obtain that pleasure?
We all sight-read in English (that’s what you are doing right now), so think about the process. Can you describe exactly what you do? It may be hard to do so, just as it is hard to explain how you walk. Walking, for instance, is not limited to the mere alternation of the position of your legs and feet. Multiple other muscles are involved, as well as your perceptions and brain. If any of those malfunctions, you stumble or fall.
Yes, it’s hard to explain how we do what we do well. Now, I am a fast and shrewd reader of English. When I sight-read, I kinda chunk the English text (not necessarily in sequential order), crisscrossing the page and looking for future chunks logically related to the one I’ve just read. I may slow down to appreciate an unexpected turn of phrase. I also skip over chunks that I’ve rapidly assessed as bla-bla. My brain is intensely involved, and so are my shoulders, I am told.
Because English is not my native language, perhaps the way I sight-read in English is informative. So tell me what I am forgetting (I mean, you don’t know what I do, but perhaps you may tell me what you do, so I may become aware of other factors involved in my sight-reading strategies).
One thing I know for sure – I didn’t always sight-read English. And I do remember those first steps because they underlie the way I read now. English is a very tricky language for non-native speakers.
That’s why I love The Ten Basic Rules for Reading Latin – they perfectly describe my beginner’s approach to sight-reading English. True, I learned English after I learned Latin and Greek. But doesn’t this tell you something about the value of studying Latin and Greek?