Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rather learn it yourself? Be an autodidact!

These tips attempt to be didactic but not pedantic. (A fine line, sometimes.)

From the Greek didaktikos, to teach, the adjective "didactic" means
1 a: designed or intended to teach, b: intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment
2: making moral observations.
An autobiography is a biography one writes about oneself. An autodidact is a self-taught person. [A terydactyl was a flying lizard, not a dinosaur. Maybe he taught himself to fly.]

For the SAT Question of the Day below, we also need to know that a --

1) "pedant" is a scholarly bore -- that is a: one who parades his learning b: one who is unimaginative or who unduly emphasizes minutiae in the presentation or use of knowledge [It comes from the Italian word pedante, for male schoolteacher.]

2) "demagogue" is a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power [Coming from Greek demos (people) and agogos (leader), in ancient times it meant a leader who championed the the cause of the common people, but nowadays it is exemplified in Marc Antony's funeral speech in Julius Caesar, the tactics of Adolf Hitler, and other leaders who rile up the mobs by using hate and emotion.

SAT Question of the Day:
The CEO of the computer company, who had quit school at the age of 15, was a noted -------, having taught himself everything he needed to know about computers and business, in addition to working to gain proficiency in such subjects as international copyright law.

a) pedant
b) autodidact
c) demagogue
d) ambassador
e) disputant

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