Gone are the days where a single sentence contained four hundred words and six compound clauses! These are the days of "plain English". Despite this trend, we are faced with the onerous task of having to comprehend piles of notes, books, emails, letters, and reports. Although the format may be simpler, the amount of information we have to digest in these modern times is unprecedented.
In the last twenty years, there has been a focus in the business world to simplify the use of language in all forms of documentation.
- Legal contracts have become much easier to read.
- Business letters are less prosaic and more direct.
A golden rule of great comprehension is to gain an overview of the document you wish to read. This means reading selective parts of the document until you gain a perspective.
Once you have gained a mental picture of the document, you can then decide what to do with it!
(i) First, what knowledge do you want to extract from the text?
(ii) Second, what did the author set out to achieve in writing the text?
Once you recognize what you need from the information and also what the author's purpose was for writing the text, you see if there is a match. If you are seeking an objective review of a subject and it is clear that the author is trying to persuade you to one point of view, the document is at cross purposes with your needs. You could reject the document and seek a better source. If you are happy with the match, then you can proceed with a more detailed reading.
At this stage, you have gained an overview of the document by viewing the nonverbals, and by building a mental summary of the document by reading the key parts. You have decided that this document is important and is worth reading to gain the first-rate understanding.
Now you are motivated. Motivation is critical for great comprehension as motivation leads to focus and concentration, both of which are essential ingredients necessary to engage your memory into .learning mode". You need to read it. You are ready. Start reading! As you are reading involve as many senses as you can in the reading process; this will greatly contribute to your understanding and recall:
Additionally, as you read, you should build a sequence of pictures to represent the information you are reading. We remember pictures much better than words!
Once you have finished reading, attend to your action items; send emails, update your schedule, add calendar items.
Let's practice some questions below by applying these Golden Rules.
The first systems of writing developed and used by the Germanic peoples were runic alphabets. The runes functioned as letters, but they were much more than just letters in the sense in which we today understand the term. Each rune was an ideographic or pictographic symbol of some cosmological principle or power, and to write a rune was to invoke and direct the force for which it stood. Indeed, in every Germanic language, the word “rune” (from Proto-Germanic *runo) means both “letter” and “secret” or “mystery,” and its original meaning, which likely predated the adoption of the runic alphabet, may have been simply “(hushed) message.”
Each rune had a name that hinted at the philosophical and magical significance of its visual form and the sound for which it stands, which was almost always the first sound of the rune’s name. For example, the T-rune, called *Tiwaz in the Proto-Germanic language, is named after the god Tiwaz (known as Tyr in the Viking Age). Tiwaz was perceived to dwell within the daytime sky, and, accordingly, the visual form of the T-rune is an arrow pointed upward (which surely also hints at the god’s martial role). The T-rune was often carved as a standalone ideograph, apart from the writing of any particular word, as part of spells cast to ensure victory in battle.
The runic alphabets are called “futharks” after the first six runes (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raidho, Kaunan), in much the same way that the word “alphabet” comes from the names of the first two Hebrew letters (Aleph, Beth). There are three principal futharks: the 24-character Elder Futhark, the first fully-formed runic alphabet, whose development had begun by the first century CE and had been completed before the year 400; the 16-character Younger Futhark, which began to diverge from the Elder Futhark around the beginning of the Viking Age (c. 750 CE) and eventually replaced that older alphabet in Scandinavia; and the 33-character Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, which gradually altered and added to the Elder Futhark in England. On some inscriptions, the twenty-four runes of the Elder Futhark were divided into three ættir (Old Norse, “families”) of eight runes each, but the significance of this division is unfortunately unknown.
Runes were traditionally carved onto stone, wood, bone, metal, or some similarly hard surface rather than drawn with ink and pen on parchment. This explains their sharp, angular form, which was well-suited to the medium.
Much of our current knowledge of the meanings the ancient Germanic peoples attributed to the runes comes from the three “Rune Poems,” documents from Iceland, Norway, and England that provide a short stanza about each rune in their respective futharks (the Younger Futhark is treated in the Icelandic and Norwegian Rune Poems, while the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc is discussed in the Old English Rune Poem).
While runologists argue over many of the details of the historical origins of runic writing, there is widespread agreement on a general outline. The runes are presumed to have been derived from one of the many Old Italic alphabets in use among the Mediterranean peoples of the first century CE, who lived to the south of the Germanic tribes. Earlier Germanic sacred symbols, such as those preserved in northern European petroglyphs, were also likely influential in the development of the script.
The earliest possibly runic inscription is found on the Meldorf brooch, which was manufactured in the north of modern-day Germany around 50 CE. The inscription is highly ambiguous, however, and scholars are divided over whether its letters are runic or Roman. The earliest unambiguous runic inscriptions are found on the Vimose comb from Vimose, Denmark and the Øvre Stabu spearhead from southern Norway, both of which date to approximately 160 CE. The earliest known carving of the entire futhark, in order, is that on the Kylver stone from Gotland, Sweden, which dates to roughly 400 CE.
The transmission of writing from southern Europe to northern Europe likely took place via Germanic warbands, the dominant northern European military institution of the period, who would have encountered Italic writing firsthand during campaigns amongst their southerly neighbors. This hypothesis is supported by the association that runes have always had with the god Odin, who, in the Proto-Germanic period, under his original name *Woðanaz, was the divine model of the human warband leader and the invisible patron of the warband’s activities. The Roman historian Tacitus tells us that Odin (“Mercury” in the interpretatio romana) was already established as the dominant god in the pantheons of many of the Germanic tribes by the first century.
From the perspective of the ancient Germanic peoples themselves, however, the runes came from no source as mundane as an Old Italic alphabet. The runes were never “invented,” but are instead eternal, pre-existent forces that Odin himself discovered by undergoing a tremendous ordeal.
Q.1. The word “pantheon” in the passage refers to
(a) A temple of all the gods
(b) All the gods collectively of a religion
(c) A monument or building commemorating a nation's dead heroes
(d) A domed circular temple at Rome, erected a.d. 120–124 by Hadrian
Solution: We find the word "pantheon" in the following line of the passage:
"The Roman historian Tacitus tells us that Odin (“Mercury in the interpretatio romana) was already established as the dominant god in the pantheons of many of the Germanic tribes by the first century."
Here, clearly, it refers to Odin being the dominant god amongst all gods of the Germanic tribes.
So option B is the correct choice.
Statement i - The runic script was most likely derived from Italic script. Hence, the answer is D
a. Runic script was most likely derived from Old Italic script.
b. Runes were not used so much as a simple writing system, but rather as magical signs to be used for charms.
c. In the Proto-Germanic period, the god Tiwaz was associated with war, victory, marriage and the diurnal sky.
d. The knowledge of the meanings attributed to the runes of the Younger Futhark is derived from the three Rune poems.
True. The runes are presumed to have been derived from one of the many Old Italic alphabets in use among the Mediterranean peoples of the first century CE, who lived to the south of the Germanic tribes.
Statement ii - Runes were not used so much as a simple writing system, but rather as magical signs to be used for charms.
False. Runes were used as a writing system. They were also used as magical signs. They were more than letters as we understand them today, not just magical signs.
Statement iii - In the Proto-Germanic period, the god Tiwaz was associated with war, victory, marriage, and the diurnal sky.
True. We understand from the passage that Tiwaz was perceived to dwell within the daytime sky, had a martial role, and was associated with victory in battle.
Statement iv - The knowledge of the meanings attributed to the runes of the Younger Futhark is derived from the three Rune poems.
False. The Younger Futhark is treated in the Icelandic and Norwegian Rune Poems only, not all three rune poems as suggested in the statement above.
So, of the four statements above only i and iii can be inferred from the passage.
Statement i - The runic script was most likely derived from Italic script.
Hence, the answer is D
Q.2. Which of the following statements is incorrect?
(a) Unlike the Latin alphabet, which is an essentially utilitarian script, the runes are symbols of some of the most powerful forces in the cosmos
(b) Runic writing was probably first used in southern Europe and was carried north by Germanic tribes.
(c) The word “rune” and its meaning was derived from the runic alphabet.
(d) The first runic alphabets date back to the 1st century CE.
Solution: Let us consider the statements in order.
Statement 1: Unlike the Latin alphabet, which is an essentially utilitarian script, the runes are symbols of some of the most powerful forces in the cosmos.
From the passage, we know this to be true. Runes functioned as letters, but they were much more than just letters. Each rune was an ideographic or pictographic symbol of some cosmological power.
Statement 2: Runic writing was probably first used in southern Europe and was carried north by Germanic tribes. Again, this is stated in the passage and is correct.
Statement 3: The word “rune? and its meaning was derived from the runic alphabet
The word “rune? means both “letter? and “secret? and its original meaning predated the adoption of the runic alphabet. Hence statement 3 is incorrect.
Statement 4: The first runic alphabets date back to the 1st century CE.
Indeed, according to the passage, the development of the Elder Futhark had begun by the first century. So this statement is correct.
Hence, the answer is C
Q.3. Which of the following cannot be reasonably inferred with regard to the beliefs of the Proto-Germanic people?
(a) Odin came upon the runes after going through a lot of torment.
(b) The name of a rune was almost always the first sound of a God’s name
(c) The cosmological power represented by a rune was invoked by writing it.
(d) Proto-German Gods were modeled on humans
Solution: Let us consider the statements in order.
Statement a - Odin came upon the runes after going through a lot of torment.
True, stated in the last couple of paragraphs.
Statement b - The name of a rune was almost always the first sound of a God’s name.
False. Each rune had a name which was almost always the first sound of the rune’s name. Though the example of the T rune and Tiwaz is given in the passage, it is not stated as a general rule that the name of a rune is the first sound of a God’s name. It is the first sound of the rune’s name.
Statement c - The cosmological power represented by a rune was invoked by writing it.
Statement d - Proto-German Gods were modeled on humans.
True. The passage gives the example of Woðanaz, the divine model of the human warband leader.
So the correct answer choice is option b.