It's amazing how well three hours of transcribing Latin documents can scramble your brain. And "transcribe" is a misnomer here - I'm not working from manuscripts, but from a printed edition, so really, I'm working in the lap of luxury. The thing is, we don't own this edition, so I'm pulling out the pieces that I want to work with further and typing them up so I can have them on hand after I have to return the ILL'ed tomes (today's work ends up being 10 pages of single-spaced Latin). When I say it scrambles your brain, the problem for me is that my Latin is competent, but not brilliant (luckily, most of the stuff I work with has either been translated or wasn't in Latin to begin with). So while I can figure out pretty well what each word means, individually, or at least what function it plays in the sentence (subject, verb, object, conjunction, etc.), I can't just read the text like English. So really, I'm typing up what look like individual words and even syllables (which I first wrote as syllabi!) rather than sentences that make sense, and it's very easy to skip a line by mistake (because my brain doesn't easily catch that protribunali should be followed by sedentes, not assidencium). At least these documents are relatively formulaic, so I start to recognize what words are going to go together - for instance, qui
in quarto consanguinitatis gradu ex utroque latere invicem sunt conjuncti. Unfortunately, the frequent use of formulae, combined with the fact that Latin expresses a word's grammatical function through word-endings, means that the damn formulae keep re-occurring in slightly different cases, so you have to pay attention to the endings all the time.
I guess copying word-for-word is always slow, slower than when I can spew out stream-of-consciousness (like right now!), but typing Latin feels even slower. The biggest problem, I think, is that your fingers really do get used to typing in the patterns of a particular language. For instance, my fingers are very unhappy about typing double Is - "ii" - even though my brain knows perfectly well that this is a very common appearance in Latin. Now that I've been doing this for three hours, however, I've started to Latinize my fingers, with the result that I can't type an English word correctly to save my life.
What's interesting about this kind of relatively mindless transcription is that you kind of subconsciously start to notice interesting patterns in the material, even though this is just a data-gathering stage, not a read-and-analyze stage. I always approach a new set of documents with the fear that I won't actually find anything of interest in them, and thankfully, that hasn't usually been the case. This is something that has really improved the longer I've been teaching, strangely enough.
Okay, I think it's time to put away the Latin and get back to English before I'm permanently confused.