Such beginners’ interlinear texts would be very much like sample translated sentences that are to be found in textbooks and phrase books. Nothing wrong with that. Interlinear texts that don’t mess with the language being studied would be fine, too, although if the English is re-arranged, it might be difficult to understand. But when the language under study is re-arranged, then it seems to me the procedure is harmful. For instance, using the “Hamiltonian” version of the well known first sentence of Caesar’s Gallic wars, this:
Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appllantur.
Omnis Gallia est divisa in tres partes; unam quarum Belgae incolunt; aliam Aquitani; tertiam qui lingua ipsorum appellantur Celtae, nostra Galli.
(Gaul is a whole divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gauls, the third.) This is an easy sentence, but more complex ones, which Caesar is fond of, are much worse. And Caesar is much easier than, say, Cicero, and I’d hate to see what a “Hamiltonian” Cicero looks like.
Since you have me started: IMHO, for languages with long, periodic paragraphs such as Latin, parallel texts would be better divided up by sentences, rather than by paragraphs–the sentences are long enough. In that way I think the following would be easier to read and compare: Works of Julius Caesar: Gallic Wars Book 1 (58 B.C.E.) .
And here’s a book that might be interesting to read on this subject, if bought from a library–its list price is $235! Parallel Text Processing: Alignment and Use of Translation Corpora - Google Books I haven’t read it, but hape, who started this thread, may find it interesting.
Although I’m concentrating on Russian, this Latin sure is interesting. I’ll be happy to get back to it sometime.
[edited to correct a quotation that was partly effaced]