Keesa wrote:What about Textkit itself? How/when/why did it start? Did Jeff wake up one morning and decide that a website devoted to learning Ancient Greek and Latin might be a neat weekend project? (I"m just kidding, of course, but I am curious.)
Well I think it started for me in college studying Ancient Greek. I was one of those really broke college students who was always bitter about how much textbooks cost. When I purchased a brand new copy of North and Hillard's Greek Prose Composition for my Greek Prose course I saw that there was no copyright. I recall too that our composition class would make jokes about how old the book was and we liked to joke that our professor was punishing us because he was so punished by his professor by using NH.
A few of us realized - we can copy this thing! This is before Napster so we had a 'bit' more respect for intellectual property. A friend of mine returned his copy and made a photocopy of the book (and key) from the library. I made a photocopy too so that I could write notes in the margins.
Then I started using Smyth and saw that it too was public domain. So I realized that many of the very best Greek/Latin textbooks were not only free to distribute but there was real demand and practical use for them.
Finally, as a student, North and Hillard really took me behind the wood pile. It was far more demanding than the modern textbook we used for first year Greek, so I really developed an appreciation for the older no-nonsense textbooks.
So that's how it all got started.
Oh.. and if anyone thinks that the key helped me out - no way.
We did sight readings in class so you never knew what you were asked to compose. Also, there was the dreaded overhead. We had to write out our compositions using an overhead so that he could see that our accents and spelling was correct.
The whole process what borderline stressful at times and quite humbling. But it was very effective. There were 6 of us in composition and I think we all studied Greek for about 4 hours a day. Now of course I thank him and all the other instructors out there who were merciless on their students.
I'm sure others here have similar stories and experiences. If there's one thing I can say about what it takes to be successful at reading Greek and Latin it's that you must practice everyday.