Textkit Logo

Need to know

Are you learning Ancient Greek with White's First Greek Book? Here's where you can meet other learners using this textbook. Use this board to ask questions and post your work for feedback.

Need to know

Postby Hellin » Sat Jan 24, 2004 3:52 am

First I`d like to congratulate all of you, it`s really nice seeing so many of you into Ancient Greek. I downloaded the: A First Greek Course, Sir William Smith, the First Greek Book, John Williams White and the Introduction to the Language and Verse of Homer, Thomas D. Seymour. Personally thought it will be really hard for you,trying to learn a new language.
After going through them I found alot of bad translations, untill I started First Greek Book, John Williams White
In page 30 :Lesson XIII, The Art of Reading
Directions for reading : In reading
3)Translate the sentence into simple, idiomatic English.(then I understood why the translations are so bad.)
So my questions are :
1)Do you really understand the greatness of the devine words you are reading?

2)How can a language so complex as Ancient Greek be translated into simple, idiomatic English? Please keep in mind we are talking about a language with over 800.000 everyday used words and over 20.000 names.When today "higher educated" people use only about 30-35.000 words(some only found in a dictionary)and the "lower educated" only 4-5.000.
And 3) Has anyone started to learn the "Codex" to desipher the true meaning of what they read?
phpbb
Hellin
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2004 1:26 am
Location: ELLAS

Postby 1%homeless » Sat Jan 24, 2004 4:22 am

Please keep in mind we are talking about a language with over 800.000 everyday used words and over 20.000 names.


Wow, where did you get that figure from? I assume you are stating the figure for Ancient Greek...

How can a language so complex as Ancient Greek be translated into simple, idiomatic English?


Hmm... well... this just brings up the whole issue of translation itself. How can you translate it into any language? How about a language like Dyirbal? You can talk about this forever. I am thinking Derrida right now ...and Wittgenstein. Another cool topic to include is semiotics as well... heh heh... What about ancient psycholinguistics? I mean how do you really understand the psychological underpinnings of the sentences? You might assume that there is translation going on within the original language itself.

Idiomatic English... Basically you have to compromise the translated language or the original language, but that is assuming the purist attitude. Some try to find a good balance between the two. The linguistic (and philosophical) issue of translation is killing me though. I sometimes still fight the snobby attitude with myself that translations are worthless and you haven't read anything unless you read it in the original language.... ah... the remnants of idealism... I think that is a sign of aging... when you talk about idealism in the past tense (or past context in my case)... and I'm not even that old! :lol:

3) Has anyone started to learn the "Codex" to desipher the true meaning of what they read?

Nope. Maybe, if I ever get to Koine... I'd like to do this mnemonic experitment... I'm wondering if I study languages (or history for that matter) in the true chronological order, would I actually have a better historical memory or sense of what I study than I if studied it out of order?

1)Do you really understand the greatness of the devine words you are reading?

....No
User avatar
1%homeless
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 440
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 6:21 am
Location: East Hollywood

Postby Moerus » Sat Jan 24, 2004 10:45 am

Traditore - tradutore (as the Italian say). When you translate a text, there are always meanings, details that dissapear in the translation. That's why it's always better to read something in the language in which it's written. I think every one here will agree with that.
It's true that you have to translate, when you translate, in a way that most of the elements of the first language are also in the translation. The style is also important to maintane in a translation. You are right.
But the question we have to ask is why we translate a text. Translations can be made for many goals. You can make a translation for an edition but you also can make a translation for learning the language. And most of the people here are only trying to understand the texts. That's the first goal. It's only when you fully understand what's written that you can go further and interpretate a text. It's great to interpretate texts too and go further than to give a translation of the Latin. But it only depends of the goals of the persons.

It's possible that there are a few mistakes in the textbooks, I don't use them very often.
As a university student in classical philology I have to interpretate texts and do much more than only translate. And so I know that's great to. The more you read, the more you understand about ancient culture etc. But also: if you know more about the culture etc., you will translate easier and better. These skills complete each other!
Although the goal of most people here is to study the language fisrt. Go further than that costs time and most people here alse have other things to do. So I think we have to encourage them. I know you agree with me.

Great, we have a consensus!

Greetz,
Moerus
Moerus
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2003 2:00 am
Location: Lovanium - Leuven (Belgium)

Re: Need to know

Postby annis » Sat Jan 24, 2004 2:51 pm

Hellin wrote:3)Translate the sentence into simple, idiomatic English.(then I understood why the translations are so bad.)
So my questions are :
1)Do you really understand the greatness of the devine words you are reading?


Not following this "always translate" program.

2)How can a language so complex as Ancient Greek be translated into simple, idiomatic English?


It cannot, but remember the source you get that instruction from: a first year textbook. The author of the book, and the teacher in class, want to make sure that the students have really learned the lesson. The easiest way to check that is to make sure they all can produce sensible translations.

I personally, and I imagine most people who visit Textkit regularly, want to be able to read Greek or Latin without going through translations first. Bill Harris has an [url=http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris/LatinBackground/transverbalizing.html[/url]entire essay[/url] about why that's bad, and how to train yourself to read in the language, rather than translate-while-reading.

And 3) Has anyone started to learn the "Codex" to desipher the true meaning of what they read?


I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "codex" here. Do you mean palaeography? Slow reading?
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Postby Ulpianus » Sat Jan 24, 2004 6:08 pm

I think that when one is starting out in an ancient language the injunction to translate into simple idiomatic English makes good sense: "Translate" because unless one disciplines oneself at first to do this one can easily grasp the general sense without capturing the nuances. The very fact that translation is often so imperfect deepens one's understanding of the language one is reading. "Simple, idiomatic" to avoid the temptation to clumsy periphrastic translations (such as always translating the genitive "of" or always translating participles as participles, and so forth), and the pompous nineteenth-century prose which so often seems a "natural" way of translating the classics. (As if Cicero, say, were a Victorian civil servant.) If anything, beginners' translations tend to exhibit just these faults: they are too close to the original language in syntax and vocabulary, and read unnaturally in consequence. So I would say: as advice for those starting to learn a difficult language, the advice is absolutely right.

These words are not intended either as guidance about what one is ultimately aiming to do (which is to understand the language in the original, without the need always to translate it), nor the style one would necessarily adopt if one set out to translate a great classic work for eyes other than one's own.

If one wants to end up reading "divine" words one has to start somewhere; the starting-somewhere is admittedly pretty purgatorial, pedestrian, dull, pedantic, and all-round-not-very-divine. But then we don't learn to read English using Hamlet.
Ulpianus
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:14 pm
Location: London, UK

Postby Bert » Sat Jan 24, 2004 8:45 pm

Ulpianus wrote:I think that when one is starting out in an ancient language the injunction to translate into simple idiomatic English makes good sense: "Translate" because unless one disciplines oneself at first to do this one can easily grasp the general sense without capturing the nuances.


I have no great words of wisdom about this, just my findings trying to read the Iliad.
I read maybe about 30 or 40 line and then I go back and write out my translation of them. It is amazing how much I missed the first time around.
Having to translate them forces me to think about every word, even the ones that don't end up getting translated. Granted, my translation does not read like poetry, it probably does not even read like good prose, but I am learning as I go.
Bert
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1890
Joined: Sat May 31, 2003 2:28 am
Location: Arthur Ontario Canada

Re: Need to know

Postby Skylax » Sat Jan 24, 2004 9:22 pm

Hellin wrote:1)Do you really understand the greatness of the devine words you are reading?


Here, "greatness" and "divine" are words like "good" or "bad". It doesn't define the thing you speak about, only your attitude regarding things you are very proud of. I hope it is not a way to feel superior to the rest of mankind?

2)How can a language so complex as Ancient Greek be translated into simple, idiomatic English?


Ancient Greek is not always complex. [face=SPIonic](O a)/nqrwpoj lo/gon e)/xei.[/face]

Please keep in mind we are talking about a language with over 800.000 everyday


The mere number of different words is not significant. For example, needing 2000 different substantives to speak about light, is not better than using 40 substantives and 50 adjectives (i.e. 90 different words) when those few words permit to obtain 2000 combinations.[face=SPIonic][/face]

[face=SPIonic]Geia/ sas[/face]
User avatar
Skylax
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 672
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2003 8:18 am
Location: Belgium

Postby Hellin » Sun Jan 25, 2004 11:05 pm

In my first post I started by congratulating all of you for the effort you are making to learn the Ancient Hellinic language.



Skylax

Here, "greatness" and "divine" are words like "good" or "bad". It doesn't define the thing you speak about, only your attitude regarding things you are very proud of. I hope it is not a way to feel superior to the rest of mankind?

The only superiority I feel, is understanding things about this language you are trying to learn that you simply do not.
I do define exactly what I`m speeking about when I ask about understanding "CODEX" .

annis

The only one that asked about "CODEX"

It is the true and only way to really UNDERSTAND what the writter has to say


Alpha – initial power / Beta – the energy of sound , the creation of the visible world by sound / Gamma – earthly body, the enclosing of power in earth / Delta – power , creation , building / Epsilon – the descending power , (from Alpha ) horizontal spread of energy / Zeta – life / Eta – the revelation of power (of Alpha) , the apparent and great flow of energy towards /earth Theta – view , the world becomes visible , the sky is visible on earth/ Iota – the invisible but continuous small descent of power (from Alpha) ,the invisible and small flow of energy to earth / Kappa – everything down , earth as a planet , the human body / Lambda – for everything celestial , the Sun and the earthly waters , descent of sun rays ,that lose their free flow on earth/ Mu – apparant nature, the womb / Nu – mind , law/ X i (K+S) – the earthly bodies / Omicron – limited space , the apparent and unseen world / Pi – initial fire / Rho – flow , primary photo-energy ,the flow of energy from the heavens to earth / Sigma – the inner view - self / Tau – the fixed power / Upsilon – great concentration of power (of Alpha) , great accumulation of energy / Phi –light / Chi – the infernal land , the earthly elements / Psi - (P+S) the internal flame / Omega – the earthly environment , on the earth


Some examples on how the Code works:

Enausma : a)EN (one) powerful SMA = signal b)en-ausma = the overall stimulation – detonation c) accumulated lighting (Y) ( heat- burning) Or by the use of the CODEX :
THE DESCENDING POWER (E) ,OF THE MIND (N) ,THAT IS THE INITIAL POWER (A) , IS CONCENTRATED (Y) and gives a SMA= SIGNAL , OR TRANSFERS INFORMATION FROM THE MIND TO THE INNER SELF OF THE APPARENT NATURE =

Everything your mind captures and transmits is its SIGNAL , that’s an ENAYSMA = spark of life ( enauw = I give someone to light




Each consonant of the Hellinic language represent a specific meaning , while , the vowels enlighten and decipher the meanings . for example : the letter (Lambda) means THE SUN , (Gamma) means the earth .
So the word (LOGOS) means (the light on earth)

The verb L-EGW (LEGW) means I(EGW) ENLIGHTEN (L)
The word (LEXIS) means ENLIGHTENING (L) OUTWARDS (EXIS)= gives the enlightened meaning

The CODEX is EY-LOGOS or a EY-LOGIA useful to those in search of knowledge.
It can show us the hidden meanings in all sciences Theology, philosophy ex..

ERGALEIO=ERGO+LEIO=ERGON HLIOY or ERGON FWTINON


[/quote]
phpbb
Hellin
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2004 1:26 am
Location: ELLAS

Postby annis » Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:32 am

Hellin wrote:annis

The only one that asked about "CODEX"

It is the true and only way to really UNDERSTAND what the writter has to say


Ah.

Well, I will not be using this approach to any text. It seems to me that there are three issues which render the approach logically incoherent. (I'm using Betacode with the SPIonic font so that I can represent the Greek most accurately.)

First. [face=spionic]maxana/[/face] vs. [face=spionic]mhxanh/[/face]. Pindar used the first pronunciation, Plato the second. But it's the same word, yet should have rather different meanings in each dialect according to your codex scheme. To which dialect of Greek does this apply, and why? Leading to...

Second. Why should this key, as you would have it, be embedded in Greek and not, say, !Kung or Tibetan? Moreover, how is it that a language which we know has undergone so many changes should? Why Greek? Why not proto-Greek? Or Indo-european? Does the world reconfigure itself everytime a new dialect forms?

Third. This system does not distinguish [face=spionic]no/moj[/face] vs. [face=spionic]nomo/j[/face], or [face=spionic]ki/wn[/face] vs. [face=spionic]kiw=n[/face] or indeed any of the other words that differ only by accent.

Finally, taking a little but complete sentence from Homer (A.29):

[face=spionic]th\n d' e)gw\ ou) lu/sw[/face].

Why should this simple statement need to be imbued with some hidden message? And if it should, what in the world is it, and what does it tell us?
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 4:55 pm
Location: Madison, WI, USA

Re: Need to know

Postby rustymason » Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:55 pm

Here is an updated link for William Harris' article, "THE SIN OF TRANSVERBALIZING ... or Translating as you Read" :

http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris ... izing.html

Valete,
Rusticus
User avatar
rustymason
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2005 8:26 pm
Location: Sugar Land, TX

Re: Need to know

Postby Prometheus » Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:30 pm

Well said, Annis!

I agree with you that the important thing is reading and understanding, not translating. I like to think of the better ones among these old language primers--like White's First Greek Book and Pharr's Homeric book, which have some authentic sentences and connected text to read--as graded readers keyed to grammar points of increasing complexity.

I think the label applied to books like White's by some proponents of current language-teaching methods, "the grammar-translation method", is a bit of a slur. Translation is just a testing tool, or an exercise. Comprehension is what White was after (I know--I communicate with his spirit!) and that comes with learning vocabulary, recognizing inflections and understanding what they're telling you ("grammar")...and plenty of reading practice!


annis wrote:
Hellin wrote:3)Translate the sentence into simple, idiomatic English....Not following this "always translate" program.

2)How can a language so complex as Ancient Greek be translated into simple, idiomatic English?


It cannot, but remember the source you get that instruction from: a first year textbook. The author of the book, and the teacher in class, want to make sure that the students have really learned the lesson. The easiest way to check that is to make sure they all can produce sensible translations.

I personally, and I imagine most people who visit Textkit regularly, want to be able to read Greek or Latin without going through translations first.
User avatar
Prometheus
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:12 pm


Return to First Greek Book - White

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests