cb wrote:but i guess at the time i thought that, if i studied that much i'd get to a point like opening a door into "advanced" ability and this whole huge area would then be open to me without much more effort - i.e. you have to fight your way to that area but once you're there you're sailing.
with retrospect i now guess it is more like digging a mine shaft - you keep chipping away and the space you create for yourself is just everything behind you. so you really need to know where you are going.
cb wrote:and that's why the hunt for resources (i.e. that stash of books which is like the royal road to classics, which i don't think exists - and i'm a total bibliophile) won't prevent your disappointment if you dig in the wrong direction -- your regret will be that you pushed your intensive effort without the result you wanted.
cb wrote: i'd recommend you finish this sentence before you launch into it: in 7 months i want to be able to ..., cheers, chad
Well, if I had to complete that sentence now, I'd say my goal is to be able to read authors with ease from as wide a time range as I am able; give or take some ambition, that's quite a standard goal for learners of Greek: some people are more focused on a particular time frame, but generally speaking that's what we all aim to. I once had a teacher who said the best proof that one can give of one's skill in Greek is to open Plutarch's Moralia
at random and see if you can read it fluently, since it's so diverse in subject-matter and words being used. That's fallacious of course, you'd still have huge gaps between Plutarch and, say, Homer, or Gregory Palamas, but the sounder element in the argument — that, after you've got the grammar solid, fluency comes down less to grammar than to unfamiliar vocabulary (or familiar vocabulary being used in unfamiliar circumstances or with nuances) — is still one I think I can sympathize with.
And this is what brings me to writing Greek, I guess. I think it's established opinion that writing & the active use of the languages is good & useful insofar as it turns both grammatical constructions into a second nature, both the vocabulary but also the grammar & syntax; my goal, like I'm guessing everyone's, is therefore not so much to write like Demosthenes or to speak as Aristophanes, and I'm even a bit afraid (do contradict me if you feel I'm on the wrong track here, this is intuitive reasoning and from someone with far less experience than you do) that focusing on a particular author for imitation (both in style but even more importantly in vocabulary) might have nefarious consequences — think Latin, you can either imitate Cicero, or Apuleius, but if you imitate the former chances are it won't help you much when trying to read the latter, who'll still remain opaque; you'd have done better to have a taste of both than to preserve purity.
For it just so happens that we are all mortal, and can't count on the fact that we'll live long to be able to follow Reginaldus Foster's example, who is said to have absorbed to such a degree such different authors as Cicero, Plautus, or Tacitus, as to be able to speak or write ex tempore in their style. Since we have to choose, then, perhaps for the practical purposes of reading, jack of all trades is best?
I may very well conclude that I am wrong: and most of all I don't want to seem ungrateful to your generous advice; and at any rate whatever happens the links and the references that you gave me are most wonderful, and I will be completing some of those (I event took the liberty of saving them unto my computer, seeing their precarious, archive.org-dependent state).
Above all, I thank you for the caveat
s, because you were spot-on when you warned me against the thought that throwing 10 months (which will be the total) into the language will just magically open every door for me; it won't, because brute force never works, and that's why it is so important for me to get it right. The accumulation of books is another fallacy, of which I am aware but still need constant reminding.
Thank you very much once again.