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The importance of audio

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The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:55 am

I am always banging on about Latin audio and how important it is for learning the language - but then, I would, wouldn't I? One reason I have put so much energy into audio Latin, is I think that this is incredibly important if high levels of fluency are to be reached quickly. I don't deny this can be reached by other means - but the path is possibly a much longer one - and, I think, a more impoverished one. The 19th century grammar-translation method is certainly is not suited to the vast majority of people, which is why traditional Latin programs, in my humble opinion, have such a high drop-out rate.

A language researcher in NZ has recently published some research, that stresses the importance of listening to the target language - even if you don't actually understand what you are listening to - because your brain is still picking up the grammatical patterns, and forming neural networks based on them, irrespective of meaning. He is not the first to come to this conclusion, there is a long history of similar research that reaches very similar conclusions, but what he has to say is interesting nevertheless.

Here is a copy of his press release:

Published 27 January 2009

The teaching of languages could influenced by research by Victoria University PhD graduate Paul Sulzberger.

Dr Sulzberger has found that the best way to learn a language is through frequent exposure to its sound patterns—even if you haven't a clue what it all means.

"However crazy it might sound, just listening to the language, even though you don't understand it, is critical. A lot of language teachers may not accept that," he says.

"Our ability to learn new words is directly related to how often we have been exposed to the particular combinations of the sounds which make up the words. If you want to learn Spanish, for example, frequently listening to a Spanish language radio station on the internet will dramatically boost your ability to pick up the language and learn new words."

Dr Sulzberger's research challenges existing language learning theory. His main hypothesis is that simply listening to a new language sets up the structures in the brain required to learn the words.

"Neural tissue required to learn and understand a new language will develop automatically from simple exposure to the language—which is how babies learn their first language," Dr Sulzberger says.

He was prompted to undertake the research after spending seven years teaching Russian to New Zealand students and observing drop-out patterns.

"I was very conscious of the huge difficulties students have when they tackle another language, especially at the beginning. Many drop out because they feel they are not making progress."

Dr Sulzberger says he was interested in what makes it so difficult to learn foreign words when we are constantly learning new ones in our native language. He found the answer in the way the brain develops neural structures when hearing new combinations of sounds.

"When we are trying to learn new foreign words we are faced with sounds for which we may have absolutely no neural representation. A student trying to learn a foreign language may have few pre-existing neural structures to build on in order to remember the words."

Dr Sulzberger looked for ways people could develop these structures to make the learning process easier. His finding was simple: extensive exposure to the language, something made easier by globalisation and new technology.

"It is easier to learn languages these days because they are so accessible now. You can go home and watch the news in French on the internet."

He says people trying to learn a foreign language in their home country are at a disadvantage compared to those who travel to another country and immerse themselves in its sounds and culture. For the same reason, he says, we need to rethink the way languages are taught.

"Teachers should recognise the importance of extensive aural exposure to a language. One hour a day of studying French text in a classroom is not enough—but an extra hour listening to it on the iPod would make a huge difference," Dr Sulzberger says.

"Language is a skill, it's not like learning a fact. If you want to be a weight lifter, you've got to develop the muscle - you can't learn weightlifting from a book. To learn a language you have to grow the appropriate brain tissue, and you do this by lots of listening—songs and movies are great!"
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:30 pm

Anyone, of whatever character and abilities no matter how high or how low, can say "that is incredibly important if high levels of fluency are to be reached quickly". Anyone, of whatever character and abilities no matter how high or how low, can repeat what is obvious in the words of others, and piggy-bag on titles. Anyone, of whatever character and abilities no matter how high or how low, can call themselves "a simple member" (passing over ironies). It is a matter of whose audio voice you choose to listen to. Some can't discriminate and waste their time by following the loudest, self-advertising voice.

Quispiam, aut optimae aut verùm pessimae famae, aut maximae aut minimae facultatis, potest dicere hoc: "si volubilitatem linguae quàm celerrimè adsequaris, hoc maximi momenti est." Quispiam, aut optimae aut verùm pessimae famae, aut maximae aut minimae facultatis, potest repetare titulis modo specioso stratis verba aliorum quae omnibus clara sunt. Quispiam, aut optimae aut verùm pessimae famae, aut maximae aut minimae facultatis, sodalem purum se vocare potest, ironias ignorans. Res spectat cuius vocem disseminatam deligas ut eam auscultes. Sunt qui discriminare nequeunt et vocem sonorissimam et autopromulgantem optant, quod effusum est.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby Lex » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:12 pm

Wow, Adrianus. It seems to me like you are slamming Metrodorus in an intentionally not very well veiled fashion. If that is truly the case, why not just come out with it, and tell us what you don't like about Metrodorus' recordings? Or have I misinterpreted you?
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:54 pm

Adriane,
It would be wonderful if there were a plethora of Latin audio out there to listen to, using restored classical pronunciation - but, there isn't. Alatius keeps a list, which is useful. I encourage people to listen to lots of voices.....and on Latinum, I have more voices than my own. I keep trying to get people who have some skill with oral Latin to produce audio and post it online.

And yes, I have put hundreds and hundreds of hours into my oral Latin materials - and of course I promote them, quite successfully. I don't make money from it - I barely cover my costs in terms of raw materials....if you include the time input - forget it. However, adult learners across the world now have access to audio Latin courses, and some 4 000 regular students have downloaded all 600 episodes of Adler. I don't pretend to be a maker of original material - any less than an actor is a playwright. What I do, is take existing material, and make it accessible.

I accept, my earlier recordings were not brilliant - but, after three years of daily recording, and checking my pronunciation against Allen and Sturtevant, and helpful crit from interested parties, I am now quite pleased with my pronunciation - which, although not perfect ( any rendition of classical Latin must necessarily have an element of artistic interpretation to it), is fit for purpose.

As things stand at present, what other extensive audio is there? As far as I am concerned, if Robert Sonkowsky is happy with my audio, then I am happy with it. You probably don't like Sonkowsky either. There is no pleasing everyone.

I'm not going to get into a fight with you. Its a free world - but it does not seem too long since you last had a kick at me. If that makes you feel good, go ahead, kick, as hard as you like. Its a free world. I'm not going to bother kicking you back.

However, what I will say is this - take care not to wreck the friendly atmosphere on this forum. People don't like the sniff of brimstone.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:20 pm

Metrodorus is free to publicize himself; I am free to respond, Lex. Some praise Metrodorus's web stuff; I don't. And elsewhere in this forum, I've criticized the materials he's published. Anyone can track back. I just think it remiss, when I see self-advertising that may be misleading, not to sound a cautionary note.

Libenter, Lex, Metrodorus se promulgare potest; libenter ego respondam. Sunt aliqui opera Metrodori interretialia laudantes. Non sum eiscum, et alibi in hoc foro ea quae ille vir emissa est compellavi (ut facilè verificetur). Cum sui promulgationem video quae decipere potest , aptum et, mihi sententià, necesse est ut discordiae notam sonem.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:32 pm

Metrodorus wrote:You probably don't like Sonkowsky either. There is no pleasing everyone.

I think Sonkowsky's recordings are wonderful. I think they're real, and by a good latinist.
Impressiones sonituum de Sonkowsky valdè amo. Eas puras esse habeo et a bonâ latinistâ factas.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby Lex » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:05 pm

adrianus wrote:Metrodorus is free to publicize himself; I am free to respond, Lex.


Sure. I'm not saying you shouldn't criticize others if you truly think that's called for. God knows I do it all the time. What I'm saying is that if you're going to take a shot at somebody's character, then you should do it forthrightly, instead of shooting him in the back with weaselly, passive-aggressive innuendo like "Anyone, of whatever character and abilities no matter how high or how low". Know what I mean?
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:14 pm

Adriane,

If you have any specific crit of my pronunciation, then please give specific examples from my more recent recordings, where you think I am off the mark, and where there is no suport in the academic literature for the choices I have made.

I think, after your public attack on my pronunciation, I have a right to demand specific critique of consistent errors in my pronunciation, and by specific, I mean words, cited examples, etc specific recordings, with references from my more recent recordings. There is no point giving crit on my older recordings, as I have been adjusting my pronunciation by slight degrees as time goes on.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:39 pm

Re promotion of Latinum - here is some more unashamed promotion.

Latinum is popular, because people enjoy using it. No-one forces anyone to use it. I know a number of Latin teachers who use it, in order to give themselves access to Corderius, and the like. I regularly speak with some of these teachers in Latin face to face using the video chatroom on Schola.

A quick look at the stats for visitors to Latinum over the last few months will show some surprising things - increasing numbers of users in China and the former Soviet Union, and quite large clusters of users in Iran, of all places. I have been tracking the spread of users across the former USSR - this is obviously being driven by chat rooms/discussion fora within those countries. The same goes for South America, users within the Americas must be coming to the site from notices in Spanish and Portuguese on various discussion boards that I don't contribute to, as of modern languages, I only know English, French and Hebrew. If someone produced a good Chinese Latin course, they would, it seems to me, be onto a winner.

http://eclassics.ning.com/profiles/blog ... m-update-1
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:33 pm

I checked back in Textkit. I've criticized Metrodorus's promotion of his recordings because they were published in a way that risked misleading the unsuspecting about his skills as a Latinist. I criticized his advertising about their suitability for achieving quick and easy fluency. I criticized the quality of the teaching materials he had authored. I criticized him for sloppy referencing. I criticized his site design. I criticized him for gathering information on his website for dating purposes (as he himself said). I criticized his promoting highly dubious (and that's putting it mildly) images in Textkit and arguing they were suitable for schoolchildren. Here is Metrodorus's own assessment of his character: "Vir et consilii magni et virtutis non sum" (Textkit, Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:54 am). And if Metrodorus ever did things better as a result of those criticisms, that has to be good. Funny enough, even though I don't like them, I don't think I've ever publicly criticized Metrodorus for the quality of his recordings. But I would rather listen to someone speaking who has got good latin!

Verificavi in hoc foro. Promulgationem impressionum sonituum Metrodori incusavi quae incuriosis clarè eius habilitatem humilem non declamaverunt. Assertiones seu praeconia etiam invitavi, quae de linguae volubilitate celere facileque dicunt. Qualitatem libellorum docendi quos scripsisti momordi. Et eius systematem negligens ad annotationem referendi. Et deformationem sitûs. Et collectionem datorum ad constituta romantica facienda (ut dixit Metrodorus). Et promulgationem imaginum eroticarum (et deteriùs) in hoc foro et apologiam discipulis unûs. Ecce quod dicit Metrodorus de personâ suâ: "Vir et consilii magni et virtutis non sum" (Textkit, Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:54 am). Si aliquod meliùs eveniit eâ ratione argumentorum illorum, bonus est eventus, nonné? At, nisi fallor, nunquam heic contra qualitatem impressionum sonituum arqui. Quod iocosum est quià, verum dicere, eam saepè non amo, et aliquem bonum latinistam auscultare malo.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:04 pm

1. Schola is a social network. http://schola.ning.com People signing up can choose to input personal questions about themselves, or they can choose not to. We (John Doublier and I) deliberately put in the question about sexual orientation, as for some reason a very large number of gay people learn Latin - this is very evident at the various conventicula. We also wanted to make clear that this Schola would not be a place where neo-fascists and Muslim haters etc would be welcome - as for some reason, the 'other' Latin list seemed to attract a cadre of such unpleasant types, who continually voiced their objectionable views.

As you can see from Schola, many members are quite freely being open about their sexuality, and this is no big deal - at least, not here in Europe. Is schola a dating site? No, but it is a real place, for real communication in Latin. I know you have a gripe against it. Well, keep on griping, because it aint gonna go away. We have had this discussion before. Schola seems to be attracting people, at a pretty constant rate of about half a dozen new members a week - not bad for an all-Latin website. Your bashing it does it no harm at all - on the contrary, thanks for the publicity.

2. My skill at comprehension and understanding of Latin you know nothing about whatsoever - I am still struggling with writing good Latin - but then, that goes for all of us. Many don't even try.

3. Good luck to your one man crusade, Adrianus. You've attacked me so many times, and has it done any good???? All you achieve, is that you help to promote what I am doing even more. Keep doing it, it is good for business. You never know, I might get back to producing that illustrated version of the Thesaurus Eroticus Linguae Latinae that really got you het up....just for the sheer pleasure of getting you upset.

Yours in amusement.

Metrodorus.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:34 pm

metrodorus wrote:All you achieve, is that you help to promote what I am doing even more. Keep doing it, it is good for business. You never know, I might get back to producing that illustrated version of the Thesaurus Eroticus Linguae Latinae that really got you het up....just for the sheer pleasure of getting you upset.

That internet publication you left out of your list of "publications" in the Wiki article you wrote about yourself. Is it about being "cool"? I'm not anti-gay, anti-Muslim or neo-fascist. Is it uncool to criticize false advertising? I am no longer professionally involved in a government education department but is it uncool also to think that your attitudes about suitable images put parents and teachers into awkward positions?

Mentionem illius emissionis e tabulâ publicationum tuarum in capitulo a te scripto apud Vikipaediam (versionem anglicam) omisisti. Estne res ad morem novissimum pertinet? Homosexualibus aversus non sum, nec muslimis aversus, nec neofascisticus. Estne mos obsoletus si aversus falsis praeconiis sum. In ministerio educationis non jam laboro sed tales opiniones de illarum imaginum congruantiâ cum discipulis anxios faciunt magistros parentesque, ut mihi videtur. Estne id etiam mos obsoletus?
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:47 pm

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:01 pm

I'm no lady. Of course you think I protest too much. About what and why you don't get.
Domina non sum. Certè me nimìs denuntiare censes. De quo et quâre ignoras.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:43 pm

Somehow, Adrianus, you think it is about 'me'. It isn't. It is about Latin, and in particular, spoken and oral Latin, which is danger of extinction. Spoken Latin has had a continuous history from the time of the Romans, until now, but for the first time,it is in danger. Many people are working to avert this. I am only a very small cog in a rather small wheel. However, if I can get even 10 more people to acquire some knowledge of the spoken language, that would be success.

To quote Cicero - and much in this quote is apt - Enim primum est, quod cernitur in universitate humani generis, autem ejus vinculum est ratio et oratio, quae docendo, discendo, communicando, disceptando, judicando, conciliat homines inter se.

The sad fact that there are barely 20 fluent speakers alive (according to Father Foster) in the world today. Most are aged over 60. Yes, many thousands can "read". A few hundred have some skill in writing. But that isn't primarily what I am about, as for most of these, 'reading Latin' means having an ability to slowly translate Latin into another language. This isn't reading Latin. My goal, is to produce students who have only Latin, or mainly Latin in their heads, when they read Latin. This takes years, as it takes many years to learn any language. 3 years of Latinum applied intensively, will give a fair grounding, just as 3 years of intense ESOL would give a fair grounding in English - but not more than that.

If it were French, we wouldn't call translating French into English reading French either. The problem with Latin, is that there are so, so few speakers left to learn from. There is no natural community of speakers left. Hence the need for Docendo, discendo. There is no other way to do it. One has to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps, if one wants to become a fluent speaker of Latin. When I started Latinum, I could not really speak much, now I can speak much better. In five more years or so, I will be quite good.

What I am doing, quite deliberately, is promoting the tools whereby Latin can be approached as a language fully, in all its aspects.

This means promoting all areas of the language - not only Classical texts, but technical texts, and other perhaps less salubrious material as well. When I posted the link to my Thesaurus Eroticus work here three years ago, I regarded textkit a place where adult learners came, not children. So far, almost all my interactions with writers on textkit, have been adults. Be that as it may, it was clear what the nature of the material was, so I make no apologies for it. I still regard this as a useful project to pursue, as it has the potential to draw people into the language.....and there is a huge segment of Latin literature, both ancient and renaissance, that cannot be appreciated without command of this vocabulary.

I believe I have created a very powerful tool for language learning with Latinum - either used as an adjunct,(which is how I suspect most users approach it) or as the principal tool of learning. I will promote it, and I will promote it shamelessly. My name is not plastered all over it, however, it is there.

Reviving a language, means doing several things that have been done with other languages to revive them:

1. Creating extensive tools so learners can learn the spoken form of the language - this is what Latinum is doing, to the extent possible with a podcast. Latinum draws on the extensive tradition of teaching Latin, developed at a time when spoken competence was still considered important. I have put literally thousands of hours into this project.

2. Schola is part of this revival plan, and is modeled directly on similar successful bulletin boards in the target language. The goal is meaningful communication, to create a normal functional community. This seems to be gradually developing - after all, Schola is only 2 years old now. It has priests, academics, teachers, and ordinary people as members, who all seem to get along quite nicely.

3. There are now over 340 basic illustrated children's readers on the Tar Heel reader site ( over 50 written by myself, using Comenius' material) are also part of this program. Laura Gibbs and I have worked really hard to get this going, and now other Latin teachers regularly contribute. Why don't you write some books for the Tar Heel site? Build up, don't tear down.
http://tarheelreader.org

I make it quite clear on the podcast faq that I developed the materials on Latinum to help me learn how to speak the language. I have put an enormous effort into working on my pronunciation. No-where do I state anythng about my skills or otherwise as a Latinist - indeed, such are irrelevant to the project- what is important on Latinum, is my technical ability to interpret texts orally - which, it seems, you do not dispute.

I know many skilled Latinists who cannot read a sentence with correct stress or vowel length. Most Latin teachers I know make a complete dog's breakfast of their Latin the minute they open their mouths. Indeed, I think the majority fall into this category. I personally would prefer to listen to Latin read by a skilled actor with no Latin ability at all, but correctly, than mangled up speech produced by a skilled Latinist who has scant regard for the rules of oral Latin. Alas, paying attention to oral Latin, let alone spoken Latin, is seen as quixotic in most of the academic community.

My skill is being able to read fluently and with emotion and accuracy, to enable the texts to be used as educational texts. I know I now do this quite well, and have no qualms in saying so. I'm not perfect, but who is?

I will promote Latinum, and other sites that promote oral Latin, by any means possible, and if that mean writing wikipedia articles then I will write them. If you think it is to the advantage of Latin to have them removed then it is your prerogative.

Those are my goals. They are explicit, and I make no bones about them. What are your goals, Adrianus? What exactly are your trying to achieve here, or with Latin?
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby Lex » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:43 pm

Why does spoken language help the language learner? My understanding is that it is because we were made to speak languages (whether you believe by God or evolution is irrelevant to this discussion). Hence, we have a part of our brains that naturally engages with spoken languages. Reading is different; it is not natural. Children do not learn it by osmosis like they do speech. They must be given years of training with the explicit intention of teaching them reading, for them to learn this skill. Engaging our naturally linguistic speech-centers in learning to read Latin is thus a helpful shortcut.

My point is this. In order for exposure to spoken Latin to help people learn the language, it really doesn't matter whether or not that it is pronounced authentically. All that matters is that the pronunciation is a reasonable match to the orthography, is self-consistent, and enough other people speak it for it to be useful as a learning aid. My understanding is that there are several pronunciations; reconstructed Classical, ecclesiastical, Erasmian, English publich school... Any of these can be used to help one learn to read the language. Yes, if your interest is historico-linguistic, then you want to get the most historically accurate pronunciation possible. If your interest is just to be a fluent reader, then using a pronunciation that is not "according to Hoyle" is irrelevant.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:02 am

metrodorus wrote:I know many skilled Latinists who cannot read a sentence with correct stress or vowel length. Most Latin teachers I know make a complete dog's breakfast of their Latin the minute they open their mouths. Indeed, I think the majority fall into this category. I personally would prefer to listen to Latin read by a skilled actor with no Latin ability at all, but correctly, than mangled up speech produced by a skilled Latinist who has scant regard for the rules of oral Latin. Alas, paying attention to oral Latin, let alone spoken Latin, is seen as quixotic in most of the academic community.

My skill is being able to read fluently and with emotion and accuracy, to enable the texts to be used as educational texts. I know I now do this quite well, and have no qualms in saying so. I'm not perfect, but who is?

I think that what Metrodorus means by reading latin fluently is very different from what others mean if he thinks he's one of the few who can.
Quod Metrodorus vult dicere in dicendo eum paucorum esse qui facundè legere possunt, id non simile est eius quod alii volunt dicere per facultatem facundè legendi.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:50 am

I don't doubt it for a second, Adriane.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby Kyneto Valesio » Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:45 am

Wow ....I had no idea this discussion was taking place until just now.

Metrodorus, I agree with everything you say about the neural pathways and such. And you have done a excellent job defending your appraoch. As if it needed defending rather than the unanimous acclamations of everyone!!! Imagine that! Guy pours all he has got into something and folks have the nerve to slam him. IMHO your site rules as it has done more to further latin studies than any of the professional societies. When you first came in the scene, I remarked to my wife how amazing it is that single individuals, using the internet, are able to accomplish more than entire societies of lazy professionals - not to cast aspersions on anyone in particular.

Here is another example, if you look around the net you really can't find good, in depth and free lessons in Spanish whereas it doesn't seem that it take much effort to do this if it were undertaken as a project of one of the professional societies of spanish teachers. But what an entire profession is incapable of can be accomplished by single dedicated individuals. Check out this site:

http://ssl4you.blogspot.com/ (spanish as a second language for you). Although not a complete course (basic forms are not covered) it is the single best resource for advancing in Spanish from the intermetiate level to the advanced level and fluency. Yet consider who produced it! Not a professional society but one dedicated teacher of English from Zamorra, Spain. And it is all free! So this one woman has done more to promote spanish on the net than all of the spanish teachers in the u.s. and even the bbc so far as I can tell.

and you, Evan, are doing the same for Latin studies. I very much appreciate your efforts and would be willing to collaborate with you on some recordings if you thought i could be of some help.

somebody said (lex ?) that it doesn't matter that much if pronunciation isn't perfect. I agree with that too. What is important is that we have reasonably interesting recordings. Such recordings do IN FACT accelerate learning! As I remarked elsewhere I like the anglice-latine format but that might not be best for all.

Thanks, Metrodorus/Evan, for your very worthy efforts.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby Kyneto Valesio » Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:51 am

By the way, Metrodorus, since you have become a topic here, would you care to explain why you recently posted to the GLL that you were leaving that forum? For all its problems (archaic format), the very best latinists contribute to that forum. If I were you I would reconsider. What was your user name again on the grex? I can't remember but I am pretty sure it is you.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:32 am

Oh, I'll return to the GLL. I always do. I enjoy it too much to leave it for long. However, I was tempted to get into an argument, and thought it better to have a short holiday, and come back in a week or two when a different topic dominated the airwaves, so to speak. I love the GLL - it is a great place, and a great resource for everyone.
I run various Latin sites, including Schola and the Latinum YouTube channel - the main portal to these is http://latinum.org.uk
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:55 am

I left GLL temporarily. I'm back again. Boy, they need to sort out their introductory message with the crucial instructions, that are given in Polish only. I certainly didn't receive a message in Polish only the first time I joined, perhaps they have a new server.
I run various Latin sites, including Schola and the Latinum YouTube channel - the main portal to these is http://latinum.org.uk
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:15 am

I told you I hadn't criticized your readings, Metrodorus.
Metrodorus wrote:"what is important on Latinum, is my technical ability to interpret texts orally - which, it seems, you do not dispute...My skill is being able to read fluently and with emotion and accuracy, to enable the texts to be used as educational texts."

Let me then dispute. I'll critique one chosen at random (very recent, as you requested), to illustrate what I think about your reading.

I listened to the "Pied Piper of Hameln" (an MP3 recording of December 4, 2009 of 180 Latin words).

Here are your consistent faults:
    you consistently pronounce "a" as in "cat";
    you consistently pronounce terminal "s" as a "z";
    you aren't able to articulate double consonants;
    you don't manage your vowel lengths consistently on unstressed syllables unless you proceed at a very deliberate pace;
    you are unaware of the stresses dictated by Latin word order shift and your own imposed sentence stresses are erratic and often give unintentionally comic or bizarre results.
I don't know if you always pronounce "picta" and "pervenit" with extra syllables, or "puerorum" with one fewer, or stress the first syllable of "concurrunt", or swop the lengths of the first two syllables of "laboremque" (which is nothing compared to your incorrect shortening of vowel lengths in so many other places), or always sound the "e" before "n" in "argenti", "ingenti" and "denique" so strangely and give the first two bizarre lengths, or change your mind continually about the sound of a short "i".

I wouldn't care that someone who wasn't fluent did those things. Actually, I wouldn't care about any of those things full stop, had you not invited criticism and claimed your readings were exemplary, when they clearly are not.

Most of the words you pronounce can be understood, but you would expect as much listening to anyone reading a passage with marked-up vowel lengths. These readings are patently by someone who doesn't read Latin fluently. We all like to think we're great, but it's a disgrace to try to pull the wool over others' eyes. These readings indicate a pretty average ability to read a rehearsed, marked-up text, and certainly score very poorly as dramatic renditions, because to do that well requires a more fluent understanding of written Latin and a little natural ability,—not just attempts to sound each word correctly and to heighten the result with ill-chosen modulations.

So no, I don't willingly listen to the Latinum recordings. I find them at best average, at worst unpleasant to listen to, and generally terribly anachronistic.

Me lectiones tuas, Metrodore, non incusasse tibi dixi. Ità respondisti:
"what is important on Latinum, is my technical ability to interpret texts orally - which, it seems, you do not dispute...My skill is being able to read fluently and with emotion and accuracy, to enable the texts to be used as educational texts."

Velim tunc reprehendere. Unam temerè dilectam (at novissimam, ut rogasti) nunc incusabo ad judicium meum demonstrandum.

Te de tibicine Hamelinae versicolore legentem auscultavi (scapo MP3 formae consignato per diem quartam mensis decembris anno bis millesimo nono qui in verbis centum octoginta consistit).

Ecce sunt vitia tua quae ubiquè se ostendunt:
    constanter, latinè "a" litteram per eandem litteram in "cat" anglicè sonas;
    litteram "s" terminantem sicut "z" sonas;
    nequis consonantes ancipites enuntiare;
    ubi syllaba vim non habet, inconstanti modo vocali longae durationem aptam non attribuis, nisi alibi sensim progrederis;
    quomodo ordo verborum latinè modulationem sententiae mutet ignoras, quâre et erraticae et nonnunquam imprudenter comoedicae vel alienae modulationes tuae sonuntur.
Nescio utrum semper soleas haec dicere necne,—"picta" et "pervenit" per unam syllabam additiciam, "puerorum" per unam pauciorem, "laboremque" per longinquitates vocalium primae et secundae permutas (quod parùm refert, toties alibi vocales longae perperàm corripiuntur), "concurrunt" per emphasen primâ in syllabâ,—vel sententiam semper permutare de ore "i" brevis litterae.

Quod aliquis qui latinè non facundè loquitur vitia talia facit, id non meâ refert, nec cotidiè mihi res magni momenti est. Tu autem hoc criticum provocasti qui exemplares lectiones tuas esse dixisses cum clarè non sunt.

Intellegi potest magna pars verborum quae sonas, at tantùm aliquo ab auscultando expectamus qui locum usitatum quantitatibus vocalum designatis legit. Palàm ab aliquo latinè non facundo hae lectiones. Quod omnis se magnoperè aestimat mirum non est, at odiosus ille vir qui caput innocentis obvolvere conetur. Ità monstrant hae lectiones: insignificans habilitas lectoris et ob legendum scriptorum in quibus tempora vocalium iam denotata sunt et ob artem histrionis, quae ars non solùm tonos verborum rectos sed comprehensionem sententiarum affectionumque etiam advocat et falsos tonos temporaque et hyperbolen ineptam abhorret.
Denique de Metrodoro impressiones sonituum apud Latinum situm non libenter ausculto, quas potissimè mediocris qualitatis, pessimè insuaves, pleraquè ut vera anachronisma habeam.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby Kyneto Valesio » Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:04 am

That there might be some technical flaws in Metrodorus' readings does not detract from their overall value! On that point (pronunciation) I am not prepared to argue because I am ignorant of some of those niceties. I will just speak for myself. I have used Evan's products in the past: parts of Adler, swallowing the dictionary, and some romantic poet - Keats ? Presently I am using the Corderius Latine-Anglice dialogues. These products are all very useful. In addition, to his own material, Evan also has recordings of a number of different folks reading poetry and what not. He is to be commended for all he has done and certainly doesn't deserve such names as "false prophet" or "con-man". I really don't understand the vituperation that is being heaped on the guy. Adrianus, would you prefer that Evan not post here? If that is the case, cheer up because maybe you are already on the verge of driving him away completely as it can't be that pleasant to be attacked so blatantly. It doesn't become you to act in this way. Your antipathy towards Evan's projects is misguided, overwrought, and even a little sadistic. False prophet indeed!

I
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:25 pm

As I said already // Ut iam dixi
I checked back in Textkit. I've criticized Metrodorus's promotion of his recordings because they were published in a way that risked misleading the unsuspecting about his skills as a Latinist. I criticized his advertising about their suitability for achieving quick and easy fluency. I criticized the quality of the teaching materials he had authored. I criticized him for sloppy referencing. I criticized his site design. I criticized him for gathering information on his website for dating purposes (as he himself said). I criticized his promoting highly dubious (and that's putting it mildly) images in Textkit and arguing they were suitable for schoolchildren. Here is Metrodorus's own assessment of his character: "Vir et consilii magni et virtutis non sum" (Textkit, Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:54 am). And if Metrodorus ever did things better as a result of those criticisms, that has to be good. Funny enough, even though I don't like them, I don't think I've ever publicly criticized Metrodorus for the quality of his recordings. But I would rather listen to someone speaking who has got good latin!

Verificavi in hoc foro. Promulgationem impressionum sonituum Metrodori incusavi quae incuriosis clarè eius habilitatem humilem non declamaverunt. Assertiones seu praeconia etiam invitavi, quae de linguae volubilitate celere facileque dicunt. Qualitatem libellorum docendi quos scripsisti momordi. Et eius systematem negligens ad annotationem referendi. Et deformationem sitûs. Et collectionem datorum ad constituta romantica facienda (ut dixit Metrodorus). Et promulgationem imaginum eroticarum (et deteriùs) in hoc foro et apologiam discipulis unûs. Ecce quod dicit Metrodorus de personâ suâ: "Vir et consilii magni et virtutis non sum" (Textkit, Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:54 am). Si aliquod meliùs eveniit eâ ratione argumentorum illorum, bonus est eventus, nonné? At, nisi fallor, nunquam heic contra qualitatem impressionum sonituum arqui. Quod iocosum est quià, verum dicere, eam saepè non amo, et aliquem bonum latinistam auscultare malo.

He demanded a criticism of his readings. It was not a false criticism. Again, it was a challenge to his inflated claims. You may not care about such things, Kyneto. I do.
Ipse critica lectionum quaesivit. Non falsa dedi. Assertiones inflatas iterùm reprehendi. Fortassè ista, Kyneto, non curas. Curo.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby metrodorus » Thu Dec 31, 2009 6:58 pm

Adriane, I will carefully take note of your comments, and see if I agree, or if indeed, I am able to make the adjustments you suggest. Thank you for listening to me read.

That being said, it would have been wonderful, Adrianus, if you could have risen to the chance offered you to be professional, but even in your supposedly neutral assessment of my reading, you still managed to sprinkle a certain amount of ad hominem and highly subjective attack.

As you seem unable to resist making personal attacks, even when you are trying your utmost to be neutral, I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to lay a stumbling block before the blind, and will no longer do anything more than write this final letter, to antagonize you here.

Whatever you write as a reply, I will not respond to. This is my final communication here in textkit for the forseeable future. Why have I decided to do this? I am worried about textkit itself. I owe a debt of gratitude to textkit, and would not want to see it damaged by more of this nonsense.

All you will do, Adriane is totally poison the atmosphere here on textkit. So, to avoid the certainty that a wonderful web resource will be destroyed by your constant ad hominem attacks, I shall refrain from posting here.


I want to say thank you to textkit for inspiring me.
I run various Latin sites, including Schola and the Latinum YouTube channel - the main portal to these is http://latinum.org.uk
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby Essorant » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:05 am

Why are you taking it so personally? Publishing any kind of work involves facing criticisms from certain people. It is part of life.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby cantator » Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:22 pm

While I applaud the rationale and fact of Latinum I also believe that its recordings ought to be open to criticism, even severe criticism. I assume that's what the Comments buttons are for.

This morning I listened to some of the Swarthmore readings from Catullus. "Dismal" would be a kind review. "Sucks" would be more honest, though in fairness I find it hard to believe that some of those recordings were made as representative of reading Latin poetry. They sound more like demonstrations of principles of prosody.

Then I listened to the renowned Sonkowsky reading Catullus. "Pretty bad" would be a rave review. IMO the guy is over-rated. Btw, I would rate my own recordings on Latinum as "godawful", so don't think I consider myself much better than RS. However, I no longer read with the same pronunciation I used for those recordings, perhaps I should update them. Just as soon as I complete the other thousand projects I have going on now. :(

Adrianus's critique of your reading of the Pied Piper was spot-on. He identifies a number of idiosyncracies (though he omits your persistent use of -nn- for -gn-) that you might want to consider.

At least your reading and Sonkowsky's share a virtue I find quite valuable in the performance arts: Enthusiasm, lots of it. As a teacher I'll let some failings go by (for a while) as long as the student shows real involvement with the performance. Relatively minor faults in pronunciation can be corrected with a little practice, but learning to control and modulate expression in performance takes a lot of practice. So keep at it, stay focused, and bear in mind that not one member of Textkit has ever heard an ancient Roman speaking in vivo.
Similis sum folio de quo ludunt venti.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby adrianus » Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:03 pm

metrodorus wrote:I want to say thank you to textkit for inspiring me.

I was once a grammar-school teacher. A colleague used to regularly post on the staff noticeboard letters he received from a former pupil, writing from the French Foreign Legion. The ex-pupil would often repeat how he owed it all to his former teacher. There was no irony intended. [I've nothing against the legion, BTW. Quite a few times much earlier at a crossroads in my life, I had been in and out of their recruiting office in Marseilles. But I never told my parents!]

Olim ludimagister grammaticalis eram. Eis temporibus, collega epistulas à quodam discipulo veto et legionario Legionis Exterorum Gallicae scriptas tabulae operariis ostensivae assiduè affigebat. Usquè sine ironiâ clamabat exdiscipulus se fortunâ per illum magistrum frui. [Non adversus legionem dico, obiter. Alio tempore antehâc et ego Massiliae ad quadrivium vitae, creberrimè limen sedis ad conquisitionem legionis transivi. Atquin nequandò parentibus id fassus sum!]

Corrigendum. Non "liminem transivi" sed "limen transivi" (quòd neutrius generis est illud nomen). Gratias ob corrigendum, thesaure.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: The importance of audio

Postby vastor » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:53 pm

I for one find latinum an indispensable tool for my autodidactic studies. Thank you evan.
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