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Dowling, Pharr, Mnemosyne & More

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Dowling, Pharr, Mnemosyne & More

Postby jwa » Fri May 07, 2010 7:35 pm

Hi all,

My project is to begin study of Greek with Homer, following the Pharr and Seymour texts available here on Textkit. I am also downloading Munro's Homeric Grammar. I found Pharr's arguments for beginning in this fashion to be persuasive. But since I know nothing, I was wondering how those with advanced knowledge might evaluate Pharr's approach.

I am a newbie, and through this forum I was introduced to the Dowling Method of learning Latin. This resulted in several insights and questions. I have had four semesters of Spanish and two of German. I have learned a great deal and have gotten excellent grades, but I am still frustrated with my progress. These courses have been conducted in the manner in which Dowling describes the Wheelock approach to Latin; little bits of grammar at a time, limited fill-in-the-blank style exercises, etc. I often feel that I am not learning the language; I am learning to take tests. I have used Mnemosyne religiously, but it is not well suited to learning actual usage and grammar.

So here is my updated plan: A Dowling-style recitation/memorization of grammatical tables, and Mnemosyne for vocabulary using Pharr as a road map. Does this make sense?

I have begun work on the alphabet and pronunciation by writing out the text of the Iliad from the Perseus Project.

I guess I would like to know if anyone has any general tips, warnings, comments, etc.

Thank you,
j
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Re: Dowling, Pharr, Mnemosyne & More

Postby furrykef » Sat May 08, 2010 6:23 pm

Does Mnemosyne have any features that Anki doesn't? It's been a while since I've checked, but when I first switched to Anki from (shudder) SuperMemo, Anki looked better than Mnemosyne in every way (or at least every way that matters to me). Maybe there's something I'm missing, though, and no doubt for some people the difference isn't important anyway.

I'm wondering how it is you're currently using Mnemosyne. What I do with Wheelock is I simply make English -> Latin and Latin -> English cards using all the Latin sentences in the book (I get the English translations from the official answer key), without making vocabulary cards or cards asking about conjugation or anything, and so far it's worked perfectly fine for me. I've also long used this method with Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, and Japanese is the only language for which this method has proven problematic. (I need to figure out what to do about that...) I don't feel like I'm "learning how to take a test" at all... the only thing about Wheelock is that the sentences often feel very contrived, but the further you go into the book, the less that happens, I think.

My main concern is that vocabulary-only items don't help you develop reading skills. The free word order of Latin makes it notoriously difficult to get used to, but if you keep reading Latin sentences and see how they work, it's easier to get used to the ones that are complicated or use unusual word order. (But don'tcha just hate poetry that starts a line with an adjective, and doesn't put the noun it modifies until the end of the next line?) Using sentences with your SRS ensures that you'll be doing this even when you're not actually reading. :)

Still, my method's only one way. There are plenty of people who do it differently or don't even use an SRS at all, and their methods work fine for them...
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I also have a lang-8 journal where I practice Spanish and Japanese.
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Re: Dowling, Pharr, Mnemosyne & More

Postby Markos » Sun May 09, 2010 1:12 am

Pharr is probably correct that starting with Homer makes sense because you can learn the more primary meanings of words first and you can see the uncontracted forms of verbs that you will later see contracted. But the best reason for starting with Homer is that he is the greatest writer in human history, so the sooner you read him the better. Read him, as Mayor Dailey said about voting, "early and often."
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Dowling, Pharr, Mnemosyne & More

Postby jwa » Mon May 10, 2010 4:38 pm

I have not heard of Anki. What made you choose it?

I use mnemosyne for vocabulary, rules of grammar, idiomatic expressions and usage examples. I make vice versa cards for most everything. I also make one sided cards that ask questions about grammatical rules, but I haven't done this as much. It doesn't work so well. When I first began, I made cards for every inflection of a word. Now I just focus on the most basic forms and irregularities. Time is better spent reading, writing and conversing. What appeals to me about mnemosyne is that it allows me to memorize more things more quickly and also that I will never lose the vocabulary that I put in.
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Re: Dowling, Pharr, Mnemosyne & More

Postby Hampie » Wed May 12, 2010 3:37 am

jwa wrote:I have not heard of Anki. What made you choose it?

I use mnemosyne for vocabulary, rules of grammar, idiomatic expressions and usage examples. I make vice versa cards for most everything. I also make one sided cards that ask questions about grammatical rules, but I haven't done this as much. It doesn't work so well. When I first began, I made cards for every inflection of a word. Now I just focus on the most basic forms and irregularities. Time is better spent reading, writing and conversing. What appeals to me about mnemosyne is that it allows me to memorize more things more quickly and also that I will never lose the vocabulary that I put in.

I myself chose Anki, when I sued flash card programs, over Mnemosyne because it is available on all platforms (Windows, MacOSX, GNU/Linux, BSD), it has a more advanced interface with more features (graphs, sounds, formatting, etc. etc., and you can sync Anki to a server, review online, and then sync when you get home – or between two computers.
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Re: Dowling, Pharr, Mnemosyne & More

Postby Smythe » Wed May 12, 2010 7:50 pm

jwa wrote:I have not heard of Anki. What made you choose it?


Here is a link to the Anki Discussion
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