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Self-introduction

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Self-introduction

Postby gdweber » Fri May 07, 2010 9:25 pm

Salvete!

I'm a self-taught/self-teaching beginner student of Latin, using "Latin for Today: First-Year Course" by Gray and Jenkins (1928), a book which I picked up a few years ago but only started to look at seriously last month. Inside the cover is an inscription by its previous owner: "If found please, send to Dead Letter Office somewhere in China," with a 1 1/2 cent stamp affixed. I'm amazed that I've gone as far as genitive and dative case, though now that I've met so many cases, they tend to blur together, and I find I need to review a lot before going forward.

Previous language experience: English from childhood, four years of German in high school, two years of college French, and half a semester of Chinese in graduate school.

Aside from languages, I've studied mathematics (B.A.), philosophy (Ph. D.), business (M.B.A), and computer science (M.S.). Magister sum: I'm on the faculty of Informatics at a campus of Indiana University, but I live in Ohio.

Hodie mea sententia est, "Orare est laborare, et laborare est orare."
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Re: Self-introduction

Postby korudos » Sat May 08, 2010 3:53 pm

Hello gdweber, and welcome.

I'm new myself. Being so, I was pleased to receive a warm welcome, so I wish to extend the courtesy.

I am totally unfamiliar with the text you are using, but I must say that I generally have a fondness for old books. Latin, after all has not changed much. [Joke. It could be argued otherwise, like, "Uh, have you ever heard of Italian?" (or Spanish, or, if you want to push it further, French)]

Since you already have passed through several Cursus Honori, I expect that Latin will probably come to you fairly easily. I see you are a computer guy too, so I'll pass on a fun observation I just groked from the process of translating a piece of Plato's Apology 37e-38b. In this part, Socrates is making his "defense." (Satirical quotes). It has been suggested that Socrates go off and live quietly and silently in the country. Though I used adverbs in English, this concept is represented by a long string of participles in Greek. Socrates refers back to this several times, but his manner of doing so was interesting. A series of actions became a named thing. It could then be referred to as a noun, as in, "this, that, the foregoing, the topic of debate, this silly idea you all have for me," and so on.

Now, the reason I use this example is because it struck me as a subroutine in a simple computer program. It was a function that always produced the same output, but could be called by different, yet consistently nominative ways.

Anyhow, welcome again.
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Re: Self-introduction

Postby gdweber » Thu May 13, 2010 12:11 am

Korudos,

Thanks for the warm welcome. I feel tantalized because I do not quite grasp what you are saying about the long string of participles. Unless I see a very literal translation, I don't think I'll quite get it. But as for "a function that always produced the same output, but could be called" in different ways -- in the most used programming languages, you wouldn't be able to do that, because a function can have only one name. But in functional languages, like Haskell and Scheme, functions are "first class objects," so you could (a) store a function in a variable, and call it through the variable, (b) store it in a data structure, such as a list, and reference it through the data structure, (c) compute a function from an expression (or by calling a function to make the function) -- in fact you could store it in as many locations and ways as you want and call it by all of their names. So you have indeed made a "fun[ctional]" observation!
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Re: Self-introduction

Postby korudos » Thu May 13, 2010 9:32 pm

Hi gdweber,

Well, now we are even because I am not quite sure what you said. :)

I have done only a little programming and that only for my own use, but the way I would call a function by different names in Perl would be to first, make multiple copies of the same subroutine and give them different names, then second, see that my program had all these multiple redundancies, third, delete all the extra copies, and fourth, write another subroutine that would call the first subroutine, taking as its input a any one item from a pre-defined list, fifth, see if I could combine the two subs into one again -- in effect mimicking a natural language characteristic.

As far as a long string of participles, Greek has more than English, so in Greek you can say with one word what in English would require two. So Greek has one word for "being quiet," another for "being silent," et. al. Socrates refers to himself as "going off and living in the country, being quiet and keeping my peace" as "this," "that," "the former," "this ridiculous fantasy" (actually, he doesn't say the last, but that is what he means). First he establishes the topic, then he refers to it in different ways. Reading this passage cultivates a certain frame of mind that holds a complex idea in suspension, ready to be employed at any given moment. It is a particularity of Plato's descriptions of Socrates' style. I found it very elegant.

Cheers
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