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Plans to create a Perseus-based Mnemosyne deck

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Plans to create a Perseus-based Mnemosyne deck

Postby tempoclavis » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:25 pm

I am planning to create a Perseus based Mnemosyne deck for the most common words (weighted averages) found in all their collection of Latin texts. I have two questions:

1) Is there any interest in this?

2) Should I create a deck for 50% (~240) or should I just wait for 75% (~1500–1600)?

I am currently planning to create three decks.

Deck A: 0–75% ~1600 words
Deck B: 75%–85% ~700 words
Deck C: 85%–99% ~2700 words

Any comments, suggestion, criticisms welcome.
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Re: Plans to create a Perseus-based Mnemosyne deck

Postby Hampie » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:33 pm

Make sure there are macrons :!:
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Re: Plans to create a Perseus-based Mnemosyne deck

Postby Scribo » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:18 am

cum μακρα puto id fuisse opportunam, mihi placet.

With makrons I think it would be useful, it would interest me.
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Re: Plans to create a Perseus-based Mnemosyne deck

Postby jowens » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:23 pm

I recently discovered Anki flash card program through this board, and would recommend it for consideration. You can sync your decks to their server so you can practice on multiple computers and keep your data sync'd.
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Re: Plans to create a Perseus-based Mnemosyne deck

Postby Hampie » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:41 pm

jowens wrote:I recently discovered Anki flash card program through this board, and would recommend it for consideration. You can sync your decks to their server so you can practice on multiple computers and keep your data sync'd.

Anki can import Mnemosyne decks :3.
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Re: Plans to create a Perseus-based Mnemosyne deck

Postby Craig_Thomas » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:42 am

I use Mnemosyne to help me memorise Greek and Latin morphology and vocabulary, including P. B. Diederich's Recommended Basic Vocabulary (http://users.erols.com/whitaker/freq.htm), and am certainly interested in using the program to expand my vocabulary further.

But there are problems with the Perseus Vocabulary Tool. It produces lists which are rather naked: they show no macra, no principle parts for verbs, no genitives for nouns, no other genders for adjectives, no cases for prepositions. These things would have to be added to each of the many flashcards. It also offers only a brief definition of each word; brief enough, often, to be unhelpful. It is also quite often incorrect.

Let's look at what it tells us are the seven most frequent words in the Res Gestae:

et -- also, too, besides, moreover, likewise, as well, even: Ph
in -- unequal
sum -- to be, exist, live
qui --
is -- he, she, it, the one mentioned
ego -- I, me, we, us
quis -- plur

For "et", we are given "Ph" as one possible definition; for "in", a definition that is entirely wrong, and no hint of what cases it takes; for the irregular verb "sum", no other principal part and so no way of recognising any other of its forms; for "qui", no definition at all, and no genitive or other genders, and so no way of knowing its stem or how it declines; for "is", again no genitive or other genders; for "ego", no way of knowing how it declines, and three definitions that are likely to mislead the beginner; for "quis", the baffling "plur".

Copying and pasting from a freely available dictionary like Lewis's Elementary Latin Dictionary would of course supply much of what is missing, such as macra, principal parts, genitives, and adequate definitions.

But it would be far more work to correct what is not just missing, but wrong. And indeed, if Perseus is misreading words, it must also be producing false frequency counts, and so lists that are both unreliable and uncorrectable.

Far better, I think, to create a deck based on Diederich's list of the 1.471 most common words in the corpus. Though this list was not drawn from nearly as large a selection of texts as Perseus hosts (but merely from three anthologies), and is almost as naked as Perseus's lists, it is, I believe, reliable.

And, as I said above, I have already created such a deck. But my deck, as it stands, is a little too idiosyncratic to be shared. The idiosyncrasy is mostly in the dictionary entries I included on the answer side of each card (see footnote), so I could with reasonable speed prepare a publishable deck without the dictionary entries (but including still the principal parts and such). A deck that included dictionary entries from Lewis or another (most likely another, as Lewis is too much for the beginner for whom the deck would be most useful) would take some time longer, as dictionary entries are scarcely readable when unformatted and even simple formatting (like bold and italics) is a chore in Mnemosyne.

I will happily prepare this deck and share it here and at the Mnemosyne website, but I am a student and will not begin until the end of the semester, which is five weeks away.

In the meantime, if someone would suggest a suitable dictionary from which I might copy and paste the entry for each word (so, it must be available online), or would discourage me or offer some suggestion, that would be most helpful.


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* This is partly because I typed these entries (from Traupman's The New College Latin and English Dictionary) and could rarely be bothered to complete the longer ones, and partly because I have marked out with italics those senses of each word which I have yet to encounter.
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