Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by seanjonesbw » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:42 am

I think mwh, Hylander and Paul make a very good case for why you should make use of the resources available to enrich your reading, and how to go about it. It's not mutually exclusive with high speed, lower comprehension reading if that's what you prefer. I may be wrong, but it seems like you consider commentaries a crutch for those who can't work things out on their own, rather than the guiding hand of someone with a career's worth of experience (who can be ignored or disagreed with as well, don't forget).

I'm full of analogies in this thread, but to go back to your original post it comes across like a budding pianist who's asked for help from a professional with a tricky piece like a Bach Partita, then when they meet he tells the professional that he's never attempted the piece and is going to sightread it for the first time there and then.

It's to be expected that the playing will be full of flubs, but are the mistakes useful? The limited time and patience of the professional would be better spent if her protégé had already practised the piece, read a little about it, maybe listened to a couple of recordings by other pianists and used that to inform his playing (lexicon, commentaries, translations...). She could offer deeper insight based on the bits the learner was still struggling with rather than pointing out the mistakes he could correct on his own.

I have nothing to offer when it comes to the Greek, but I suspect that those who do would be able to offer more useful advice if you followed up your sightreading with a bit of graft, rather than them having to wade through the flubs first. Then you could start playing your own interpretation of Bach, the sweet sum of everything you've thought and felt about it, which is surely more satisfying?
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:22 pm

Don't forget also that you are dealing with a very high register of the language. Think about how literary analysis and criticism is done in English. Now add the layer of an ancient language which we don't have nearly as full an access as we do with a modern language. Using the full resources we do have available is essential.

Joel, everybody is giving you good advice. By all means, read through passages without using resources. See how much you can do. Try to figure out stuff from context without translating. That's how I start with a passage I've never read before, and it's both fun (if that's the kind of fun you like!), and it helps incrementally to improve your Greek (Latin, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Coptic... :) ). But you can't stop there, and you really need to go back and use your lexicons, grammars and commentaries to vet what you've done.
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by jeidsath » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:28 pm

A couple of years ago I tried to read the Phaedo for fun, just to see how much I could comprehend through multiple re-readings. There's a thread about it. It was fun and I'm glad that I did it, but it was hard going, slow, I had to skip many lines, and I could barely follow the argument after a certain point. Now, it reads pretty easily, there are a few words that I don't understand, some sentences need two or three reads, but the argument is fairly clear throughout.

It's only been recently that I've been able to follow Homer and Herodotus and Euripides without lots of dictionary and commentary work. I attribute this to an increase in language ability.

So I'm sorry, but Michael and Hylander have been giving me this advice for years now, casually predicting terrible things about my progress, and they aren't bothered about always predicting wrong as far as that goes.

Further, the exaggerations about "always guessing" on forms, etc., are a little wearying. Sean's advice is simply fatuous.

If anyone else has a better way to start off a thread than a quick translation for other people to correct, they should start out their better threads. And if anyone wants to give advice on my rate of progress, I recommend that they post a few attempts at their own unseen translations so that we can all level-set.
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by seanjonesbw » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:29 pm

Charming!

My suggestion is in my example above - do the quick translation, correct it yourself with a lexicon, grammar and commentary, then post it to see if people can spot any more issues. I don't see how asking other people to do the work correcting a rough draft is better for your learning than doing it yourself.
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Hylander » Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:48 pm

Joel, you bring a lot of enthusiasm to Greek, and I don't want to dampen it. But I would like to persuade you, for your own benefit, so that you can get something of real value out of engaging with Greek, that your approach is not working as well as you think it is -- your disastrously error-ridden efforts at translation in this thread demonstrate that beyond any doubt -- and that you should do what everyone else is urging you to do, which is to take advantage of dictionaries and commentaries, and above all to pay careful attention to grammar and syntax.

I'm not hopeful, however, that any amount of persuasion will get you to step back and rethink what you're doing, so I'll shut my mouth, except to add that Sean Jones is spot on.

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Aetos » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:04 pm

A few thoughts:
Joel is not going to give up his approach. He is driven by the constraints of time, the demands of a growing family, and apparently a profound belief in his method.
Hylander will continue to correct Joel's mistakes, because he also is driven by a sense of responsibility for what is posted on this board and what he perceives to be the mission of Textkit: People should be able to come to Textkit and get helpful, correct and reliable information in the field of classical languages.
mwh will also continue to correct Joel's mistakes because he too cannot abide something being published that is incorrect and misleading. He also has the experience of a lifetime of teaching (and learning) to know what approaches work and which ones don't and knows that this particular method is doomed to failure. I suspect that someone operating under this philosophy wouldn't have lasted a semester in one of Michael's classes.
Approaching the other end of my life, I am keenly aware of how precious my remaining time is and how I want to spend it. Hylander and Michael are in the same situation. I think we should consider that when we make demands of their time. I'm sure Michael didn't contemplate a retirement where he's still correcting homework, nor Hylander having to work so hard to preserve the integrity of a platform he is deeply committed to.

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by donhamiltontx » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:47 pm

Thanks to Hylander and MWH for their sobering, enlighening and relieving words about using assistance in reading Ancient Greek texts. They bear repeating.
Hylander wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:22 pm

Well, I can say that I read ancient Greek texts I've never read before for sheer pleasure. I have to work at understanding some things, and I usually use a commentary and a dictionary, and sometimes I even turn to a translation when I'm stumped. I don't read Greek as fluently as I would English, and I don't think I will ever be able to read, and more or less fully understand, anything in ancient Greek without some amount of effort and assistance from commentaries and the dictionary. But that doesn't mean I have to translate word by word or sentence by sentence. I think I can say truthfully that don't turn what I'm reading into English sentences, even when I have to make an effort to understand how the Greek text fits together.
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:09 am
Whenever I’ve read straight through a tragedy that I haven’t read before I always want to go back and do it properly, using LSJ and the best commentary I can find and a plethora of other resources. And then I would read it again, unaided but applying what I’ve learnt in the process. Even then, of course, I’d still be seeing through a glass darkly. I wouldn’t be able to read it properly, and nor would anyone else. We don’t have enough plays for that, and our knowledge of ancient Greek is severely limited by the repertoire. Even with Plato, wholly extant, we’re handicapped by the loss of contemporary dialogues and a whole lot else; but the problem with Plato is not the Greek but the thought. If by some miracle a previously unknown tragedy came my way, rather than just bits and pieces, I’d be very excited but I’d certainly not rush through it, guessing at what particular words meant.
If they use assistance, how much more do I, floundering seemingly forever in intermediate stages as I am, need to have assistance.
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καλλίστα παίδων: πείρᾳ θην πάντα τελεῖται.
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by cb » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:46 am

Hi all, this is a very interesting thread. There are two objectives at play, both valid: reading accurately, and reading naturally. I think all agree that they are not incompatible. Joel is trying to work on the naturally objective. Posting translations, however, invites criticism according to the accurately objective.

Maybe a middle ground, Joel, would be to represent the outcome of your naturally efforts in a way other than translations? (Plus, keep at the accurately objective in parallel.) Just a thought. I laud efforts at both objectives.

Like others, I sometimes read texts without support. I do this very slowly: the difficulty here is slowing down my reading, rather than rushing ahead when I start to stumble. The best way I've found is to write out a text carefully with a pen.

Most of the time I'm nose-deep in a text with all the resources open: LSJ, commentaries, articles and books on the content (on philosophical texts in particular), Denniston and others on particles, grammars, etc. I also regularly do corpus searches (in addition to dictionary work).

Sometimes I read the dictionary itself in short doses: this sounds strange but is really helpful (especially the OLD), and I look up all the words in the examples.

There's no royal way; or if there is, I haven't found it.

Cheers, Chad

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by jeidsath » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:00 pm

I have worked my way through a number of grammars. I have put in a good amount of composition work. I have read with the commentaries and dictionaries, and know how useful they are. If, in my judgement, another read through Smyth at this time is going to be less helpful for me than a lot of reading, that is really my own judgment to make.

And if all of you, as you say, do exactly the same from time to time, then there you go.

CB mentions finding another way to demonstrate outcomes than translation. Haven't teachers in other languages already come up with the answer to this? They use tests like the SAT language subject tests (or even the SAT Reading test meant largely for native speakers). Sections of text to read followed by comprehension questions. They are timed and done without dictionaries. If anyone wants a quantitative measure of these accuracy skills now under discussion, this sort of thing would be easy enough to prepare. I would personally find it useful for self-evaluation, as quantitative measurements of progress are hard to come by.
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:50 pm

I have never read through a grammar, simply used them for reference (though I'm tempted to read through the New Cambridge Grammar if I can find the time). If you read grammars you get good at reading grammars. If you read Greek you get better at reading Greek.
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Hylander » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:00 pm

Joel, why don't you try posting translations of a few more epigrams or other shorter pieces using the dictionary for words you don't recognize and paying careful attention to grammar and syntax, as well as to coherence and tone? Just to see how well that approach works for you.

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Aetos » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:23 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:00 pm
CB mentions finding another way to demonstrate outcomes than translation. Haven't teachers in other languages already come up with the answer to this? They use tests like the SAT language subject tests (or even the SAT Reading test meant largely for native speakers). Sections of text to read followed by comprehension questions.
How about the National Greek Exam? I think there are exams offered for Homer as well as Classical Greek. I know past versions are available, but probably without answers. It may be possible to sign up to take the current year's exam, which of course would be graded.

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by mwh » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:51 pm

If you want a test of your accuracy skills, you already have one at the head of this thread. You can see what a hash you made of that epigram. Such elementary blunders, and so many of them!

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:14 pm

Aetos wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:23 pm

How about the National Greek Exam? I think there are exams offered for Homer as well as Classical Greek. I know past versions are available, but probably without answers. It may be possible to sign up to take the current year's exam, which of course would be graded.
https://www.aclclassics.org/Exams/National-Greek-Exam
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by jeidsath » Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:02 pm

Hylander wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:00 pm
Joel, why don't you try posting translations of a few more epigrams or other shorter pieces using the dictionary for words you don't recognize and paying careful attention to grammar and syntax, as well as to coherence and tone? Just to see how well that approach works for you.
Sure, can you post one? I'm currently across the country from my copy of Page. As far as "paying careful attention to grammar and syntax", are you suggesting something in particular? Like going back and double-checking each word one by one? I'm always will to try anything.
Aetos wrote:How about the National Greek Exam? I think there are exams offered for Homer as well as Classical Greek. I know past versions are available, but probably without answers. It may be possible to sign up to take the current year's exam, which of course would be graded.
Yes, exactly like that. I've downloaded the Attic Prose package to see what it was like (only $10 from their site). A more advanced version of that would be neat.
mwh wrote: If you want a test of your accuracy skills, you already have one at the head of this thread. You can see what a hash you made of that epigram. Such elementary blunders, and so many of them!
Anyone who didn't make elementary blunders their first time opening Page's OCT is welcome to spill their secrets.
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by mwh » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:42 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:02 pm
mwh wrote: If you want a test of your accuracy skills, you already have one at the head of this thread. You can see what a hash you made of that epigram. Such elementary blunders, and so many of them!
Anyone who didn't make elementary blunders their first time opening Page's OCT is welcome to spill their secrets.
What has Page’s OCT to do with it? This is an epigram, not the first you’ve seen, and one that you chose yourself as being something you wouldn’t need a dictionary for. There’s nothing grammatically challenging about it, and it makes a good test of elementary reading competence. Yet you took ἐρῶ as meaning “I speak,” you took both πεπάλαικα and πείθων as passives—and much more besides. I don’t mean to put you down, and no-one is saying that you haven’t made significant progress, but any first-year Greek student would do better than that. You would have done better yourself if you’d only learnt the basics. You don’t need to work your way through “a number of grammars” for that, let alone to take “another read through Smyth.”

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by jeidsath » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:05 pm

Other than what we've had threads about here, I've never read anything from the Greek anthology. And those, if I recall, were mostly a few years back. Maybe I am wrong.

I actually thought "I will speak", not "I speak", and wrote "no longer speak" because it's better English than "no longer will speak." But otherwise you are correct about my blunders. Still, why did I take both πεπάλαικα and πείθων as passives? How do I fix that? It's nothing to do with not knowing the conjugations -- in this instance -- as I can recite them back as well as anyone.

My belief is and has been that they aren't internalized enough yet. When I ran into a an unknown word, πεπάλαικα, and was trying to understand it in context with the surrounding words, I was thinking of wrestling, and the dative πόθοις τρισίν next to it, and the person, and that it was a current state, but obviously the active/passive character of the verb was not really in my head. (If you want to impugn my ignorance, I'll give you a real example: why does a verb like that take a dative person and not an accusative? Is it because it's a contest verb and not the action of wrestling?).

So how do I fix this lack of internalization? I try a lot of things, and watch carefully for what makes my comprehension increase. What has solved the issue on a lot of related issues is sensitizing myself to things that I am currently dull towards, generally through repeated exposure.

Paul asked something earlier that is another chance to talk about my ignorance:
However, you have attained a level of Greek where you should know that even if γυμναζω meant "to undress", there's no way that it could take a genitive object to take the meaning "I've stripped for a whore"; it should have made you pause for a moment and think about what was wrong with your interpretation.
I thought that the genitive was signalling that it was being used as a verb of pursuit. And while "undress after a whore" didn't make perfect logical sense, it didn't throw up alarm flags for me either.
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Paul Derouda » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:14 pm

Well, maybe we should all cool down a bit around here? This is supposed to be fun anyway! Different people have not only different methods but different goals as well, Joel included. I enjoyed the beginning of this thread, it's a nice poem Joel found for us and it was fun to correct his mistakes and have mine corrected after that. I was also the first to make the mistake of turning this to a "what's the correct way of learning Greek" thread, something we've been going through a hundred times before to little avail. Shouldn't we turn back from "how to learn Greek" to just "learning Greek"?

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by seanjonesbw » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:11 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:14 pm
I was also the first to make the mistake of turning this to a "what's the correct way of learning Greek" thread, something we've been going through a hundred times before to little avail.
I agree with Paul that he's completely to blame and we should all just get on with our lives 🙃
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Hylander » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:20 am

Of course, Paul is to blame, as usual.

Joel, I think your last post suggests how you went wrong, and how you can do better. Let me make a few suggestions.

If you don't feel you've internalized the forms sufficiently well to recognize them without thinking, then you really need to analyze verb forms -- to think about the voice, mood and tense. This is an exercise that those of us who learned Greek in school did over and over, and that's how we internalized the forms.

You should also look up words you haven't encountered in LSJ. I don't need to tell you this, but many words, especially verbs, have extended meanings that aren't necessarily apparent from their etymological base, so it's not always possible to get at the meaning in context by identifying the root. As mwh notes, LSJ gives you a range of meanings, along with grammatical complements and context. That will help you find the right meaning. In this instance, looking up παλαιω ανδ γυμναζω, instead of trying to fit the meaning with the etymological bases, could have made your life easier and guided you to the correct understanding.
I thought that the genitive was signalling that it was being used as a verb of pursuit. And while "undress after a whore" didn't make perfect logical sense, it didn't throw up alarm flags for me either.
But the fact that "undress after a whore" didn't make perfect logical sense should have thrown up alarm flags. If your interpretation doesn't make perfect sense, that's precisely the point where you should ask yourself whether it's right and analyze the sentence word for word.

The most common use of the genitive is the genitive of "possession." Before attempting to understand a genitive as a complement of a verb to which it doesn't seem to fit very well, it would be better to try to find a noun that it might depend on.

I don't want to belabor this any more, but I think your attempt to understand where you went wrong is instructive and might help you do better.

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by RandyGibbons » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:09 pm

Joel - The last thing you need is another suggestion. So here it is :lol:. Really more a question than a suggestion, though.

Why do people voluntarily learn ancient Greek? At one extreme, for the language itself. Some people simply enjoy mastering a foreign language and happen to pick ancient Greek as an especially cool one to learn. They seem more driven by the self-satisfaction of mastering the language than by any particular author or subject-area interest (epic, tragedy, philosophy, history, ...). At the opposite extreme, some badly want to read Plato, or the New Testament, or tragedy, or whatever in the original language, enough to endure the drudgery it takes to do so. For most of the hundreds of ancient Greek students and autodidacts I've known (including myself), it seems to be a mix of the two.

In the years I've enjoyed "following" you on Textkit, it has always seemed to me that you are an example of the first. Your goal seems to be to eventually become fluent enough to be able to randomly pick a piece of Greek (say an anonymous epigram) and have the self-satisfaction of reading it "like English". And you seem to be fixated on measuring your progress to that end; you would even prefer to chart it quantitatively. If you have a special passion for a particular author or genre, I'm not aware of it (which is not to say you don't have a wide range of interests, which I'm often instructed and/or entertained by).

Which is fine. Personally, I think the anticipation of reading ancient Greek "like English" is an illusion, and I am fortified in this belief reading Michael's description of how he reads a tragedy "for fun", and how he would read a newly discovered tragedy, and the reasons in general why with ancient Greek we are often seeing/reading through a grass darkly. But certainly regardless of what our individual end goals are, we all want to become as fluent as possible.

So my question would be, have I described your goal in learning ancient Greek at all accurately?

And would you be willing to at least consider reorienting your strategy as follows?: Pick a work or part of a work of moderate length that you're especially interested in, and make it your goal to master it (as far as one can, seeing it through a glass darkly). Not to improve your Greek, but to master the work (obviously the former will also happen). Take whatever time and make whatever effort it requires to do this. Use all the resources at your disposal - LSJ, Smyth, commentary (ies), a translation as a last resort - just as any of us would have to. Come back and tell us, not how you have improved your mastery of the passive forms, but what your understanding is of the content and literary style of the Theaetetus (for example).

Just a thought.

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Callisper » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:11 pm

RandyGibbons wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:09 pm
Which is fine. Personally, I think the anticipation of reading ancient Greek "like English" is an illusion, and I am fortified in this belief reading Michael's description of how he reads a tragedy "for fun", and how he would read a newly discovered tragedy, and the reasons in general why with ancient Greek we are often seeing/reading through a grass darkly. But certainly regardless of what our individual end goals are, we all want to become as fluent as possible.
This point is vastly overstated and I really do not think it should be leveraged to assure jeidsath that the only reason he does not feel any comfort or clarity reading Greek is because it's entirely impossible. (Which, I believe, is the implication underlying your message)

Actually I can't understand why mwh posted that at all in amongst a number of his posts which remonstrate Joel's elementary mistakes.

The truth is that we face cognitive problems even when processing English text. (This particularly obvious, when reading poetry, for example.) Of course a new Greek tragedy would come with enormous challenges, principal among them textual issues. It is these, rather than corpus size, which make tragedies hard in my opinion (pace mwh); particularly "thoroughly" edited ( :roll: ) tragedies are not necessarily that hard.

jeidsath can go infinitely further - a fact about which no-one is more vocal than mwh - before he should be hearing people expounding their opinions on the limits of possible fluency in ancient Greek. The main gist of most posts above has rightly been to point out that it is not "the anticipation of reading ancient Greek 'like English'" which is an illusion, but jeidsath's mistaken belief that he is able to do this (or has even taken substantial strides towards doing this) with Plato but cannot now transfer that to verse.
RandyGibbons wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:09 pm
And would you be willing to at least consider reorienting your strategy as follows?: Pick a work or part of a work of moderate length that you're especially interested in, and make it your goal to master it (as far as one can, seeing it through a glass darkly). Not to improve your Greek, but to master the work (obviously the former will also happen). Take whatever time and make whatever effort it requires to do this. Use all the resources at your disposal - LSJ, Smyth, commentary (ies), a translation as a last resort - just as any of us would have to. Come back and tell us, not how you have improved your mastery of the passive forms, but what your understanding is of the content and literary style of the Theaetetus (for example).
I highly commend Sean's excellent first post above and would say that more judicious choice of training text is not Joel's (main) problem.

Composition practice needs to be taken seriously until the grammar is completely mastered. However this happens, it has to happen. All of that 'comprehensible input is everything' stuff will be found to hold no water. (If you wish to make a test of this, I propose an experiment to those of you who are essentially fluent in Latin but with little to no experience of Italian: you should be able to understand Italian with little effort already, after a bit of practice to adjust to the accent; see how far you get purely listening to lots of Italian, and then try speaking and tell me which of these you felt most impacted your Italian.)

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by RandyGibbons » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:43 pm

... reading Greek is because it's entirely impossible. (Which, I believe, is the implication underlying your message)
That's neither what I explicitly said nor implicitly meant. But let's not make a big deal about it.

Randy

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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by jeidsath » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:40 am

This is still continuing?

Hylander was mistaken to think that I can't recognize active from passive automatically. What I said that was that it not internalized. These are two different things. My form recognition is decent enough. But when listening or reading, I sometimes need a second or third re-listen or re-read before I notice the exact force of the verb. This is especially a problem when I am reading beyond my comfort zone, as here. I have drilled the forms more than most classical students, I suspect.

Randy and Sean's advice on how to suck eggs is not well-considered. They think that because I've been trying to read large amounts of texts without looking up words since late August (not even three months) that I have never used the LSJ or commentaries to master a text? This leap of ilogic is bizarre to me. Their other advice is similar.

Callisper makes the claim that "jeidsath's mistaken belief that he is able to do this (or has even taken substantial strides towards doing this) with Plato but cannot now transfer that to verse." Callisper's mistaken belief that I have said that I have made "substantial strides" to reading Plato like English makes me suspect his English-language reading comprehension. And still, I imagine that if I were to spend a couple of weeks reading epigrams, they would be immensely more understandable. In fact, it would be surprising if this were not the case.

It would be wrong to lock this thread to give myself the last word. So if Hylander, or Paul, or mwh, wishes to have it they may, as I consider them personal friends, and I hope that they feel the same towards me. Though I also hope that they have already said what they want to say. Others will likely get any contribution shipped to the Academy.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

Hylander
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Hylander » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:25 am

I will give you three final pieces of advice, all of which I've offered before, in friendship.

1. Be more careful when you read or translate. Pay more attention to grammar and syntax.

2. Use the dictionary when you don't know the meaning of a word and even if you think you do but don't understand it in a way that makes sense in context. You claim you're not guessing, but that's exactly what you did with γεγύμνασμαι -- you guessed "stripped" because you saw the root γυμν-. But this word, especially in this context, has nothing to do with "naked". LSJ is your friend. It will show you the range of meanings a word may have. If you don't use the dictionary, you will not really learn words. Your attempt to read without the dictionary by -- yes, guessing -- based on roots isn't working, as this exercise has shown.*

3. Try to make coherent sense of what you read. If something doesn't seem to make sense, go back and rethink it. Look up the words in the dictionary. even those you think you know. Don't be satisfied until you really understand what you're reading and it makes sense. Engage with the Greek.

* I will admit, to my shame, that when reading I don't often resort to the big LSJ. It's too big and bulky, and the on-line version is difficult to use and often doesn't work properly. I use the Intermediate Liddell and Scott, which is much more compact but has most of what's in the big version though without cites to specific passages. (The elementary version is not very useful.) But I'm not a real scholar, just a casual reader of ancient Greek for pleasure.

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Anonyma from Epigrammata Graeca

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:31 pm

Hylander wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:25 am
I will give you three final pieces of advice, all of which I've offered before, in friendship.
Everything Hylander says here is true and applicable. If I may supplement slightly...
1. Be more careful when you read or translate. Pay more attention to grammar and syntax.
This is especially important for intermediate and above students. When you get to that point, you feel like you really know stuff. The tendency of the student at this level is to settle on the first possible reading that suggests itself. But ancient inflected languages are complicated, there can sometimes be more than one possible reading of a text (which context usually resolves to one), and authors can be tricky and do unexpected things. That's why we need to be on guard and "pay more attention to grammar and syntax."
2. Use the dictionary when you don't know the meaning of a word and even if you think you do but don't understand it in a way that makes sense in context. You claim you're not guessing, but that's exactly what you did with γεγύμνασμαι -- you guessed "stripped" because you saw the root γυμν-. But this word, especially in this context, has nothing to do with "naked". LSJ is your friend. It will show you the range of meanings a word may have. If you don't use the dictionary, you will not really learn words. Your attempt to read without the dictionary by -- yes, guessing -- based on roots isn't working, as this exercise has shown.*
At the risk of beating a dead horse (well, maybe not big enough to be a horse, squirrel maybe?) I think there is some value in starting this way. Trying to figure out as much as you can and making educated guesses based on roots and so forth can get you a long way and help improve your ability to do Greek, but it can't stop there. It's a first draft, and then needs to be vetted against the available resources. Doing both also accelerates the learning process. There's nothing like having an "aha" moment when you've gotten something wrong and corrected it, and then the next time you see it thinking "I've got this!"
3. Try to make coherent sense of what you read. If something doesn't seem to make sense, go back and rethink it. Look up the words in the dictionary. even those you think you know. Don't be satisfied until you really understand what you're reading and it makes sense. Engage with the Greek.
"If it doesn't make sense, you know it's wrong. Go back and rework it. If it makes sense, it might be right -- check it anyway."
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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