Remembering words

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Eureka
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Remembering words

Post by Eureka » Mon Jul 12, 2004 8:00 am

I don't think I've ever had to look up an English word twice. I don't have a photographic memory. The language section of the brain just must be very efficient.

However, this doesn't apply to any language I've tried to learn. Learning foreign words is, in general, as difficult as learning the names of chemical structures.


I think this is because the foreign words become symbols for English words, rather than words in their own right.


I suspect that people have found tricks to remembering foreign words. I find that seeing them in context is good, but only goes so far. More important, I find, is to read a more detailed definition of the word (particularly if there is no exact English equivalent).

Do you have any tricks for remembering words?
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Post by Amy » Mon Jul 12, 2004 11:34 am

If I want to memorize a vocab word I actually don't memorize the definition, but a sentence which it's in because it's easier for my mind....
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Post by Timothy » Mon Jul 12, 2004 1:16 pm

I remember reading about this when memory improvement was in fashion back in like the '70's. I seem to recall it also pops up when you look at speed reading courses.

The idea is when you learn a word to mentally associate a image that depicts the word in a context. When you learn lists of words you make up some sort of picture story to go along with it. Or you make some sort of connection with the word and another, either alliteration or some such. Jerry Lucas, the NBA basketball player, was a well known memory expert and apparently memorized the NYC phonebook as a demonstration; he promoted this sort of technique.

I can't do it anyway. I try to use context. use the word in a sentence. Look it up a dictionary and see the entry. I tend to remember it when I look it up. maybe not very long, but that is another issue... :wink:

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Post by Emma_85 » Mon Jul 12, 2004 6:33 pm

I write the vocab out on little cards. Greek on one side German + principle parts or the genitive on the other side. Then you start with say 100 new words and slowly work your way through them. The ones you know go into one pile and the ones I don't know into another, untill finally they are all in the pile of words in know. A few weeks later I (should :wink: ) then go over them again and all the ones I've forgotten I add to the pile of words I haven't learned yet and so on. I try to work through all my vocabulary cards at least once a year :? .

Edit: It might seem hard and difficult at first, but when you get use to it it's easy. I can now memorise 100 words perfectly in 4 to 8 hours depending on how difficult they are. Of course if you learn them that fast they don't stick in your memory for that long, but if you go over them again a week or so later it really helps.
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Post by Democritus » Mon Jul 12, 2004 8:48 pm

Emma_85 wrote:I write the vocab out on little cards. Greek on one side German + principle parts or the genitive on the other side. Then you start with say 100 new words and slowly work your way through them.
I used to do something similar. Just recently I found my old box of Greek vocabulary cards.

Eureka wrote:Do you have any tricks for remembering words?
I don't have any tricks that aren't well known to other folks. The only thing I would say is, be realistic. The human mind can do some amazing things, but it also has specific limitations which you can't really get around. (If this were a technical forum then I would call them "hardware limitations.") ;)

There is no limit to the amount of stuff you can remember, but there is a limit to how fast you can add new knowledge. Meanwhile, at all times, some of your knowledge dims and becomes forgotten. These are features of the brain that you won't do away with. You can push your brain, but it requires effort. There are many strategies for applying the effort, but you can't really eliminate it.

When I memorize words, I find that a certain percentage of them stick in my mind immediately, others defy all attempts at memorization, and the majority fall somewhere in between. The mind is not consistent -- you might find one thing easy to remember, and another thing difficult to remember, and it may not be very clear why this happens. But it happens.

On the whole I am rather forgetful, so I had to work hard to remember vocab. Index cards are great because they allow you to quiz yourself anywhere, anytime. You just keep repeating the words until you remember them. I used to run through the index cards on the bus and subway, on the way to school. You can put them in your jacket pocket. :)

Do a google search for "mnemonics." For example: http://img.com.tripod.com/mnemonics.htm

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Post by Carola » Mon Jul 12, 2004 11:03 pm

I still find the old tape recorder played in the car trick is the best - you record a vocab list or whatever and repeat each word a few times with the meaning. Somehow it just filters into your brain after a while, even though most of your concentration is on driving (especially in Adelaide where they have the world's worst driver!)
This is a method I have used over the years to learn tunes, esp. jazz where the chord progressions need to be learnt very thoroughly.
You could probably use the same method when travelling in a train or bus but may need some way to keep yourself awake! It's very relaxxxxxing.....
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Post by Lucus Eques » Mon Jul 12, 2004 11:17 pm

When I was first teaching myself Italian, I listened to operas constantly, in particular Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, perhaps my two favorite operas of all time, and had also seen them on TV (with English subtitles). Having watched them with the English underneath was enough to understand the story; so then when I would listen to, say, The Marriage of Figaro, I would hear a certain musical passage, and then recall what was happening in the story at that time, and then know what the characters were singing about. As the days went on, I began to distinguish dialogue, then the meaning of individual phrases, and eventually, reading along with the libretto, I was able to comprehend all the delicate subtleties and intricacies of each of the beauteous words employed by signor da Ponte. Knowing these operas equally well, I and my father thereafter could reference comedic one-liners from any of the works, and then laugh uproariously at the equally absurd context we might apply it to. And such we still do.

I think this is one of the very best means for internalizing language, through music. After only a few months of casual listening, Italian had become fundamental to my being. Da Ponte's lyrics pepper my thoughts in any given situation. The same became true for my German after studying Die Zauberflöte. I have begun Berlioz' L'Enfance du Christ, and expect the same effect on my French. By and far, I find this approach to be the most fun, and the most effective.

When it comes to Greek and Latin, though, their operas scarecely remain, and the music is long since lost to time. Latin has plenty of masses that have been composed through the years; however there are two very negative aspects to ecclesiastical Latin in my opinion. Firstly, the Latin which is hardwired into the masses is very simplistic and to me has become repetative to the point of driving me insane (my University Choir sang four whole, completely different masses at our last concert alone; now I can sing the Credo from every century of modern music, by heart; it was maddening); and secondly, and perhaps most horrendously, that the pronunciation of ecclesiastical Latin is fundamentally unpleasant. There's the, so appellated, "Italian" mode (which is truly a misnomer, since it isn't pronounced like Italian at all; it's really, si recordor, what had become of the pronunciation of Latin after Constantine, the vulgarized lingua frozen in time at the fall of Rome), and also the German mode (because they mispronounced the language too), and the French mode as well, and Spanish, and Scandinavian -- all terrible. These two downsides to ecclesiastical Latin make it far less useful for remembering conversational phrases, for learning how to speak the language (such as one finds in plays or operas).
So, to help myself learn, I've been translating the first verses of familiar Christmas songs into Classical Latin (I might post these in the Agora soon for some helpful constructive criticism). Still, it's not as good as an opera.

Anyway, that's my advice, followed by a brief rant. Ita nos Deus adiuvet.
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Post by Timothy » Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:14 am

Lucus Eques wrote:So, to help myself learn, I've been translating the first verses of familiar Christmas songs into Classical Latin (I might post these in the Agora soon for some helpful constructive criticism). Still, it's not as good as an opera.
I've been thinking about this as well. It's a good idea and something that would be very helpful all round; making recordings of pronunciation. I fully agree that use of sound, either music or spoken is the natural way to learn language.

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Post by Fredericus » Tue Jul 13, 2004 8:06 pm

I've made myself a Leitner Box out of a Vis-Ed flashcard box: 5 compartments, small in front to large at the back, holding about 20, 40, 60, 100, and 160 cards.

Add 20 cards to learn at the front: those you know get put at the back of the stack that's 1 compartment behind it; those you don't know get moved to the rear of the stack in the frontmost compartment. Whenever a compartment fills up, take some cards from the front of the stack and review them: again, when you know a card it goes back 1 compartment, when you don't know it it goes to the frontmost compartment. In this way one reviews the cards one knows less and less often until they "fall out the back of the box," but problem cards are reviewed more often.

There are various flashcard programs that are based on this system, but I prefer the low-tech version.

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Post by Emma_85 » Tue Jul 13, 2004 8:49 pm

I used to use the exact same system, Fredericus, but only for my early years in Latin ages ago. It's a great system I must say. For Greek I can't be bothered though :roll: .
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Post by Barrius » Wed Jul 14, 2004 2:28 am

I just repeat it to myself about a thousand times :cry:

I have a terrible memory for the definitions - I have to repeat them over and over. A 2 year old would be years ahead of me. :lol:

But I am persistent!

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Post by 1%homeless » Wed Jul 14, 2004 6:54 am

There is also what I just discovered: the thesaurus method. Sure, learning frequency word lists are great, but you still nonetheless have to work with the words themselves. Actually, I would use Emma's methods, but my I've never got to them. My index cards are collecting dust in my closet. I always tried to avoid mind numbing repetition as much as possible... I study words and inflections in a comparative context, i.e. etymology, comparative grammar, etc. The reason why repetition doesn't work is because it isn't mentally stimulating. Hmm... digression is fun... Well, I take a frequency word list and then try to divide them up into categories like in thesauruses. (Actually, I only know of two English thesauruses that sorts words in categories instead of alphabetically.) This way, you actually hold it's meaning in your head longer and you use associative cognition with words –and it’s more stimulating! The funny part is that, you constantly have to revise them because someday, this word feels like it should shift into a different category. So then we finally get to repetition. By now you should have memorized a good chunk of these words. Anyway, now when you repeat words, you don't repeat random words that have no association with each other. I think this is where creative use of the index card method comes in handy. But I never got to this part... hehehe. I'm always just occupied with finding ways to avoid repetition –I mean ways of learning. :-) Also, I think it's because by this time I have a good grasp of the vocabulary to learn words by reading it many different example sentences. Hmmm... now this gives me an idea... I should do a sentence thesaurus...

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Post by Michaelyus » Wed Jul 14, 2004 8:18 pm

Has anyone tried using Buzan's "Self–Enhancing Master Memory Matrix" (SEM³) to memorise vocabulary? It seems like a good idea, although I can't get my head around the table of words yet.
Lucus Eques wrote:I think this is one of the very best means for internalizing language, through music.
I totally concur, although I must say I had never encountered the words Kyrie nor eleison in Latin until I met the text of the mass. The words "kai---ri--(pause)elei---son" ring out from listening to a recording of the first mass that I have "properly" listened to, the Messe in H-moll by J.S. Bach.
Lucus Eques wrote:These two downsides to ecclesiastical Latin make it far less useful for remembering conversational phrases, for learning how to speak the language
I would like to do a bit of composing, I just don't have enough spare time (nor do I have the skill :cry: ). I'd like to put Lucas Eques' idea into practice; a nice mass with a fugal movement using two voices singing in reconstructed Ciceronian and post-Constantine pronunciation. An opera in Latin (isn't the Rape of Lucretia by Britten in Latin?)? That should be interesting.

What genre is Orff's Carmina Burana in?

To remember languages, I often think up stories, scenes, even whole worlds, often using sound-alikes to represent certain words and inflections. To remember the Greek rules of accentuation, for example, I remember a group of people wearing robes, and a massive word (I acquainted myself with the Greek alphabet when I was 10), that was cut with a glowing blue knife into its syllables. Someone cut the word into its syllables, and another sprinkled "mora and contonation-marker dust" over it. The vowels and accents glowed. Someone pronounced the word,while a kithara was played, and a red line appeared over it, representing the pitch change. I remeber the red line, with its cute face, when at the peak, said, "I must get down from here", and when it was at the bottom of the contonation, said, "OK, I can only stand one more mora, no more," before disappearing into the word. I also made up the "domains of the accents"; Mr. Grave's domain was the one no-one took notice of; he disappeared while Ms. Acute floated around arrogantly, and Mrs. Circumflex walked around, holding her umbrella out across the next mora- remember that the syllables were now islands (meaning circumflexes are only present on long syllables- if Mrs. Circumflex was forced onto a short one, she would get upset because she couldn't hold out her umbrella as a lance, and she would be helped to a long syllable by someone).

I just continued to elaborate these stories. Stories like that really help you memorise, intergrate and learn material.
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Post by 1%homeless » Wed Jul 14, 2004 10:29 pm

Has anyone tried using Buzan's "Self–Enhancing Master Memory Matrix" (SEM³) to memorise vocabulary?
I that what it's called? I researched what that method is and I am familiar with it. Actually, it's the 100 major system that I'm familiar with --the prerequisite before learning SEM3. Anyway, I refused to use english words for this system and still haven't finished my german number system, but this is a much more fun way of reading a dictionary. Anyway, it's more useful for memorizing numerical information and not vocabulary --for me anyways.

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Post by Emma_85 » Thu Jul 15, 2004 11:07 am

Michaelyus wrote:I totally concur, although I must say I had never encountered the words Kyrie nor eleison in Latin until I met the text of the mass. The words "kai---ri--(pause)elei---son" ring out from listening to a recording of the first mass that I have "properly" listened to, the Messe in H-moll by J.S. Bach.
Yeah, because they aren't Latin words, they are Greek :P (lord save!). Music helps with Greek :wink:
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Post by bingley » Fri Jul 16, 2004 5:52 am

When I was teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language) we were told not to introduce more than 8 to 12 new vocabulary items per 1 1/2 hours lesson, and that without review half of those would be forgotten within 24 hours.

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Post by Eureka » Sat Jul 17, 2004 10:21 am

I have to say, I'm disappointed with these responses. :( (Although I couldn't come up with anything better.)

The main issue is that words from our cradle language are easier to learn than words from foreign languages.

This suggests to me that it could be a lot easier to learn Greek (or Latin) words if they were seen as words in their own right, rather than counterparts to English words.

The issue is psychological.
The issue is, “how?”


:?:
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Post by Emma_85 » Sat Jul 17, 2004 11:49 am

Well, the thing is, when you look up an English word you don't know the meaning of it's normally just one word at a time. You are concentrating on just this one word and you can easily remember in which context it appeared, because it's your own language. With Greek though you have to learn load and loads of words, and you are constantly looking up words. If you only encountered one word a day you didn't know and thought: 'I've always wanted to know what this word means exactly... so I'll look it up now...' then you'd probably be able to learn it as easily as you do an English word. You'd have to be really good at Greek though for this to work...
And most of the Greek words you learn are connected with an English synonym, because you don't come across them often enough. When you read a really strange English word, which you've only encountered maybe once before, you'll think: ahh... that means (....)
And because we don't use the Greek words that much we always have to think in terms of synonyms.
Hope that made any sense...
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Post by Keesa » Sat Jul 17, 2004 12:13 pm

Eureka wrote:
This suggests to me that it could be a lot easier to learn Greek (or Latin) words if they were seen as words in their own right, rather than counterparts to English words.

The issue is psychological.
The issue is, “how?”


:?:
Well...I don't know how. It just sort of happens. I never think of French words as translations, but as sounds representing ideas. I remember that I was very excited when I first realized that; I think I was about ten. :D And it does help.

You might try making a mental image of the thing or action that the word describes; rather than picturing the _word_ "wagon", for example, try picturing an actual wagon when you read the word "carrus". Of course, the temptation for me is to try to make it a covered wagon... :D
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Post by Michaelyus » Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:00 pm

I used to try and force myself to think in French while learning it. It did help with learning it. You should try doing that; substituting Latin or Greek into your daily "English" thoughts.
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Post by Amaranta » Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:20 pm

You should try doing that; substituting Latin or Greek into your daily "English" thoughts.
Yes--or think of vocabulary words when you see their real counterpart. I did that during King Arthur. My inner monologue went something like "Oh, look, it's a castrum!" :) Kind of stupid, but effective. Lots of good battle-related vocab in that movie.

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Post by Keesa » Sat Jul 17, 2004 11:02 pm

It doesn't sound stupid to me. It makes a lot of sense. :) I just don't have a lot of movies I can watch that are in (or have) other languages in them...
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Post by Lucus Eques » Sun Jul 18, 2004 5:00 am

Mm, definitely incorportate the words into your daily inner monologue. That's why songs (and operas) can be so helpful. Almost like a crazy Don Quixote who instead doesn't express the world that he pictures in his head (unless you really want to), go around and say to yourself things like, "Ah, ecco! l'ambasciatrice!" (ah, behold! the ambassadress!), which, if you were familiar with The Marriage of Figaro and knew Italian, would be a hiliarous way of using a totally obscure reference that only you would get -- but still, you laugh, you smile inwardly; humor is the second-best way of internalizing a language next to music. Both of these lead to utilizing the phrases and lines in your daily thoughts. That's definitely the ultimate goal. Once you can think in the language, you've got it.
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Post by Emma_85 » Sun Jul 18, 2004 7:52 am

If only you were learning Spanish, Keesa... most US DVDs also come with a Spanish option it seems. Here you often only get German and English (and sometimes Dutch), but if you buy them in Switzerland .... :lol:
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Post by Emma_85 » Sun Jul 18, 2004 8:07 am

Back to learning Greek vocab though... I honestly think that it just won't be possible to all the vocab you'll need if you don't just memorise it with English synonyms. It'll be very difficult to learn all the principle parts any other way. Once you've learned how ever many words you think you need (my course requires that we know at the very least 1000 words) you can start to try and use those words as others have suggested, for example to incorporate them into your thoughts and so on so that they stick. You'll also start to notice which English words are of Greek origin and from which words they come; that'll help to memorise them too. What I'm trying to say is, I suppose, that I just think it'll be much more work trying to learn the vocab any other way, and that it's better to just quickly learn it with cards maybe and then try to get them to stick in your memory in other ways, while they are still fresh on your mind. If you translate a lot and read a lot in Greek, thinking of these words as 'proper' words and not just as English translations with come naturally. *warning- stupid example*: I don't see kai and think: ah, yes that means and, every time I see kai in a text :wink: . Same goes for most other words that I encounter all the time.
You can disagree of course... it would be nice if you just tried out the various ways of learning the vocab the people have suggested and then report back, which method you thought was best to learn all the vocab you need to learn.
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Post by Eureka » Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:58 pm

Keesa wrote:Well...I don't know how. It just sort of happens. I never think of French words as translations, but as sounds representing ideas. I remember that I was very excited when I first realized that; I think I was about ten. :D And it does help.

You might try making a mental image of the thing or action that the word describes; rather than picturing the _word_ "wagon", for example, try picturing an actual wagon when you read the word "carrus". Of course, the temptation for me is to try to make it a covered wagon... :D
This is the sort of thing I’m looking for: Almost philosophical suggestions. :)
Emma_85 wrote:I honestly think that it just won't be possible to all the vocab you'll need if you don't just memorise it with English synonyms. It'll be very difficult to learn all the principle parts any other way.
Emma, I couldn’t disagree more. (Although it probably depends on the person.) I think that seeing Greek words as symbols that represent English words would encourage parts of the brain other than the language centre to take them on. (In any case, many Greek words don’t have an exact English equivalent.)

The other issue is motivation, unless you really want to remember something, you won’t. The trick is to make your mind feel that it is important. To that end, you have exams and texts to work to; I have only my general interest. So what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander. :wink:
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Post by Emma_85 » Mon Jul 19, 2004 9:44 am

The other issue is motivation, unless you really want to remember something, you won’t. The trick is to make your mind feel that it is important. To that end, you have exams and texts to work to; I have only my general interest. So what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander.
Yes of course, you have loads of time and are under no pressure, that's a big plus. I suppose my way is best for learning Greek as fast as possible. I do know what you are all talking about. When I learn these words, I often have to learn 3 or 4 different German words that correspond with the Greek one, as of course you can't translate a word one to one.
But ... (I just can't let it go, can I? :wink: )
What each Greek word really means, all the subtleties attached to it, is something you won't ever learn by looking up a word in a dictionary though. You have to know what the words sort of means, the basic notion that is attached to it (your English translation of the word you've learned will help you there), and then read and encounter it again and again in a text. Then you'll start to notice when it is used, why this word and not another and in the end you won't think 'dikaios - just' you'll always find that translation inadequate, but you'll know what the author means, and when you read dikaios all that will be in your mind, not just.
I feel that if you just try like anything to memorise a few words you'll be missing out on a lot that you might find out if you just tried it the 'conventional' way.
It is true though that it makes a huge difference which way you learn a language. I don't know if it's possible for Greek or Latin to really learn the language the way you would like to learn it, honestly I doubt it, but for foreign languages that's different. When I learned German, I never thought of a German word having an English equivalent, I was just thrown into the language, but that also means that I can't translate. Really - I cannot translate English to German or German to English. I find that very hard indeed. The German and English words are just not connected with each other in my brain, I could probably train such connections, but I would actually need to learn vocb with cards to do that :? .
Lol, anyway, just learn Greek the way you think is best, it has to fun, and maybe your way is best for you. Once you've learned all those words your way (which will take forever :wink: ) you can start reading the texts and maybe you'll be able to work out these subtleties much sooner. I started writing vocab cards and learning them for a language I was just interested in, nothing to do with school... lol, I read them through a few times and then got bored, so they didn't help at all then :P .
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Post by Eureka » Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:11 am

Emma_85 wrote:Yes of course, you have loads of time and are under no pressure, that's a big plus.
“No pressure”, true. “Loads of time”, :shock: not as such. I’m studying Engineering/Science full time. Time is precious. I do have the luxury of putting Greek on hiatus, though (but that can cause words to be forgotten).
Emma_85 wrote:What each Greek word really means, all the subtleties attached to it, is something you won't ever learn by looking up a word in a dictionary though.
It depends how the dictionary is written. I can certainly get all that from English dictionaries.
Emma_85 wrote: I don't know if it's possible for Greek or Latin to really learn the language the way you would like to learn it, honestly I doubt it,

Once you've learned all those words your way (which will take forever :wink:
We’ll see. :D

(For me, I think, re-reading old passages of Thrasymachus would be far more effective than looking over old cardboard squares. :razz: )
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Post by Emma_85 » Tue Jul 20, 2004 10:24 am

(For me, I think, re-reading old passages of Thrasymachus would be far more effective than looking over old cardboard squares. )
Not saying anything against re-reading passages you've already translated! That is indeed very good practice. I've read the first page of the Apologia so many times... hehehe
It depends how the dictionary is written. I can certainly get all that from English dictionaries.
I've never found that G-moll (the dictionary I use) explaines such things very well... plus even if they did explain the meaning of dikaios, I would most likely fall asleep while reading it :wink: .
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Post by Eureka » Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:37 am

Emma_85 wrote:I've never found that G-moll (the dictionary I use) explaines such things very well... plus even if they did explain the meaning of dikaios, I would most likely fall asleep while reading it :wink: .
Note to self:

'Don't buy that dictionary.' :P
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Post by Eureka » Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:52 am

Emma_85 wrote:When I learned German, I never thought of a German word having an English equivalent, I was just thrown into the language, but that also means that I can't translate. Really - I cannot translate English to German or German to English. I find that very hard indeed. The German and English words are just not connected with each other in my brain,

This is interesting. My first reaction to any Greek sentence is to think, "What does this mean in English?"

I'm currently trying to train that out. :)
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Post by Michaelyus » Wed Jul 21, 2004 4:50 pm

Emma_85 wrote:When I learned German, I never thought of a German word having an English equivalent, I was just thrown into the language, but that also means that I can't translate. Really - I cannot translate English to German or German to English. I find that very hard indeed.


Really? I find it very easy to translate from English to Chinese and back, and I was "thrown" into it.
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Post by Emma_85 » Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:14 pm

Well, when I say 'thrown in', what I mean is that basically I had no German lessons before and was very young, so basically I'm bi-lingual. TV I think thought me more than going to school ever did when it comes to German :wink: . That won't work with Greek, as I don't live like 2000 years ago in Athens and TV is in English or German, but not in Ancient Greek. Plus I'm too old now.
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Post by Emma_85 » Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:21 pm

Really? I find it very easy to translate from English to Chinese and back, and I was "thrown" into it.
:? I can of course translate a simple sentence, but I'll need a dictionary for anything more complicated to get it right, because I just won't be able to think of the word I need.
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Post by Democritus » Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:23 pm

Eureka wrote:This is interesting. My first reaction to any Greek sentence is to think, "What does this mean in English?"

I'm currently trying to train that out. :)

Of course this is a good goal, but often you don't have the luxury to do this.

Have you ever learned any (modern, spoken) foreign languages? I'm curious to hear about your experiences.

There's really nothing wrong with learning the meaning of something in English first, and working from there. This approach has its drawbacks, but all other methods have drawbacks, too.

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Post by Emma_85 » Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:00 am

'Don't buy that dictionary.' :P
Hehehe, it's a Greek-Germany dictionary anyway :wink: . We have an L&S at school, but I can never be bothered to read their page long expanations, it gets boring after a few lines :P . I suppose I just enjoy reading the Greek texts but all this theory stuff bores me to death :wink: .
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Post by Eureka » Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:03 am

Democritus wrote:Have you ever learned any (modern, spoken) foreign languages? I'm curious to hear about your experiences.

Well... In high school I did 4 years of French and 2 years of German and Latin. (I also did Mandarin in primary school, but that was a joke.)

I never put any real effort into any of them. We had to study languages, so I did.

The method of teaching the living languages was diametrically opposite to the method of teaching Latin (sum, es, est, summus, estes, sunt... aram, aras, arat, aramus, aratis, arant...* ero, eris, erit, erimus, eritis, erunt…**). And I'd be suprised if the French and Germans are that interested to know how old I am.

I think that there wasn't nearly enough emphasis on grammar in French and German (although French grammar is basically English grammar with more contractions and a future tense :razz: ). This was a serious problem in German. In my opinion, most foreign language teachers in Australia have no idea about education (probably due to the attitude that knowing English is all anyone would ever need).




*What does "aram" mean? :)











**What does "ero" mean? :D
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Post by chad » Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:15 am

this topic is interesting, the ways we learn the boring stuff... i've tried all of the techniques above... although i haven't used the memory matrix for the classics: i used it to memorise the un charter in the few hours before an international law exam when i found out that day that it was closed-book (most law exams in australia are open-book, which makes sense because that's how you work when you start as a lawyer...)

also there's a good list of related words at the back of the "illustrated dictionary to xenophon" here on textkit... you can read through that and pick up lots of words instantly because you see how they go together. but i think the words that stay with you the longest are those in sentences which you know by heart: i remember that Em said this about the start of the odyssey a while ago: and for me especially, it's stuff i hear. i've started putting together a word-by-word commentary on the greek sound files on the net, so that i can listen to then 1000s of times and drill them into my head :) i've typed up a few lines of iliad 18, 39-96 and put on it here: http://iliad.envy.nu and afterwards i'll type up my notes for the other sound files... if there's any other "auditory" learners out there, this technique might be another thing to try :)

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Post by Eureka » Mon Jul 26, 2004 11:34 am

chad wrote:(most law exams in australia are open-book, which makes sense because that's how you work when you start as a lawyer...)
We never even get to bring a crib sheet into our exams. And yet, show me one scientist or engineer who doesn't have his own library.
chad wrote:also there's a good list of related words at the back of the "illustrated dictionary to xenophon" here on textkit... you can read through that and pick up lots of words instantly because you see how they go together.
Yes, it's good. But unfortunately, its focus is a big limited.
chad wrote:i think the words that stay with you the longest are those in sentences which you know by heart:
True, and I think that might be how we remember English words.
chad wrote: i've started putting together a word-by-word commentary on the greek sound files on the net, so that i can listen to then 1000s of times and drill them into my head :) i've typed up a few lines of iliad 18, 39-96 and put on it here: http://iliad.envy.nu and afterwards i'll type up my notes for the other sound files...
That's very detailed. :)
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