looking for ideas/input for textkit

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klewlis
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looking for ideas/input for textkit

Post by klewlis » Mon Jul 09, 2007 5:38 pm

hey everyone,

I'm in dialogue with Jeff about how textkit can be improved and developed (both the forum and the larger site) and have offered my time/skills to helping work on it, since Jeff is swamped with work and life of his own!

So... what are your ideas? What would you like to see here? How can we liven up the forum a bit (it's a little sparse these days!) and draw in new people of various skill levels? What kinds of things would you like to see changed or added or dropped?

I'm just looking for ideas at this point--I can make no promises that every idea will be implemented. ;)

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Post by tjnor » Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:08 pm

Salve Klewlis,

What people always seem to want is on-line instruction in ancient languages. Of course, after the enthusiasm gives out many of these ad hoc groups die off. Still, a core remains to become more permanent members of the Textkit community.

It seems to me that ways might be found to distribute some of the work of Textkit among more volunteers. Is this possible?

Jeff has done an amazing job, and Paul's GTTS is a great addition to the enterprise as well. What can the average Textkitter do to assist them in their efforts?

You, Klewlis, are a moderator, so you are volunteering much of your time to this effort. As the last standing participant of the recent D'Ooge study group I know how important a regular deadline can be. I have suggested to Paul that Icould finish the work of uploading the remaining D'Ooge lessons so that others could make use of this site. Other than helping with these tasks, I think we know what people want. The question is, can it be delivered and maintained?

tjnor

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Post by klewlis » Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:25 pm

It's difficult to have online instruction without qualified members to lead... while we do have such members, our overall *active* membership appears to be dwindling... in order to revive it, we have to draw new people to the site. Textkit's main draw has always been the online texts, of course, and Jeff has some ideas on how to continue building and improving that. But if we can add other things as well, that'd be awesome too.

What kind of online instruction do you think would be best? Led groups? More tutorials? something else?

As for distributing the work... it always depends on what the work is. Some things can be distributed and some can't--one of the goals is to create more ways for more people to be actively involved in building the resources; but it will take time to implement that.

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Post by edonnelly » Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Well, two fairly mundane things that I think would be nice are:

1. Fix the font issue with spionic so that all of those old gems of posts in forum archives can be more easily read. It seems like we should be able to have both spionic and unicode.

2. Revive the vocabulary tool. It stopped working, and honestly I don't know if it ever got fixed, but I don't think so. It would also be nice to get that going with some greek. I've been writing out the vocab for Pharr as I go through it, and would be happy to contribute to getting a Pharr vocabulary list up and going.

As far as livening up the forum, we need to get PeterD fired up about something again. Hey Peter, how do you feel about the Scooter Libby pardon or the Pres exerting Executive Privilege?
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library

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Post by klewlis » Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:15 am

edonnelly wrote:Well, two fairly mundane things that I think would be nice are:

1. Fix the font issue with spionic so that all of those old gems of posts in forum archives can be more easily read. It seems like we should be able to have both spionic and unicode.
This is definitely something that I can look at. It's been awhile since I checked out the font issue--can you remind me of what the actual problem was?
2. Revive the vocabulary tool. It stopped working, and honestly I don't know if it ever got fixed, but I don't think so. It would also be nice to get that going with some greek. I've been writing out the vocab for Pharr as I go through it, and would be happy to contribute to getting a Pharr vocabulary list up and going.
One of Jeff's visions is to have the vocabulary tool as a collaborative project to which any member could contribute--for example, you could make your own vocab list and share it. It sounds as though the vocab system itself needs to be revamped--a greek component could be added to the wishlist!

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Post by annis » Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:34 am

klewlis wrote:What kind of online instruction do you think would be best? Led groups?
As "group coordinator" I can tell you that one's a toughie. So often these groups form with giant membership, then dwindle away to nothing quite quickly. The ones that have succeeded most reliably, the early Pharr groups, I suspect did so because they had two or even three guides. A single expert for a study group gets worn down pretty quickly, especially since most of us textkittens have day jobs.

Some systematic way to collect non-beginners who'd be willing to help to guide a group (understanding this is a 1-2 year operation) would, I think, increase the success rate of the study groups.
something else?
A wiki! :twisted: Not that I can think of what would go there just now. It just seems so hip.

If someone can bang out some RSS (or xmlrpc or whatnot), the revived Latin/Greek Vocabulary Tool could become both a useful learning tool and good PR. People could plug into new words each day in various ways, including wee, dynamic blurbs on web pages and blogs. A slightly more webbish way of doing things might be more reliable than email for Greek fonts.
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Post by klewlis » Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:52 am

annis wrote:A wiki! :twisted: Not that I can think of what would go there just now. It just seems so hip.
I was curious as to what shape this could take, so I looked around a bit and found this, a sister project of wikipedia:
http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page
If someone can bang out some RSS (or xmlrpc or whatnot), the revived Latin/Greek Vocabulary Tool could become both a useful learning tool and good PR. People could plug into new words each day in various ways, including wee, dynamic blurbs on web pages and blogs. A slightly more webbish way of doing things might be more reliable than email for Greek fonts.
Yes, web may be more adequate than email for this... let's keep pondering how we could make it work.

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Post by Bert » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:36 am

annis wrote:
klewlis wrote:What kind of online instruction do you think would be best? Led groups?
As "group coordinator" I can tell you that one's a toughie. So often these groups form with giant membership, then dwindle away to nothing quite quickly. The ones that have succeeded most reliably, the early Pharr groups, I suspect did so because they had two or even three guides. A single expert for a study group gets worn down pretty quickly, especially since most of us textkittens have day jobs.

Some systematic way to collect non-beginners who'd be willing to help to guide a group (understanding this is a 1-2 year operation) would, I think, increase the success rate of the study groups.
I was a member of one of the early Pharr groups and benefitted greatly from the expertice of the guides.
I also have been a guide in two groups. I do not have the capabilities some of the other guides have (but that is not something I can be faulted for,)but I have been enthusiastic as guide in both a Pharr group and a koine group. The Pharr group died a slow and painful death and the koine group died very quickly though not painlessly. I was quite disappointed but am at a loss as to what a solution might be.

It is my opinion that study groups and the discussion groups are of even more value than the book downloads.
It is easy to download a book but most of us need help using the book.

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Post by klewlis » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:46 am

Bert wrote:It is my opinion that study groups and the discussion groups are of even more value than the book downloads.
It is easy to download a book but most of us need help using the book.
what if we were to have a page for each unit of each book... and on that page various people could contribute commentary, questions, elaboration, resources, etc, so that one working through the book would be able to access additional information about each unit? This would bring some of the benefits of a classroom to the independent learner... ?

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Post by Bert » Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:01 am

klewlis wrote:
Bert wrote:It is my opinion that study groups and the discussion groups are of even more value than the book downloads.
It is easy to download a book but most of us need help using the book.
what if we were to have a page for each unit of each book... and on that page various people could contribute commentary, questions, elaboration, resources, etc, so that one working through the book would be able to access additional information about each unit? This would bring some of the benefits of a classroom to the independent learner... ?
I have to hand it to you. You do have original ideas. That might be something very useful.

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Post by thesaurus » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:54 am

On a very practical level, how about increased advertising for the site? I'm not sure the best way to do this, as the target audience is very specific. However, I've had college professors bring up the site, hand out excerpts from its resourced, and link their students to it. I'm not sure how many classicists know about textkit, but surely it's not as many as it could be. Trying to reach undergraduates and their teachers might help increase the user base.

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Post by Paul » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:51 pm

Hi,

I am intrigued by some of the ideas in this thread. I will take a hard look at them and see if I have something to contribute.

Cordially,

Paul

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Post by Amadeus » Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:29 pm

I would like for the Agora to be more active. Learning Latin & Greek is all well and good, but if we don't practice it, then it'll just count for nothing. If we could find a person skilled enough to help others (in English) write their thoughts into these ancient languages.

(Right now I'm heading out, but I'll be thinking about ways to liven up this form too. It would be a shame if it died out.)
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Post by perispomenon » Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:32 pm

I support the suggestion of a wiki, very hip and hype though it may be :-)

I worry a bit about the number of people willing to contribute.

For example, there's a digital Pharr Homeric grammar available, waiting to be unleashed onto the net, but no resources to make it happen (unless I'm wrong and work is in progress?). Same would go for a wiki, I'm afraid.

We will also have to find a way to keep the momentum going.

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Post by klewlis » Tue Jul 10, 2007 10:46 pm

perispomenon wrote:I support the suggestion of a wiki, very hip and hype though it may be :-)

I worry a bit about the number of people willing to contribute.

For example, there's a digital Pharr Homeric grammar available, waiting to be unleashed onto the net, but no resources to make it happen (unless I'm wrong and work is in progress?). Same would go for a wiki, I'm afraid.

We will also have to find a way to keep the momentum going.
I missed the Pharr thread. I wonder what the status is.

You're right that there is no point in starting a collaborative project if we don't have the people to pull it off... in part, the people could be drawn by the project... otherwise, we are back to the question of how to draw (and keep) more people. :)

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Post by annis » Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:10 am

perispomenon wrote:there's a digital Pharr Homeric grammar available, waiting to be unleashed onto the net, but no resources to make it happen (unless I'm wrong and work is in progress?).
There is progress, but very slow. Morphology tables are never nice to mark up.
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Post by klewlis » Wed Jul 11, 2007 3:16 am

edonnelly wrote:1. Fix the font issue with spionic so that all of those old gems of posts in forum archives can be more easily read. It seems like we should be able to have both spionic and unicode.
I have this fixed for ie... doesn't seem to be working in firefox.

There is still an issue when the tags are improperly nested in the posts, which seems to be a lot, as people tended to use the size tag with the font tag, so we have [font][size][/font][/size] and the improper nesting is messing up the display. This can be fixed but it means digging through ALL of those old posts and fixing them one by one. :roll:

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Post by perispomenon » Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:42 am

annis wrote:There is progress, but very slow. Morphology tables are never nice to mark up.
But you do have help?

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Post by edonnelly » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:44 am

klewlis wrote: This can be fixed but it means digging through ALL of those old posts and fixing them one by one.
Well, if there really is a plan to do something like a Pharr chapter-by-chapter collective wiki-like book of cumulative knowledge (in fact, I would propose that we call it the Pharr Chapter-by-Chapter Collective Wiki-Like Book of Cumulative Knowledge) then maybe we shouldn't worry about the old posts so much and we can slowly transition the best of the info in those old posts into the new work.

As far as doing something like that goes, it might work out really well. I could see a wiki-like setup where for each chapter of any particular book (probably Pharr and D'Ooge would be the best to start with) there could be sections with exercise answers, some added wisdom from the "experts," and a Q/A part where people could succinctly summarize current and past questions (and their answers) from the forums. This could keep the dialog going in the forums but also transfer the "meat" of the answers into a more-easily navigable archive system.
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library

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Post by annis » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:40 pm

I beg, I plead that whatever wiki is used for the PCbCCWlBoCK deviate from WikiNature a bit – posting to the wiki should require authentication against this Forum's accounts. That way we know who everyone is, and it gives some control over wiki spam which is sure to vex whoever is involved in wiki administration.
Last edited by annis on Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by annis » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:42 pm

perispomenon wrote:
annis wrote:There is progress, but very slow. Morphology tables are never nice to mark up.
But you do have help?
Not yet. I've been trying out different things to figure out the best presentation for giant tables. Once I've settled on that, I'll contact volunteers.

The last few months much of my free time has been spent thinking about software completely unrelated to Greek, so I've been slacking off on Greek work.
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Post by Didymus » Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:02 pm

Amadeus wrote:I would like for the Agora to be more active. Learning Latin & Greek is all well and good, but if we don't practice it, then it'll just count for nothing. If we could find a person skilled enough to help others (in English) write their thoughts into these ancient languages.
Amadeus, I am very keen on Greek and Latin composition. While I certainly don't profess to be an expert, I'd be delighted to work with fellow enthusiasts on some composition efforts. Is there anyone else out there who might be interested?

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Post by Jeff Tirey » Wed Jul 11, 2007 3:19 pm

klewlis wrote:
edonnelly wrote:1. Fix the font issue with spionic so that all of those old gems of posts in forum archives can be more easily read. It seems like we should be able to have both spionic and unicode.
I have this fixed for ie... doesn't seem to be working in firefox.

There is still an issue when the tags are improperly nested in the posts, which seems to be a lot, as people tended to use the size tag with the font tag, so we have [font][size][/font][/size] and the improper nesting is messing up the display. This can be fixed but it means digging through ALL of those old posts and fixing them one by one. :roll:
If you can pin point the exact issues with what's wrong with the character encoding, then a simple php string replacement script could be written to find/replace moving through all db records in a loop.

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Post by klewlis » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:08 pm

jeff wrote:
klewlis wrote:
edonnelly wrote:1. Fix the font issue with spionic so that all of those old gems of posts in forum archives can be more easily read. It seems like we should be able to have both spionic and unicode.
I have this fixed for ie... doesn't seem to be working in firefox.

There is still an issue when the tags are improperly nested in the posts, which seems to be a lot, as people tended to use the size tag with the font tag, so we have [font][size][/font][/size] and the improper nesting is messing up the display. This can be fixed but it means digging through ALL of those old posts and fixing them one by one. :roll:
If you can pin point the exact issues with what's wrong with the character encoding, then a simple php string replacement script could be written to find/replace moving through all db records in a loop.

jeff
the pattern's not always the same though... various size, bold, face tags that are mixed up rather than nested...

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Post by Gonzalo » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:20 pm

Klewlis,
I would put something as a sort of searcher (I don´t know the exact English word) in the Forum. For instance, if I wanted to read about a concret subject, I would type the word or statement and I would go to those threads.

Amadeus wrote:
I would like for the Agora to be more active. Learning Latin & Greek is all well and good, but if we don't practice it, then it'll just count for nothing. If we could find a person skilled enough to help others (in English) write their thoughts into these ancient languages.

Well, I am very interested too. The problem is that I am too shy at this moment to compose "in public". I am finishing the first method I am following, and I need to study more syntax, prosody, composition, etc. I think that in one or two weeks I would be able to write something to start.
Amadeus:
By the way, what book on Latin prose composition are you using(if you are working with one)?


Klewlis, I saw at Google.com a HTML which you can copy to the forum. It´s an useful idea, I think.
Last edited by Gonzalo on Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by klewlis » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:23 pm

there already is a search function built in. It's in the top navigation, right under the Learn Latin link. :)

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Post by Gonzalo » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:23 pm

Ah! :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

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Post by Amadeus » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:39 pm

Didymus wrote:Amadeus, I am very keen on Greek and Latin composition. While I certainly don't profess to be an expert, I'd be delighted to work with fellow enthusiasts on some composition efforts. Is there anyone else out there who might be interested?
Ok, we have one on board! :D It's about time we give the guys at Nuntii Latini a little competition on Latin/Greek composition. But whereas they give help in Latin, which makes it a bit more difficult, here we will give help in English.

Also, if we could post news articles in Latin and Greek to comment them, that would certainly alleviate the pressure of having to compose out of nothing.
Well, I am very interested too. The problem is that I am too shy at this moment to compose "in public". I am finishing the first method I am following, and I need to study more syntax, prosody, composition, etc. I think that in one or two weeks I would be able to write something to start.
[...]
By the way, what book on Latin prose composition are you using(if you are working with one)?
I'm shy too, because I haven't completed my Latin method (Linga Latina Pars II: Roma Aeterna). But I am willing to give it a shot. :wink:

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Post by edonnelly » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:59 pm

I actually am not a big wiki-fan in general, but the more I think about the possibilities here the more I think it could be useful. The D'Ooge wiki (could we call it W'Ooki by any chance?) could include the full html-version of each chapter (now available thanks to Jeff's working together with Project Gutenberg), and eventually the Pharr one, too, if the works of several people here come to fruition.

But, more importantly, I think it could be a real resource. Instead of just an answer key it could have several correct answers available for each exercise along with some common mistakes and a description of why each is wrong. As new questions pop up, they would be asked in the forum and eventually transferred over to the PCbCCWlBoCK/W'Ooki. This would go a long way towards the "perpetual guide" idea that Adelheid and others were discussing and also addresses Bert's excellent point about helping people get through the books.
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library

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Post by Bert » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:45 am

edonnelly wrote:Well, if there really is a plan to do something like a Pharr chapter-by-chapter collective wiki-like book of cumulative knowledge (in fact, I would propose that we call it the Pharr Chapter-by-Chapter Collective Wiki-Like Book of Cumulative Knowledge) ....
I guess nobody would ask: "What's it about"?

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Post by Bert » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:47 am

annis wrote:....PCbCCWlBoCK ....
I think that this is one case where the full title is better than the shortform.

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Post by Bert » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:54 am

edonnelly wrote:... The D'Ooge wiki (could we call it W'Ooki by any chance?) ...
W'Ooki. I love it. I might want to learn Latin just to be able to use W'Ooki.
For Greek we could have Geeki.

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Post by edonnelly » Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:35 am

Bert wrote:
edonnelly wrote:... The D'Ooge wiki (could we call it W'Ooki by any chance?) ...
W'Ooki. I love it. I might want to learn Latin just to be able to use W'Ooki.
For Greek we could have Geeki.
G'Eeki
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library

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Post by klewlis » Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:47 am

you guys are hilarious.

aside from the funny names, do you think it would fly?

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Post by Bert » Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:24 am

klewlis wrote:you guys are hilarious.

aside from the funny names, do you think it would fly?
Will it fly? I don't know. Is it worth a try? I think it is.
Even if there are only a few contributors, the content and usefulness will keep growing even if it is slowly.

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Post by 1%homeless » Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:52 am

There is one meme that goes through my mind about the classics: that it should be read outloud. For the autodidact, I think he would benefit a lot from podcasts. Or at least the Greek/Latin parts being read out loud by the more phonetically apt. The english section doesn't need to be in an audio format.

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Post by edonnelly » Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:24 am

Bert wrote:Will it fly? I don't know. Is it worth a try? I think it is.
Even if there are only a few contributors, the content and usefulness will keep growing even if it is slowly.
I agree it's worth a try. I think the one thing textkit is really missing out on right now is that even though there is great information coming through the forums, it slowly gets harder and harder to access as time goes by (too many old posts, too hard to search for just what you are looking for, etc.). I think some other format where the great knowledge being shared here could be filtered and kept easily accessible would be very useful.
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library

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Post by Bert » Sat Jul 14, 2007 2:04 am

edonnelly wrote:.... I think the one thing textkit is really missing out on right now is that even though there is great information coming through the forums, it slowly gets harder and harder to access as time goes by (too many old posts, too hard to search for just what you are looking for, etc.). ....
I know what you mean. I have had a hard time finding a thread where I knew I had had a question answered.

annis
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Post by annis » Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:15 pm

edonnelly wrote:I actually am not a big wiki-fan in general, but the more I think about the possibilities here the more I think it could be useful.
I have the same ambivalence. It would be very important that some care be given at the beginning to lay out a framework for how to organize things. I realize this also goes against WikiNature, but wikis maintained by small groups (compared to, say, the Wikipedia) seem more prone to organizational fragmentation.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

annis
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Post by annis » Sun Jul 15, 2007 6:13 pm

Didymus wrote:Amadeus, I am very keen on Greek and Latin composition. While I certainly don't profess to be an expert, I'd be delighted to work with fellow enthusiasts on some composition efforts. Is there anyone else out there who might be interested?
I am, for Greek.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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