Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Moving & Books

I'm in the process of moving this week, hence little productivity and little blogging. I did make it in to college today to hear two excellent papers, once on biblical authority and genre, and the other on the use of repetition in Hebrews.

I've packed up almost all our books for the move, and even though we got rid of a few before the move, we still have a lot. I need to be more ruthless in getting rid of them. There are books that I own that I'll almost certainly never read, nor refer to, ever again. Those should go. As we look to overseas, there's also books that will need to go on some long semi-permanent loans to good friends. So if you'd like some more of my books, they could be available. And if you'd like to become a custodian for them during my project many years overseas, let me know.

Hope to be back to some more regular things next week.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thesis: reading the homilies

I haven't posted any new writing from my thesis, largely because I haven't done any for awhile. Instead I've been focused on reading through the homilies. I've finally finished, all 88 (in English), and taken over 30,000 words of notes on them. The next stage is to take my 9 criteria, work through my notes, and show the presence or absence of each of those criteria. So, after moving house, I hope to get stuck into that, and that should produce the bulk of my thesis over the next month or so. I still have a few sections of introduction to work on, and I need to do some methodology work as well. All in all, I'm fairly happy with progress so far, and I'm looking forward to producing some good material in the next 2-3 months.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Disappearing podcasts

The audio I've recorded over at jeltzz.com is mainly hosted on mypodcast.com, which now tells me that they are deleting old/unused podcasts. I'm not really sure how many downloads I've had at all, though I know that from time to time people have enjoyed the recordings. (Having just gone and logged in, there do seem to be a few hundred downloads of most files, over the last 3 years that is).

It's possible I could dig up the source files, and post them directly. It might simply be better if I kept working on trying to do new recordings and put those up.

Rethinking 'let me'

I've done just 11 lessons, the very simplest, from the McGuffey readers into Greek and Latin, and already met a host of problems. The least of these is what to do with names. I turned a few of the early ones into Graecised or Latinate versions, but others (Jip!) I have more simply transliterated.

Perhaps the one that I've thought over the most, is the construction "Let me...do X"; now in English this is fairly straightforward, because we use lots of auxiliary verbs. At first I began to render this with an imperative of 'permit/allow', sinere or ἐάω, plus an infinitive. This seemed to best fit the sense of the first appearance, and preserved me from introducing the subjunctive. But as I've gone on, I'm beginning to wonder whether I shouldn't simply use a 2nd person subjunctive. Once you get to sentences such as "Let me do X, won't you?", it has a sort of subjunctive force, rather than a permissive-imperative.

As always, I would appreciate your thoughts.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More progress on Gregory project

Well, audio recording was a wash-out for the weekend, but I have made some good progress on the Gregory reader. I've continued to do morphology tagging and am working my way down the frequency list. It's at a point where I can now get a clearer picture of things listed by frequency of the lemmas.

I've also gone through all of the first Oration, and checked it against Migne's edition, which is what I'll need to print from. I've corrected a few things, made some textual variation notes, and picked up a few points in my electronic text where lines had been repeated (my own error, I've got rid of most of those elsewhere). That means my frequencies will need a little adjusting again. I've also included Migne's footnotes when he's explaining something (in latin, of course). I still would like to add Migne's scripture references as well.

Once I make a little more frequency/morphology progress, I'll get started on Oration 1 (27) properly, producing a workable text. Good progress it seems to me! The later orations are longer than the first though, so similar proofing will take longer on them.


I sat down to do some quiet sunday afternoon recordings in Greek and Latin, as I'd been planning. There's someone noisily mowing their lawn nearby, but that hasn't been my main problem. Rather, my computer decided yesterday to stop recognising usb devices, including both mouse (not too big a problem), and microphone (more of a problem).

So I thought I'd just try the built-in microphone. But then audacity likes to randomly stop working every now and again, and that hasn't helped either.

Might have to wait a bit longer for more Greek audio.

Edit: Apparently simply turning your computer off, disconnecting it from mains power, and then rebooting will do the trick. that is, (O Microsoft), not a real solution!

Edit 2: Well, I did manage a bit of recording, but having Audacity crash randomly, on top of the spent working out my usb-port problem, has left me pretty frustrated for the day.


I have turned comment moderation on. I don't really like to do this, as it is so frustrating for users, but I regularly get spam comments on new posts, so I am hoping that if I do this for awhile it might deter such commenters, and then I might be able to remove it again.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oerberg in Greek, chapter 1

If you've missed it, I have completed a translation of the reading text from Oerberg, into Greek. I have yet to do the exercises or grammar, but I will do something along those lines (with some significant but necessary adaptions). No word from the rights holders, but my understanding is that a single chapter will hold under fair use. So, until there's further news on copyright, I will refrain from making public any more materials (plenty of other projects for me to be working on!). Feedback on this text is certainly welcome. (Particularly if you have some grammatical insight on whether using τὸ to substantivise all the 'words' in the final paragraphs is correct, or whether I should use the normally appropriate article). I've already made some major revisions to the accenting of οὐκ ἔστι as well as some word choices towards the end.

Chapter 1

In terms of grammar:
This page was particularly helpful
Also helpful has been Rico's book, and R. Buth's very much.


Well, the good news is that we've been approved to rent an apartment!

This is a real answer to prayer, and should cut some off our daily commutes by half. It also means we get a short time in the sun: being trendy Inner-Westers somewhere between Ashfield and Summer Hill.

If you'd like to help me move, you know who you are!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rethinking approach on Gregory reader

I did a little more work on the Gregory project this afternoon, after my brain got fried from too much study.

One of the major problems is that since this is a patristic text, I can't just use Perseus to do massive vocab crunching. So I have circa 6500 words to identify. If I managed 100 a day, that would still be 2 months of work. Perhaps if I have some time by finishing my thesis a little early, I'll be able to dedicate some real gutsy time for this.

So at the moment it's me spread across an excel spreadsheet, LSJ in Logos, and the Perseus project, filling in a lexical form, some morphological data, and a base translation.

I think I've been doing it badly though - I've just started working alphabetically. Which is kind of helpful when you have however many forms of ἄγω turn up. (ps, keymanweb virtual online keyboard is a winner). But now I'm thinking of re-sorting my list by frequency of occurrence, and getting that list down and dusted, because then by the time I got to those vast number of low or single occuring forms, I could change my approach: I could start to work through the text itself and look up those words in context. This would allow me to work on the commentary at the same time.

I've already looked up a few words in the text in order to get a better handle on their meaning, form, and usage. Especially when Perseus doesn't know what to do with them and I can't find anything in LSJ. Re-orienting to this approach would magnify that factor.

So I think that's the plan from this point on: frequency it down to the small numbers.

In other news, maybe we've found a new place to live. Praying it all comes together and we can move in the next couple of weeks.

Chrysostom on Humility

Ὁ καθήμενος ἐπὶ τῶν Χερουβὶμ, τοὺς πόδας ἔνιψε τοῦ προδότου· σὺ δὲ, ἄνθρωπε, γῆ καὶ σποδὸς ὢν, καὶ τέφρα, καὶ κόνις, ἐπαίρεις σεαυτὸν καὶ μέγα φρονεῖς;

In Iohannem, LXXI.2 (On Jn 13:12-19)

He who sits upon the Cherubim, washes the traitor's feet;
but you, man, earth and ashes, cinders and dust,
magnify yourself and think high-minded?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


It used to be that I could say that things like Latin and Greek were my hobbies. But then they became my studies. And now I'm a full-time student again and Greek is mainly what I do. It's a little bit sad to say that my favourite hobby outside the study of ancient writings is... the study of ancient writings and languages!

I have other interests though. I like to play some bass guitar. I used to do a lot of martial arts, but I gave that up for theological reasons.

So now I go to the gym 5 days a week. It's my main non-study hobby. I once studied fitness at a technical college, something people often find hard to believe. In fact, I topped our class for "Group exercise to music" - i.e. running an aerobics-type class. I like to lift heavy objects.

This year has been good for gym going, since I'm in at college 5 days, I just go across to the uni gym. I've been really pleased to reach some goals I've never got to before, including being able to do my own body weight and above on a chest press and lat pulldown. Other things have been harder - getting back into some running for instance. My knees are not what they used to be and my cardiovascular fitness has declined. Nonetheless, Tue and Thu are cardio days and I do a 5km row or run on the machines.

Anyway, I just thought some of you might like an insight into my life apart from new schemes for the advancement of classical languages.

As an extra bonus, yesterday I learnt the word 'kebbock' through my Gaelic study. It's always exciting when studying Gaelic to be given an English gloss that I've never encountered! a kebbock is a round of cheese. There you go, no extra cost.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Progress with Gregory and other projects

Well, I've finished compressing the vocabulary list into discrete forms and their frequencies. There are about 6575 forms in the 5 Orations. This is not exact, as there are a few forms I have kept discrete where I might have collapsed them, simply to aid my own processing of them.

The next step will be to do some morphological tagging, so I can (a) process words by frequency of word rather than form, (b) know what to put for vocabulary references. This I expect will take a bit longer than the initial processing will take.

One of the obstacles for me in this, and in other Greek-language projects, is simply that most of my tools for working with Greek are on the laptop that spends most of its time at college, which means weeknights are not good times for Greek work; most of my Greek-related non-digital tools also live at college. But conversely I don't want to spend college time sidetracked into masses of Greek-work. Anyway, I will find some workarounds and keep at it.

I sent off an email to ask about the copyright issues on a Greek-translation of Oerberg, but no response at yet. I'll finish up the first chapter and leave it at that for now. Already one sees the issues of translation versus a ground-up approach, in that Oerberg's first chapter covers some key words in the 1st and 2nd declension across the genders: insula, oppidum, fluvius, whereas the Greek translation is immediately introducing νῆσος, πόλις, and ποταμός, of which only the latter would normally have even a chance of getting into an opening chapter!

I'm thinking sunday afternoons will make a good time for podcast recordings. I'll try and work through a single text at a time and produce some fair audio for them. Hopefully I can get started this week with Puer Romanus or A Greek Boy at Home.

See my last post for an attempt to locate more Direct-Method texts from the turn of the previous century. Not all make workable material, but some are really helpful.

I'm becoming quite convinced that we need something in the vein of Piper Salve meets Traupman's Conversational Latin, but for Greek. The former is an excellent little volume that came out of Latin conventicula in Europe, while the latter has a veritable cornucopia of communicative Latin. Something by topic-area, with key phrases and words, and some continuous dialogue as well.

PS: having made some progress on the Gregory project, it strikes me that I'm not far short of morphologically tagging the whole text. Surely this could be of wider use than the Reader? If I knew what format to put this information in for broader use, I'd be happy to make it more available towards the end. (It's quite slow going though!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Direct Method Books we could do with

I've made a list of books for Latin and Greek, generally related to the Direct-Method, Rouse, etc., that it would be good to source. Some of them already exist on google books, or other places, but some of them are proving hard to track down. Feel free to comment if you have located any, and I'll incorporate the link into this page.

WHD Rouse Demonstrations in Greek Iambic Verse (1899)
- , Demonstrations in Latin Elegiac Verse (1899)
- , A Greek reader (1907)
E.H. Scott and Frank Jones, A first Latin course (1913)
WHS Jones, First Latin book (1919)
- , Via Nova; or, The application of the direct method to Latin and Greek (1915)
RB Appleton and WHS Jones Initium (1916)
- , Puer Romanus (1913)
- , Pons Tironum (1924)
- , Perse Latin Plays(1913)
Edward Adolf Sonnenschein Ora Maritima (1914)
- , Pro Patria (1907)
WL Paine and CL Mainwaring, Primus Annus (1912)
TA Wye; WL Paine Primus Annus: Vocabula explicata
WL Paine, Decem fabulae pueris puellisque agendae (1927)
Frank Stephen Granger, Via Romana (1915)

A wealth of texts, out of copyright one would presume, ripe for audio-recordings as well.

Personal News....

We've just come back from 8 days away. My idea of a holiday is mainly to go and do other things: courses, conferences, etc..

Anyway, we spent a week down in Melbourne for orientation with Pioneers, a mission organisation. It was quite an intense week, with only an hour of scheduled free-time each day, and about 7 hours of sessions throughout the day and into the evening. We are, as long-term readers and friends would know, exploring the possibilities of long-term ministry in Mongolia. It was a very helpful week as we get to know Pioneers and how they work and what they're all about and how we might fit in with that.

We flew back to Sydney on Friday night, and then got up Saturday morning and drove up to Mt. Victoria to serve a neighbouring church for their weekend retreat. I gave 4 talks on Judges. I should have organised to record them. It was a good time up there, sharing with some lovely folk, and hearing their stories too. You might get some posts on Judges out of me in the next week or so.

Tomorrow is back to college, back to the thesis, and back to everything else. So I'm trying to enjoy my Sunday evening as best I can.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Really slow

I do most of my greek work on a Windows 7 operating system, running Keyman. It makes typing polytonic Greek a real breeze, and I can switch keyboard layouts with some custom hotkeys.

But I also run a linux system off the same computer, which is also where emails tend to end up. And the Greek polytonic layout is different. Which messes me up. You get used to one system and then the other totally throws you.

This explains why sometimes things get delayed. Like just now when I went to type an email in Greek and gave up in frustration. it's bad enough trying to think in Greek, let alone remember a foreign keyboard layout.

Okay, this is truly my last post before going away for the week. mission conference then speaking at a church retreat. would appreciate your prayers.

Friday, July 02, 2010

End of week ramblings without proper title.

Well, this is the end of a rather odd week in my study calendar. I've not been doing much thesis work, because I'm going to be away next week, and I've mainly been occupied with preparing some sermons on Judges for the weekend following. (This explains why you won't get any posts for a week or so).

Anyway, I am reflecting today on how little use I've made of ἡ Σχολή (Greek) and Schola (Latin). These are both fine social-networking and education-resourcing sites, with chat facilities as well.

I suppose one part of it is a certain shyness. I'm not outgoing by nature and sitting down in chat-rooms to talk in Attic doesn't come naturally. Secondly, I suspect we all suffer from some language-shock: confronted by a mass of Greek it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Thirdly, Greek and Latin work better in my brain when I've spent some time 'acclimatising'. And fourthly, time-zones are not in my favour.

Anyway, I want to work against this. If indeed our plans to go to Mongolia next year, εἰ ὁ Θεὸς θέλει, then I will be an even more isolated setting for communicative language practice of Greek and Latin!

So, I think my answer is to set aside a time each week, and just lock it in to being online and on such sites. Maybe Aussies like myself could make a common time, one weeknight for a few hours say. Working on real-time text-based, and voice-based, conversation will definitely help us move forwards.

I had another thought about something but it's gone.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

An Oerberg in Greek?

A lot of us would like to see a Greek version of Oerberg's Lingua Latina. Today I started doing a bit of work on something that would help us get there. I started translating Familia Romana into Greek.

Of course, simply translating LL is not a perfect solution. My text is not truly adapted to a Direct Method teaching of Greek per Greek. I've kept the story located in its Roman Empire setting, with names intact. I have not tried to balance out the vocabulary to systematically introduce endings and declensions. Greek has an aorist and perfect to match the Latin perfect. The optative needs its own treatment. Participles do a lot more in Greek. It's also hard to know how to introduce the variety and complexity of Greek particles (I don't even have a good instinct for using them myself). And so on.

At this stage though, my main aim is simply to provide a translation of LL as is, into the Greek language. At a later stage we might think about adapting the text itself or writing a new one.

One of the other problems is that a translation runs into copyright issues, even though LL's content is not actually the point, since it's trying to teach Latin; nonetheless I think I'll try and get in touch with the rights holders'. Hopefully they've no objection to a straight translation of LL into Greek.

I make no promises about progress! I had thought about starting this long ago, but never got around to it. I can at least tell you that I've made a start, and some of it will appear over at cotidie, and maybe some files will get posted somewhere too.

If you'd like to more formally collaborate on this, let me know. Maybe we could set up a wiki or something.

Lessons in being polite: spelling people's names

It's really quite simple. People have a name, they're generally quite attached to it, and they're often very attached to the way they spell it. So be polite, spell their name correctly.

Now, if you don't know how they spell their name, it's okay to get it wrong. Once. And they should not be offended, they have no good claim to be offended. They should simply say, "Sorry, that's not how I spell my name, I spell it ...."

And then you should take notice of this and from then on be a proficient and diligent speller of their name.

Particularly bad is when their name is right in front of you. Like when they've sent you an email and their name is in the address field, and they've signed it, and you're replying back to them, and you just ignore what they wrote and use whatever spelling seems good to you. Now you're just be rude, probably through mental indolence.

I'm not particularly offended when you spell my name wrong, just a little baffled that you didn't take more care, especially when it was right in front of you all along.

Seumas. It's Scottish, not Irish. That's why you don't spell it Seamus.
Macdonald, not McDonald. Again, I'm not Irish, and we don't run a family restaurant.

Thank you. Here ends today's public service announcement.

p.s. Substituting random Scottish names, a la Angus, Fergus, etc., only secures you a place in my hall of infamy
p.p.s. While I appreciate the genetic memory that drudges up Hamish as the Gaelic vocative form of Seumas, it is also generally not to be used for my name, unless you are in fact addressing me in Gaelic.