Dewey Decimal Project: 491.843 ALB Teach Yourself Slovene

At this point, I’ve been throughNewImage a number of language texts, enough to get a sense for what works for me and what doesn’t (I’d like to think that in a visit to a bookstore, I’d be able to flip through a text to get a sense if it’s worthwhile). This is definitely not a worthwhile text.

The problems are numerous: There was little or no proofreading done so the book is rife with typographical errors (I marked a number of corrections in the library’s copy in just the first couple of chapters), including most egregiously, in the model conjugation of verbs. In at least a couple of instances, the answers in the back of the book are incorrect (as in having no discernible relation to the question asked) or missing. The Slovene-English vocabulary at the end of the book is missing numerous words used in the text. Vocabulary is introduced haphazardly, in some cases in examples for unrelated texts. The exercises reinforce only a surface understanding of the language and in many cases are answered by simply copying word-for-word an example from the unit under examination, and in other cases, expect vocabulary which has not been introduced in any form that I could locate.

I don’t often get angry at a book, but this one enraged me. Its sole redeeming feature is its brevity, insofar as it permitted me to complete the book without investing too much time (while simultaneously preventing me from gaining much knowledge of the Slovene language).

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Beautiful Sentences: Tommy Orange

Those hills bend time.

Tommy Orange, There There.

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Beautiful Sentences: Emily Banks

We close our own dead’s eyes so we can’t see
this pupilless despair, the final begging prayers
of a godless animal.

Emily Banks, “Thaw.”

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Beautiful Sentences: Fernando Pessoa

And I smile to myself as I think that life, which includes these pages bearing the names of fabrics and various sums of money, blank spaces, ruled lines and letters, also includes the great navigators, the great saints, the poets of every age, none of whom appear in this book, a whole vast progeny excluded by those who determine what is of value in the world.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet.

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Writerly resolutions, April Status

The novel feels like it’s going better, although the numbers reveal I wrote just 2,273 words, which is more than last month, but less than I would have liked.

Short story statuses: nothing new put into submissions but I’m beginning to get some minor traction with the new stories and revising the long story.

Beautiful Sentences: Joy Williams

Little children were too innocent to provide salvation. Indeed, little children were always leading their elders right into the teeth of death.

Joy Williams, The Changeling.

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Beautiful Sentences: Fernando Pessoa

There is no work of art that could not have been more perfect. Read line by line, no poem, however great, has no single line that could not be improved upon, no episode that could not be more intense, and the whole is never so perfect that it could not be even more perfect.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet.

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Beautiful Sentences: Joy Williams

They had provided her with substitutions and she had lived safely in the brightness of false things.

Joy Williams, The Changeling.

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Beautiful Sentences: Fernando Pessoa

We know that the book we will never write will be bad. Even worse will be the one we put off writing. At least the book that has been written exists. It may not be very good, but it exist, like the miserable little plant in the lone flowerpot belonging to my crippled neighbor.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet.

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Dewey Decimal Project: 487.4 CRO A Primer of Biblical Greek

As an NewImageundergraduate I studied a number of languages with varying degrees of success. Spanish, Latin, Hebrew and Ancient Greek. It was this last that that completely defeated me. After just one semester, I dropped out of the Greek class. From talking with others both back in the olden days and more recently, the difficulty of ancient Greek is widely recognized.

So I approached the 480s with trepidation: there would be no avoiding attempting to re-learn Greek. 

What I recalled was that in my class, there were a pair of graduate students who were similarly being crushed by the Greek class and who talked about switching instead to a Biblical Greek class being offered through the Institute for Antiquity and said that it was allegedly much easier.

Given that memory, when I looked at the books on the shelf. I decided to pick a book on Biblical Greek, and whether I was just lucky in my choice of text or those long-ago grad students were correct, I found myself having a much easier time with Biblical Greek. 

I imagine it’s both, but this text does an amazing job of introducing the complexities of Biblical Greek. Each chapter ends with four sets of exercises, a set of sentences for translation from Greek which are presumably composed by Croy, a set of passages from the Septuagint, a set of passages from the New Testament (these latter two have supplementary vocabulary provided which is explicitly not expected to be learned) and finally a short set of English sentences to be translated to Greek. The later chapters have a few words that don’t manage to make it into either the main or supplementary vocabularies but Wiktionary provides an invaluable resource for being able to find words both in canonical and inflected forms much to my relief.

It took me nearly two years, but I worked through all 32 chapters and all the accompanying translation exercises and my phobia of ancient Greek has been alleviated. I’m almost ready to pull my old Attic Greek textbook off the shelf and give it another try.

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