Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:21 pm

IronMike wrote:
MorkTheFiddle wrote:I'm also thinking of reviving my Old Norse, at least to the extent of re-reading "Hrafnkels saga freysgoða," a great story for any language. A passage I read in Medea today made me think of it. There is a convenient copy of it in E. V. Gordon's An Introduction to Old Norse, rev 2nd ed by A. R. Taylor (London 1974). Along with some other interesting bits of Old Norse lit.

I freaking love Gordon's book. Found it in a used book store many months ago for a great price. I read all the history stuff at the beginning, just haven't attacked the lessons yet.

A very useful and entertaining book, I agree. Though the grammar is spare and something like a trip across the North Atlantic in an open boat. :mrgreen:
Perhaps you are already familiar with Northvegr Easy Readings in Old Icelandic, but if not a relatively easy set of readings about Norse mythology. The link will take you to the first reading. The site owner or someone (?) has added a helpful vocabulary for the reading (I don't know whether for every tale).
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:19 am

French and Spanish
Nothing new to report from last time.

Ancient Greek (and Latin)
I drew up a short list of reading I would do if I found out Earth would be destroyed by Cardassian torpedoes in 6 months. Here it is:
Herodotus Book 2 (I've read all the other books)
Plato Republic Books 2-10? (I've read Book 1).
Marcus Aurelius (have read nothing of this)
Thucydides, the finished parts (meaning the non-speeches): maybe?
Tacitus Annals and Histories I regard Tacitus as the best thinker and best writer of Latin. Alas, he can be very difficult.
Seneca's Letters to Lucilius, at least some of them
Seneca Plays?
Horace Selected Odes.

Japanese
I am toying with radicals and how they work in kanji.
For example, I learned that the kanji for "frog" is 蛙, that the leftmost part of the character or radical, 虫, means "insect," and the rightmost radicals are duplicated 土, one atop the other, and them mean mound of earth. I kind of, but only kind of, see how an insect and a mound of earth could mean frog. Then I moved on to "pond," 池, the leftmost radical meaning "water," and the rightmost I'm still working on. :)
Er, frog and pond come up because I'm working on the haiku about the frog jumping into the old pond, one of the most famous haiku of all, by Basho (the o should have a macron over it):
古池
蛙飛び込む
水の音
I am using Joy o'Kanji for identifying the radicals, the Kodansha Basic English-Japanese and the app imiwa? to look up the kanji.

Although there is a glitch or two (like I don't quite see how insect + mound of earth=frog, and one of the radicals for pond is not a "standard" radical), but I can say I now recognize the kanji for pond, frog and old without any direct effort.
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby DaveAgain » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:05 am

MorkTheFiddle wrote:Ancient Greek (and Latin)
I drew up a short list of reading I would do if I found out Earth would be destroyed by Cardassian torpedoes in 6 months. Here it is:
Herodotus Book 2 (I've read all the other books)
Plato Republic Books 2-10? (I've read Book 1).
Marcus Aurelius (have read nothing of this)
Thucydides, the finished parts (meaning the non-speeches): maybe?
Tacitus Annals and Histories I regard Tacitus as the best thinker and best writer of Latin. Alas, he can be very difficult.
Seneca's Letters to Lucilius, at least some of them
Seneca Plays?
Horace Selected Odes.
I read a little piece of Marcus Aurelius most mornings (in french). It's already divided into little paragraph/page size portions.

I started doing this with Epictetus, then Cicero's De Officiis as the three were presented as key stoic texts, and I thought they might support one another.

https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/ ... -stoiciens
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:38 pm

MorkTheFiddle wrote:For example, I learned that the kanji for "frog" is 蛙, that the leftmost part of the character or radical, 虫, means "insect," and the rightmost radicals are duplicated 土, one atop the other, and them mean mound of earth. I kind of, but only kind of, see how an insect and a mound of earth could mean frog. Then I moved on to "pond," 池, the leftmost radical meaning "water," and the rightmost I'm still working on. :)

This is a topic I love, so I hope it's ok to give possibly way too much clarification

虫 is a pictogram of a snake (口 is the head, the rest is the tail). 蟲 was used to mean worms (a bunch of small snakes). Worms generalized to insects in general, and then other characters were developed for snakes so 虫 came to replace 蟲 as it's much easier to draw.

As a radical, 虫 is one of many which can just mean "animal." When you see it as a radical, it could be indicating snake or snake-like, insect, or just "animal" generally. So, 虫 is used because a frog is an animal.

圭 is a hint towards the sound of the character in Ancient Chinese. It doesn't relate to the meaning at all. However, the sounds have diverged in Japanese, so it's no longer a useful phonetic hint for the onyomi in Japanese.

池 is the same situation. 也 is just indicating the sound. Lucky for us, this is one that is a lot more functional in modern Japanese, so 地, 池, 馳, and 弛 all have an onyomi of ち! However with Japanese kanji, exceptions always exist. 他 is another word containing 也 as a phonetic component, but it is pronounced た...

Hope this is somewhat clarifying. mounds of earth + insect = frog is applying the logic of ideograms to every character. This can be useful to create a mnemonic device, but ideograms in reality are only a small percentage of characters. Both of your examples are "Phono-semantic compounds" which are by far the most common type of kanji.
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:20 pm

DaveAgain wrote:]I read a little piece of Marcus Aurelius most mornings (in french). It's already divided into little paragraph/page size portions.

I started doing this with Epictetus, then Cicero's De Officiis as the three were presented as key stoic texts, and I thought they might support one another.

https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/ ... -stoiciens

I first heard of Epictetus just the other day. He was mentioned as one of the easier Ancient Greek koine writers, so I looked him up and read a bit. I've also read Marcus Aurelius in English translation several years ago, and underlined a lot of passages. The link will provide an excellent aide for him and the others. So thanks.


devilyoudont wrote:
MorkTheFiddle wrote:For example, I learned that the kanji for "frog" is 蛙, that the leftmost part of the character or radical, 虫, means "insect," and the rightmost radicals are duplicated 土, one atop the other, and them mean mound of earth. I kind of, but only kind of, see how an insect and a mound of earth could mean frog. Then I moved on to "pond," 池, the leftmost radical meaning "water," and the rightmost I'm still working on. :)

This is a topic I love, so I hope it's ok to give possibly way too much clarification

Hope this is somewhat clarifying. mounds of earth + insect = frog is applying the logic of ideograms to every character. This can be useful to create a mnemonic device, but ideograms in reality are only a small percentage of characters. Both of your examples are "Phono-semantic compounds" which are by far the most common type of kanji.

What you write is music to my ears. When I was birddogging data for frof and pond, I felt like a kid blowing bubbles it was so entertaining. The information you provide is a very useful corrective to the simplified "histories" I was reading about. So you certainly have not given too much clarification, and thanks a lot.
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby cjareck » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:29 am

devilyoudont wrote:池 is the same situation. 也 is just indicating the sound.

As far as I remember, in Chinese 也 means "also" so pond would be "water" + "also" which is quite logical for me.
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby devilyoudont » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:53 pm

cjareck wrote:
devilyoudont wrote:池 is the same situation. 也 is just indicating the sound.

As far as I remember, in Chinese 也 means "also" so pond would be "water" + "also" which is quite logical for me.


也 as "also" is a rebus... More or less this means that it was originally a pictogram of something else, but it sounded like "also" and so it was used to write "also." In the case of 也 the original meaning has actually been completely lost. There are about a half dozen competing theories about what it originally was a pictogram of.

Within radicals, rebuses are somewhat problematic. As a semantic radical, they almost always retain their original meaning from before they started to be used as a rebus. As an example, 又 (again) is a rebus in Chinese. As a semantic radical, it almost always means "hand" as it did in the oracle bone script. So 取 (take) is an ideogram of an 耳 (ear) in a 又 (hand) because of an ancient practice of taking ears of your fallen enemies. Characters that were developed later tho, might use the rebus meaning.

One further wrinkle for Japanese, there's no guarantee that a character is used for the same meaning in Japanese and Chinese. This is especially the case for these abstract grammatical words. So while 也 may be "also" in Chinese, this is an incredibly infrequent meaning in Japanese. The most common meaning in Japanese is as an archaic version of the copula "to be."
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:26 pm

The other night I posted a description of older sources found online in the Latin Resources section (Latin Resources). Two of them are shortish narratives, Puer Romanus and Julia.
The heart of Puer Romanus prints out to 21 pages, which I set up in 2 columns per page in Microsoft Word and printed both sides of the page. So it is quite manageable. The heart of Julia, which came in pdf form, prints out in booklet form using 16 pages. I prefer reading paper to looking at screens to save on the eyes and the trapezius muscles.
By "heart" I mean just the narratives, leaving out introductory matter and quizzes, vocabularies and so on. A few pages into Puer Romanus, I would say it is easy enough, but calling it absolute beginner may be underrating it. :| A page or two of Julia shows it to be similarly easy, though it gets more difficult, apparently.
Today the mail brought Catherine Millet's La vie sexuelle de Catherine M, purchased on the suggestion of Carmody. I've read only three pages of the first chapter, not enough yet to know who the M. of the title refers to. :)
A previous apparently male owner of the book left several comments written on sticky notes. A first for me, finding a previous owner's bawdy notes. A glance through them finds none that should appear in a family forum.
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MorkTheFiddle
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:37 am

French
I've read the first 36 pages of La vie sexuelle de Catherine M. de Catherine Millet. A book about sex should be at least interesting. This book is not interesting. Carmody's rating of 5/10 is accurate, and I'm going to be quitting right now.

Spanish
The Tale of Genji takes on a somber tone once Gengi hits his late 30s. [Spoiler Alert] After a youth as a sexual bounder and worse, bedding all and sundry, for various reasons the Emperor asks him to marry the Third Daughter (that's her designation). Genji does so, but thereby deeply hurting his wife, who is very much in love with him and fears the second wife will eventually ruin their relationship. (This is stuff that is written before 1000 AD!). I've read about 500 pages, and after another 500 pages I'll find out how it all ends. :) And I watched some of an interview in Spanish of Isabel Allende about El amante japonés, but I was tired and didn't get the url. Apologies.

Old Norse
I re-read a bit of "Hrafenkels saga freysgoða" and understood most of it. Amazing (after 15 years).

Ancient Greek
All over the place. Probably not going to read more Republic. I've read a lot of Plato, but I don't think I can take much more of Socrates's fractured logic. (Please don't # me on this :cry: ) Socrates should have come after Aristotle invented logic, not before.

Latin
Reading the first letter of the Heroides, Penelope to Ulysses, by Ovid. Using a parallel text, cause Latin poetry can be a real fruit basket turnover in its word order and I've no more patience with that. Also reading through Julia and Puer Romanus, very easy texts, with Julia being far more interesting. Speaking of them, the suggestion to read them came from Carolus Raeticus, who has lots, lots more to say about Latin stuff in his Blog by Carolus Raeticus. And it's not the usual blog bs, but rather mostly a long list of stuff he has prepped for Gutenberg. If you're beginning or intermediate Latin, I highly recommend you check out what he has done. It's all free. Anyway, all this is to build a ladder to Tacitus, who is extremely difficult.

Japonese
Not giving up on Basho's frog poem, but shifted to one by Buson about snow on stirrups. But got completely stuck on what word to use for snow. If you can't read Japanese, it is very hard to google cause the results are unknowable (like life, I suppose).
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Re: Mork the Fiddle's 2019 Log

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Sep 22, 2019 11:50 pm

Three weeks of contemplation about the joys and sorrows of language learning. My first language was two years of Spanish in high school I let it go after that, although only a few years later found me in Southwest Texas with lots of Spanish speakers, but I did not follow up. Over time, however, I caught up, and love Cien Años de Soletud, among others. Four semesters of German in college led nowhere as well. German did not turn out to be my favorite language, but after four semesters my foundation was solid, and I wish I had kept going. Four semesters of French turned out very well, though I never wandered far from merely reading. The first French novel I read through was La conditon humaine, which bowled me over (tho I have read it again since, with less enjoyment :( ) Not knowing French, I never would have discovered Dumas' La marquise de Brinvilliers, which is unsurpassed in character development and an extraordinary peripateia. Then there is Proust. To read Proust is to get lost in a large forest, but persevering, one catches a glimpse from time to time of daylight and of a familiar path (the image stolen really from Virginia Woolf).
I studied Latin in graduate school, and all in all, regret the time spent then and later. So ironic that I love the sound of Latin above that of any other language, but the literature, mostly but not entirely, leaves me cold. Then there is Ancient Greek, the longest and hardest journey, and, considering the length and difficulty, the most disappointing of languages. I'm left with a fond feeling for the historian Herodotus, some of the poems in the Greek Anthology, and some of the imagery of Agamemnon and Medea, but as for the rest, even Plato and Thucydides, not really worth the hard work. None of Plato-Socrates's arguments about philosophy seem remotely persuasive. There's Aristotle, whom I have not read, because his work is but the notes of students and so difficult to fathom. Well, anyway, at least now I know.
The only other languages I put some serious time into were Old Norse and Old English. I have yet to read in the original Njalssaga, the birth place sort of of my user name here, slightly morfed because of Robin Williams. ;)
As for languages, I'm mopping up Ancient Greek by reading a minor dialogue of Plato called Ion, but only for prepping for a recording of the dialogue narrated in reconstructed Ancient Greek by Johannes Strathakis. Strathakis speaks with a rich, authoritative, natural sounding Greek, which has become in very debased form my "voice" for Ancient Greek. I want to listen to more of his recording to improve somethat my own.
Latin finds me sliding to medieval lyrics, but I've just begun to get back into it. Peter Dronke (mostly in Medieval Latin and the Rise of European Love-Lyric, 2 vols, but touched on a bit in The Medieval Lyric) is the rare classicist who shows and can articulate his appreciation for the Latin language. Most of the others seem to speak a variation of, "The Aeneid is great. You should read the Aeneid because it is great." :lol: The Consolation of Philosophy has also not dropped off my reading list, and I may try to give a shot to Seneca's dramas.
The Tale of Genji (in Spanish translation) grows ever more intricate and captivating.
My first time through Montaigne's Essays in French (translation) reminds me of his sense of humor, his wide-ranging interests and his deep thoughts.
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