A Few Weeks of Learning Later

Since it has been a few weeks, I thought I would jot down some notes on what my brain has been doing.

Oxford Latinitas

As I mentioned previously, I recently started attending some of the Oxford Latinitas classes. They just finished up their school term and the classes are on a partial hiatus at the moment, so it seemed like to a good time to jot down my experiences thus far.

I only attended the Intermediate Latin Reading class a few times before dropping it to focus only on the Intermediate Latin class (going through LLPSI) and the Intermediate Greek class (which jumps between JACT Reading Greek for extensive reading purposes and selections from Plato). Both of those keep me plenty busy. The class leaders are incredibly good at conversational Latin and Greek, but also have a good deal of patience for those of us who weren't able to jump in full speed. And on the subject of jumping in, I joined the classes mid-semester and was called on to participate within minutes of attending each of the classes for the first time, with them knowing nothing about me but the name I logged on with in Zoom. On the one hand, this was quite a shock. I didn't know what to expect beforehand, didn't know what they were even reading beforehand, and so just had a few minutes to orient myself in an immersive language experience before being called upon. Yikes! On the other, having attended now for several weeks, I see that it is indicative of their openness to newcomers and their desire for attendees to participate at whatever level they are capable. No lurking. If you attend, you participate. It was certainly jarring at first, but the leaders have been nothing but helpful, and I am really appreciative.

Both of the classes follow the same basic model of having a leader take us through a text, repeatedly and randomly cold-calling us to answer things about the reading in ways that require us to stay attentive constantly. Most of the questions tend to be simple and simply require you to repeat or rephrase the text in a different person, tense, or mood, which is great practice, and also helps them confirm that we were understand what is going on.

The Intermediate Latin class covered the last chapters of Familia Romana before we jumped into Roma Aeterna for a few weeks. I had just purchased Roma Aeterna a few weeks before, so it was nice to get to use it. I had been through the end of Familia Romana twice before, so that was a little easier.

As mentioned above, the primary text for the Greek class at the moment is JACT's Reading Greek, but just the text portion. They had already gone through Italian Athenaze beforehand, so they didn't need to grammar portion. But some of the readings in that book were from Plato, we also jumped out of that text at times and looked at some raw selections from Apology, Euthydemus, and Theaetetus.

The most difficult thing for me in the Greek class was the shift in pronunciation. This class uses a reconstructed Attic pronunciation with pitches, and it took me a number of group sessions, as well as a few one-on-one sessions with the instructor, to get a handle on it. This will be my second pronunciation change. I initially learned using an Erasmian pronunciation, then moved to a more historical koine pronunciation, and now this reconstructed Attic. There are all sorts of words they say that I know by hearing in one pronunciation but not another, which has been a struggle over the last few weeks. But things are getting better. My ability to listen and understand the new pronunciation is coming along very well with my ability to pronounce lagging behind, but that is to be expected. Though my general intention is to focus on Koine and Patristic rather than classical, this seems liked a great opporunity to pickup a restored pronunciation. However, retraining my brain (again) has erased my ability to use a historical koine pronunciation, at least temporarily. I'm wondering how hard it is going to be to actually keep multiple pronunciations of a secondary language in my head at one time.

But as I mentioned above, their current semester is ending. The Latin class is on hiatus but the Greek class continues three times a week, except that the normal class leader isn't leading all the sessions now. I've very glad it's continuing.

Other Things

The Latin RPG class with Seumas continues but will be over soon. This has been a lot of fun and a very different kind of experience. Seumas also follows the general approach of read then quiz/discuss a text, but this class is necessarily different. We are all creating a story somewhat free-form as we go along, which means I don't have a story with the vocabulary that I need lurking in the back of my head. It is difficult but fun exercise. I am glad I did it. He is starting a new set of classes soon, if you are interested.

Outside of class reading, I am focusing on easier things just to do for some relaxing reading. At the moment I am jumping between Pseudo-Lucian's The Ass (this will be my second time through), readings from some of historical books of the LXX, and Italian Athenaze. If anyone is looking for a reading partner for some Zoom chat sessions on any of this or similarly relaxing Greek or Latin reading, hit me up.

Most of my study time has been consumed in Latin and Greek. Other than that, I've been spending time preparing selections from First Clement and Irenaeus' Against Heresies (and if you need access to some Latin/Greek of this, go here) for a theology class that I am leading at church. Why even study theology if you only read recent people? Anyway, now I am moving on to Origen's On First Principles to prepare some readings and finally got a copy of the cheaper version of John Behr's new edition. You can get that on Amazon but it is currently out of stock. Even though the Oxford Press site said that it was out of stock as well, I got my copy from them relatively quickly.

I am also trying to fit in time to continue some of that ancient astronomy/astrology reading I mentioned a few months ago. I have read through Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, relevant portions of Pliny's Natural History, small portions of Manilius' Astronomica, and some reading in secondary literature. So much to learn while holding down a job and having a family!

That is it for now. Going to get a little study in before starting work. Carry on!

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