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HandHeldClassics.com

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Introduction

   My study of ancient language on the Palm Pilot is in part inspired by Henrich Schliemann who's method of language learning was to read an original text and translation concurrently, something the Palm Pilot with the "Bible+" program is perfectly suited for.


"I never went on my errands, even in the rain, without having my book in my hand and learning something by heart ; and I never waited at the post-office without reading."     H.S.
 

Below Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) details his method of language acquisition.

"Necessity taught me a method which greatly facilitates the study of a language. This method consists in reading a great deal aloud, without making a translation, taking a lesson every day, constantly writing essays upon subjects of interest, correcting these under the supervision of a teacher, learning them by heart, and repeating in the next lesson what was corrected on the previous day." Schliemann on the study of Greek. "I then occupied myself for two years exclusively with the literature of ancient Greece; and during this time I read almost all the classical authors cursorily, and the Iliad and Odyssey several times. Of the Greek grammar, I learned only the declensions and the verbs, and never lost any precious time in studying its rules; for as I saw that boys after being troubled and tormented for eight years and more in schools with the tedious rules of grammar, can nevertheless none of them write a letter in ancient Greek without making hundreds of atrocious blunders, I thought the method pursued by the schoolmasters must be altogether wrong, and that a thorough knowledge of the Greek grammar could only be obtained by practice, -that is to say, by the attentive reading of the prose classics, and by committing choice pieces of them to memory. Following this very simple method, I learnt ancient Greek as I would have learnt a living language. I can write in it with the greatest fluency on any subject I am acquainted with, and can never forget it. I am perfectly acquainted with all the grammatical rules without even knowing whether or not they are contained in the grammars ; and whenever a man finds errors in my Greek, I can immediately prove that I am right, by merely reciting passages from the classics where the sentences employed by me occur."

 

Heinrich Schliemann "Ilios the city and country of the Trojans" first published 1881

Ilios the city and country of the Trojans

Poet and scholar John Milton (1608-1674) gives testimony below in favour of the interlineary system, as being best adapted for learning a language



    "We do amiss to spend seven or eight years merely in scraping together as much Latin and Greek as might be learned easily and delightfully in one year.
   If, after some preparatory grounds of speech by their certain forms got into memory, they were led to the praxis thereof in some chosen short book lessoned thoroughly to them, [that is, read and translated to them], which would bring the whole language quickly into their power. This I take to be the most natural and most profitable way of learning languages.
   [Children] should begin with the chief and necessary rules of some good grammar, either that now used, or any better; and while this is doing, their speech is to be fashioned to a distinct and clear pronunciation, as near as may be to the Italian(for Latin), especially in the vowels. Next, to make them expert in the usefullest points of grammar, some easy and delightful book should be read to them.
   [By this, Milton means that the teacher should read some easy Latin book to his pupils, and translate and explain it repeatedly, until they understand such Latin book, and can them selves translate it.]
 

Writer and scholar Sydney Smith (1771-1845) adds.



   The Hamiltonian system (an interlinear system with the word order changed to flow as English), on the other hand:
1st. Teaches an unknown tongue by the closest interlinear translations, instead of leaving a boy to explore his way by the lexicon or dictionary.
2d. It pospones the study of grammar till a. considerable progress has been made in the language, and a great degree of practical grammar has been acquired.
3d. It substitutes the cheerfulness and competition of the Lancasterian system for the dull solitude of the dictionary. By these means a boy finds he is making a progress, and learning something from the very beginning. He is not overwhelmed with the first appearance of insuperable difficulties; he receives some little pay from the first moment of his apprenticeship, and is not compelled to wait for remuneration till he is out of his time, the student, having acquired the great art of understanding the sense of what is written in another tongue, may go into the study of the language as deeply and as extensively as he pleases The old system aims at beginning with a depth and accuracy which many men never will want, which disgusts many from arriving even at moderate attainments, and is a less easy, and not more certain road to a profound skill in a language, than if attention to grammar had been deferred to a later period.
   In fine, we are strongly persuaded that, the time being given, this system will make better scholars; and, the degree of scholarship being given, a much shorter time will be needed. if there is any truth in this, it will make Mr. Hamilton one of the most useful men of his age; for, if there is anything which fills reflecting men with melancholy and regret, it is the waste of mortal time, parental money, and puerile happiness, in the present method of pursuing Latin and Greek."

 

 

 

How to get started



   Now it is well understood that installing and configuring these programs can be a very trying experience for some. At the apex of your inevitable frustration please keep in mind that even for the best of minds, learning Classical languages takes years of continuous effort. If you give up after only a few frustrations while installing these programs then consider it a metaphor to your working through the frustrations sure to come on your long journey towards learning classical language.
   On the other hand, if you are able to cross the Hellespont and complete the installation, you will have in hand and at your beacon call, a portable, powerful, open ended tool, with the ability to store and recall the entire corpus classical, including commentary and lexica. Below are the programs needed to begin using Your Palm Pilot as a powerful language learning tool.

 

Bible+ An interlinear text reader program
Roadlingua The dictionary program
Plucker A Plug-in dictionary Interface
Fonthack V Used to display Greek fonts.
Fonts Greek and other fonts
YAHM A program to enable alternate fonts
All Download full package in a zip file (use only if you have problems)

 


   For a more detailed view of these programs see Programs.HandHeldClassics.com. Please see the credits area and be sure to visit each authors website. In no way do I wish to give the impression that I have authored any of the above, but have only put them together as a working package for all to use. As text, commentary and lexica, encoded for the Bible+ and Roadlingua formats become available, they will be found at Text.HandHeldClassics.com. for free download. You will need special font's to view Greek Fonts.HandHeldClassics.com.

 

    Many thanks to those dedicated souls who have brought forth classics and language learning tools on the internet. Please visit the Links page to see some of the internet contributions of the past two decades.

 

If you don't have a Palm Pilot try this Javascript enabled Palm Bible+ Simulator to see some of the functionality of the wonderful Bible+ program.
Be sure to set your Browser font to Palatino Linotype

 

 

 

 

"Dedicated to the development and free distribution of ubiquitous tools for the study of ancient language"
John Jackson, HandHeldClassics.com



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hissarlik Oct. 2005