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More wired than a Roman Internet café

2009 marks an important milestone in Latinum's short 2 years online - today the 3 millionth audio file download was passed. I remember when I started the podcast, and twenty downloads a day was a big deal. Now, from 6,000 to 15, 000 audio file downloads a day is the norm. I am still uploading episodes from the Adler textbook. This takes time, and my uploading lags behind the content already recorded, but the task is nearing completion, and soon, after 2 years of almost daily effort, the entire text will be online in audio. I can only guess at the demographic of people using Latinum, but if membership of Schola is anything to go by, then it seems the majority of users are what we could term "mature students", and are self learners, not part of any official Latin program. Here is the most recent map showing where users of Latinum are located. A growing number are in Africa, and slowly, users are appearing in the Former Soviet Union, with a chain of red dots gradually spreading Eastward across the Urals. I expect much of this is a result of people contacting each other, and word of mouth.

What is needed, is a similar podcast for Greek. The textbook that I think is suitable for a podcast course of this type already exists ( the course needs to use a text that is available as a pdf online, and as a reprint). This is Kendrick's Greek Course, which is an 'Ollendorff', just as Adler's text is, and uses the same methodology as Adler - it approaches ancient Greek through dialogue and discussions of everyday things, using Henri Ollendorff's methodology. Now, which Greek teacher is going to volunteer to record this textbook, and make a podcast? There have been a couple of attempts to start on it - but converting a text into useable audio lessons takes time and dedication, and these attempts have stalled. I expect it would take around 2 years of regular effort to produce the Greek course. I think the format I am using on Latinum works - it has been much modified over the course of time, in response to user input - and the current system of breaking the lessons into three parts, rendered in such a way that the user does not need to ever consult the written text, seems to work well. If anyone wants to start the Greek Podcast, and help give Classical Greek a much needed shot in the arm (It needs it much more than Latin does), please contact me, and I'll help you set up your mypodcast site, and any other help you may need with recording and uploading. Ideally, I'd like to see an attempt made to record Greek using the contonation. That will make it an adventure for you recording it, as I doubt, if you are a classicist specialising in Greek, that you use the contonation when speaking the language aloud. There is one site by a classical scholar that gives good renderings of the Greek with the contonation, which can serve as a model. Doing this will help to revive something that all scholars agree Ancient Greek had - a tonal pronunciation. Any takers?

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Comment by Latinum Institute on January 13, 2009 at 5:46am
Hi there David,

I am thrilled that you are doing this, David. It really will make a huge difference, especially for Greek - there is a paucity of resources. If you do the job well, you will influence an entire generation of students.
What is needed, is a recorded textbook, which is the first, vital step.

In addition, a body of material for "comprehensible input" - i.e. lots of readings to listen to, in simple Greek, or at various levels of Greek - fables, dialogues, and of course, the more complex pieces as well. This corpus can be built up over time - simply by 'reading aloud' to yourself, and recording the results.

It is through exposure to masses of text, aurally, that innate language ability develops.
This is the strength of podcasting - you can provide much more exposure to the language than would be conceivable in a normal classroom environment, with the result that your students progress much more rapidly, as they are simply exposed to a greater amount of the language.

Regarding Kendrick,
It is possible to find a copy of the Greek Ollendorff using Abe books, or http://www.usedbooksearch.co.uk/ - which searches across multiple sites internationally. I have a copy.
I see you discovered the pleasant surprise that the language "feels right" with the contonation - suddenly things fall into place. Certainly Poetry and prose become more intelligible, and beauty of the language as spoken, that the ancients raved on about, becomes more apparent.

There is , as far as I know, no answer key to Kendrick. You will be providing a huge service by making one available. Maybe the way to do this, is to set up a wiki, so that several people who are interested in this project, can work on the answer key - in a similar manner to the way Laura Gibbs set up the Comenius Lexicon Project. This way, other Greek Teachers can contribute to this project, which will be to everyone's benefit.

A P David's website, with his readings using the contonation, might be worthwhile listening to: He recently published a book on Greek with the the tonal accent and the contonation being a major part of the discussion.


Once again, I am thrilled to hear this. You will be amazed how many people there are out there in the world, trying to teach themselves Classical Greek - not to mention former students who want to pick it up again. You will end up with more students than you could ever imagine having in a lifetime of 'normal' classroom teaching.

Comment by Latinum Institute on January 13, 2009 at 3:35pm
That sounds good.
I'd leave the stories until after the entire textbook is online - up to you. There is an awful lot of Classical Greek to read on Google Books. Comenius' Janua Linguarum exists in a Greek version. This would be a very useful text to read online.
This is how I've recorded the Adler material, after much trial and error, and user feedback:
Episodes follow the chapter:
First, I simply read the Chapter's grammar section, all the English explanations plus the Latin.
This episode is called, for example 001 - A - part I
The chapter is sometimes split into more parts, users have told me ten - 20 minutes is about right.
As mypodcast requires an announcement of theirs to be inserted in the first 20 minutes, I usually stop at anything up to 18 minutes, and place the announcement at the end of the episode, recording some 'dead time' in which to easily place it.

001 B part 1 is then all the Sentences from the chapter, read Latin - English - Latin for each sentence, but with no grammar.
001 B part 2 would be the first exercise, also read Latin - English - Latin

001 C part 1 is the same as 001 A, but read without the English. I read the material twice. The first read-through has a pause between each sentence, the second read-through is at a brisker pace.

001 C part 2 is the same, but for the excercises.

I've no idea what your Greek is like, if it is brilliant, you'll not want any input from others on your formulations for the answer key, otherwise, you might want to get second opinions for your formulations of the Greek.

This set-up is quote involved, I know, and it means that recording is slow, however, as a learning tool, it is excellent. It also means the material can be used by the partially sighted, and those who, for whatever reason, cannot read the book. My working assumption is that people are using this in the car, of in the gym, or while jogging, so I've tried to make the audio course work independently of the written text. You'll find the podcast is much more successful if you do this.

You'll also find you rapidly build up a core of listeners, as once the podcast is up, I will link it to Latinum's pages. Many people learning Latin are interested in Greek.

As for a name, I just 'stole' Latinum at random from an old book I was reading at the time I set the podcast up - the idea was to record that particular book. In the end, I discovered Adler's text, but the name stuck.
I'd suggest that you call your Podcast
" ClassicalGreek"
This means Google will find it easily.

I use Audacity to do the recording. All the tech specs for audacity are explained in FAQs on the mypodcast site. I use the mypodcast recorder for uploading and placing the announcement. Sometimes an upload to their server fails on the first attempt. Just click upload a second time, it usually works.
Comment by Latinum Institute on January 14, 2009 at 12:24pm
Yes, I explain this early on - The order is more natural - nominative, then the accusative, then the ablative then the dative, is the order one could expect to see these in a sentence.
Also, the endings rhyme better this way, and this was my prime reason for re-arranging them. They also make very clear patterns: You can see these here:
However, for Greek, I would stick to the book, unless you can find a re-arrangement of the Greek declensions that makes memorisation easier.
Comment by Latinum Institute on January 20, 2009 at 4:45am
Take a look at comlex on pbwiki, which Laura Gibbs has set up.
She is the wiki maven. I'm sure she'll help set this up, if she has some free time, but it is easy enough to set up your own pbwiki.
You are right about the recording....and as you progress, you will listen to your earliest recordings, and cringe. This is all good, and your users will progress along with you. Did you find listening to A.P. David's recordings on the link I sent you, at all useful?
It is better, in the beginning, to speak slowly. The whole process takes time, it is almost a re-learning process, but it truly makes the language come alive.
One naturally speeds up as one progresses. I have found the same thing with Latin. Indeed, I recorded quite a lot, then deleted the entire thing, and started again from scratch at one point. Part of that was due to wanting to re-format the recordings. I stayed away from recording stories etc for a couple of years. I'm fluid enough now, to read a story aloud, which requires a lot of skills, accurate reading, characterisation, drama, vocal modulation....simply too many variables to control when one is simply focussing on the pronunciation and correct phrasing.
One important thing - if you do not have a very powerful computer, make sure you shut down all extra programmes - itunes, messenger, skype, etc before recording, to free up as much working memory on the pc as possible, it really does make a difference, even on my very fast machine, I notice it.

Good luck. It will be well worth the effort, and as you can see, it is forcing you into a very steep learning curve.
The thing about the podcast, is that you start to feel a sense of responsibility towards your listeners, and this also spurs you on to keep up the effort. All in all, from a learning perspective, producing a podcast is a win-win situation.
Comment by Latinum Institute on January 20, 2009 at 12:33pm
It is true, the beginner's recordings need to be very slow - as my initial ones are on Latinum - very slow, emphasising vowel length, and the contonation. Students will have a hard enough time of it, even if it is unnaturally slow.
Plenty of time later for speeding things up.

I think the Kendrick text is an excellent text, and will do the job really well. You can always supplement it later with readings from other textbooks, if need be. I've done this on Latinum, interweaving things from other textbooks into the lessons every now and again.


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