Dailies 03.31.10

Still a lot of brain fog. I may need to have my synapses vacuumed. In desperate need of a brain suck. A brain dustmop.

Working on Greek today. I started examining the vocabulary and the reasons for my weakness there. Not hard to figure. There’s only a few words in each lesson, along with plenty of exercises, so in my great wisdom I just assumed I would pick the stuff up pretty quickly. Apparently I was misinformed, and so I started thinking of how to organize the memory task, how to sort in gender and declension. As I looked through a little book called Greek Paradigm Handbook I realized I was going to need a really strong system of memory cues.

The logical place to start was the alphabet. In the Roman alphabet one memory stunt is to use peg words for the numerical position of each letter, for example, ‘m’ is thirteenth, hence peg word tomb and sound hem, as in hem of a dress, or for ‘a’, first letter peg word tie, phonic ‘ape’ – it makes sense if you know Lorayne. The gain is an image applicable in any number of ways, as well as an additional key for lists.

In Greek, the alphabet is shorter, twenty-four letters, but the symbology is Phoenician and most letters are multisyllabic. Alpha, beta, epsilon, kappa and so on, with only nine being monosyllabic, as tau, rho, pi, and so on. That complicates the memory work a bit. The Roman alphabet is monosyllabic all the way through, hence ape for a is an easy trick, as is bee for b, sea for c, and so on. So the images are more difficult in Greek, for example, alfalfa for alpha, zebra for zeta (zayta), and require more of a leap at times. For gamma, you might use gam, as in a ladies leg, and count on it to bring the whole word with it.

But the real point is less to memorize the alphabet than to create keys to use when grammar and syntax get more complex. The first declension has primary endings in eta and in alpha, as a simple example. It’s easier to keep them separate if I can attach alfalfa images to first alpha declension nouns, and etat (from French) to first eta declension nouns.

So that’s what I’ve been working on in Greek today. It’s somewhat tedious, but by systematizing now I can save headaches and move faster later when things get complex.

(And once more I ask myself, “Why am I torturing myself like this?” and a little voice answers, “Well, it’s interesting, and you can impress all the girls with your smarts.” Yeah. Uh huh. Okay.)

Added another 1100 or so words to the novel this morning. I do have to get to that first thing in the day or I’ll slip and fall. My fingers seem to be improving, hardly any pain today. I’ll double the pace next week. It should be okay by then to up the wordage.

That’s the day so far. Is there more? Dunno. I have to consult my synapses. Or my neurons. One of those.


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