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geoffw
Triglot
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United States
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1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 857 of 1317
31 December 2013 at 4:32pm | IP Logged 
The Italian site is deastore.com. (Like "deal" without the "l.") It has non-Italian user interfaces as well, in case that
was a worry (though I don't think I've used them, so no guarantees they work perfectly). As noted, it takes several
weeks, but no additional shipping cost. So order each item individually, or it may take even longer.

Also note that amazon gift cards DO work for third party vendor purchases through amazon. I buy a lot of used
and new books that way.
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
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2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 858 of 1317
01 January 2014 at 3:02pm | IP Logged 
We're having fun in the Team Egyptian log. I'm honored to be on a team with Teango, tarvis and vermillion. And akkadboy has offered to answer questions!

But since none of us can justify a major time commitment, this isn't a TAC team. More a disorganized ramble through the Assimil course and anything else which strikes our fancy.

And we have some really fun activities:

Translating the coverstones in the Stargate movie



Translating inscriptions from Karnak



Thoughts on Egyptian grammar

Egyptian grammar books are just a wee bit intense. Lots of specialized terminology, lots of complicated rules, lots of fierce academic debates that have stretched over half a century. I have a love-hate relationship with this stuff. On the one hand, I love reading about it. On the other hand, I utterly detest that idea that I'm supposed to memorize any of it. And I suspect that this sort of grammar has very little to do with actual language acquisition.

So I've made a decision: I'm not going to care why the Egyptians would use a specific verb form or particle in a given sentence. All I care about is whether I can successfully predict what form the Egyptians would use.

Hence, MCDs: Cloze out a particle or verb ending or whatever, and train myself to fill it back in. Multiply it by a lot of content. Trust my brain to do the actual pattern analysis at a mostly subconscious level. The theory here is that I want to be able to read Egyptian (and deal with scribal shenanigans and damaged inscriptions). I don't care about actually explaining the delightfully strange verbal system, or any other part of the grammar. Successfully using Egyptian would be enough.

I want my brain to build a probabilistic model describing typical Egyptian text, and I want to use that to say, "OK, so they drew the signs out of order for artistic reasons. But clearly the text here is mi ra ra-nb 'like Ra every day', because isn't that what they always say in this context?"

It seems to me that accurate prediction of specific details, given context, is very near the heart of language learning. Certainly it's the secret to fluent reading and easy listening comprehension: if I already have a pretty good idea what kind of sentences are likely, it's a lot easier to recognize them quickly. But it also helps with accurate output: If I can fill in verb endings or prepositions almost effortlessly, given the context, I'm a long ways towards speaking and writing fluently.
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2577 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 859 of 1317
01 January 2014 at 6:35pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

So I've made a decision: I'm not going to care why the Egyptians would use a specific verb form or particle in a given sentence. All I care about is whether I can successfully predict what form the Egyptians would use.

Hence, MCDs: Cloze out a particle or verb ending or whatever, and train myself to fill it back in. Multiply it by a lot of content. Trust my brain to do the actual pattern analysis at a mostly subconscious level. The theory here is that I want to be able to read Egyptian (and deal with scribal shenanigans and damaged inscriptions). I don't care about actually explaining the delightfully strange verbal system, or any other part of the grammar. Successfully using Egyptian would be enough.


I am not sure prediction is exactly what you want if your aim is to read Egyptian text.

I was really surprised when I realized that I could read German without having studied the grammar very much at all. Of course, you need to understand how the system works at some level -- basic cases, what a definite article looks like etc - but you don't need to be predict what form the definite article will take or how you decline an adjective correctly, you just need to know that you are looking at an adjective or definite article.

It would actually be helpful if there was a word for the surface functional level of grammar you need to read or understand speech. It's much less than what you need to correctly produce speech. Of course, I don't think you need to explicitly know the full grammar either, but that's a different discussion.

Have you ever been to Egypt? I had my honeymoon there a few years ago. Luxor was amazing. It would so cool to be able to read the texts in the tombs. Your sense of time really changes. After a couple of weeks you start thinking 500 BC is recent. I was amazed at the beauty of the tomb paintings. The colors from the paint are still vivid after 1000s of years.

Edited by patrickwilken on 01 January 2014 at 6:39pm

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3576 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 860 of 1317
01 January 2014 at 10:58pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:
I am not sure prediction is exactly what you want if your aim is to read Egyptian text.

For the last several months, I've been making a lot more cloze cards than usual. Typically, the clozed material is tiny, almost a joke: perhaps only a syllable or two. At the same time, I've been continuing to make sentence cards. So I have the raw material for an informal comparison.

And the verdict has been clear: I have a far better command of the vocabulary on my cloze cards than the vocabulary on my sentence cards. When I read, I'm much less likely to be confused by similar-looking words, and when I speak, the words are far more readily available.

My guess is that I'm exploiting some kind of active recall effect. But as with sentence cards, I'm doing it within a natural linguistic context.

Here's an example. Here are my two cards for รฉcueil "reef", each covering half the word:



I had this word on regular sentence card for a few years, and it never stuck. But with the above card, I learned it quickly and I have active access to the word (and hundreds more like it).

As for Egyptian, I've already got a deck of about 500 sentence cards, and I've been reviewing it for over a year. These cards can be pretty painful to review: First I need to read the signs, then I need to mentally transliterate them, then I need to piece together the grammar and remember the vocabulary. Here's an example:



Wonderful content, awful card. Just absolutely hideous to read after a 5 month interval. So I tried applying my new card formats to Egyptian, which gave me things like:



Here, I need to recall the last two letters of sKbb "to refresh". Everything else on this card is optional, but I have 3 or 4 cards covering the same text. Reviews go a lot faster (even with the inflated card count), but I still get excellent coverage. Each individual card is quite easy (no need to transliterate and translate everything, including Assimil's one-off vocab), but I'm getting a nice active recall boost.

Of course, even more important than vocabulary is grammar. Here I need to recall r "relative to", which is used to build comparisons in Egyptian:



Granted, my sample size is me. But this approach seems to work equally well for low-advanced French reading and for beginner's Egyptian.

Anyway, I have to thank Khatzumoto for banging on this subject for years. It's taken me a long time to start using this tool earnestly, but I'm glad to add it to my toolbox.

patrickwilken wrote:
I was really surprised when I realized that I could read German without having studied the grammar very much at all. Of course, you need to understand how the system works at some level -- basic cases, what a definite article looks like etc - but you don't need to be predict what form the definite article will take or how you decline an adjective correctly, you just need to know that you are looking at an adjective or definite article.

I could probably get away with this just fine in Spanish for quite a while. But Egyptian is a bit weird: It's a lot less familiar than a typical Indoeuropean language, it varies a lot over time and space, and there are no spaces between words. So I've had to take all the tools out of my French-learning toolbox, and sharpen them up aggressively.

patrickwilken wrote:
Have you ever been to Egypt? I had my honeymoon there a few years ago. Luxor was amazing. It would so cool to be able to read the texts in the tombs. Your sense of time really changes. After a couple of weeks you start thinking 500 BC is recent. I was amazed at the beauty of the tomb paintings. The colors from the paint are still vivid after 1000s of years.

I'd love to go to Egypt someday. So would my wife (she's a life-long fan). But we'll probably wait until the kids are old enough to really appreciate it. I have, however, seen the Louvre's spectacular Egypt exhibits a few times, and the sense of time really is sobering.

For what it's worth, my Egyptian is already good enough to read a small handful of common inscriptions. Stuff like "Son of Ra Amon-Hotep, gifted with life for eternity," etc. Believe me, as far as native content goes, this stuff really makes my day. :-)
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2577 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 861 of 1317
01 January 2014 at 11:07pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:

I'd love to go to Egypt someday. So would my wife (she's a life-long fan). But we'll probably wait until the kids are old enough to really appreciate it. I have, however, seen the Louvre's spectacular Egypt exhibits a few times, and the sense of time really is sobering.


I don't know if I would feel that comfortable going now. I was there about seven years ago, and even then you weren't allowed to travel anywhere between Luxor and Cairo without police accompaniment.

You should definitely go sometime if you get a chance. There is something very special about actually sanding in the tombs. My favorite part was the Valley of the Nobles in Luxor (b/w the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens). As you might expect the tombs are a little more down-to-earth, and paintings in the tombs are beautiful. It's a great shame that they are not protected - you can literally touch the paintings - and you have the sense that tourism would sadly destroy a lot in the next 50 years.
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3576 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 862 of 1317
05 January 2014 at 2:24pm | IP Logged 
I'm sad to hear that the Egyptians can't take steps to preserve the paintings. Italy has much the same problem, sometimes: There's a priceless Roman villa under every other rural farm, and nobody could possibly afford take care of them. My art history teacher often joked that Italy should organize a "sponsor a monument" program for countries which had relatively little history of their own.

On the Anki front, I'm trying a little experiment with grammar tables:



Essentially, it's an MCD (lots of context with a small deletion), but instead of applying it to native content, I'm applying it to a table of pronouns. The idea is that (1) Assimil won't give me enough content to cover all the possible variations, but (2) it wouldn't kill me to know the occasional table and (3) there's quite a lot of regularity in these pronouns that's worth bringing to my attention. This is basically my version of Iversen's "green sheets", except instead of hanging it on the wall, I use Anki to slip in into my memory. Of course, this sort of table is useless to me by itself until I encounter each of these forms in actual running text a dozen times. But this way, when I see them, I'll be able to decipher them.

My regular sentence MCDs are working well for Egyptian, though I suspect that as the cards hit the 6 month mark, I'll probably need to delete the cards for more obscure vocabulary to avoid a high fail rate. That's OK, not every card needs to live forever.

I've been having more fun over in the Team Egyptian thread, and I found some amazing resources yesterday. Here's a sample. (To see the hieroglyphs, I recommend installing the Gardiner.ttf font.)

emk wrote:
The St Andrews corpus contains a long list of amazing PDFs, including the Westcar papyrus:



(This comes from a tale of adultery and magic that ends with somebody getting devoured by a wax crocodile.)

โ€ฆ

Let's take a shot at a Leipzig-style gloss, using "/" as a column marker and "PCLE" for "particle".

๐“‡‹๐“…ฑ-๐“„Ÿ๐“‹ด๐“€ / ๐“ƒน๐“ˆ– / ๐“Š๐“Šช๐“๐“‰ / ๐“…“ / ๐“…ฎ๐“…“ / ๐“ˆ™๐“ˆ‡๐“ค / ๐“ˆ– / ๐“๐“ƒ€๐“…ก๐“„ฟ๐“›-๐“‡‹๐“ˆ–๐“‚‹๐“ŠŒ๏ปฟ๐“€€
iw-ms / wn / Ssp-t / m / pA / S / n / wbA-inr
PCLE-surely.PCLE / be.PCLE / pavilion-F / in / ART / garden / of.MSG / open-stone
"Surely there's a pavilion in the garden of Ubainr."

๐“…“๐“‚-๐“ / ๐“ˆ–๐“ฅ / ๐“น=๐“ˆ–๐“ฅ / ๐“„ฟ๐“๐“ฏ๐“‡ณ๐“ค / ๐“‡‹๐“…“=๐“‹ด
m-T / n / ir=n / At / im=s
look.PCLE-FSG / we.1PL / make.SBJV?=we.1PL / time / in=her.3FSG
"Look, let's spend time in it."

The Leipzig glossing rules are a convention used by linguists. The idea is to provide a very detailed interlinear translation that brings out all the tiny linguistic details, which is very useful when specialists need to stray outside their field and look at related languages.

I'm still experimenting with iguanamon's advice to use native materials very early on, and I'm finding that it does help, a bit, but that I benefit most from working with hieroglyphs + transliterations + translations at this point. It's fun to tackle raw inscriptions, but I make more headway if I can rely on somebody else to give me a structure and then use that to create MCDs.

Edited by emk on 05 January 2014 at 2:50pm

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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3576 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 863 of 1317
06 January 2014 at 2:40am | IP Logged 
Aww, my wife is so nice. One of her colleagues asked me if I speak French, and I started to say I could get byโ€”and my wife cut me off to say, "He's completely fluent." This certainly isn't how I feel, but I guess I can fake it convincingly from time to time. -)

I had a one-week break in my probability course, and I used it to make some progress on Egyptian. After working with some native materials and skimming various course books, I spent this afternoon making Anki cards from Assimil lessons 36โ€“40. This will be enough to keep me above my Beeminder curve until the end of my statistics class.

I have to say, I'm really loving this Assimil course. Now that I'm studying it in parallel with native materials, I can see that the course provides far more useful vocabulary than I had suspected.

And now it's time to put my nose firmly to the grindstone. (What a strange metaphor! But it's certainly how it feels sometimes.) These next eight weeks of statistics are going to be rough, and I won't have time for much language study outside of the course and my Anki reviews.
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emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 3576 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
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 Message 864 of 1317
08 January 2014 at 1:04am | IP Logged 
Look what I got in the mail today!

The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day - The Complete Papyrus of Ani Featuring Integrated Text and Full-Color Images

(Sorry for the sloppy photography; I took these photos at night without unpacking my home-made "scanner" that I use for BDs.)





This is a giant 9"x13" (24cm x 36cm), printed on nice heavy stock in full color, with at least one fold-out for the Declaration of Innocence. And it costs less than US$20.

The script used here is halfway between hierogylphs and hiearatic. I can recognize many of the signs, but it's going to take me a while to puzzle out the rest.


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