Class time was productively utilised

And you’re right. I did the productive utilising.

I had planned a media studies day for Class 7 this morning, but finding that I had quite a lot of copies of yesterday’s worksheet, I thought I’d give them that to stare at in class while I busied myself with some Greek. In fact, quite a number of the little darlings were absent because of this interminable arts festival, although that should be finishing today. And it was because quite a number of the bratlings in Class 5 had been absent yesterday that I had enough copies of the worksheet for Class 7. 

I was going through the chapter on time, place and space in Morwood when I wondered why the place is called αἱ Ἀθῆναι. Liddell and Scott supply an answer: it was plural because it consisted of several parts. My guess was that it might’ve meant “the people of Athena”, where the plural form of the goddesses name covered the whole people in much the same way that DJ use band names in the plural to mean a countable collective of the members within it. I suppose the principle is, in fact, similar. 

It’s interesting to note the different adverbial forms of the name. Ἀθήναζε “to Athens” is from Ἀθήνας (acc pl) + –δε, but Ἀθήνησι “at Athens” and Ἀθήνηθεν “from Athens” are based on the singular stem. Thus people went to the collective, but seem only to have been in or from one particular part.

I was also curious about the relationship between ἐνταῦθα “here, there; to here, to there” and ἐντεῦθεν “from here, from there”, and why the vowel is different. For a start, ἐνταῦθα is from ἔνθα “there”, whereas ἐντεῦθεν is from ἔνθεν. Both words have been affected by Grassmann’s Law (the first of a pair of aspirates in sequential syllables becomes a plain stop). But, I ask myself, where do the υ’s come from? Were they originally u-stems? 

If that is the case, then ἐντεῦθεν can’t be derived directly from ἔνθεν, but must rather come from ἐνθεῦ-. Similarly, ἐνταῦθα can’t really be from ἔνθα, but rather from ἐνθαῦ-. Besides, ἔνθα and ἔνθεν would appear to be underlying unaccented,[1] whereas –θαῦ– and –θεῦ– are inherently accented – perhaps.[2]

I got through quite a few more sections of Lysias’ oration On the murder of Eratosthenes (OME) yesterday and I’ve been gradually getting a translation of κατὰ Νεαίρας which, it turns out, was quite a long piece of work. I really need an edition of OME rather than just some marginal glosses (not that they’re handy). I read these things and find myself thinking that they all protested too much. Perhaps Athenian audiences were ready to buy into this. Never mind the facts, feel the emotion. I always feel sorry for Neaira, but know that a misogynistic Athenian audience wouldn’t have recognised that she was a victim of the society in which she lived. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the men of Athens were outraged by her behaviour, but hypocrites for being so.

Notes
1. But note ἐνθάδε “to here” and ἐνθένδε “from here”, where –δε appears to be a pre-accenting particle. I can’t explain Ἀθήναζε instead of *Ἀθηνάζε unless the leftmost of two lexical accents, provided it still falls within the window of stress at the right edge (i.e., doesn’t fall further from the final syllable than the antepenultimate), bears primary stress.
The stress on Ἀθῆναι is lexical because the nom pl morpheme –αι counts as light, which means that a phonologically assigned accent would fall on the initial syllable.
Things get even more complicated with doubly accented words such as Ὄλυμπόνδε “to Olympus”; Ἰθάκηνδε “to Ithaca”, which has a phonologically assigned accent; Φαληρόνδε “to Phalerum”, but note Φάληρον with the phonologically assigned accent on the antepenultimate syllable and the locative Φαληροῖ.
Perhaps some stems are inherently accented regardless of the source of the accent, while others aren’t.
Weir Smyth (1920:43, §186) says “Sometimes an enclitic unites with a preceding word to form a compound (cp. Lat. –que, –ve), which is accented as if the enclitic were still a separate word. Thus… the inseparable –δε in ὅδε, τούσδε, οἴκαδε”. Thus, Φαληρόνδε is an enclitic accent of the usual sort (which means that ἐνθάδε, ἐνθένδε, and Φάληρον, which has a recessive accent, are underlyingly unaccented; Ὄλυμπόνδε retains the antepenultimate accent, but I don’t know why this should be; Ἀθήναζε retains the original accent because the gap between the two accents isn’t bimoraic).
2. But –θεν behaves much like –δε with respect to accentuation, and –θα may behave in a similar fashion. –θαῦ– and –θεῦ– may not be inherently accented at all. On the other hand, I’m not aware of the enclitic accent producing a circumflex. As far as I’m aware, the resulting accent is always acute. Weir Smyth (1920:42, §183b) has φιλῶ σε and τιμῶν τινων, but these are the original accents with no possibility of the enclitic accent being assigned to the preceding syllable even before contraction because the distance between the two accents would be a single mora (e.g. φιλέω σε = é.oo.e; cf. ἄνθρωπός τις = á.oo.ó.i with a bimoraic span between the accents). In other words, it appears that –θαῦ– and –θεῦare inherently accented.
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The world of film

The Hessen Affair.
It’s the end of World War II and some enterprising Americans come across a hidden room in a castle in which the crown jewels of Germany have been stashed. The whole shady deal eventually goes pear-shaped, but Billy Zane gets the girl and they all lived happily ever after. Probably.
 
All right, but TVM or straight-to-DVD fare.

My Zinc Bed.
Even fast-forwarding didn’t improve this film.

Traitor.
Don Cheadle is a deep-cover agent inside a Muslim terrorist group. The FBI are in hot pursuit, but work out that he’s one of the good guys.
 
In the silly ending, all the terrorists get booked onto the same bus and blow themselves up.

Tuesday.
There’s John Simm. There’s Philip Glenister. It could be an episode of Life on Mars. But no. It’s a bank-heist film in which the boys are villains. Holy schizophrenia, Batman! Vaguely entertaining, but in a low-key way. Sort of ends up being a shaggy dog story because the policeman who’s been hunting our heroes was at the bank when they tried to rob it and thus knows perfectly well who they are.

The Code.
The title on the disc is Thick as Thieves. Bloody regionalisation. Morgan Freeman is a thief. Antonio Banderas is also a thief. But he isn’t. He’s a policeman. They rob some high-security Russian bank in New York to steal a couple of cheap Faberge eggs. There’s a girl as well.
 
You don’t care; I don’t care.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
I’m still not caring. Or even curious.

Frost/Nixon.
The film of Davis Frost’s quest to interview Richard Nixon. I feared that this might be long and dull, but it managed to maintain my interest. Frost managed to interview Nixon, but was basically outgunned by the unrepentant former president until the very end when he managed to get the admission that everyone was craving.
 
I thought Frank Langella, although he didn’t bear much of a resemblance to Nixon, outshone Michael Sheen who played the part of the shallow, smarmy talk-show host. But that may have been how it really was, with Frost being well out of his depth.

Flash of Genius.
Greg Kinnear is the man who invented the intermittent windscreen wiper and then has to battle the Ford Motor Corporation for stealing his idea. It’s one of those David vs. Goliath films in which the utterly OCD David wins.
We all wave our flags and cheer dutifully.
It’s all right, but nothing to rave about.

What time did you claim it was?

New levels of grey and gloomy.
 
morning_280409 This was the view looking south out of the annex window at about 8.55am this morning. Right now it could be early morning or late afternoon verging on evening. It hasn’t yet reached the point as it did one afternoon in Changzhou at which the cloud gets so heavy that it’s like night. Nonetheless, this is the dullest I’ve ever seen it get here, and just to exacerbate things, it’s duller than when I woke up.
 
But the news isn’t all bad. It’s the May Day holiday (well, long weekend) at the end of the week, but apart from the nuisance of Monday next week, we have the rest of the week off because of some teachers conference on Tuesday and then mid-term exams the rest of the week. And because I care so much about my students’ educational needs, Monday will be a study day.
 
Yesterday, one of the more smug girls in Class 5 was busy answering questions in some feeble attempt, I guess, to make up for all the work she hasn’t done this term in anticipation of next week’s exams. Well, it’s the only reason why she might suddenly start contributing instead of being a useless waste of space.
 
Anyway, today is the last day that I’ll be teaching anyone anything from Cambridge English for Schools, unless that’s the book the A-level programme also uses. It wasn’t a bad book when we first got it, although it’s now feeling and looking dated. Needs to be updated to get away from tasks about writing letters and diaries (so 20th century) to tasks about writing mail messages and blogging.
 
Meanwhile, yet another epidemic threatens the planet as swine flu starts progressing relentlessly across the globe. No sign of it reaching China just yet, but I’m sure everyone in Guangdong is saying, “Well, at least you can’t blame it on us this time.”

An easy selection?

Did you bump your head, Arthur?

Last night’s selection from the Apology was fairly straightforward with no major difficulties. I’ve been doing what I’ve always done – copying out the sentences and then translating them. 

But today’s selection (36b in the Apology) begins with a few short remarks and then dumps this 110-word monstrosity on you:

Τί ἄξιός εἰμι παθεῖν ἢ ἀποτεῖσαι, ὅτι μαθὼν ἐν τῷ βίῳ οὐχ ἡσυχίαν ἦγον, ἀλλ᾽ ἀμελήσας ὧνπερ οἱ πολλοί, χρηματισμοῦ τε καὶ οἰκονομίας καὶ στρατηγιῶν καὶ δημηγοριῶν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἀρχῶν καὶ συνωμοσιῶν καὶ στάσεων τῶν ἐν τῇ πόλει γιγνομένων, ἡγησάμενος ἐμαυτὸν [36c] τῷ ὄντι ἐπιεικέστερον εἶναι ἢ ὥστε εἰς ταῦτ᾽ ἰόντα σῴζεσθαι, ἐνταῦθα μὲν οὐκ ᾖα οἷ ἐλθὼν μήτε ὑμῖν μήτε ἐμαυτῷ ἔμελλον μηδὲν ὄφελος εἶναι, ἐπὶ δὲ τὸ ἰδίᾳ ἕκαστον ἰὼν εὐεργετεῖν τὴν μεγίστην εὐεργεσίαν, ὡς ἐγώ φημι, ἐνταῦθα ᾖα, ἐπιχειρῶν ἕκαστον ὑμῶν πείθειν μὴ πρότερον μήτε τῶν ἑαυτοῦ μηδενὸς ἐπιμελεῖσθαι πρὶν ἑαυτοῦ ἐπιμεληθείη ὅπως ὡς βέλτιστος καὶ φρονιμώτατος ἔσοιτο, μήτε τῶν τῆς πόλεως, πρὶν αὐτῆς τῆς πόλεως·

And that’s just to a semicolon. In another edition of the text there are another 16 words to go before you see the end of the sentence. I have a reasonable idea what it means, but if Socrates thought that he might persuade the audience to vote in his favour, this is where he probably lost them.

He’s wondering about what a suitable punishment might be. He wonders why he didn’t keep his trap shut and engage in the activities which everyone else in the city does. He didn’t turn up to save himself, but tried to benefit people privately, making them better for it and the city in the same way.

That is a rough paraphrase at best, but there’s quite a bit there which leaves me baffled possibly because there may be things I’m meant to understand. For example, I assume that οἱ πολλοί needs to be supplied with a suitable finite verb. I’m not sure what ἢ is doing between εἶναι and ὥστε, unless, again, there’s some sort of ellipsis. I’m not even sure how ὥστε fits. I only now discover that οἷ is an adverb meaning “to where”. The notes say that the presence of ἰὼν is difficult (in fact, it’d seem safe to ignore it), but what about ἐπὶ δὲ τὸ ἰδίᾳ ἕκαστον…εὐεργετεῖν? Is this an infinitive as a verbal noun? Is τὴν μεγίστην εὐεργεσίαν accusative of respect?[1] () μήτε…μήτε at the end is obviously forms parallel clauses, the second clause requiring ἐπιμελεῖσθαι “to take care of”, which takes a dO in the genitive, to be supplied.[2] Is τῶν ἑαυτοῦ μηδενὸς “none of his own things”? That is, μηδενὸς is the actual dO of the verb (though what’s the deal with τῶν? Genitive of respect?).[3] Is the following clause πρὶν ἑαυτοῦ ἐπιμεληθείη “before he cared for himself”? The final two clauses would seem to be something about someone caring for the city before the city cares for itself.

But this doesn’t constitute an easy selection without a great deal more annotation and even trying to break it down into smaller pieces doesn’t help.

Ugh. I’m feeling frustrated and stupid, and feel that hemlock might’ve been too kind a punishment for Socrates.

Notes
1. No. It seems that μηδενὸς is neuter.
2. I assume that the infinitive is dependent on πείθειν.
3. Nope, it’s a cognate accusative according to LSJ, thus making the clause something like “and I came here, as I said, to do each the greatest service”.

It’s not just rhetoric

Well, some of it is, I suppose.

As you may recall, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, I expressed vexation at the long-standing claim that Classical Greek was allegedly a bit quodlibet when it came to word (i.e., constituent) order. Out of curiosity, I decided to have a closer look at a short section of Lysias’ On the murder of Eratosthenes and found that a high degree of regularity was the order of the day. Here’s the section in question.

[8] ἐπ’ ἐκφορὰν γὰρ αὐτῇ ἀκολουθήσασα ἡ ἐμὴ γυνὴ ὑπὸ τούτου τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὀφθεῖσα χρόνῳ διαφθείρεται· ἐπιτηρῶν γὰρ τὴν θεράπαιναν τὴν εἰς τὴν ἀγορὰν βαδίζουσαν καὶ λόγους προσφέρων ἀπώλεσεν αὐτήν.

The subject of the first sentence is ἡ ἐμὴ γυνὴ “my wife”, which is modified by two non-finite verb clauses, αὐτῇ ἀκολουθήσασα “while she followed her” and ὑπὸ τούτου τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὀφθεῖσα “seen by this person”. Note the structure of both of these. The complement (αὐτῇ, ὑπὸ τούτου τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) precedes the head (ἀκολουθήσασα, ὀφθεῖσα). Note also how αὐτῇ ἀκολουθήσασα, which is a modifier, precedes its head, ἡ ἐμὴ γυνὴ, but in order to avoid the whole phrase being top-heavy, Lysias places the second modifier after the subject and gets a nice modifier – head – modifier pattern. 

I got tripped up by χρόνῳ “in time”, which actually follows the same pattern because it goes with the verb διαφθείρεται “she was seduced”. However, as a speaker of a VO language, my inclination was to take it with the preceding verb. Nonetheless, the sentence ends up being subject – adverbial adjunct – verb. 

The second sentence shows a similar sort of patterning in some of its parts. τὴν θεράπαιναν τὴν εἰς τὴν ἀγορὰν βαδίζουσαν “the maid who was walking in the market place” follows the spec + noun + spec + modifier pattern (e.g. ἡ γυνὴ ἡ σοφή “the wise woman”), but inside the modifying phrase, εἰς τὴν ἀγορὰν βαδίζουσαν follows the adjunct/complement + head order. So does λόγους προσφέρων “addressing arguments” with the dO preceding the verb. αὐτήν “her”, on the other hand, stands in a marked position, which makes it emphatic.

The point is that Classical Greek had some sort of constituent order, albeit one that could, for whatever reason, be violated. However, this modifier-head pattern in the language could be helpful in deciding what to do with adverbial adjuncts: as a general principle, they might be taken with what follows rather than with what precedes.

The Ephemeron

What has wings, four legs and lasts a day?

While I was compiling a table of contents for the Greek reader I mentioned yesterday, I came across the following in the natural history section.

περὶ τὸν Ὕπανιν ποταμὸν τὸν περὶ Βόσπορον τὸν Κιμμέριαν, γίγνεται ζῶον πτερωτὸν, τετράπουν. ζῇ δὲ τοῦτο καὶ πέτεται ἐξ ἑωθινοῦ μέχρι δείλης· καταφερομένου δὲ τοῦ ἡλίου, ἀπομαραίνεται, καὶ ἅμα δυομένῳ ἀποθνήσκει, βιοῦν ἡμέραν μίαν· διὸ καὶ καλεῖται Ἐφήμερον.

Around the River Hypanis in the area of Bosporus in Cimmeria, there is a winged, four-footed animal. It lives and it flies from early morning until the afternoon; and when the sun sets, it wastes away, and together with the setting of the sun, it dies, living one day; and for this reason, it’s called an Ephemeron.

And who’s the source of this information? Aristotle. (Yeah, that Aristotle, the one who blighted Western thought for so long.)

I find that these days an ephemeron is something from computer science.

More on unseens

Of course, there had to be a website.
 
One of the sites I found when I went in search of Greek unseens online was Philoponia in which the whole issue of the use of Greek and Latin unseens in contemporary Classics departments in discussed. The site also includes a report that the authors made from a survey of classicists, including interviews. Browsing through that section I note
James Morwood put it well, “Don’t devastate the students with difficult passages”.
That’s more or less what happened to me. I remember that we got given an unseen from Thucydides, which would be like me giving my little darlings a passage from the Areopagitica and expecting them to understand it.
Younger instructors, instead, seem to have relied primarily on past papers to supply passages, at least in the earlier years of their teaching. Several recommended choosing unseens that will support and augment set book reading, whether linguistically or thematically, or – better yet – both. This last point seems extremely important as our project suggests that the future of unseens lies in their being employed as more than a narrow deciphering exercise.
That’s what I’d do myself. Unseens were anonymous passages which, for me, had little point. I wasn’t able to enjoy their content when I had little or no idea of why I was doing them and no training in how to tackle them. Things might’ve been better if I’d known that the object of the exercise was practice in dealing with some grammatical construction, or that I was reading some famous episode from Greek history or literature, or that it was some significant point of Greek culture.
 
I would argue that there needs to be a build-up to longer passages. It would’ve been better to start with unseen sentences which would be used in connection with a particular grammatical construction. The process ought to start with parsing and identifying verbs (finite and non-finite), nouns (their cases) and phrases (the adjective here might go with that noun over there). The biggest weakness is that unknown vocabulary may lack sufficient context for the reader to deduce the likely sense of a word.[1] The Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek would be a good source for these, since each chapter on constructions has a set of sentences for translation. Nonetheless, students would know what they’re really being asked to deal with.
 
All right, I’ll put my money where my mouth is. This is the fourth sentence from the chapter on direct and indirect questions in Morwood’s book.

τί οὖν ποιήσαντος, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, κατεχειροτονήσατε τοῦ Εὐάνδρου; (Demosthenes 21.176)

  1. τί (prn) – nom/acc sg neuter (must be accusative because of the main verb); what or why.
  2. οὖν (adv) – so, therefore. (One of those dratted particles, but not one of the really horrid ones.)
  3. ποιήσαντος (vb) – gen sg masc aorist active participle of ποιέω make, do (can be a rather vague verb). Would appear to be genitive in agreement with τοῦ Εὐάνδρου. Possibly part of a genitive absolute, although it might be the dO of the verb.
  4. ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι (NP) – vocative plural.
  5. κατεχειροτονήσατε (vb) – 2nd person pl, aorist indicative active of (and here’s where I’m guessing because I don’t know the word) καταχειροτον-ά/έ-ω (see below). Anyway, this is why τί isn’t the subject of the sentence. I know nothing about the verb and hence cannot satisfactorily translate this sentence because this is the key to the whole thing. I know that –χειρ– will have something to do with hands, but it could be some verb connected with manufacturing. The verb might take an object in the genitive.
  6. τοῦ Εὐάνδρου (NP) – gen sg masc of a personal name.
Putting myself out of my misery, I find that according to the online LSJ[2], the verb is
καταχειροτον-έω, A. vote by show of hands against, vote in condemnation of or so as to commit for trial, τινος D.21.2, Din.2.20, etc.: c.inf., “ἀδικεῖν Εὐάνδρου κατεχειροτόνησεν ὁ δῆμος” D.21.175, cf. 51.8; κατασειροτονηθὲν αὐτοῦ καὶ ταῦτ᾽ ἀσεβεῖν a vote of condemnation having been passed against him, and that for sacrilege, Id.21.199; κ. θάνατόν τινος vote the death-penalty against him, Lys.29.2, D.19.31, Pl.Ax. 368e; “καταχειροτονίαν κ. τινός” Aeschin.3.52:—Pass., to be condemned, “πανδήμῳ φωνῇ” D.S.18.67, cf. Plu.Tim.23.
which takes the genitive (τινος), thus making ποιήσαντος…τοῦ Εὐάνδρου the dO. The sentence appears to mean something like “Why, men of Athens, did you condemn Euander when he did this?” (The entry from LSJ reveals that the next sentence is “The people condemned Euander for committing a crime”.[3])
 
The sentence illustrates how a lack of context can make it impossible to determine what a word might mean. I might’ve guessed that Euander was the object and then have inserted some verb that had some connection with hands (e.g. applaud, point accusingly at etc). It also shows how vital the verb is to the whole meaning of the sentence. The morphology told me that τί had to be accusative, but not whether it was a dO or an adverbial accusative.
 
This method is a little slow, but that’s what beginners need. When I did Latin and Greek at university it was 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. First term, introduction to Latin grammar; second term, Virgil, Catullus etc. Greek was done across the first term and a half, I think, but we had five classes a week. Greek and Latin may not be learnt in the same way as modern languages, being largely confined to reading (though with writing in some instances), but reading, as I know from teaching EFL, is one of the harder skills to acquire. Unlike most of the people who were interviewed, I didn’t start doing Latin or Greek at the age of 12 and although at 18 I still had a facility for acquiring language more readily than I do now, I didn’t really have an adequate background in language to cope with it.
 
One volume I found via Google books that might be of some use is The Greek Reader by Frederic Jacobs (1835, 1838), which has exercises focussed on specific aspects of morphology. It seems less concerned with constructions. The 1835 edition of the book has a section called “Promiscuous Examples” (focus on no one nominal declension), but this has been renamed “Examples in all the Declensions” in the 1838 edition.
“Why are the sentences called promiscuous, sir?”
“Because, boy, they’re the sluttiest sentences in Classical Greek.”
Notes
1. Of course, one of the things I tell my students is to try and deduce the sense of unknown words from the context, but I also know from looking at passages from IELTS reading exams that even if you’re aware of the context, the word cannot be guessed because it might be a lexical content item, but it’s not a key word, or the range of possible meanings makes an accurate guess difficult.
2. I forgot that Morwood actually supplies a glossary.
3. I assume the infinitive supplies a reason for the condemnation rather than saying the condemnation forced Euander to commit the crime.

Socrates is the wisest

And you believe some stoner chick, do you?
socrates_hemlock I’ve been a little tardy working my way through the second selection from the Apology of Socrates. Translating Greek vacuums up a lot of time to the detriment of other activities. This selection is about Chaerephon going to the oracle at Delphi and asking “εἴ τις [Σωκράτους] εἴη σοφώτερος” (whether anyone is wiser than [Socrates]). And the oracle replies “μηδένα σοφώτερον εἶναι” (no one is wiser). Socrates assumes that the oracle can’t be taken literally (which it usually couldn’t) and the god can’t be lying. He searches among various groups of people trying to disprove the declaration, but can find no one who’s wise enough to admit their ignorance.
Of course, if Chaerephon had been wittier, he would’ve asked, “Is there a bigger pain in the arse than Socrates?” to which the oracle should’ve said, “No one’s a bigger pain in the arse”. Socrates would then have tested the truth of the statement, found that he was the biggest pain in the arse in Athens, and have been spared a hemlock cocktail after a trial – it would’ve been served to him beforehand.
Meanwhile, my gallivanting about on line has reminded me of the dreaded unseen, some piece of prose or verse, the sole purpose of which seemed to be to baffled and bamboozle. But in the course of my wanderings, I found a guide to doing unseens. I don’t remember ever being given one of these. I do remember being given unseens. The problem was, I suppose, that they didn’t seem to achieve anything apart from vexation. For example, if the unseen was practice tackling a specific grammatical construction, these things might’ve been useful.

The naked truth

Spitfire bares all.

I was just reading This munificent man and his flying machine on the Independent’s website when I spotted this

On the side it still bares the number H-99 of the Dutch trainers who managed not to crash it.

Bares the number?!

It gets a little worse. A search via Google yields 1240 results for the phrase. And there it is on the F1-Live website in a headline. Hacks really are their own sub-editors these days.

However, I have seen someone write online “bare with me”, a phrase which yields 524,000 results if you search for it via Google. “Bear with me” gets 1.9 million results. I’m not surprised that “bare with me” should be so frequent. It’s like there/they’re/their or your/you’re, which even I inexplicably mix up now and then. I blame homophony.

Nonetheless, a couple of the earlier results for “bear with me” point to pages where people have asked whether it should be this or “bare with me”, which suggests that the latter may have less to do with Homer nodding than genuine ignorance of “bear with me” because the phrase is mainly used in spoken English. I also wonder whether “bare with me” might be used more frequent by Americans, my hypothesis being that “bear” (animal) outranks “bear” (vb) in the American lexicon, hence, subconsciously, “bare” ends up being the preferred form.

Idle speculation on my part. You’ll just have to bear with me.

19.01.13 Edited for font size and tags. I had no idea the transfer from Spaces to WordPress had made such a mess of the formatting.

Lente euntem

Te salutamus.
 
As I’m coming back from High Fly this evening, I see that there’s a line of cars blocking the cycle lane that goes past Chevalier Towers. I switched to the pavement outside the building and when I got to the other end found that the whole line was being held up by one of the rubbish collectors on his tricycle. So instead of finding that they’d rudely push in in front of other cars, these objectionable specimens of humanity found that they achieved nothing. Perhaps Buddha decided that it was time to punish that incompetent species, motoristes moronicus sinensis.
 
Speaking of moronic, having switched to Aipu as my ISP, I’ve now been informed that I’m going back to China Telecom. Presumably, the switch to Aipu was made without the school’s approval.
 
Shall we continue to talk of morons? Class 7 were pretty much an utter waste of time today. Probably because they now only have three classes a week with me, I have, in their eyes, gone from being completely pointless to being even more completely pointless. Class 5 is reminding me so very much of Class 16 last year – predominantly female; predominantly vacuous. The IELTS season is almost on us again, but as usual, it’s going to be a rushed job at the end of term. It doesn’t matter. Although the difficulty of the material is neither here nor there because it determines what their level of English is beside that of an educated adult native speaker, the IELTS exam is intellectually beyond them.
 
Meanwhile, I with my IELTS 1 Greek continued translating some more of the second extract from the Apology. Unlike my little darlings, I have no real qualms about tackling this stuff. I wish I was a little more fluent so that I could at least read it fairly smoothly, only resorting to a glossary only now and then. On the other hand, I do need notes for the idiomatic parts of the text. I’m a long way from being able to tackle unannotated texts. I could, but I’d make a right pig’s ear of them. And a left one as well.
 
I rather spoilt myself today by buying all four volumes of the Prose for Post-Beginners series published by the BCP/Duckworth from Amazon. The Internet’s all well and good, but nothing beats books for this sort of thing.