A Little Bit of Written Dari

This afternoon I completed lessons one and two in Beginner’s Dari (Hippocrene’s Beginner Series). I had to stop after lesson 2, as my hand was cramping up. There is a learning curve, and the group of letters jeem, che, he and khe were causing me a bit of difficulty to execute with any sort of similarity to their printed beauty. Then again, I think my green Sarasa pen does add a certain je ne sais quoi to the study of Dari.

Lesson one covered only one letter, aleph. Lesson two, as you can see above, covered two groups of similar looking letters. The first set was be, pe, te and se, which all look like bowls in their final forms, with varying numbers of dots (1, 3, 2 and 3, respectively). The second set was the one causing me to grip too tightly, resulting in some sore digits. Best I can describe them as is a rather Tolkien-esque ‘T’, again with a varying number of dots (1, 3, 0 and 1, respectively). At least, that’s what they look like in final form.

To me, the flow of the book seems a little out of joint. They want you to practice writing words, but are including letters that they haven’t explained how to write yet (like the ‘g’ in jag (“pitcher”), especially in joined form. I certainly attempted to mimic, though I am finding the print size and ink-bleed to be less than helpful!

Luckily, I’ve practiced Arabic script before, so it is not so much “first time” as “catching back up to speed”. It has been quite a while, though…

Sabbatical Progress – Week 1

So, today was the first Sunday of my September sabbatical. It’s been a restful time so far, and that time has also been put to some good use! Thought I’d stop a moment each Sunday and consider the week. Primarily, this is a help to me, helping me remember what God is doing.

  • So, for starters, there has been a bunch of prayer. Prayer for my local church, prayer for my wife and kids, prayer for direction. Especially, I’ve been in prayer asking God to raise up leaders and servants, and to provide opportunities for purposeful discipleship.
  • I actually jump-started my sabbatical finishing one of my first reading goals. The book in question was Leeman’s Church Membership. I shared a couple quotes and thoughts here and here. Great book, if you are looking for something to help you think through meaningful membership.
  • I followed that up with another book in the same series, Dever’s Discipling. You can find some thoughts I posted here. Also a good read, with some great motivation for discipling with purpose, especially as it approached the final chapters.
  • I’m keeping up daily with 6 Ways the Old Testament Speaks Today. Last week, I commented on how he addressed worship. Today, I began the next “voice”, the voice of prophecy. I’m excited to get into the daily “devotional” portion, as last week bible readings were great reminders of how God calls us into worship.
  • I sprinted ahead in my Hebrew textbook, finally stopping at chapter 12. That basically got me through the Qal-stem forms (qatal, yiqtol, weqatal, and wayyiqtol, plus the infinitive construct). Now to go back and do some more systematic review. I’m still much further back in the workbook. I’ve also been busy loading up my Anki deck. Anki has really helped with memorization of vocabulary. Debating if I should put time into using SIL’s FLEx to begin capturing nominal/verbal system rules…debating if it is worth the time/effort. I haven’t done much with infixing in the tool, which would be critical.
  • I helped my father-in-law find a Bible translation that was good for reading. He specifically was looking for one that would be good for reading more for the fuller story, the flow. A nice, cheap HCSB arrived more quickly than I could have imagined.
  • The family spent the long weekend up in the North Carolina mountains visiting Kim’s parents, “camping” out in the front yard. Also a lot of hikes with the dogs. It’s been a blast, but tomorrow we will head back home.

Well, that is a lot! But it honestly has been quite restful. Getting some time set aside for determined reading means books are no longer building dust on the shelf, which is a weight off the shoulders! If you find the right moment, pray for me, that I might continue to use my time wisely.

In The Mail – Elementary Hebrew Texts

Woohoo! Hebrew textbooks and Old Testament hermeneutics in the mail. Can’t complain about that. This upcoming semester I’m taking 20400 WW, otherwise known as “Elementary Hebrew”, with Dr. Garrett. There are two textbooks (really a book and an associated workbook), two recommended texts, plus an extra credit book.

In The Mail Today

So, for text and workbook, and the extra credit, all pictured above, I’ll be working with:

The “recommended” texts are A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS). The first I recently picked up cheap at a used book store, in really good condition. Someone even did the much appreciated work of tabbing the book by initial letters! The other, I may go for in the future, but I have Zondervan’s Hebrew and Greek reader from a couple years back, which is the Leningrad Codex (L), and supposedly only slightly different from BHS. I’ll save a couple bucks for now sticking with it. Fairly readable font, too, and I hear the cheaper variations of BHS can be difficult on the eyes – all those tiny lines and dots!

The professor and OTA both highly encouraged going ahead and getting started on the text, even though there are still about 3 weeks until class starts. To that end, they provided the first couple chapters as pdfs, and I have already begun working on chapter 1, with lots of memorization. Starting to load and run through vocabulary with a custom ankiweb deck. Practicing handwriting, letter names, alphabet order, and some initial vocabulary on paper (here is just one sheet of example, of which there are numerous):

Getting Better, But Still Not There Yet

So, that’s what I am going to be working on for the near future. How about you?

G

Out with the New, In with the Old

Week 6 of 8 is almost complete for spring term 2 (Introduction to New Testament I). I’ve enjoyed Dr. Pennington quite a lot. Nevertheless, time to start planning and registering for summer and fall. To that end, I signed up to take Introduction to Old Testament I over the summer with Dr. Betts, and then in the fall, consuming both terms, will be Elementary Hebrew with Dr. Garrett.

I think they usually suggest Greek first, then Hebrew – and I can understand it at least on the fact that Greek is closer to English than Hebrew is. If it is a first or even second time doing another language, it pays to do one similar I suppose. Having studied a few languages at this point (my current, daily study is Spanish, German and Japanese) and having some Greek already under my belt (and maybe I can study on the side to eventually test out of it?) I thought I would jump to Hebrew. I’ve studied just a smidgen of Biblical Hebrew already. I’m prepared for it to be a doozy…

And my books for Old Testament I have arrived already, even!

Back to Luke and John!

The Special Case of Conversation

I found myself laughing quite loudly, and re-reading this passage to my wife to help her share in my enjoyment. I’m not sure I succeeded, but I will share with you all nonetheless.

The subject is conversation, and in the specific passage, the authors are beginning to illuminate the “presupposition pool”. Even more specifically, the idea that speakers naturally exclude or include content based on these shared concepts.

…Any speaker will necessarily make certain assumptions about his listeners and will fashion what he has to say accordingly. For example, he will not unnecessarily explain such technical terms as he may use unless he is fairly sure that explanation is required; the gratuitous supply of an unnecessary explanation may become part of the communication and may be perceived as patronizing. On the other hand failure to provide a necessary explanation may be perceived as deliberate one-upmanship, as exhibitionism, as (Chapter 3) sesquipedalian. Under these circumstances the listener may determine not to ask for clarification of the new word and so allow the communication to fail. In either case misunderstanding of the actual contents of the presupposition pool is likely to lead to an undeniable alteration in the character of the conversation.

Linguistics & Biblical Interpretation, p. 258

Yes, I had to look up “sesquipedalian” (Yes, they did in fact define it in Chapter 3, right near the beginning, and yes, that knowledge went “in one ear and out the other”, so to speak). Yes, you should look it up, too. These are my kind of people.

Linguistics & Biblical Interpretation

So far, I’m very much enjoying Linguistics & Biblical Interpretation, by Cotterell & Turner. Very easy to read and understand, as it strives to lay a foundation for the value of linguistically-supported study of Scripture.

I found the following, from the chapter on the pitfalls of word studies, interesting:

…my concept of ‘boy’ in the more general usage may include very many features concerning the range of their features and physique, their hygiene, their habits of play, their social abilities and limitations, and so forth, none of which is linguistically attached to the word ‘boy’ as such at all. The sentences

(1) Boys are usually male,
(2) Boys are usually unkind,

illustrate the difference. The first will be recognized as semantically anomolous (sic), for the qualifier ‘usually’ implies there are exceptions; but a boy that was not a male would appear to be a contradiction of the sense “boy”. The second sentence is linguistically acceptable (even though we consider it wholly untrue) because nothing about the sense of the word ‘boy’ overlaps in meaning with either ‘kind’ or ‘unkind’. The sense “male” is linguistically attached to ‘boy’; “kind” or “unkind” is not.

L&BI, p. 117

That seems pretty clear, and that level of clarity is appreciated. More often than not, linguistic study is rolled up with nuance – but that doesn’t mean it has to be overly complicated!

One Afternoon In May

As I finished my last call of the workday, the power went in and out a couple times in quick succession. Then, it stayed out (it is back on now, surprisingly). It has been very windy, so I went outside to see if something had caused any damage to the house.

First, I found a package from Michael Aubrey on my doorstep:

A History of Ancient Greek

All arrived in good condition! Michael and his wife, Rachel, are in the process of some big changes, so he was looking at whittling down some of his book weight. I jumped at the chance to “help”. From his blog:

For ourselves (Michael and Rachel Aubrey), we are currently transitioning to serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators. We have been offered a ministry assignment creating digital Greek & Hebrew tools and resources, grounded in contemporary linguistics for advancing bible translation, resources that integrate corpus linguistics and the digital humanities for the benefit of minority Bible translation. Because our assignment with Wycliffe is directly connected to the purpose of Koine-Greek.com, we hope that transition will also mean more opportunity for regular writing about Ancient Greek linguistics here based on our work with Wycliffe, along side the continued work on our Comprehensive Grammar of Hellenistic and Early Roman Greek.

https://koine-greek.com/2019/06/06/from-the-editors-transitions/

You might consider helping them out with support, if you find the work they are planning to engage in worthwhile…

Setting my new-to-me books to the side to continue problem solving on the power, I found my neighbor in shock (I was soon to follow) at the size of the tree the wind had knocked down just up the road from us:

Crash!

Luckily, not a bit of damage to the house, and as I mentioned, power is even back on now. I did end up missing our church’s prayer time on zoom. Little bummed at that. But glad to be back on the grid earlier than I thought I might be!

In The Mail: Lexical Semantics

I spend (likely) too much time over at Nerdy Language Majors. Between that and Koine-Greek, I always have something new and interesting to learn and grapple with. And sometimes, it is useful just to find books worth picking up. So, HT to Keith Surland for pointing out Lexical Semantics of the Greek New Testament, by Nida & Louw, a week or so back. I look forward to spending time in it soon!

Lexical Semantics of the Greek New Testament

Miele

My wife took a pretty decent picture of me with our new/used macchina, a 2016 Fiat 500X:

ooooooh… shiny and pretty…

I believe we ended on Miele as her name, honey. You can’t tell in the photo, really, but the golden-yellow sparkles, and also shifts shade ever so slightly depending on the lighting.