Sunday, 2 February 2014

A bridge having been thrown across the river...

People who studied De Bello Gallico (not everyone, but some) may recognize that instance of the Ablative Absolute. And people who didn't may like to look here (but it's hard going):

How to Survive the Ablative Case

Posted on 30. Oct, 2013 by in Uncategorized

The Survival Guide to the Uses of the Ablative

There are many cases within the Latin language including: the Nominative, the Accusative, the Genitive and the Dative. The last case is call the ablative which has many functions and purpose. This guide consists of all the popular and somewhat unpopular uses of the ablative within Latin literature, epic, and poetry.
Oh dear. This is lamentable for several reasons:
  1. What's there to survive?
  2. 'Survival Guide to the Uses...'. No, no, no. 'Survival Guide to Using...' or 'Explanation/Treatment/Discussion..., of the Uses...' (which would be slightly better, as the post is not a guide – and certainly not a survival guide)
  3. 'There are many cases within the Latin language...' – odd preposition. Why not just say 'Latin has many cases...'? And doesn't the locative deserve a mention?
  4. ' The last case is call the ablative...'. Last in what sense? I think BB may be assigning undue importance to the standard paradigm offered in grammar books. (I was going to say 'English Grammar Books', but I know French grammar books put the ablative last too, and maybe others do.)
    <autobiographical_note date_range="mid-sixties">
    I know this from a mnemonic jingle I heard in France during my first (and only) exchange visit. Madame sang:
    Rosa rosa rosam
    Rosae rosae rosa
    Rosae rosae rosas
    Rosarum rosis rosis.
    And I remember the tune, but it won't be appearing on YouTube any time soon.
    And is 'call' just a typo, or is BB a non-native speaker of English who misses the /d/ of 'called' assimilated to the /ð/ of 'the'?
  5. '....which has many functions and purpose'. The non-defining 'which' needs to be preceded by a comma; but this does not bother me seriously. 
  6. The purpose could use an s – again, maybe it's a typo.
  7. 'This guide consists of all the popular and somewhat unpopular uses...' No it doesn't. It consists of explanations.
So, not a good start. And I haven't yet read the full post, though I've scanned it far enough to think that it's worth persevering with. As I often find, blog posts can be worth reading – even though the writing sets my teeth on edge: to quote Monteverdi's Beatus Vir (well, the text isn't his but the repetition and all the hyphens are – this time I have got a YouTube link, here [the bit about teeth
– they're a sinner's {he appears at 5'31, but the pictures throughout are a hoot [especially the baby, who zooms in menacingly at 3'24"–3'31"]} – chattering {his teeth, AREN'T YOU PAYING ATTENTION?} – is at 5'42"])
Dentibus dentibus suis fre-e-e-emet...
Which is an example of the Ablative of... [looks up here] Means or Instrument; see, it's worth

<digression type="PPS" exclamation="Aha">
... which explains the singular inflexion of the verb: 'He shivers with respect to his teeth'

Report from the Word-Face 

Here's a new addition that I've written for the hardcopy version of #WVGTbook only:

About this edition

This book was originally designed for online use; each word listed was linked to an online dictionary definition. It seemed to me that there was no need for a hardcopy edition; indeed, a traditional paper book seemed to me to be of dubious value.

But several readers of the Kindle version asked whether there would be a traditional book. I now realize that not all schools (not all classrooms, and – in some parts of the world – not even all staffrooms) have access to the Internet. And this justifies a hardcopy version.

However, its design for network use leaves some features that may seem odd in this book. Among such features, two are notable:
  • When words are linked to online resources, they are underlined. The underline has no significance. This applies predominantly to words in the main lists, but also sometimes to dictionary names.
  • When tables extend across two or more pages, the columns have not been ‘reshuffled’; so that, for example, tailspin at the foot of one page is immediately followed on the next page by aileron.
I was tempted to make a wisecrack here about aeronautical engineering. But
a) I thought better of it†
b) I couldn't think of any bon mot good enough to tempt me to override my better judgement.

Update 2014.02.17.13:40 – Added PS
PS † My resolve wavered: here's the guilty text:

         ...tailspin at the foot of page 21 is immediately followed at the top of page 22 by aileron (suggesting the intervention of a gremlin with an interest in aeronautics!)
Update 2014.05.08.10:20 – Updated footer
Update 2014.07.20.22:05 – And again
Update 2015.02.03.16:50 And again; and added embedded PPS in maroon.

 Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: nearly 40,000 views  and over 6,000 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with over 2,200 views and nearly 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

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