Tag Archives: Greek

Greek on Duolingo!

Finally! This is one of the languages I’ve been eager to learn. I’ve been waiting for Greek to be released in Beta on Duolingo, and now it has been.

This is going to be a very interesting language to learn. I’ve learned the alphabet, and had to know it in university, but that’s only because astronomers name stars with the Greek alphabet. But it’s also used in equations in math and physics. Even though I know the alphabet, I don’t know how to pronounce much of it. I’ll have to learn that.

Another language coming soon is Romanian. It’s a Romance language, so I expect it to be an easier language for me to learn. And for those who know Spanish, Guarani has also come out.

But I’m anticipating a few other languages that are in development, especially Indonesian, Hindi, Korean, Swahili, and Klingon. That’s right, Klingon. But I’m really hoping to see languages like Tagalog, Arabic, Finnish, and of course, Japanese. And Latin, too.

Anything you’re interested in learning? Let me know in the comments below.

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Excited for Upcoming Duolingo Languages

I’ve been getting back into studying at Duolingo again, and there are some languages that are coming soon.

First up is Vietnamese. It’s coming tomorrow! I’m really interested in seeing what that’s like. It’s the first southeast Asian language that’ll be available.

Next is one I’m quite interested in, and that’s Greek. It’ll be available in Beta next month! I want to learn that language.

Also coming soon is Hungarian, and soon after that should be Hebrew and Swahili in summer. Hindi will be coming, as well. But then there’s Klingon. It’s been very quiet for a while, but recently started back up again, and they think it’ll be ready this summer.

Korean was added to the incubator, which means it’s in development. But upcoming are some south Asian languages, like Bengali and Tamil. Those will be interesting. However, many people want Finnish, Japanese, Latin, and Arabic. And there’s news that some native American languages will start this year. I wonder what they’ll be.

What are you looking forward to?

Book Review – The Iliad

theiliadThe Iliad

Author: Homer

Series: None

Genre: Classics, Poetry, Mythology

Published 762 BCE

Review Copy: Paperback bought new

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Goodreads Description

The Iliad is the first and the greatest literary achievement of Greek civilization – an epic poem without rival in the literature of the world, and the cornerstone of Western culture.

The story of the Iliad centres on the critical events in the last year of the Trojan War, which lead to Achilleus’ killing of Hektor and determine the fate of Troy. But Homer’s theme is not simply war or heroism. With compassion and humanity, he presents a universal and tragic view of the world, of human life lived under the shadow of suffering and death, set against a vast and largely unpitying divine background. The Iliad is the first of the great tragedies.

Review

The Iliad is an epic poem by Homer that is widely considered a great piece of literature, and certainly one of the oldest. It’s an epic retelling of a historical event, but with a strong emphasis on Greek mythology. The Gods are involved, and they pretty much dictate everything that happens. I can’t really say it’s non-fiction. Equally fascinating and frustrating, this was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever read.

The characters were an interesting combination of bigger than life personalities and gods. The gods had great influence on the actions of the characters, so they didn’t act entirely of their own free will. Many of the characters were extremely strong-willed and very stubborn. So stubborn that they were blinded by it. Achilleus, Hektor, Odysseus, Agamemnon, Priam, and Patroklos are featured heavily in the story, and I have to say that they all had one thing in common: personality. There was very little difference between them. Well, I shouldn’t go that far. Achilleus is a great warrior that everyone fears and no one can defeat. Odysseus (who is the main character in Homer’s followup The Odyssey) is also a great warrior who no one seems to be able to beat. The king, Agamemnon, is also a great warrior that no one has defeated. Do you see a pattern here? The greatest warriors seem untouchable. Hektor, who was one of the Trojans, was the top warrior for them, and again, nearly impossible to defeat. The key here are the gods. They pretty much decided who lived and who died. They played with their lives. They seemed petty and childish. Sometimes, I felt like there were no actual adults, but just a bunch of schoolyard bullies.

The story is a pretty simple one. Mostly battle. Back and forth battle. One side gains an advantage, then the gods decide to give the other side an advantage. There’s very graphic description of the battles, and we learn exactly how each person died, their name, their family history and status, and who killed them. There’s even an entire chapter dedicated to listing the names of the ships, where they’re from, who is on each ship, their family histories, their status, and so on. It’s a huge info dump. And it was easy to get distracted from the story, because there was a lot of repetition. Don’t get me wrong, the story was interesting, it just took a lot of dedication to keep reading.

The language used was the most difficult aspect of this poem. The paragraphs were long, the sentences filled with adjectives describing characters, such as “god-like,” “of the shining helmet,” “son of whatshisname,” and so on. And they were repeated so often, it was overkill. But this was Homer’s style, and it was poetry, not prose. That’s part of what makes it difficult to judge. Poetry is not usually read like a story, but this was a story. The dialogue in The Iliad was incredibly unnatural. No one spoke in conversation, only monologues. They made speeches to each other in place of conversation. And when one person wanted to give someone else a message, the messenger repeated everything word for word.

It’s a difficult book to rate because it’s from a time when writing style was totally different. The story was epic. It was a massive battle with a huge amount of detail. The writing style is difficult to read, so it took me a long time to get through all of it. I had no sympathy for any character, because they were not written in a way that gives us any kind of sympathetic feelings toward them. I went into it not realising how much the gods would factor into it. I felt like there was no unpredictability. We knew where it was going because Zeus said how it was going to go.

But how do I rate this? I’ll have to give it a 3 out of 5. It’s good, but only read this if you are willing to go through a literary experience you’ve never been through before. And no, there is no Trojan Horse in this story. That’s The Aeneid, and apparently only referred to in The Odyssey. Anyway, it takes place after this story ends.

Ariadne Worldbuilding: Naming the Continents

Ariadne is a big world.  It’s slightly larger than Earth, but it only has four continents.  The continents originally had rather unimaginative names, like Northern Continent, Equatorial Continent, and so on.  Well, I changed that tonight.

This is the ecosystems map, but you can see country borders in it.
The ecosystems map of Ariadne.

As you can see in the map above, there’s a very large continent on the left, with two smaller continents on the right.  In the south, there’s a polar continent with some portions that reach far enough north that they’re livable.

As Ariadne has its roots in Greek mythology, I decided to stay with the Greek language in naming the continents.  The names are quite simple, as they’re the direct translations of words I’ve already mentioned.  The large continent is where the colonists first settle.  It is simply known as the continent, or Ipeiros in Greek.  The northern continent is the Greek word for north, or Voreios.  Similarly, the equatorial continent is now known as Tropikos, which is Greek for tropical. Finally, the southern polar continent is now called Notos, or south in Greek.

Not everything is going to be Greek, though.  A lot of the country names will come from English or notable people’s names.  More to come in the future.  I hope to have a list of country names to start off the Ariadne Encyclopedia.

Questions and comments are always welcome, so please leave a comment below.