Artful Lounger learns Sanskrit (among other things!)

Watch
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#1


Artful Lounger learns Sanskrit - a GYG Blog?

Name:  low tier meme.png
Views: 142
Size:  36.2 KB

I wanted to make one of these at the start of the year, more as a way to maybe be publicly shamed into keeping on top of my work than anything else (maybe also to have something to procrastinate with when I should be doing me work)

Alas, I managed to procrastinate about making this GYG blog thing even, and so here I am finally making it...in reading week, halfway through term

About Me
I'm a mature (:cry:) student, studying (mostly) Sanskrit at SOAS. Previously I spent...quite a while studying in various STEM fields before eventually leaving due to my mental health taking a nosedive in about second year, as well as having lost my enthusiasm for STEM fields. I found while studying Ancient Greek with the OU that I enjoyed studying ancient languages, so decided to embark on studying Sanskrit at SOAS!

Outside of academics I mostly otherwise occupy myself with gaming, primarily being my guild's long suffering (in my view ) healing officer on WoW Classic...and also for my sins I play LoL Aside from that I play Monster Hunter World: Iceborne from time to time (although I've not actually played much after the Alatreon update; once I finally beat it I was a bit tapped out! I need to go back to try and take down Fatalis now that it's in the game though...), and used to play Runescape a fair bit, now less frequently as I don't have so much time to do so.


Academics

I'm studying a Certificate in South Asian Studies at SOAS, which I'm doing part time over two years.

This year I am taking the following modules:

Sanskrit Language 1A
Sanskrit Language 1B
Introduction to Linguistics
Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia

All of these except Sanskrit Language 1B are term 1 modules, however the linguistics and art & archaeology modules are examined in the summer, which gives me a bit more time to delve into the readings for those modules during term 2 while preparing for the exam, when otherwise I will just be studying the second Sanskrit module module. I still need to do all the assignments for them this term though!

During the coronavirus times, all teaching and assessments are online. SOAS initially had planned to have some in-person teaching commence from term 2, however with the new lockdown recently they've changed their plan to continue with the same model as term 1. This also means the final exams should be online in some capacity.

However I'm also taking Greek for Beginners A and Latin for Beginners A at UCL as a life learning student (so it is not for-credit, and I don't take the exams, but have access to all the module materials, go to lectures and seminars, and submit homeworks/quizzes/etc) this term).

So in reality I am taking in a sense 5 modules this term; that was possibly too many languages and other modules!
:bricks:

I won't be continuing with Greek and Latin next term though, so hopefully will feel less like I'm just barely keeping up with everything all the time!

My plan for the second year of the course is to continue to Sanskrit Language 2, hopefully! I'm not sure what I will take for the other 30 credits yet though


Goals, aims, hopes, wishes?
I guess my primary goal for this year is to learn Sanskrit! Also to hopefully consolidate my Ancient Greek and get a good grounding in Latin, perhaps even when time permits (in term 2?!) to spend some time comparing what I've learned in each beyond the obvious surface level similarities of inflection (like looking a bit more at the apophony/vowel gradation in Greek as compared to Sanskrit). I also hope that I do well in my modules, since ideally I'd like to use this Certificate as a basis of an application to a full degree programme in next year's application cycle, probably to some ancient language related area (e.g. Classics/Classical Studies).

Outside of academics my main goal for next term is to look for a part-time job near me, as I left my previous job before starting this course and moved back to my parent's house to save money while studying (admittedly at the time I had thought I would be eligible for a maintenance loan, even a reduced one as I was living at home...unfortunately I was mistaken, so a job is even more essential now!). In term 2 I'll have far fewer timetabled hours (I have 2-4 hours of timetabled activity every day currently!) which should make it easier to find something.


Post Index

This is where I'll post links to further posts (which I'll hopefully remember to make!), under the spoiler:

Term 1:

Term 2:
Spoiler:
Show

-

Tag List
From looking at other GYG threads it seems people make one of these and tag them in on posts (not sure if every post or just notable ones...?). I've added the people who expressed an interest in this thread here, hopefully I won't spam your notifications too much with it! Let me know if it is excessive, I've no idea how to run one of these

Spoiler:
Show



(Original post by 5hyl33n;undefined)
x
(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd;undefined)
x
(Original post by Sandtrooper;undefined)
x
(Original post by gjd800;undefined)
x
(Original post by becausethenight;undefined)
x


-
Last edited by artful_lounger; 3 months ago
5
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#2

The First Five Weeks

Sanskrit


Name:  kimbell boddhisattva mathura inscription.png
Views: 91
Size:  95.0 KB
Detail of Sanskrit Inscription from Mathura Buddha, cropped from Seated Buddha with Two Attendants (82-131 CE) [Online]. Available at https://www.kimbellart.org/collection/ap-198606 (Accessed 13/11/2020).

For our Sanskrit course we've been using the Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit, by Antonia Ruppel, as our textbook. Fortunately our lecturer doesn't stick rigidly to that and often presents topics from a different point of view, which we can then compare with how they're presented in the book to give a broader appreciation of the topic.

The first couple weeks:
Spoiler:
Show

we mainly focused on familiarising ourselves with the Sanskrit syllabary in the Devanāgarī script and transliteration using the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration. The Devanāgarī script expresses Sanskrit in syllables rather than letters, so ka, ga, va are all syllables beginning with a consonant in the alphabet (technically syllabary) with their own signs. Consonants are all represented as a syllable with the vowel a, and the vowel can be changed with what are essentially a set of diacritical marks, although some (like i) seem more like additional signs added in.

This is easier seen than read about, so see below my (not great!) attempt to write out ka, ki, and ku (using MS Paint ):

Attachment 973640

The first sign as labelled is for ka, which is the "base" form of the syllable. To create the syllable ki or ku you need to add the appropriate diacritical marks (note for ki the "crook" comes before the sign; if it comes after it represents a different syllable, with a long i sound, as in with this sign). All the English vowels, with both long and short forms of a, u, and i, along with the vocalic r sound transliterated as (where the r acts as a vowel), retroflex i (where you make the sound but with your tongue turned back, like you're pointing your tongue towards your brain) plus the dipthongs ai and au.

The syllabary is very interesting though because the ancient Sanskrit grammarians organised it in a very structured way, compared to the very arbitrary organisation of the English alphabet. Essentially you have the majority of the consonant syllables arranged into a series of rows and columns; you begin in the first row with a "guttural" consonant syllable, then moving down the rows move the location of articulation up, through palatal sounds made with your hard palate, through to labial and dental sounds made with the lips or teeth. Going along the columns, you start with the first column being the "simple" sound, then the next being the aspirated version of that sound (making it with a puff of air, which you can detect putting your hand in front of your mouth when you say the sound; these are transliterated with an h following the consonant, e.g. gha), then a voiced version of the original sound where you vibrated your vocal cords while making the sound, and then finally an aspirated voiced version of it. It's honestly probably the best way to organise any kind of alphabet or syllabary!

So, the actual sound of Sanskrit, i.e. the phonetics, are quite prevalent even in just the written form of the syllabary. This was a bit surprising, since when I had learned Ancient Greek, and my impression of Latin as well, was that the way it was pronounced is a) not fully established and b) not generally considered that important for learning the language in the first instance, and is more of a niche topic of research interest. For Sanskrit though it's pretty well embedded into the language; as part of this we've had some homework practice of recording ourselves reading out some Sanskrit sentences, and we've also listened to recordings of Dr. Jayashree reading out the syllabary (and later the declension of nominals ending in short a).

Our lecturer suggested this was likely because Sanskrit was, before being codified in a written form, an oral language for about 2000 years, and was also used often if not primarily for divine/liturgical purposes, and so the pronunciation of the mantras or similar would change how they effected the world or were received, so proper pronunciation and articulation was very important. This does continue into the language further, as depending on the particular "sound environment" certain sounds occur in, the written spelling of the word changes as well as how it's pronounced - the system of sandhi (which we haven't done much on yet).

My devanāgarī image doesn't seem to like being in a spoiler, so here it is again, in all its MS Paint glory:

Name:  sanskrit ka ki ku.png
Views: 105
Size:  6.9 KB

Getting into the grammar:

Spoiler:
Show


After that we've started learning the grammar a bit more, learning how to conjugate some verbs (and being told that verbs are categorized into 10 different verb classes, although it's not clear if each verb class has a different conjugation yet), the different cases for Sanskrit and some of the common uses of those and the declension for nominals whose stem end in short a (e.g. ma-). Our lectured pointed out that the Sanskrit grammarians did not use the same terms for the cases we do, and instead they were just numbered; we use a Western convention of case names that derive from Latin (and Greek) case terminology, i.e. nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive, dative, etc.

One notable feature of verbs is that they are normally listed in a dictionary by a verbal root, which often does not look exactly as the verb stem would appear when conjugating it. We looked at this in a bit more detail in the last week before reading week for a couple verb classes, which is due to a process called vowel gradation (also ablaut or apophony), where a vowel changes to a different "grade" depending on certain factors (in our case this was depending on verb class and transforming from verb root to verb stem). There is some example of this in English, for example in the verbs sing, sang, sung, where they are all the same except the vowel changes grade, which then changes the meaning of the word. In Sanskrit so far as we've seen it doesn't change the meaning of the word but simply transforms from verb root to stem...I think. This topic I'm a bit fuzzier on still and need to review a bit more.

From some of the bits of grammar we did before the above content on vowel gradation, we then did some practice translating simple constructed sentences from Sanskrit to English (although our vocab is fairly limited currently to a lot of them are things like "He went here but did not go there", and more recently have done some composition from Sanskrit into English, which is a lot harder and requires a bit of creativity! Since Sanskrit is an inflected language with cases indicated by word endings, whereas English is not inflected and indicates cases by use of prepositions (generally), you sometimes need to spend a bit of time figuring out how to "gather" all the relevant parts of what would be in Sanskrit one word, from an English sentence.

For example "The city of the king" is in English five words, whereas in Sanskrit it would be two. In Sanskrit the word for city would be in the nominative case as the subject of the sentence, with singular ending (in transliteration) -aḥ, with the word for king in the genitive case, with singular ending (in transliteration) -asya. So "the city of the king" in transliterated Sanskrit would be (I think) nrpasya puraḥ. Note that the genitive comes before the word it is "connected to", like in English you have "the king's city" (also an acceptable translation if you started with the above Sanskrit). Another thing about the cases is it does require you to think about sentences a bit more analytically, identifying the subject, verb, object, prepositional phrases, what cases are in use and remembering what cases are paired with which prepositions or if certain transitive verbs take a different case for their object than usual (for example the verb "to love/feel affection for" in Sanskrit takes the locative case rather than expected accusative case).

The mid term test!

Spoiler:
Show

All this culminated in our mid-term test, which we did last week, which was 30% of the module mark! Because of coronavirus limitations, it was done online, and so was organised as an open book test, which was available for a 24 hour window of time for us to complete. This did make it a bit easier since we could look up anything we needed (e.g. vocab, declension/conjugation tables, etc). I still made a few mistakes though, but did well overall, getting 93 or 94%. Most of my mistakes centred around the aforementioned vocalic r. In one case I transliterated all of them as inserting the vocalic r between the consonant and vowel in the original sign, rather than just replacing the vowel, which was very stupid and knew it was wrong as I then correctly composed into Sanskrit the vocalic r without worrying about where some missing a was. However in said composition I drew the diacritical mark facing the wrong way :facepalm:. Fortunately though I got good enough marks in this that as long as I get a 2:1 in the final exam I'll get a 1st overall (assuming my maths is right anyway ).

To add: Linguistics, Art & Archaeology, Greek, and Latin module details!

tags:
Spoiler:
Show





(Original post by 5hyl33n)
x
(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
x
(Original post by Sandtrooper)
x
(Original post by gjd800)
x
(Original post by becausethenight)
x
Last edited by artful_lounger; 6 months ago
0
reply
5hyl33n
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#3
Report 10 months ago
#3
Hi artful_lounger! :hi:

This sounds like an excellent idea. I will be watching this thread. My family speak Hindi/Punjabi but I've always wanted to know more about Sanskrit.

Good luck for this year!
1
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#4
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#4
(Original post by 5hyl33n)
Hi artful_lounger! :hi:

This sounds like an excellent idea. I will be watching this thread. My family speak Hindi/Punjabi but I've always wanted to know more about Sanskrit.

Good luck for this year!
Thank you! It's been very enjoyable so far to learn Sanskrit, it's definitely subverted my expectations in some ways though - I'm going to write a bit more about my thoughts on learning it tomorrow when I sum up the first 5 weeks of the term
1
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#5




Reading Week




Bwaah, I've been meaning to update this since Tuesday and for various reasons it keeps getting pushed back...I will just do a quick update today about reading week. The sum of reading week was: did not do much work





Sanskrit




Our homework for reading week was to read through Chapter 8 in CIS, and then complete some review questions and attempt some translations relating to the material. It definitely felt like a step up from a lot of what we've done in the term so far (save for week 5, the week before reading week, where that changing of gear felt like it started). Although the grammar principles about the use of some non-finite verbal forms was not hugely difficult, associated with that was some more detailed stuff formally introducing sandhi, the process through which some of the sounds of Sanskrit words change depending on the sound environment they occur in, which then cause a corresponding change in spelling.

A major example of this is in the word Buddha, which is formed from the past passive participle of the root budh (the verb derived from the root means, in iniitive form, to awaken or to know; unsurprisingly from it's use in Buddha and related terminology e.g. bodhisattva, it can mean awaken physically but also spiritually as such), becoming budhta- . Due to the sandhi process, the -ta- which is the characteristic marker of the past passive participle, changes from an unaspirated, unvoiced sound, to a voiced sound (going from ta to da, as adding voicing/vibration of the vocal chords to the sound t makes the sound d). Buddha is something of an exception to the usual sandhi process wherein the second consonant affects the first one, as in this case it is the first consonant affecting the second one (we went over a slightly longer historical explanation of this in class on Wednesday but I need to double check that).

So while it was interesting seeing in particular how we get the word Buddha from a verbal root, it was a bit confusing as the formation of the verbal forms in question (the past passive participle, absolutive, and infinitive) also involve the vowel gradation (aka ablaut/apophony) we covered before reading week which is a bit less immediately obvious and a bit more involved. So to form the past passive participle (or absolutive), first you need to take the verb you want, then get the verbal root, then change the grade of the vowel in the root (which is usually a one step process but for certain roots like gam it is a two step process due to some historical reasons), then add the participle marker, then add the appropriate ending to make it agree with the noun it is qualifying! Or more typically, working backwards through all of that to get the verbal root and figure out what the participle means in a bit of translation. So there are quite a few steps to work through and bits of linguistic "machinery" to internalise for this chapter! There were also some quirks about word ordering, altogether which made some of the sentences we were translating a bit more involved than previously.





Latin
(in theory also Greek but in practice not!)




I didn't really do much of anything for Latin (and even less for Greek...) over reading week. I did at least though manage to do some more unpacking, in the process of which I found my index cards so was able to FINALLY make some flashcards for the declensions, which are a lot easier to utilise than flipping back and forth through A4 pages of notes (or worse in the textbook). I only did these for Latin so far though...fortunately the quiz we did this current teaching week, for the material from the week preceding reading week, was relatively straightforward (agreement of nouns and adjectives) so I only got one wrong.

The Greek quiz was a lot harder for me, and this was confirmed in the marks being returned on Wednesday, where I found I only got 40% :/ I'm not completely certain whether this was just a product of me not doing enough work over reading week (read: any) in Greek and simply forgetting some of the material we did the week before, making a lot of silly mistakes and having issues with time management in the quiz (they're timed for 15 minutes) or if I just didn't understand the material from that previous week at all in the first place (or maybe all of the above). No matter what, I definitely need to spend some time reviewing that. Technically it doesn't "matter" as a) I'm not taking the module "for credit" anyway and b) even if I were, the quizzes are pass fail so as long as you get at least 40% you "pass" the quiz in question, but perhaps it does matter even more in view of a) since I am actually just doing it for my own edification and evidently I just am not able to work on that material.





Introduction to Linguistics




There were a bunch of prerecorded lectures uploaded over reading week, which I watched...some of. I went through the attached powerpoints for all the morphology lectures at least, I still need to look over the syntax material though (which we will look at in the tutorial next week). I found the morphology content a bit more interesting in the sense it was more directly relevant to what I was hoping to get out of the module, in relation to the ancient languages I'm studying, compared to the phonetics and phonology work we've done so far which felt less immediately obviously relevant (some of it was more evidently relevant in relation to Sanskrit, maybe less so for phonetics and Greek/Latin).





Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia




Over reading week the only thing I did for this, other than checking my assignment hand in every other day to see if we had gotten the marks back (at least until they posted the date when marks and feedback would be released), was the one core reading for the week 6 lecture/tutorial, about Tibetan art. I wasn't really sure what to make of it...having just finished the lecture, I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it, other than what my original take away from it being that a lot of Tibetan art seems to have primarily had (Western) "perspectives" maybe imposed upon it, in analysing and interpreting it, rather than less developing internally a way of analysing it and considering it contextually, maybe. Apparently very few people even bothered to read it at all as I discovered in the lecture during the breakout groups, which devolved mostly into some people who were already friends having a chat about stuff unrelated to the module which was some frustrating. We will see how the tutorial goes, and I will post more about that next week!





What do?




In retrospect, I definitely wish I'd done maybe a teeny bit more work on the Greek and Latin (maybe also the linguistics stuff). In the end I mostly ended up playing LoL (I blame Quick-use!), first before the season end, which coincided with the end of an event in game which I wanted to get the most out of (and ended up pulling an all nighter playing...which was definitely a bad idea), and then with the new preseason stuff and playing around with the updated items and so on. I also unlocked the Fatalis fight in MHW, which took a few tries as you have to solo the first phase before you can group up to do the fight (and it's pretty tough!). Lesson learned, don't fall into the trap of seeing reading week as a miniholiday D:

edit: every time I edit this it adds in extra spaces between my subtitles and text
Last edited by artful_lounger; 6 months ago
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#6
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#6


Week 6

So I think my general plan with these now is to write a retrospective of a given week in the week following that...for the week numbering I would note that we are technically in the 8th week of term now, but they don't number reading week so we come back after reading week into week 6, so the current week is week 7. Not long left in any case! Since the Greek and Latin quizzes take place on Tuesdays but refer to the previous week's material, I will try and do these posts on or after Tuesday and include some reference to those since they are in a sense part of the previous week's work. Some of week 6 I discussed in my previous post though, so I won't repeat that!


Sanskrit

We were mainly just going through the Chapter 8 material we'd read up on over reading week in the classes, and going through the translations (and doing some more) from the exercises assigned for that. I did get a few fairly wrong; one of them I reached the wrong root for the past passive participle (I went with vid- instead of vis-) and a couple of the others I confused myself with the grammar and mixed up bits from different clauses. The explanations in the lectures were quite helpful though, as often the book tends to be a bit "wordy" and that sometimes obscures the material by trying to add more of an exhaustive explanation when a simpler representation in e.g. a table might suffice, at least initially. Since most of the time was going through the submitted work we had done (and then continuing with it) there isn't so much to say about Sanskrit class for week 6 I think!


Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia

Since I talked about the lecture and readings already, I'll just write about the seminar. It was helpful in a sort of general way to clarify some of the detail about how Tibetan "tantric" Buddhism "works", maybe. I think I have a slightly better grasp on the very overarching differences between Vajrayana Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism (the latter being the form of Buddhism from which the earlier Buddhist art in South Asia we looked at before stemmed from) which informs how they differ in artwork. My general impression was in some respects Vajrayana Buddhism is more of an introspective/independent activity for the initiated, albeit within the context of a monastery - a sense of "working independently within a team" kind of stuff, seeking enlightenment on their own grounds while guided by the guru/lama.

This contrasted with the Mahayana Buddhism where there was more of a sense of social/community..."worship" I suppose, although I don't think that's wholly accurate. There was more of a sense of a broader and larger community coming together to engage in merit-making activities in Mahayana Buddhism, compared to more individual work in Vajrayana Buddhism. That said my impression of this was somewhat defined by the (artistic representations of) the practices of Vajrayana Buddhism, with respect to meditation on mandalas and the usage of thangkas individually - but I don't know that these practices aren't necessarily also used in Mahayana Buddhism and hence whether these "differences" in artistic representation may actually not be a difference at all but an indication of possibly biased focus on or away from these representations in each respective tradition's art.

I think overall I'm still a bit confused with Tibetan art and Vajrayana Buddhism, although I do want to learn a bit more about it so I actually understand better "how it works", perhaps. I'm thinking of maybe doing my second assignment (an essay or formal and contextual analysis of an artwork) on Tibetan art. We have been "encouraged" to write our two assignments on different times and/or spaces within the scope of the module, and so since my first assignment was on an ancient South Asian object, I should be looking at doing my second one on South East Asian or Himalayan art, either ancient or not, or more recent South Asian art.


Introduction to Linguistics

I can't even remember what happened in this seminar. Possibly concerning...I think we must've been working on morphology?


Greek and Latin

So my very poor performance in the previous Greek quiz was not as bad as initially it seemed, as apparently the auto-marking on moodle marked some wrong that should've been correct; in the end it was 60%, although that's still somewhat low so I want to keep reviewing that material (especially the uses of the dative case). Nothing really notable came up in the Greek seminars though, although the extracts are taking me longer and longer to prepare and this week's one I didn't manage to prepare the whole translation before the seminar, so after my first "turn" of translating I spent the rest of the seminar furiously trying to translate through what I hadn't done yet so I had it ready and translated for when it got back round to me again. In the process though I may have missed some relevant comments on the translation of other parts which I may have done wrong...so I might need to start preparing the translations on the weekend or something rather than in the gap before the seminar.

For Latin things have been...mixed. Along with the quizzes there are weekly homeworks; for those taking the module "for credit", the quizzes count towards their mark (are summative) while the homeworks don't (are formative). For me of course neither count, and due to other work taking precedence I missed out on doing the last two homeworks (but I did do the quizzes). Evidently I was not the only one as the lecturer was rather unhappy in our lecture on Monday and pointed out that everyone should be doing those. However he did also specifically note that even those auditing or not taking the module for credit (a class I belong to) are expected to be working on those.

So that ended up sending me on a bit of a spiral for a couple days, because I'm incapable to taking perceived criticism without feeling like the world is ending :/ It would probably be more helpful if my immediate response to such matters wasn't "I'm bad and in trouble for being bad and I shouldn't have done this and I can't do it anyway so I should just give up and do nothing"...in the end I emailed the lecturer an apology which I'm sure came across even worse than if I'd not sent anything and then caught up with those (this happened this Tuesday, but since they were for the previous week it seems relevant to discuss in a post about that week). The quiz went fine though, I got I think one or two things wrong but they were small mistakes.

The Latin homeworks I was catching up on mostly went well with one exception...there was a question (with several examples to work through under that one question) in one on forming the passive voice in English I got every single one wrong, I think I misunderstood what we were supposed to be doing though. I was trying to form the passive voice by making the subject of the active version the agent in the passive version, but since they weren't really "sentences" so much as phrases, they didn't have objects to become a subject and thus I had to just put like "It was seen by him". It turns out they wanted us to just do it as "He was seen" (from "He sees"), turning the subject in the active to the object in the passive.


In summary...

From the above it looks pretty clear I've been a bit focused on (and perhaps not doing as well with) the Greek and Latin compared to the other modules...which since the other modules are the ones that will actually determine my Certificate results, is perhaps an issue! I've decided that next term I'm just going to continue with one of the two, probably Greek because I think it is maybe a bit "harder" and would be better to have more guidance in. Also Greek is more relevant to my interests in the classical cultures and in relation to ancient South Asia (i.e. Gandhara and Greco-Buddhist syncretism). Although I have only one module at SOAS next term anyway, having just two will actually mean I am properly studying part-time intensity as a part-time student (as opposed to doing more than full-time intensity, as an alleged part-time student this term!). It will also let me potentially look for work around my schedule better, since as it turns out I'm not eligible for a maintenance loan, that is something I need to be pursuing soon...

Now I am off to do...something productive, hopefully I need to look over the reading for the art and archaeology lecture this afternoon, and also I have some minced beef and pork I need to use to make some meatballs before it goes off...I thought I would get it and then make those and it'd be nice, then realised I actually have to make them which is just...ugh, tedious. I was thinking of going for a walk but then I remember I washed my jacket and it's still drying so guess not. I've foiled my own attempt to procrastinate about cooking, which itself is a way to procrastinate about doing the readings for the lecture today!
Last edited by artful_lounger; 10 months ago
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#7


Week 7


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....TSR ate my post

I will retype an abbreviated version of it because I am too lazy to do the whole thing again >.>


Sanskrit

This week the major new things were a new declension, long -a stem feminine nouns, and a new bit of Sandhi, the RUKI rule. The RUKI rule is where s is retroflected after any r, u, k, or i sound (hence the name), although this also includes dipthongs and historical dipthongs ending in u or i (so that also includes e) and also retroflex/vocalic ṛ. So after these sounds s turns to , which has more of a sh sound, made with the tongue folded/rolled back on itself (imagine you are pointing your tongue backwards in your mouth towards your brain). This is why there are a lot of what are transliterated into English as sh sounds in Indic languages, such as Vishnu, Krishna, and Lakshmi, among other examples.

The other major topic after these was how to form superlatives (happiest) comparatives (happier) and adverbs (happily) from adjectives. There was also a briefer note on the use of the verb "to go" with abstract nouns, meaning to become the abstract noun (e.g. to go with peace, literally as he goes towards peace, would mean he becomes peaceful). Finally the very end of the chapter was a brief section on relative clauses, which we didn't really discuss in the lecture.



Linguistics


Super awkward, I was the only one to turn up to the seminar at first and nobody else joined until over halfway through I mostly asked about the exam format and how to prepare for it (since it's a new module from an older one that was broken up into several modules, there are no past papers yet), and then when the other person joined we talked about morphosyntax for a bit. The lecturer also noted that seminar attendance has been dropping recently...



Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South Asia


A HUGE amount of information in the week 7 lecture for this module, we were looking at painting in Mughal India. I'm not really sure how much of it I took onboard...it felt very much like the old "drinking from a fire hydrant". One of the major themes was about interculturality and international relations of the Mughal Empire, not only between South Asia and Islamic culture, but also European and the New World. One notable painting was of a turkey, which is of course native to North America and so was known because an envoy from New World colonies brought back a turkey as a gift for Jahangir, the then emperor of the Mughals. So at this point in history we are very much starting to see more and more a range of global connections, compared to earlier where they were more with the nearer neighbouring areas (although not necessarily limited to Asia, as with the Greek and Roman influences on the Gandharan region, possibly stemming from earlier connections through Alexander the Great's campaign into Asia.



Greek and Latin


I did better on the Greek quiz than last week, which is good. We covered present participles in Greek, along with some uses of the genitive case and the article. Nothing specifically notable as I recall, just more grammar! I don't really remember the stories in the extracts we translated in the seminars this week...I think it was the family going to the city and looking at the Parthenon. There was some confusion about the use of genitive with certain articles, because we ended up not covering that in the lecture before the first seminar. Otherwise it was just a lot of participles!

In Latin we looked at the meaning of habeo and video in the passive voice, as this changes the meaning from have/see respectively to consider/seem, as well as some a new use of the ablative (which we looked at earlier usage we had covered as well) and the use of infinitives as subjects in sentences. I really need to learn the passive voice endings for Latin; I remember some of them but not all of them and not well enough :s



And the rest...


The major drama of this week was my laptop beginning to literally fall apart, and then the horrifying realisation that the warranty expired 6 months ago...I thought I had until the beginning of 2021 left for the warranty, but as it turns out it expired mid 2020 This was not ideal when the screen literally fell out of the frame. Also it means I won't be able to have the consistent overheating issues fixed or the battery replaced. The latter normally would be a simple matter but the battery on this laptop is fully internal so I can't get at it without taking apart the case.

So I've been looking at replacement PC options or considering what I could do to repair this one a bit...opening it up to replace the battery and checking all the screen hinge and casing and screen itself are all properly screwed in and attached are one thing, but I'm not sure how much I can help the overheating issue. I was looking at desktops to replace it with, since I don't really need a laptop, but I'm concerned I don't have enough know-how to plan a configurable build and all the prebuilt manufacturer desktops don't really fit what I'm looking for (in my price range anyway). I did find one that looked good, on recommendation from one of my guildmates in WoW (a computer shop local to him that builds custom PCs and also sells prebuilt and refurbished rigs), although I was put off by the fact all of them seem to use what are almost universally considered bad PSU, based on some googling of the brand(s).

I've not yet settled on anything...still considering whether to get one of the cheaper prebuilt or refurbished rigs from the guy above and maybe buy a good PSU and install it myself, since by all accounts that seems to be the easiest component to install, or to try and salvage this laptop myself. Alternately I could look at bringing the laptop into a PC repair shop, although I don't really want to pay £50 or something to end up with them just applying thermal paste and doing some stuff I could do otherwise...
Last edited by artful_lounger; 10 months ago
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#8
Report Thread starter 10 months ago
#8


Week 8
Sanskrit

We started on the past tense this week (specifically the imperfect), and also introduced a new mood, the potential (also optative or subjunctive; all are the same thing in Sanskrit, although I think some languages distinguish between optative and subjunctive, like Greek maybe?), which expresses wishes, desires, possibilities etc. In doing so we broke with the order of topics in the book to jump ahead a couple chapters, with the intervening chapters being covered in the following week (i.e. the week in which I am now writing this). Having learned the imperfect tense expands our range of possible material greatly, and means we aren't so restricted to very contrived example sentences and exercises.

The culmination of this was us translating a short extract of actual Sanskrit text, from Maurer's Sanskrit Reader, which was a story about a king shooting a deer with an arrow (possibly by accident, from the context of the story) then being wracked by guilt and worry because killing is evil and men who kill things go to hell (not Christian hell obviously, but the Brahmanical/Hindu one).

All in all though it was a short chapter that we covered and there wasn't anything hugely troublesome with the material. The actual past tense paradigm was even relatively straightforward since it was similar to the present tense, just with an augment prefixed on the very and some slight (and in one case, moderate) changes to the endings.


Linguistics

Fortunately I wasn't the only one in the tutorial this week, although it was only two of us I think (there was someone else who joined late but they never said anything). We worked on syntax but also kind of semantics, I think? We had a bit of a discussion about the word "it" (an ominous portent for the future...I sense more philosophy of language type content in the near future) and transitivity in verbs, and discussed whether "bet" was a tritransitive very i.e. taking three objects and one subject.

The argument for is that you can write "I bet him a pound on the horse", where "him", "a pound" and "the horse" are all objects of the verb "bet", with "I" as the subject. The argument against seems to be that not all the objects are strictly necessary to have a well formed phrase in English, since "I bet him on the horse", "I bet him a pound" and "I bet a pound on the horse" are all potentially viable methods of communicating the first sentence, with certain aspects left implicit dependent on context. Even without context the last one "y bet x on z" is a general usage of the verb, as if you go to a bookies you don't normally say "I bet the bookie x on y" even though that is technically what is happening (I think).

We also talked about syntactic structure more generally in sentences, figuring out what syntactical units were (e.g. verb phrase) and then justifying it. Although we didn't get that far, this tied into the drawing of syntax trees. I was a little fuzzy on some of this stuff, I thought I got it but when talking with a friend who also does linguistics stuff I realised I didn't really get it all that well. Said friend gave me a little mini-tutorial on zoom this week about syntax tree drawing which also cleared up some of my other misconceptions about syntax which was quite helpful.

Also I forgot to write about this last time, I submitted my first assignment for this module the week before last. It was a bit of an odd assignment, there was a really restrictive word limit, subdivided into the different question parts, so you couldn't really do much more than just cite the core textbooks for definitions and offer a brief evaluation for each part of the assignment. It did raise some interesting questions about the nature of animal vs human communication, language density and spread in various populations and regions, and also the effect of colonising powers on indigenous language use. Unfortunately there wasn't much scope to explore these in the assignment itself. I also learned as a result of this that Denmark is considerably less "solid" a landmass than I thought it was!


Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia

Our lecture was on the "vernacular" arts of Southeast Asia this week (the quotations were a conscious choice by the lecturer and emphasised in discussions about the nature of art in relation to it). I'm not sure I really "got" the lecture this week; it had a lot to do with the nature of what art is and cultural relativism (I think) in art, rather than analysing particular objects or styles as such. It was interesting from a sort of anthropological point of view I guess, but I wasn't really sure what to make of it. I don't feel like I really contributed much to the discussion in the lecture or seminar

The "vernacular" arts in question were mainly pots, which then related to some discussions about collectors, collecting, and connoisseurship, and wayang. Wayang was mainly used in reference to wayang kulit, Javanese shadow puppetry. Note I say "puppetry" rather than puppets, because properly the term does refer to the entire performance and not merely the "objects" of the performance. Also it was emphasised that the performance itself was the "important" part, and also for the dalang (the conductor/narrator, in a sense; the person that moves the puppets, tells the story and sort of plans the actual narrative) themselves, who felt that removing the puppets from that context leaves them lifeless. One of the art historians we read works of was himself a dalang and we had an anecdote about how he was somewhat upset when doing a performance in a museum over the fact many of the puppets were just kept locked in glass cases, not being used.

This also related a little to a discussion about different ways of experiencing art generally and wayang kulit specifically, that is to say the modern practice of televising the performances. This adds certain things to the experience but also restricts or causes some elements of the experience of performance by necessity. For example one can flip between different channels showing different performances, allowing you to compare and contrast or just watch your favourite parts of the performances, but the filming crew will restrict what you can see from how they film it (e.g. closeups) and also you won't be part of the wider social experience of the performance. The performance is normally an all night long affair, where people come and go, and sit and eat and play games and talk among themselves and smoke, and you can sit on both sides of the screen that shadows are cast on - either seeing just the shadows cast on the screen, or the "full colour" version with the puppets, sitting around or even among the gamelan orchestra (and you could converse with the members of the performance between their parts etc).

Here is a picture of a wayan kulit performance, where you can see the dalang manipulating one of the puppets:

Image
Nurmalinda Maharfar (5 November 2015) Bahasa Indonesia: dalang wayang kulit [Online]. Available at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...ng_ganteng.jpg (Accessed 09/12/2020)

Note the puppets are painted in colour, but the shadows will generally form black and white silhouettes; as above though, you can sit on either side of the screen normally so see either during a performance (or spend some time on each side). You can also see the keris of the dalang tucked into his sarong. We did briefly talk about the importance of the keris in Java and it's use and "meaning" as such; being representations of power, but not actually used as weapons (normally anyway).

There are other forms of wayang other than the best known form of the shadow puppetry though, which we did discuss briefly too. It was very interesting to learn about, I'm just not really sure I fully understood the subtleties and nuances of the material being discussed...


Greek and Latin

The Greek stories are starting to become a little more engaging! In the second one we did this week, the son goes blind after being attacked when he intervenes in a fight :O I accidentally started translating this second story rather than the first one in the chapter so had to very quickly translate on the fly in the first seminar to make sure I had something for my turn I only ended up having one lecture for Greek this week, since as usual the first one I missed and have to study independently due to a clash, but the second one had to be cancelled and replaced with a prerecorded lecture and then an extra drop in session was added...but that also clashed with my timetable so in the end I just had one timetabled lecture plus the two seminars. In one of the lectures (or sets of lecture material more accurately perhaps) we did also briefly discuss impersonal verbs...i.e. "it", so that followed on nicely from the linguistics stuff we did as outlined above!

In Latin there was a lot of new material, two (although really kind of three) new conjugations, the passive forms of all conjugations, and also active and passive imperatives of all the conjugations we've done so far. We now have the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd i-stem, and 4th conjugations covered. I think there is only one more conjugation outstanding, assuming no further subdivisions (like 3rd and 3rd i-stem). I don't really remember the quizzes, I think the Greek one went ok but I think in the Latin one I confused a bunch of things because I learned the table I had written out wrong.


Non-academic stuff...

Naxxramas came out in WoW Classic, so I had to get myself attuned for that, and we had our first raid in there on Sunday! It went pretty well, we didn't wipe a huge amount, and got two bosses down (Anub'Rekhan and Grand Widow Faerlina). Nothing of interest loot-wise dropped. The raid leader also had us make an "attempt" at Patchwerk, mainly as a joke. And what a joke it was! I expected us to wipe it, but I thought maybe we could keep up the hateful strike tanks for a little while...but nope, he literally one shot each of them! Then of course started smushing the melee dps, while our main tank died because he was laughing so hard. It was pretty entertaining in the end

Also, I had a very helpful "pep-talk" from a friend over the weekend, about my academics so far and what I am hoping to do with these, and planning ahead in terms of that. He also made some good points about not stressing so much over whether I am good at something and/or just resigning myself to doing something because it's required for my course, and just trying to engage with it as much as possible as I will become better at it then. So I'm feeling a bit better thinking about what I might study for next year of this course, and what I might do afterwards.

Outside of that, I got a new chair, a used office chair like one of the ones they had in my old workplace. Such a difference! Much easier to sit down for several hours of work now, at all, and also of course I no longer get the painful stiffness from sitting in a wooden kitchen chair for several hours at the computer too.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 10 months ago
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 9 months ago
#9


The Final Two Weeks

Whoops, I missed an update D: It's been a pretty hectic last two (and a bit!) weeks of term! Had an end-of term test and two assignments due, which doesn't sound like much in retrospect but between all the usual lectures and seminars (and an extra one the first Monday after term had ended!) it's definitely occupied my time


Sanskrit

Between classes and homework we translated another extract from Maurer, mostly independently this time though, which was quite rewarding as an end of term exercise, since at the beginning of term we definitely wouldn't have been able to come close to attempting a translation of even a short passage like the one we did! The extra in question also mentioned hamṣa, which then led to a discussion about how best to translate that. Properly speaking a hamṣa is a goose (, however in modern artworks they're usually depicted as swans, and often it gets translated as "swan". Sometimes it even gets translated as "flamingo", which my lecturer seemed a bit pained by :lol: Our lecturer is adamant that a hamṣa is a goose though (Anser indica specifically!).

The representation issue seems to be a reception problem specific to Europe and Europeans though; here a goose tends to be associated with a farm bird, but in South Asian mythology hamṣa are quite mystical, regal birds, with divine powers, so there is a bit of mismatch of mental imagery. Since some of those aspects tend to be associated more with swans in Europe, we end up with European influenced depictions of them as swans in artwork, or with European translations of the word as "swan". No idea where flamingo came from...

Aside from that, the big thing was the end of term exam/test, which we had following the last class of term. It was an open book exam that we had 24 hours to work on, so in one sense wasn't super stressful because we could always refer to our notes. However it was still kind of stressful because it was technically possible to get 100% so our lecturer pointed out that marking of errors would be quite harsh as a result. Amazingly though, we got it back, after submitting it on Thursday, on the Friday, even with it having to be sent off to be double marked! I got 90% on it in the end, which is a great result, although some of the mistakes I made were very frustrating - and one I knew was a mistake and fretted over so much after submitting it! Still, a good finish to that module, and a good start to a course which overall is, for me, to focus on Sanskrit language. Hopefully that sky high mark will balance out what I'm sure will be a terrible mark in linguistics....


Linguistics

Well, at least it's (almost) over I have to say I've enjoyed this module a lot less than I thought I would, and I don't feel like I've taken a huge amount away from it...this is probably at least partly my fault because I found the format of pre-recorded lectures and slide shows really hard to engage with (and didn't engage with it very well as a result), but still...rethinking whether I might want to angle for a more comparative linguistics direction with respect to the ancient languages I've been studying now...

Overall, the last two weeks were spent focusing on semantics and pragmatics, and finishing up the syntax work. The semantics and pragmatics I pretty much fully did not understand at all; a lot of it is very philosphical (one of the key texts is actually by a philosophy, Gottlob Frege, and there is another relevant but less core text by Bertrand Russell). As a result a lot of the theories are quite abstract and it doesn't feel exactly clear how we are supposed to "put them into practice" with actual linguistic data. The theories that aren't so abstract tend to feel so obvious as to be common sense, which is usually a sure sign I've not understood it properly.

Annoyingly, we didn't get back the first assignment feedback before we submitted the second assignment. Instead we got it the Monday after the Friday on which we submitted the second assignment, which was possibly even more frustrating than not getting it before the second assignment submission date at all. I got 65% in the end which isn't too bad, although his criticisms in the feedback were pretty biting (which makes me surprised I got 65% at all). One that was especially frustrating to me was that I got criticised for not referencing Ethnologue for the last question, despite it specifically saying to define the thing "in your own words"!

The second assignment I'm definitely going to do badly on, which was 100% my fault for procrastinating and leaving it to the last minute. I vastly underestimated how long the morphological analysis would take, and just skipped 90% of the morphology question as a result. I'm also not too confident in my phonetic and phonological analyses, which make up 50% of the marks...I'm fairly confident in my syntax work at least.

We had an extra assignment this Monday, although term ended last Friday, because he felt he hadn't covered enough of the material...in advance of this he uploaded a 110 slide powerpoint to go over. Sigh. It was on pragmatics so ended up being more of an impromptu lecture than a seminar, with him talking a lot and us not really saying much. At least I wasn't the only person there, and I did try and engage a little with it...I don't feel like I took much of it in. I will need to though, as we still have one more assignment, which is due at the end of the first week of next term, which is a 50:50 split between semantics and pragmatics...then of course the exam, although I'm hoping if I practice my phonetic and phonological analysis a bit more, and really nail down the syntax stuff, I can avoid any semantics or pragmatics work and just try and to pick up as many marks on the morphology stuff after those areas.


Themes in the Art and Archaeology of South and Southeast Asia

The lectures for the last two weeks were somewhat related, with the first being on colonial influences on (and postcolonial responses to) Southeast Asian art, while the second was on contemporary art in Southeast Asia. The first ended up being a bit terminology heavy (to be expected with modern and contemporary art), although raised some interesting discussions about modernism and modernity, as well as colonialism and postcolonialism. The second lecture I found surprisingly really enjoyable, since I was expecting it to be even more of a grind through terminology, as instead the lecturer just took a wide range of examples of artwork from a number of notable Southeast Asian artwork and analysed them with a little bit of discussion from us. I found the artworks and connections really interesting, and at the end of the (final) seminar felt a bit disappointed I hadn't picked for my second assignment, the essay question more or less relating to this final lecture and seminar.

Otherwise this week I've been finishing the final assignment for this module, which I wrote a formal and contextual analysis of a thangka held in the British Museum currently. My original plan was to discuss a bit more about the notions of the museum context, particularly as my example had undergone conservation work, but in the end I didn't have any space to write about that at all. I fear I may have gone a little too heavy on the formal rather than contextual side of the analysis though...unfortunately I didn't get to include any of the helpful resources the PGTA who was jointly running our seminars sent me on conservation of thangkas. They were interesting to read through in their own right at least! I'm not really sure how it will turn out...I very much doubt I'll manage a 1st again like assignment one, I'm hoping for at least a 2:1 though...


Greek and Latin

More of the same stuff, grammar grammar grammar! We did the first and second Aorists in Greek mainly, while in Latin we did some work on possessive adjectives and had a "manuscript class", which was quite cool. Although normally they aim to hold that class in the rare books store of the library, looking at actual Latin manuscripts with the librarian (who is the one handling them of course), due to coronavirus etc, instead the lecturer used a virtual slideshow of the prior year's class, with some digital images of the manuscripts which we worked through bits of the Latin from. It was fun to see things "in action" as it were though, and also I learned that the ampersand ( & ) symbol actually comes from how "et" (Latin for "and") was written in manuscripts!

Fortunately I didn't have to take either end of term test for these modules, although we worked through the Latin one in the last class...I got asked to do a question and was completely caught off guard because I'd been told about something happening by one of the other students and was trying to organise stuff in relation to that, and then had to ask the lecturer to repeat the question, then barely could make any attempt at it and he basically had to do it mostly for me I don't think he was very impressed with my performance on the module, such as it was (given that I wasn't taking it "for credit"). In retrospect I wish I'd just taken one of the two classical Mediterranean languages alongside my studies at SOAS, as I think I didn't really pay them the attention and put in the work that was needed.

Next term I will be only continuing with one, which will be Greek. I need to make some flashcards on the second Aorist, because a lot of that I haven't internalised much of it yet, and I will need it for next term! It was slightly gratifying though that in the final seminar I managed to (reasonably successfully) do some sight reading. I hadn't managed to finish preparing the text for that, since I'd been working on the linguistics assignment, but since there were just two of us in the final seminar I necessarily ended up with a second paragraph to work through. Fortunately I ended up with a pretty easy one that was a short dialogue of two characters haggling over price, and so largely ended up being just recognising numbers in Greek, and guessing at the Aorist forms. But I managed to mostly do the latter right, so it ended up ok. Since there were only two of us with the PGTA she ran it in a slightly more relaxed manner than usual, and we finished a bit early anyway and chatted for a short while which was a nice way to finish things off without too much stress (for Greek work anyway!).





Looking forwards...




So, next term I will just be doing Sanskrit as my main focus, although I'll be continuing Greek "not for credit" alongside that. I will at the end of the year also have the linguistics and art history exams, so I'll need to do a bit of work on those (probably a lot on linguistics...) sooner or later. I'll also have another exam in Sanskrit, and also an oral exam which is a daunting prospect. I need to practice my pronunciation a lot! I might do what some of the others have done and add in recordings of them reciting their solutions to the Sanskrit homeworks...

In general terms, I'll also need to start thinking a bit more about what to do next year, and what (if any) degree(s) I will want to apply to after that. My original plan was to continue with Sanskrit, which I think seems likely. I then need to decide whether to do a Sanskrit texts module (depending on which, if any, are offered), or something else. The something else could then be another language (Hittite if it's still offered, which I doubt, or Avestan if it's running next year, as that was recommended to me by my Sanskrit lecturer, or possibly Prakrit), or some other modules more generally. I think it's very unlikely I will want to take another linguistics module, although I don't want to be too negative about that (if only because I still have work to do for that module!). I hadn't originally planned to take the art history module I am taking, and ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I might. So I've been toying with the idea of continuing with that...another alternative was a module in ancient Indian philosophy, which sometimes runs, although I'm not sure having had some slight contact with philosophy via linguistics this term whether that is such a great idea. I don't think I deal well with very abstract things (which I should know really, after the disaster which was first year maths at Southampton way back when...).

I also need to think about degree programmes to potentially apply to afterwards. I'm somewhat constrained by circumstance though, as I will only get full SFE funding for a part-time course, and so can only consider part-time courses or full-time courses where they offer very generous bursaries, which is a very small selection of universities (which I am very unlikely to get into). I also need to account for the fact I will be very unlikely to continue Sanskrit past next year, because there are basically two degree programmes where Sanskrit is regularly offered as main (ish) subject of study, and one is the other place which I definitely will not be able to make a competitive application for. The second is SOAS, which unfortunately has neither part-time degree courses, nor extensive enough bursaries to allow me to study full-time there practically.

So I probably also need to think a little about refocusing in slightly different areas...the original aim had sort of been vaguely ancient languages, which would make Classics the prime subject of choice, however my experiences studying both the languages this year does give me pause for though, as it is a considerable work load even as a (technically) "part time" student. There are however a few part-time Classics courses available I could apply to so that is certainly an option. Another option which my mum suggested, which I hadn't really though about before, was art history...I did enjoy my art history module this term a lot, but that may have just been due to the specific subject matter (of South and Southeast Asian art and archaeology) appealing to me. I don't know if my interest would necessarily extend to European art (which is usually the main focus of art history degrees) as much, particularly as I am very much not interested in biblical imagery which is a significant influence on European art. I could also look slightly further afield for more tangentially related courses, like archaeology and/or anthropology, as the anthropology side I'd considered studying long ago before my forays into the STEM realm, and the archaeology side does appeal to my interest in ancient cultures. However I'm less certain I'd get on with the theory side of an anthropology course now. Otherwise I would probably be looking for much more disparate courses, probably vaguely language based or historical in nature?

non academic ramblings...
Spoiler:
Show



In non-academic stuff, I need to start looking for a job again next year, and possibly seeing if I can sign on at the jobcentre. I'm not totally sure if I'll even be able to do that, between leaving my prior job "willingly" (albeit, that will have been more than 3 months ago which I think is the sanction period for that), and also being in a part-time academic course (I know full-time students can't apply there, but it seems part-time students might be able to...but I'd be expected to take any job offered even if it clashed with my academic lecture slots, which may lead to problems with getting sanctioned later). It would also entail travelling under coronavirus, and I've no idea what the local jobcentre is like. I found the one in Cambridge reasonably helpful, but I ended up only needing to be there for about 6 weeks while I was going through the interview and acceptance process for my former job there anyway.

Outside of work things, Naxxramas progression continues...we are now 5/15, and almost got Loatheb down without any world buffs, which considering all the top guilds on our server only do him with WBs, is rather impressive I think. I've been playing it a bit more now that I levelled up my herbalism a bit more so I have something to do outside of raiding (mostly farming more herbs to make the potions for Loatheb! So many consumables needed for that fight...). There are also rumblings that TBC classic is all but confirmed, to be announced in the new year, expected to release around April time. So I need to get back into the mood for grinding, since I'll need to level a Draenei (and Blood Elf!) for that! That said, I've been reflecting on my experience of finally doing "proper" raiding, and I'm not too sure how it's gone. It's had ups and downs, but I'm wondering if maybe there have been more downs than ups...since aiming to do raiding was always my major goal in WoW (before transmog anyway, and then I just soloed old raids for the gear and fun), if I choose to not do that I kind of feel like maybe there isn't much point in playing it at all? Because I really don't like PvPing in WoW, and it is by design very grind-y and unfun a lot of the time, with the aim being the "high" of raiding (or PvP).

However TBC was the expansion I first starting playing WoW in, even if I only got my original character to level 30ish before giving up until cataclysm came out. So I do really want to play it in a sense to experience outland "properly" rather than just blasting through while levelling to a much higher levelling cap. Equally though I've played the BElf and Draenei starting zones so many times I practically have them mapped to the inside of my eyeballs, so that will be a bit tedious...and then I need to level through the whole classic stuff again before I can get to outland! Also I'll need to grind out that netherwing rep...which took me a very long time the first time round in cataclysm, and I expect there will be a lot more people competing for eggs in that zone in TBC classic!

I also have felt a bit more ambivalent to league lately, leading to more time on WoW, although I need to grind out this TFT pass which only lasts another 3 and a bit weeks...the new item overhaul, while it seemed cool initially, has made mages (the type of champ I prefer playing) feel even more rigid in their builds, which makes it a bit less fun. I've ended up playing tanks more frequently as a result, since they feel like they have a bit more variety in their potential builds. It's also been fun to play Nunu, since his rework is such great character design and I tend to shy away from those kinds of tanky champs normally otherwise.


Last edited by artful_lounger; 9 months ago
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#10
Report Thread starter 9 months ago
#10
So, term starts back up again next week so I'm finally starting to drag myself into an academic mindset! I've done...very little work over the break after finishing my second assignment for the art history module D: this is perhaps especially going to be an issue going back into Greek and Sanskrit! I definitely need to do a bit of revision there...otherwise for next term I think I'm going to try and do more frequent, smaller updates for this, as often while I was "saving" stuff to write about to write about everything in one go, I'd end up forgetting about things! Also the walls of text are probably not that appealing to other people

I didn't do a great deal of work today, but started looking at and (very roughly) planning the final linguistics assignment. As with the others, it has an extremely small word limit, with which I need to for one section basically summarise and provide examples for all the material covered in one section of the course, and in the other in ~400-500 words address a topic that could well be a full essay! I had a friend give me some pointers on writing very short pieces of academic work, since trying to work within that word limit is going to be hard I think. I have until the end of the first week of term to work on it at least, and I suppose with such a short word limit the actual writing stage will necessarily not take that long. I definitely need to go over the material again though as it's on pragmatics, which was one of the sections of the course I didn't really "get" all that much last term.

Moving into term 2, I'll only have one module taken "for credit", the second half of the first year Sanskrit course, with one "extra" module as well, continuing the Greek from last term. I'm starting to have some reservations about the latter though...I've paid for the course and teaching hasn't yet started so I suppose it is still possible to swap from it, although to what I don't know...I'm mainly concerned because I feel like my Greek isn't strong enough currently to cope with the second half of the course, even though it's not "for credit" and mainly for my own personal edification. Also I feel like I've learned (and relearned!) a lot about academic (essay) writing last term (mostly through figuring out what not to do!) and I kind of want to have an opportunity to put that into practice.

In non-academic matters, I really need to fix my sleeping pattern...I woke up at ~2pm yesterday, then didn't fall asleep until after 5am this morning I forced myself to get up shortly before noon today, which might help a bit. In my gaming stuff, we managed to down Razuvious in Naxxramas in WoW Classic last week, and Loatheb this week - both on our first "real" try of it on those respective raid nights too! Admittedly though, we did do a lot of "test runs" with just the essential personnel to get the healing rotation for Loatheb and MC mechanics for Razuvious down, but I think they paid off and the actual attempt with the full raid went very smoothly. There were some butted heads in the process though...but those were bridges burned long ago (from the other side I might add!) so although it's annoying it's not overly upsetting or concerning for me. Alas, no good healer loot still...we're back to AQ40 later this week though so hopefully will finally get a C'Thun mace drop. We haven't had a single one despite raiding him for a good 4 months or so I think?!

Final though for the day is that I may start looking into the history of art angle for a prospective further degree more...I've spent a lot of time over the break thinking about the essay question I didn't choose for my last assignment on the art history module, as it was really a very interesting topic. Also on reflection the method(s) of visual analysis we did thus far in the singular module have been a good fit for me, and (most of) the material we've covered has been very interesting (even some of the stuff that I didn't think would be as interesting!).
Last edited by artful_lounger; 9 months ago
0
reply
The_Lonely_Goatherd
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#11
Report 9 months ago
#11
Oooh I've only just spotted this blog :eek3: Posting to subscribe :ahee:

Sounds like you've been doing lots of work in the first term! Wishing you all the best for term 2. Hope your studies won't be too affected by lockdown...

Hugs on the sleeping front, that doesn't sound too good. Def something to keep an eye on

History of art angle sounds really cool, and like a good potential degree path going forward
1
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#12
Report Thread starter 9 months ago
#12
Well, after making the post yesterday, I ended up swapping the Greek (language) module for one of the classics (in translation) modules instead. I wasn't feeling to confident about going into the second term Greek in all honesty, and the opportunity to study more of the actual "stuff" of classics seemed like a better way to gauge my interest in the non-language side of that degree for possible future options. Also the module I changed to incorporates some more art-historical stuff since it doesn't just restrict itself to textual sources and also includes (art) objects, so will let me explore that interest in a different regional context (which will be part of what I would do in an art history degree; if it turned out I only liked art history when it was South/SE Asian art history then that might suggest then sticking to the South Asian studies angle would be the best option!).

That said, while on the one hand the module looks very interest and I'm looking forward to it, on the other hand I do have a slight twinge of maybe regret that I might be making the wrong decision, as I won't be able to take a language module at UCL again next year (or probably any module, but definitely not a language one) doing the Greek (language) module didn't feel like the wrong decision, but I wasn't sure it was the right one either, because I'd still be continuing with Sanskrit, and I felt like my Greek wasn't up to scratch to start with after last term...so not having to worry about all the memorisation would be a relief as well. Maybe I need to stop overanalysing this since I was satisfied with the decision when I first made it

After having emailed them this morning to change that and feeling pretty happy about the change now by evening I'm feeling more conflicted...as a result I've not really done anything else all day because I've spent the whole day focusing on whether I made the right choice...tomorrow I need to do some more work on the linguistics assignment, I also need to do a little bit of Sanskrit revision to make sure I've not forgotten everything from last term
0
reply
The_Lonely_Goatherd
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#13
Report 9 months ago
#13
Ah, it's always so easy to start second-guessing and doubting a decision once it's made, isn't it? I think this classics in translation module sounds better suited to you though, in terms of figuring out options for a potential degree, and just exploring the subject more broadly :yep:
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#14
Report Thread starter 9 months ago
#14
(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Ah, it's always so easy to start second-guessing and doubting a decision once it's made, isn't it? I think this classics in translation module sounds better suited to you though, in terms of figuring out options for a potential degree, and just exploring the subject more broadly :yep:
PRSOM, and thanks for the reassurance! Yeah I think I should just stop focusing on the "what if" and just focus on the fact I've made the choice and to make the most of it now The module is appealing, as it's on Greek myths specifically, which is often the major draw of the Classics in the first place! But it will be interesting to explore that through the actual texts (in translation) and objects, from which our modern understanding of them is derived. It might also help contextualise the language work I was doing last term, which is something I might be missing a bit on the classics front.

For Sanskrit I was also doing the Art/Archaeology of South and South East Asia last term which I think was a big help in reminding me sometimes why I am learning all these bits of grammar and stuff in the language classes - so that I can learn more about the really interesting culture(s) the language derive from by eventually being able to read actual texts! Admittedly that latter part is still a ways off though, in any of the languages But having that same link on the classics side might help me engage more with the language work or might lead me to focus more on the South Asian studies/Sanskrit side of things, or on just the art history angle or something, all of which are still helpful in homing in on what I want to do later as you rightfully point out
0
reply
The_Lonely_Goatherd
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#15
Report 9 months ago
#15
(Original post by artful_lounger)
PRSOM, and thanks for the reassurance! Yeah I think I should just stop focusing on the "what if" and just focus on the fact I've made the choice and to make the most of it now The module is appealing, as it's on Greek myths specifically, which is often the major draw of the Classics in the first place! But it will be interesting to explore that through the actual texts (in translation) and objects, from which our modern understanding of them is derived. It might also help contextualise the language work I was doing last term, which is something I might be missing a bit on the classics front.

For Sanskrit I was also doing the Art/Archaeology of South and South East Asia last term which I think was a big help in reminding me sometimes why I am learning all these bits of grammar and stuff in the language classes - so that I can learn more about the really interesting culture(s) the language derive from by eventually being able to read actual texts! Admittedly that latter part is still a ways off though, in any of the languages But having that same link on the classics side might help me engage more with the language work or might lead me to focus more on the South Asian studies/Sanskrit side of things, or on just the art history angle or something, all of which are still helpful in homing in on what I want to do later as you rightfully point out
Oooooh Greek myths Yes exactly, that is often people's first experience of the classical worlds and a major draw-in attraction :awesome:

I think it'll be really nice for you to study things in translation and get a feeling for the texts and objects of that time, without having to arduously labour over the language. Learning the language is of course very helpful but one needs to keep a balance between all the language-learning and learning about the history and culture of the time. Otherwise things can feel very dry and tedious. Kinda like learning loads of music theory without touching your musical instrument much, or applying your learning to your playing, am guessing (just using a music analogy coz am a muso :musicus: )!

It's so cool that you are learning Sanskrit, btw. I'm Sinhalese Sri Lankan but my parents never taught me any aspects of the language, so I can't speak/read/write/understand it at all (apart from the odd swear word ). Have always felt it's a real shame and am very disconnected from the whole culture and diasporic communities as a whole
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#16
Report Thread starter 9 months ago
#16
(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Oooooh Greek myths Yes exactly, that is often people's first experience of the classical worlds and a major draw-in attraction :awesome:

I think it'll be really nice for you to study things in translation and get a feeling for the texts and objects of that time, without having to arduously labour over the language. Learning the language is of course very helpful but one needs to keep a balance between all the language-learning and learning about the history and culture of the time. Otherwise things can feel very dry and tedious. Kinda like learning loads of music theory without touching your musical instrument much, or applying your learning to your playing, am guessing (just using a music analogy coz am a muso :musicus: )!

It's so cool that you are learning Sanskrit, btw. I'm Sinhalese Sri Lankan but my parents never taught me any aspects of the language, so I can't speak/read/write/understand it at all (apart from the odd swear word ). Have always felt it's a real shame and am very disconnected from the whole culture and diasporic communities as a whole
Yeah keeping things in context helps...especially for me, in my earlier forays into HE I definitely found a major point where I started losing motivation with my studies (then getting depressed about that, leading to even less motivation, and so on and so forth in the vicious cycle) was when I felt like I couldn't see the forest for the trees...I think having theory and such grounded in something more concrete helps me personally a lot!

Also I see where you are coming from with the language thing, although it's not something I've lived experience of myself since I am not part of a diasporan community . But my impression is that it isn't an uncommon experience among those within those communities? On the plus side you're never too old to learn a language! I think actually most of the people in our Sanskrit class would be classified as "mature" students, and most of them more mature than me (which is a little reassuring I won't lie )! However I think at least half are drawn from one of the masters programmes offered at SOAS (the Yoga studies MA, I forget what the actual "proper" degree title is but that is what the course is more or less on), which does account for that a bit.

It has been an interesting and very enjoyable experience so far though, especially because somewhat unexpectedly for an ancient language, pronunciation and "oral" language skills are actually quite central to the language! We actually have an oral exam this term as a result :O
0
reply
Sandtrooper
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#17
Report 9 months ago
#17
Posting to subscribe - what a fascinating thread. I wish you the best of luck, and am looking forward to hearing how you get on
1
reply
The_Lonely_Goatherd
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#18
Report 9 months ago
#18
That's really cool that there's an emphasis on pronunciation - wouldn't have thought that with Sanskrit!

It's true that it's never too late to learn but I'm far too lazy :getmecoat:
1
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#19
Report Thread starter 9 months ago
#19
(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
That's really cool that there's an emphasis on pronunciation - wouldn't have thought that with Sanskrit!

It's true that it's never too late to learn but I'm far too lazy :getmecoat:
Yeah the phonology (or phonetics, I can't say the linguistics module I did has really improved my understanding of the terms much...which is maybe concerning D: ) of the language is really embedded in the written form, even the syllabary (i.e. alphabet, except instead of individual sounds they're all syllables e.g. ka as a syllable vs k as a sound).

In English the organization of the alphabet is basically pretty arbitrary, for example there's no reason that B should happen to be next to C in terms of the sounds. Both of the sounds are articulated completely differently, B using the lips, [hard] C using the hard palate, B is voiced i.e. the vocal cords vibrate when you make the sound [unlike P which is also formed using the lips in the same way as B, but without the vocal cord vibration], C is unvoiced. They're just in that order because that was how we inherited the alphabet from the Romans, who inherited it from the Greeks (sort of), etc.

In Sanskrit though, the syllabary is organized into a table, essentially, of rows and columns, on the basis of where and how the sounds are articulated. And even the organization of these rows and columns makes sense really; you start from the top row, which is sounds made in the throat (e.g. ka/ga; since they're syllables they're all made of up of a consonant and a vowel), then the next row is sounds made with the hard palate at the back of the mouth, then as you move down the rows you move forward through the mouth eventually ending with the sounds made with the lips. The columns then have the different modes of voicing and aspiration i.e. whether the vocal cords are involved in the sound or not and whether the sound is made with a sort of puff of air coming out.

It's all very systematic and based on the actual sounds themselves, and so aspects of pronunciation are really very clearly structurally included in the language. This does extend to more than just the individual sounds but also to the sounds within words, as the ancient Sanskrit grammarians also systematized the range of sound changes that occur in (and between) words, which you would expect to naturally occur in speech to make different combinations of sounds easier to pronounce (these changes are called sandhi in the Sanskrit context).

As an example in English if you say "what do you want", you generally don't really crisply pronounce the "t" at the end of "what" or the full sound of the "do", and it normally sounds slightly more like "whaduh you want" (exactly how much the sounds get sort of mishmashed depends a bit on accent and so on). This happens because "t" is unvoiced (doesn't use vocal cord vibration) while d is voiced, and going from one type of sound to the other in quick succession is kind of hard for humans without a really emphasized pause, so usually one of the sounds changes to become slightly more similar to the other. Those types of situations exist in Sanskrit as well, but while in English it's not really formalised in the written spelling, in Sanskrit it is, so those sound changes are directly represented in how you write it!

So between those (and probably other) things, the sound-scape of Sanskrit, so to speak, is integrated into the written form and thus preserved even thousands of years later, whereas for Greek and Latin and other similar ancient languages that isn't necessarily the case. While there are situations in Greek and Latin where spellings change to reflect how things may have been pronounced because the "original" spelling would've been hard to pronounce directly, e.g. certain combinations of vowels changing to another, single vowel, it's not quite so extensively and systematically laid out as it is in Sanskrit.

Also while I used the modern linguistic terms (hopefully correctly...) here in terms of e.g. voice vs unvoiced sounds etc, this isn't a structure that was "imposed" upon Sanskrit by Western linguists, but it was formulated by the ancient Sanskrit grammarians themselves, and they distinguished between the same categories, with their own terminology. So it's definitely not a case of elements of Western academics approaching the language in an Orientalist way (in this case anyway), this is how the Sanskrit grammarians themselves worked with the language! I just use the Western terms because...I don't know what the Sanskrit terms are
Last edited by artful_lounger; 9 months ago
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#20
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#20



Term 2 - Week 1



So, although it's "only" Wednesday, I'm done with timetabled activities this week, so it seemed like a good time to make the first official post of the new term!


Sanskrit 1B


No time for pleasantries in the new term of Sanskrit, we dove straight into some new grammar, namely pronouns, which of course are all fully declined . Although they're also not just pronouns because they can be used as a sort of pseudo-definite article, and there are different forms which get used to create different grammatical constructions. Essentially the three kinds we were learning about were demonstratives, those used to create relative clauses (which always had to be paired with a demonstrative pronoun later in the sentence) and those used to form questions.

In a sense it was simple because the actual declensions were mostly the same as the short-a stem masculine/neuter noun declension, so there wasn't much new to learn about the forms. However the actual usage of them is a bit unfamiliar because Sanskrit doesn't use pronouns and question words in the same way as English, and the "literal" translations of these constructions are more or less incomprehensible in English so it takes a bit of thinking to put everything together.

My brain was definitely not fully "reinitialised" for the 9am class on Monday though, so I kind of floated through it in a bit of a daze! I think maybe I wasn't the only one, as the lecturer decided to spend most of the class this morning on Wednesday also doing more work on the pronouns, which I think was very helpful overall. While Monday's class was more "lecture" format, today it was more of a "class" format and so we spent time working through example sentences, both Sanskrit to English translation, but also some English to Sanskrit composition. The latter was a lot harder (composition always is...) but I think helped me understand how to approach and understand the constructions a lot better (compared to just, writing all the grammatical info and the definitions/translations of the individual words, then trying to rearrange that into something that makes sense).

We also had a homework set on Monday, to analyse the declensions of the pronouns and to create a "working" translation of an extract from a fable. My translation was pretty rough, but I think mostly correct. There was one word I couldn't figure out the meaning of though in the end, so hopefully that one wasn't important...I got the impression that maybe completion of that homework was a bit lower than in the past, so there was no homework set today and it was just "continue with the homework from Monday", which gives me a bit more space to work on other things...which is good because I still have the final linguistics assignment to finish off for Friday! One thing I am hoping to do is over the weekend make a recording of myself reciting the text and add that in...much as I hate recording myself speaking, I need to practice it for the oral exam this term, and the lecturer did say she would be happy for us to submit recordings of us reading the homework and provide feedback on them.



Greek Myth


Our first class was mostly "bookkeeping", the lecturer introducing himself and going over the module syllabus, assessment etc. At the end since there was some time left, he did some Q&A about anything we weren't sure of administratively, or that we wanted to know about the course and what might or might not be covered. He did note that we would look at some comparative stuff of Greek myth in relation to Mesopotamian influences, Proto-Indo-European origins, and reception both in the ancient/classical world (by e.g. Etruscans and later Romans), and also possibly modern reception of the myths. I also asked him to clarify a point in the Levi-Strauss bricoleur paper, which he had uploaded on moodle ahead of the first class to read for next week, that I wasn't completely sure about.

In the background of this I also spoke with the lecturer via email, about getting set up on the moodle page (I had some access but not all the correct access it seemed) and also about the assessment and whether I could submit it. Since I'm taking the module as a life learning student I'm not entitled to undertake the assessment without the module leader's permission, but I did want to attempt at least the first essay if permissible. He was very enthusiastic about me doing so though, so no problems there!

While the first "lecture" for this was on Monday, in future they will be seminar sessions on Thursdays as our normal timetabled slot. However, we don't have one this week because it's the first week, so I have until next Thursday to prep for the seminar.



Introduction to Linguistics


A holdover from last term, the final assessment is due this Friday so I'm still doing some work on it. To be fair both this and the art history module from last term aren't full "complete" as I still have the exams in the summer, but for a while at least I might have less need to think about them...in any case, I've not actually done much on it yet, except outline some things I'm going to cover in the second half of the assignment . This is what I'll be working on for the rest of the week though...for better or for worse. I suspect it may be the latter but, we shall see...at least it's a very short assignment, I'm just concerned because it's all semantics and pragmatics which was the slightly more philosophical stuff we did at the end of last term that I didn't really "get"



Other Miscellany


We got two more bosses down in our Naxx progression which was good, but one was very sloppy, and the other required flasks for all the tanks and the healers, which is not going to be sustainable in the long run...also we managed to wipe before the first boss on the "menu" for the night, losing all our world buffs, which didn't help, and definitely set the tone for a less relaxed and fun evening than I might've liked...by the end people were definitely starting to fray at the edges a bit and there was a bit of conflict too. The most frustrating thing for me was that people kept not listening to me and not doing what they were instructed, and it was causing problems (leading to the first wipe on the second boss, which was totally avoidable)...

In non-gaming matters, I made a quiche for everyone the other day. It was a bit of a disaster in the process but actually turned out really well when it finally came out of the oven. But I accidentally made the crust too small, added too much salt and garlic to the filling (not enough to make it inedible but enough that some of the more subtle flavours got overpowered...RIP nutmeg ), accidentally threw out the chickpeas I'd used to stop the base rising too much when I was proofing the crust, dropped one of the containers of cream which then made a giant puddle of cream on the floor...not ideal D: In the end though it did taste pretty good, it was also a lot lighter and fluffier than I expected, usually they come out a bit denser...I did use single cream rather than double cream though (since that was what we had), and I whisked it to combine it with the eggs, so that might've given it a slight "whipped" consistency. It was very popular among everyone else and pretty quickly disappeared so I guess that is a good sign

Tags:
Spoiler:
Show



(Original post by 5hyl33n)
x
(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
x
(Original post by Sandtrooper)
x
(Original post by gjd800)
x
(Original post by becausethenight)
x
Last edited by artful_lounger; 6 months ago
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Have you made your mind up on your five uni choices?

Yes, and I've sent off my application! (10)
45.45%
I've made my choices but havent sent my application yet (3)
13.64%
I've got a good idea about the choices I want to make (3)
13.64%
I'm researching but still not sure which universities I want to apply to (1)
4.55%
I haven't started researching yet (2)
9.09%
Something else (let us know in the thread!) (3)
13.64%

Watched Threads

View All