Step One in Learning Any Language

Step One in learning any language should be learning the alphabet, the sounds of the letters, and the writing system. Do not skip this step! You would be surprised how many people cannot read — even their own native tongue — simply because they never learned the alphabet and the sounds of the letters (phonics). No matter how silly it might feel, learning “the alphabet song” is the quickest way to learn any alphabet. My children and I learned the Greek alphabet in a couple of days using this method (we…

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What’s the Difference Between ESL, EFL, ESOL, ELL, and ESP?

Even those of us who are within the teaching profession may not be clear on the difference between the acronyms that have surfaced to describe our jobs. When I first heard about the profession of teaching English to speakers of other languages, I heard it referred to as “ESL.” Since that time (which was about 13 years ago), other acronyms have been brought to my consciousness (e.g., EFL, ESOL, and ELL) that are essentially getting at the same thing, but they’re used with the intention of providing more distinction between…

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Geography and a Greek “Culture of Freedom”?

I recently had the opportunity to begin reading Christian Meier’s “A Culture of Freedom: Ancient Greece & the Origins of Europe” (Oxford University Press 2011), a translation of the first two parts of his seven-part history of Europe. Several reviews of the book have already come out in academic journals (CJ, CP) and in the popular press (THES, WSJ). The book seeks to answer “how the Greeks came about… how they developed into a culture that was so different from all the other magnificent high cultures that emerged before and…

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On “The Classical Debt”

I was once describing to a non-archaeologist Hellenist colleague and friend how archaeology works in Greece. In the course of that discussion I mentioned in passing that the directors of regional archaeological offices are called “ephors” (Greek έφορος). “Really?” she asked, before exclaiming, “How cute!” I didn’t say anything, but privately I was annoyed at the remark. I guess that it is kind of neat for a Classicist, who naturally associates ephors with ancient Sparta… but is it really so remarkable that the word for “supervisor” in Greek (ancient) is also the…

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Commemorating the Last Tsar

It was the largest gathering yet on the anniversary of the assassination of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, an event that foreshadowed the murder and mayhem to come under Bolshevism. Here’s a story about Russia that wasn’t covered in America’s insane Russia-hating media. A few weeks ago in Yekaterinburg in the Sverdlovsk region, an estimated 60,000 Russians participated in a procession to mark the 99th anniversary of the assassinations. At dawn on July 17th, the tens of thousands marched to the forest where the mutilated remains of the royal family had…

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An Empire of Mud

As the liberal elites, banks, (((rootless cosmopolitans))), and Islam celebrated their glorious victory over poor French people, Harry Potter feminist Emma Watson took to the stage at the MTV awards to accept the first ever ‘gender free’ acting award, according to Watson:  “[Belle’s] curiosity and passion for knowledge and her desire for more in life were ground for alienation,” Watson explained. “I loved playing someone who didn’t listen to any of that. I’m so proud to be part of a film that celebrates diversity, literacy, inclusion, joy, and love the…

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What Race Were the Greeks and Romans?

The evidence is clear — but often ignored. Recent films about ancient Greece such as Troy, Helen of Troy, and 300, have used actors who are of Anglo-Saxon or Celtic ancestry (e.g. Brad Pitt, Gerard Butler). Recent films about ancient Rome, such as Gladiator and HBO’s series Rome, have done the same (e.g. Russell Crowe). Were the directors right, from an historical point of view? Were the ancient Greeks and Romans of North European stock? [more at the Unz Review]   If you find this site valuable, please share!

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