Saturday, February 23, 2013

Quote of the Day #223 - Paul Washer

A quote from Paul Washer
To know Him, that is what everything is about. That is eternal life. And eternal life doesn't begin when you pass through the gates of glory. Eternal life begins with conversion. Eternal life is to know Him. Do you honestly think you are going to be thrilled about swinging on gates of pearl and walking down streets of gold for an eternity? The reason why you won’t lose your mind in eternity is because of this: there is One there who is infinite in glory and you will spend an eternity of eternities tracking Him down and you will never get your arms even around the foothill of His mountain.
~Paul Washer (Ten Indictments)

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Square of Stops - Koine Greek Learning Made Easy

Looking for an easy way to memorize the square of stops? If you learn the square of stops for koine Greek using the method described in this post you will be able to recite it horizontally, vertically, and even diagonally (or however else you might want!).

In order to use the method, you need to be familiar with memory palaces. See this post if you are not.

Building the Koine Greek Square of Stops Palace

First, choose a rectangular room to use as your memory palace. You are going to be breaking up the room into a three by three grid. Perhaps you could just use the classroom in which you learned or are learning Greek.

In the front left hand corner of the room, imagine that there is a pig. Make the pig interact with something in that corner of the room. If there isn't anything there, perhaps you could imagine the pig is wallowing in a bucket of slop that's in the corner.

Now in the front center of the room, imagine a bear. If you are using your Greek classroom, it might work well to imagine that the bear is substituting for your Greek teacher.

In the front right hand corner of the classroom imagine a flamingo. Maybe he is standing on one leg trying (and failing miserably) to climb up the wall.

Now, above the pig, bear, and flamingo, imagine that there is a giant cage stretching across the front of the classroom. The cage hangs down from the ceiling, and it's filled with pandas.

As always with memory palaces, make sure you can clearly see all of this. Make it real in your mind.

Now, in the middle part of the room on the far left side, imagine a kangeroo. Imagine the kangeroo doing something ridiculous.

In the very center of the room, imagine a goose waddling around in circles, suddenly, a viper lurches down from the ceiling and tries to grab the goose.

Still in the middle part of the classroom, imagine in the far right a random group of camels. Once again, see these camels doing something ridiculous. Maybe they just came in the room after tearing down the wall and are looking for something to drink.

Finally, at the back of the classroom in the left corner, imagine a tiger. See the tiger interacting with that corner of the room in whatever way you like.

At the back of the classroom in the middle there is a dalmatian, barking in agreement at the great teaching.

Lastly, in the back right corner there is a turtle. Once again, make the turtle interact with that corner of the room in some memorable way.

An Explanation of the Koine Greek Square of Stops Palace

As I explained in this post on learning the order of the alphabet, the pig is pi, the bear is beta, the flamingo is phi, the kangeroo is kappa, the goose is gamma, the camel is chi, the tiger is tau, the dalmatian is delta, and the turtle is theta (to keep from thinking that the turtle could be tau, notice that a turtle is shaped like the letter theta). Also, the panda is psi (the pig goes with pi because pi and pig start with the same two letters), and the viper is xi.

Note that the psi and xi are the letters that you get when you add a sigma to the rows of letters that the panda and viper are above (e.g., so if you add a sigma to a pi, you get a psi, and if you add a sigma to a chi, you get a xi). You may find it helpful to add more animals or other objects to your palace in order to help you remember other rules related to the square of stops.

Now that you've placed all the animals in the room, look back through your room again and make sure you can picture everything. If you can, then you've successfully memorized the square of stops— and I can assure you of this: you will remember the square of stops much longer using this method than if you had learned it by rote!

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Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Order of the Alphabet - Koine Greek Learning Made Easy

If you learn the order of the alphabet according to the method described in this post, you will be able to recite the koine Greek alphabet backwards just as easily as you can forwards.

In order to use the method, you need to be familiar with memory palaces. See this post if you are not.

Building the Koine Greek Alphabet Palace

The first step is to decide what you want to use for your memory palace. Then, mark out a journey of 24 distinct locations in that palace.

At the first location, place an alligator; alligator represents the letter alpha. Make sure to relate the alligator to your location in a ridiculous way. It will make it more memorable.

At your second location, place a bear. Bear represents the letter beta. Next, at the third location, place a goose, which is gamma.

Continue placing animals in this manner. Here is the complete list of animals with their corresponding letters:

1. Alligator - alpha
2. Bear - beta
3. Goose - gamma
4. Dalmatian - delta
5. Elephant - epsilon
6. Zebra - zeta
7. Ape - eta
8. Turtle - theta
9. Eagle - iota
10. Kangaroo - kappa
11. Lamb - lambda
12. Mouse - mu
13. Numbat - nu
14. Viper - xi
15. Owl - omicron
16. Pig - pi
17. Rhino - rho
18. Skunk - sigma
19. Tiger - tau
20. Moose - upsilon
21. Flamingo - phi
22. Camel - chi
23. Panda - psi
24. Doe - omega

A Brief Explanation of the Koine Greek Alphabet Palace

You can avoid confusing what the turtle and tiger stand for by noticing that a turtle is shaped like a theta. Also notice that for the pig and panda, the word pig and the letter pi have the first two letters in common.

Of course, if you don't like the animals I have chosen, feel free to use different ones.

After you place all the animals, go back through and review what you placed at each location. Start at the first location on your journey, and move through each location sequentially until you reach the last location. Notice that if you start at the last stop on your journey and work your way backwards, this will enable you to recite the alpabet backwards.

Once you can recall all the animals at your locations successfully, you should wait an hour or so before you review again. Continue reviewing once per day. After a few days, if you did everything correctly, you'll be able to go weeks (and eventually months) without review and still retain the ability to recite the Greek alphabet (forwards and backwards!).

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