Content © MMXVIII T A Bird

Reviews

The Journal of Classics Teaching 17, page 35 RUNNING VOCABULARIES: Homer Iliad 16, Lysias Against Eratosthenes (AS 2009 onwards) Terry Bird The Latin equivalents of these Running Vocabularies (for Cicero and Ovid) were reviewed and justly praised by Frances Culver in JCT 16. B’s lists date back to 1968 when a sample from Bacchae was typed up and copied (in the laborious way then necessary) for distribution to JACT members. Many readers will have used the hand-written vocabulary for that play which he did jointly with Bob Tatam in the early 1980s. The idea was copied by others, and perhaps influenced later volumes of the Reading Greek series to move from alphabetical to sequential vocabulary for each section. But it was only after B’s 2001 JACT Review article that things really took off. As his website shows, this is cottage industry on a considerable scale. The quality is extremely high. Naturally one has occasional quibbles about how a word is glossed or a phrase construed, but the version given is always defensible and a basis for discussion. The RVs are not commentaries, but extra information is judiciously provided within the limits imposed by keeping the vocabulary column in step with the widely but evenly spaced text. Some recent RVs refer readers to specific commentaries on disputed points (eg Mastronarde on Medea). The lists come in read-only form and print out as landscape A4. The Greek font (Vusillus) would not be my first choice, but in other respects doctoring is possible. In raw form, the number of pages is daunting, and each has an intrusive repeated heading. By reducing to half size and (literal) cutting and pasting, two and a half pages can be got onto portrait A4 (still perfectly legible), making typically twelve pages overall. I am aware of purists who oppose the use of word lists, but most teachers will acknowledge that pupils cannot be sent away to ‘prepare’ thirty lines in the traditional sink-or-swim way. They do indeed need to learn how to use a dictionary, but that is better practised on short unseen passages, rather than being allowed to clog progress with set texts. A classics department offering both languages will typically have twelve texts on the go (prose and verse in each language at GCSE, AS and A2). Producing one’s own lists for all these is daunting, and thanks to B also unnecessary. John Taylor Tonbridge School The Journal of Classics Teaching 16, page 40 RUNNING VOCABULARIES: Ovid Metamorphoses 8, Cicero In Catilinam 1 (AS 2009) Published by Terry Bird B introduced his Running Vocabularies in the JACT Review of Autumn 2001, and a new generation of Classics teachers may well be familiar with them from first hand experience as students. If so, you will probably need no further encouragement to offer them to your own pupils. The format of the RVs - which you can see if you visit the website - is very user-friendly: text on the left, in a clear font; vocabulary on the right; alongside the appropriate line; all well-spaced so as to allow for annotation. Service is excellent. The RVs are distributed via e- mail; they arrive promptly, can be stored on computer and as many copies as required can be printed off for your students - perhaps the only occasion when the greater your class, the less your expenditure! AS/A2 RVs cost £22 and include a copy of the prescribed text without vocabulary, printed out in close lines and ideal to copy for homework questions. Two advantages which I certainly appreciate in using B’s vocabularies are firstly, that constant reference to a dictionary is not necessary: the vocabulary is within sight, complete with genitives and genders of nouns and principal parts of verbs, as well as a meaning which suits the context, so we can now get on with the business of reading and enjoying the text. There is still scope for discussion of which word we favour as a translation, and armed with a highlighter students can pick out vocabulary that needs to be learnt. And this is the second advantage - the students no longer have to be told not to mark the school text, but instead they can be encouraged to underline, annotate and colour code to their hearts’ content! If you are using the RVs in preparation for examinations it is worth noting that there are a few minor variant readings between B. and the editions suggested by the board, so it is worth having a copy of the recommended version; and there is a small slip in the line numbering in Ovid. But a third and not inconsiderable advantage to add to those above is that we have an excellent vocabulary at our disposal, and I did not have to spend my summer holiday preparing it. Frances Culver The Queen’s School, Chester

The following review appeared on pages 42-43 of the Journal of Classics Teaching (produced by the Joint Association of Classics

Teachers) for Autumn 2006:

Terry Bird has been producing Running Vocabularies for Classical Texts for some time, in his distinguished teaching career and in his 'retirement'. He set out his philosophy behind these in a JACT Review article of Autumn 2001 (No. 30). He has now refined the process and product to a point where it is difficult to see how his aims could be achieved more effectively. B's approach to RVs is entirely 'student-centred' (in the best sense). He is concerned that students can spend far too much time looking up vocabulary in their preparation of set texts. With his Vocabularies he is ensuring that the proportion of time spent on actual translation is increased and thereby the pleasure of reading becomes much more tangible. His RVs are distributed in electronic form. They can then be printed off and handed out to students or the electronic form can be distributed within a school (but not between schools), possibly with additional colour, personal comments etc from student or teacher. My students consider the latest layout of B's RVs to be exemplary. The text is on the left hand side and displayed with extreme clarity and just the right amount of space for translation and/or individual notes to be added. The vocabulary on the right hand side contains, again according to my students, the appropriate words which they require to support maximum effort being put into the translation and a quicker success rate in accurately gauging the meaning. B is particularly keen to give principal parts and full versions of third declension nouns. He will also often give an apt translation, although 'a slight stretch', as well as conventional translations - these I and my students find especially helpful as we seek to find the more idiomatic version of a phrase or whole sentence. It will be apparent by now that I have come to believe that B's RVs are an indispensable tool for our students in encountering a set text for the first time whether at GCSE or ‘A’ Level, in addition to whatever standard edition may already be at hand. With such a high quality of support available I think you might be doing a disservice to your students if you did not invest in these Running Vocabularies for 2006/2007 and beyond. Robert Tatam Bancroft's School
Reviews
Classics content © MMXVIII T A Bird
Terry Bird Classics

Reviews

The Journal of Classics Teaching 17, page 35 RUNNING VOCABULARIES: Homer Iliad 16, Lysias Against Eratosthenes (AS 2009 onwards) Terry Bird The Latin equivalents of these Running Vocabularies (for Cicero and Ovid) were reviewed and justly praised by Frances Culver in JCT 16. B’s lists date back to 1968 when a sample from Bacchae was typed up and copied (in the laborious way then necessary) for distribution to JACT members. Many readers will have used the hand-written vocabulary for that play which he did jointly with Bob Tatam in the early 1980s. The idea was copied by others, and perhaps influenced later volumes of the Reading Greek series to move from alphabetical to sequential vocabulary for each section. But it was only after B’s 2001 JACT Review article that things really took off. As his website shows, this is cottage industry on a considerable scale. The quality is extremely high. Naturally one has occasional quibbles about how a word is glossed or a phrase construed, but the version given is always defensible and a basis for discussion. The RVs are not commentaries, but extra information is judiciously provided within the limits imposed by keeping the vocabulary column in step with the widely but evenly spaced text. Some recent RVs refer readers to specific commentaries on disputed points (eg Mastronarde on Medea). The lists come in read-only form and print out as landscape A4. The Greek font (Vusillus) would not be my first choice, but in other respects doctoring is possible. In raw form, the number of pages is daunting, and each has an intrusive repeated heading. By reducing to half size and (literal) cutting and pasting, two and a half pages can be got onto portrait A4 (still perfectly legible), making typically twelve pages overall. I am aware of purists who oppose the use of word lists, but most teachers will acknowledge that pupils cannot be sent away to ‘prepare’ thirty lines in the traditional sink-or-swim way. They do indeed need to learn how to use a dictionary, but that is better practised on short unseen passages, rather than being allowed to clog progress with set texts. A classics department offering both languages will typically have twelve texts on the go (prose and verse in each language at GCSE, AS and A2). Producing one’s own lists for all these is daunting, and thanks to B also unnecessary. John Taylor Tonbridge School The Journal of Classics Teaching 16, page 40 RUNNING VOCABULARIES: Ovid Metamorphoses 8, Cicero In Catilinam 1 (AS 2009) Published by Terry Bird B introduced his Running Vocabularies in the JACT Review of Autumn 2001, and a new generation of Classics teachers may well be familiar with them from first hand experience as students. If so, you will probably need no further encouragement to offer them to your own pupils. The format of the RVs - which you can see if you visit the website - is very user-friendly: text on the left, in a clear font; vocabulary on the right; alongside the appropriate line; all well-spaced so as to allow for annotation. Service is excellent. The RVs are distributed via e-mail; they arrive promptly, can be stored on computer and as many copies as required can be printed off for your students - perhaps the only occasion when the greater your class, the less your expenditure! AS/A2 RVs cost £22 and include a copy of the prescribed text without vocabulary, printed out in close lines and ideal to copy for homework questions. Two advantages which I certainly appreciate in using B’s vocabularies are firstly, that constant reference to a dictionary is not necessary: the vocabulary is within sight, complete with genitives and genders of nouns and principal parts of verbs, as well as a meaning which suits the context, so we can now get on with the business of reading and enjoying the text. There is still scope for discussion of which word we favour as a translation, and armed with a highlighter students can pick out vocabulary that needs to be learnt. And this is the second advantage - the students no longer have to be told not to mark the school text, but instead they can be encouraged to underline, annotate and colour code to their hearts’ content! If you are using the RVs in preparation for examinations it is worth noting that there are a few minor variant readings between B. and the editions suggested by the board, so it is worth having a copy of the recommended version; and there is a small slip in the line numbering in Ovid. But a third and not inconsiderable advantage to add to those above is that we have an excellent vocabulary at our disposal, and I did not have to spend my summer holiday preparing it. Frances Culver The Queen’s School, Chester

The following review appeared on pages 42-43 of the Journal of

Classics Teaching (produced by the Joint Association of Classics

Teachers) for Autumn 2006:

Terry Bird has been producing Running Vocabularies for Classical Texts for some time, in his distinguished teaching career and in his 'retirement'. He set out his philosophy behind these in a JACT Review article of Autumn 2001 (No. 30). He has now refined the process and product to a point where it is difficult to see how his aims could be achieved more effectively. B's approach to RVs is entirely 'student-centred' (in the best sense). He is concerned that students can spend far too much time looking up vocabulary in their preparation of set texts. With his Vocabularies he is ensuring that the proportion of time spent on actual translation is increased and thereby the pleasure of reading becomes much more tangible. His RVs are distributed in electronic form. They can then be printed off and handed out to students or the electronic form can be distributed within a school (but not between schools), possibly with additional colour, personal comments etc from student or teacher. My students consider the latest layout of B's RVs to be exemplary. The text is on the left hand side and displayed with extreme clarity and just the right amount of space for translation and/or individual notes to be added. The vocabulary on the right hand side contains, again according to my students, the appropriate words which they require to support maximum effort being put into the translation and a quicker success rate in accurately gauging the meaning. B is particularly keen to give principal parts and full versions of third declension nouns. He will also often give an apt translation, although 'a slight stretch', as well as conventional translations - these I and my students find especially helpful as we seek to find the more idiomatic version of a phrase or whole sentence. It will be apparent by now that I have come to believe that B's RVs are an indispensable tool for our students in encountering a set text for the first time whether at GCSE or ‘A’ Level, in addition to whatever standard edition may already be at hand. With such a high quality of support available I think you might be doing a disservice to your students if you did not invest in these Running Vocabularies for 2006/2007 and beyond. Robert Tatam Bancroft's School