An alternative perspective on autism

This article is about an amazing book I have read about autism and this is one of the best descriptions I have come across. It’s certainly the best from someone who isn’t personally on the autism spectrum themselves.

transformingautism.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/eBook-TAP-May-2017.pdf

Shadowing

  • This is a new technique that I have learnt that helps to address what is usually lacking in your language studies if your an introvert like me and really dislike talking to people.
    1. You need to get hold of some clear audio (an audiobook) that is at your current level.
      You also next to get hold of the corresponding text (e and physical is the most beneficial but you choose which is the best for you).
      Next you need a recording device, there is one on your phone.
  • When choosing your text make sure that the subject matter is interesting to you otherwise it will not be as useful to you and you will be wasting your time.

      Have the text in front of you and listen to the audio at the same time.
  • If you are someone like me this is quite difficult because I absorb information at light speed. I’m not really reading but seem to pick up the gist as quickly as a sponge sucks up water. (Most of the time)

    1. In this example though we are going for pronunciation practice here. So we’re trying to assimilate as much of the sound in terms of its physical qualities. By that I mean it’s intonation, spacing, pitch, rhythm, accent, emotion etc as possible. All of the different components are important here to get an authentic sound which is what we are aiming for.This is so that we can repeat it into the recorder as accurately as possible. This round is on a phrase by phrase basis.
      Then we try to repeat as much of it as possible listening to the audio recording from the beginning again. This is so that we can get a flow to the whole piece rather than isolating each sentence.
      Next we are going to compare our recorded speech with that of the prerecorded speech to check for differences.
      Finally we repeat the process until we cannot distinguish our own speech from that of the recording. (This maybe optimism as you may get bored if this doesn’t happen quickly).

    Again if you are like me, your reluctant to listen to your own voice recordings because what you hear doesn’t sound anything like you think you sound. It’s sounds pretty awful as it’s weak, pathetic and indistinct a bit like a newborn mewling kitten.

    This is the link if you wish to learn Russian from Max its creator Shadowing.

    If you have been following my blog you will know that this approach is next to impossible to apply in Greek. I have recently found audio books on YouTube but I have had to separately purchase the e and physical books from Amazon. It took quite some time to arrive as even though they were on Amazon UK, it had to be shipped from Germany.

    I have started to follow a lady on WordPress un petite bibliophile (this platform unless your reading this on my fb page) who reviews Greek children’s books in Greek. However, without access to the texts themselves; they are of limited use to me for this particular technique. They are simple children’s books but they can still teach valuable concepts. I like to use them for grammar and reading practice. It helps my comprehension and understanding having her texts there to consult.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    A simple Russian comprehension with related activities

    www.youtube.com/watch

    If you wish to watch and listen to the worlds most expressive Russian check out the above video. It’s a simple story with questions afterwards. There are subtitles to help you out as well as pictures and his actions.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    The to be read pile

    This is a common phenomenon that we all face if we like to read. We also like to collect books as there is nothing quite like settling down to read our latest find. However life frequently gets in the way of this so we forget where we are. This may cause us to neglect the half finished book in favour of something shorter or easier to read. This does not help when we are forever acquiring more books as they all seem so interesting!

    I am a terrible hoarder when it comes to books as I just have so many. They cover a variety of subjects as you never know what mood your going to be in when the reading bug strikes. This is why challenges like the GoodReads reading challenge is useful. You can decide how many you are going to read in the year and then next year your goal is to beat it. It’s gamification to try to incite you to read more and to do it quicker as it’s now a competition. Although this is one you will never win since there is an infinite amount of books out there and your time is rather more finite.

    In order to make this more achievable I suggest you utilise the Ultra Learning technique as proposed by Scott H Young. This was today’s free book on a Blinkist but I have been a fan of his for many years. This lists the steps that you need to follow in order to be able to do all that you want to in a day. If you are follower like myself on his email list; you will get access to the first chapter for free. There are other benefits like early access to courses too.

    Are there any common problems that you have faced and found a solution to?

    Best wishes

    Angela

    How to learn a language without translating

    One of the major mistakes you can do when starting to learn a foreign language is to translate everything back into your native language. This means there will always be a delay in your speech. It could also mean lots of errors are introduced due to different grammar, possession, word order etc.

    If you learn pronunciation first before meaning then you will learn what you are reading in your target language rather than your native language. This will help enormously with your comprehension and communication.

    However when learning a language like Greek, finding something with subtitles to go along with your audiobook is like finding a needle in a haystack. YouTube has plenty of music videos, audiobooks, news reports, chat shows etc but very rarely do they come with closed captioning. Overdrive is an app that you can use to get access to digital resources from your local library but they don’t tend to have foreign books. They have umpteen language courses but if you want something relaxing you are again stuck. Overdrive allows you to have multiple libraries stored in your app so you have access to a wide variety of resources and they have a new app called Libby too. This however does not fix your problem. So I suggest going onto EBay to buy a Greek version of Harry Potter to go along with the audio book that is on YouTube. Victoria Hislop is another idea along with Nikos Kazantzakis and The Little Prince.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Stoicism

    This is what the ancient world practised to ensure that they made the best use of their time. They didn’t have all of the electronic distractions that we do but they did have a lot more children so their issues were more immediate and pertinent. Such things as hunger, thirst and death from diseases which we have mainly stopped. So they had good reason to optimise the short lives that they had. It also means that if we follow their lead we will also benefit from there advice as it has passed the test of time.

    Watch Seneca here for some golden rules to follow for better time management.

    Seneca was a famous Roman philosopher who has been used through the ages by many people to gain an insight into how they can be the most productive version of themselves. Recently Americans interested in promoting alternative lifestyles that are now possible like the location independent or digital mimialistic ones use stoicism as there cornerstones. Look here at Cal Newport for more information on the subject. There are many others who talk about this like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris and Scott H Young. I don’t get money from any of them.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    100 common phrases in Athenian Greek

    This lady is very easy to understand, she explains herself well and there is the written examples of the phrases she is teaching you in English and Greek.

    Compare this to my version How to have a basic conversation in Greek with common phrases and you will notice differences because island Greek is simpler and abbreviated. It’s also not as correct but still gets the message across. The main things I can think of is that sit down καθίστε η κάτσε κάτω and I don’t know δεν ξέρω (the Lefkas version doesn’t emphasis the separate words and blends them together) are said differently.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Patrick Leigh Fermor British author 1915-2011

    A British author who went to school at the Kings School Canterbury, was a scholar, polyglot and a soldier. He traveled extensively in Greece and Europe becoming friends with Lawrence Durrell. He is referenced by Lawrence in Bitter Lemons which is Lawrence’s book on Cyprus.

    He also had quite an effect on Ian Fleming and is extensively quoted in his book Live and Let Die due to his experience of the Caribbean and the fact he liked to live in monasteries.

    He has quite the back catalogue of books to get through as he had the crazy idea to walk all the way from England to Greece. It’s serialised in his books since there is such a lot of material. I have one Roumeli- Travels in Northern Greece. Roumeli is an old name for northern Greece that is seldom used these days. He is perhaps the only man that I know of that has referred to the area by such a term.

    I’m currently reading the above book and it’s a good read. It has lots of snippets of the Greek language and it shows Greece just as it was being discovered by the rest of Western Europe in the 1960’s. It was a time of great change and modernisation. It was also a time of revolution. He mentions the customs and traditions that may not be still present. I find it very informative and it’s a historical document. He does however reference his previous book Mani a lot which I haven’t got yet and you can tell he was a journalist as it’s written as a travelogue with pieces of real life interaction along with book recommendations and information about the people or history of a place.

    On his gravestone is a quote from C F Cavafy and it says “In addition, he was the best of all things, Hellenic.”

    Patrick Leigh Fermor

    Part of foreigners with an interest in Greece series.

    Series links

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Andreas Kalvos Greek poet 1792-1869

    He was a major part of the Heptanese school of literature along with his fellow Zakynthoan Dionysios Solomos However the 2 never met and there is also no known picture of Andreas Kalvos.

    He was a wayward soul hence he wasn’t recognised in his hometown and country until much later. He traveled widely through Greece and Europe having many affairs, marrying a couple of times and producing a couple although they often died shortly afterwards. Thus his life was full of sadness which powered his poetry.

    He also taught Italian and Greek to help finance his restless nature. His become disgruntled with his family and his patron which led to his inability to settle anywhere for any length of time. He was constantly moving in search of something he couldn’t quite get.

    Since he died in England it wasn’t until 1960 when George Seferis was the Greek ambassador that he arranged for the body of Andreas Kalvos to be returned to his native Zakynthos.

    He is part of my series on Greek poets.

    For a look at my other work see here Series links.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Dionysios Solomos Greek poet 1798-1857

    Dionysios Solomos introducing a George Seferis chapter
    Dionysios Solomos introducing a George Seferis chapter

    He is considered the principal poet of the Heptanese school of poetry of which he was part of yet this set contained amongst others Aristotle Valaoritis, Ioannis Zampelios Spiridon Zampelios and Andreas Kalvos.

    The reasoning for this is that Dionysios’s education on Zakynthos had been in Classical Greek and when he lived in Italy, Italian. When he tried to write in a more modern form (Dimotiki) it was extremely difficult for him as there were no poems to act as a reference since they were previously in Katharevousa. Therefore, he had to create a whole catalogue by himself.

    It was himself that started the poetic revolution that questioned what version of the Greek language that people write in compared with how they talk. In typical Greek fashion this was only resolved in the 1970’s. So for approx 150 years they were unable to decide which should be the official versions.

    Even Byron perhaps did not have that much effect on the Greek people although he did influence Dionysios. As usual this is not always corroborated by all the sites I have read but since people of similiar minds all tend to congregate in the same place he probably did have have an effect on him.

    For perhaps a more authentic take and some clarity read this Dionysios Solomos.

    He is part of my series on Greek poets.

    Aristotle Valaoritis

    Ioannis Zampelios

    Spiridon Zampelios

    Andreas Kalvos

    For a look at my other work see here Series links.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Heptanese school of literature

    Heptanese School of literature.

    This was the school of literature that Aristotle Valaoritis belonged to as well as Ioannis Zampelios who are very famous Lefkádian poets. Andreas Kalvos and Dionysios Solomos are in there too. The articles written about this school will tend to focus on people known to that locality ie you come across ones written from the view of a person from Zakynthos as Dionysios Solomos was from there and this one is written from the perspective of a Lefkadian since that’s where I am. Hence I mentioned Valaoritis first where usually you would see a note about pre Solomos, Solomos, and post Solomos poets.

    The Heptanese school is characterised by a love of nature, freedom and homeland with reference to the role that religion played in their lives. It was also folkloreish in content and often romantized life in a way only poetry can taking inspiration from Italy. They were written in Dimotiki or Demotic as apposed to Katharevousa which is to say its written in the common Greek that was spoken as opposed to the posher, purist form which was a simplication of Ancient Greek that was used for formal, business occasions.

    As I have already written ample amounts about the Lefkadian poets and I have never been to Zakynthos I can’t tell you much more as that’s the real centre of this particular movement.

    For information on the other schools of thought see here

  • Series links contains the rest of my work like all of the poets mentioned above and more.
  • Best wishes

    Angela

    Heptanese School of Music

    Heptanese School of music

    This is another area that is uniquely Greek along with these fields of interest,

  • but as far as I know there isn’t any real local (Lefkadian) input. There is a Philharmonic orchestra which I have written a little about and there are opera singers like Agni Baltsa and Maria Callas but music isn’t an easy thing at all to find out about here. It’s even more difficult then the saints; Saint Cyril and his brother, historians and soldiers, Apostolos (Lakis) Santas .
  • However for those that like music you might want to read this Gramophone museum Lefkás town or check out these people Vasilis Tsitsanis, Markos Vamvakaris. For more information about my work see here Series links.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Festivals held in Lefkás

    There is a long history of art festivals in Lefkás dating back to the 1st and 2nd Delphic festivals in Lefkás in the 1920’s.

    We then got the Speech and Art festival in 1955. After this the organiser Antonis Tzevelekis came up with the International Folklore Festival. This started in 1962 and is now held every August. Initially it had only 3 countries but has now blossomed to hundreds of thousands of participants each and every year.

    Cultural festival rundown
    Cultural festival rundown

    In the above picture it notes that Maria Callas turned up in 1964 to help kick the celebrations off.

    It also mentions that in 1995 the then president of the Greek parliament Apostolis Kaklamanis who was himself a Lefkádian was attending.

    The organiser Antonis Tzevelekis was himself commemorated when he died in 1989 after 30 years of dedicated to the cause. He also has a street and a square dedicated to himself in Lefkás town but I’m yet to come across a statue of his.

    In the Cultural centre in Lefkás town there is a floor that contains all sorts of information about the yearly folklore festival. It costs a € to enter but you won’t know this until you open the door and someone comes rushing forward to tell you.

    It’s worth it though as you get to see musical instruments from past participating countries as well as national costumes and dolls.

    A traditional ladies festive costume
    A traditional ladies festive costume
    A traditional ladies bridal costume
    A traditional ladies bridal costume

    You can even try them on (not the above ones but a special selection provided for you.) But I didn’t get the feeling that was a good idea despite the empty changing room and available full length mirror. You get the idea your trespassing during the whole cultural centre not just the upper floor as it’s so empty. It feels abandoned despite it being open, staffed and well maintained.

    There is also a room full of objects belonging to Antonis Tzevelekis and these phrases which are not translated but tell you about his life. An excerpt from 60 years worth of Lefkádian Art

    An excerpt from 60 years of Lefkádian art
    Another excerpt from 60 years of Lefkádian art
    Another excerpt from 60 years of Lefkádian art

    There is of course the Mardi Gras festival they have every year to celebrate the beginning of Lent. The costumes always look fantastic from the pictures friends put online and compare to festivals I have been to like Pirates Week and Batabano in the Cayman Islands as well as Notting Hill carnival in London.

    The celebrations in New Orleans, the Canary Islands and Rio de Janeiro are similar I believe as there all for the same reason.

    Since I’m never here that early in the season (February) I can’t tell you or show what it’s really like. If you like Museums though check out these articles

    If your interest lies elsewhere have a look here to see if anything grabs your attention Series links.

    Are there any specific arts festivals where you are?

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Nikos Engonopoulos Greek surrealist poet, painter and critic 1907-1985

    He was born in Athens but during a trip to Constantinople as it was then called, ww1 broke out so the family stayed there.

    He later spent some time in Paris and served his time in the army as all Greek men still have to do, then gained work as a translator afterwards.

    He was in Athens in 1932 to join the school of fine art and it was here that he met Andreas Emberikos a fellow surrealist poet who also had spent time in Paris.

    In 1945 he is commissioned to design sets and costumes for a play by Nikos Kazantzakis.

    In 1979 he is awarded the state prize for poetry.

    It seems from reading about him that although he wrote many poems including Bolivar (1942) inspired by Simon Bolivar, he is in fact far more famous for his art. Having looked at his art it’s almost Daliesque and I wonder why it’s not more popular.

    He has had many exhibitions of both his poems and his art mainly in Athens and after his death.

    He is one of those people that require you to search deeper on Google than your average person as most of the information is hidden inside of books.

  • He is the first in my series of painters simply because the poet list is becoming rather lengthy.
  • Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of Interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands, and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Nikos Katiforis Lefkádian playwright 1903-1967

    He studied Law, Literature and Philosophy in Italy and Paris and when he returned to Lefkas he became the District Attorney of the Ionian Islands. He also joined Filiki Eteria (wiki link) and became known as the preeminent member in Lefkas.

    He was a member of the Greek writers society who wrote novels as well as 12 tragedies with national content. He was also on the banned books list because his book While Darkness Lasts had communist content. This was the same fate suffered by fellow author Gerasimos Grigoris. However while Nikos has his picture on display upstairs in the Lefkádian National Library, Gerasimos does not.

    Nikos also wrote for the theatre in addition to being a newspaper columnist for Rizospastis for many years.

    When researching these people I often get the feeling that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel for any information on them and that they are not as important as there making out. A sense of let’s show the world our history but only the good parts.

    Other series of mine include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands, and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

    Is there groups of artisans in your country who were considered counter revolutionary with their ideas?

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Gerasimos Grigoris 1907-1985 Lefkádian author

    He famously had one of his works banned in Greece because he was a communist. This book was Focus of Resistance.

    He also won 2 literary awards in 1958 and 1963. I find this strange though because of the above information yet you find the same information repeated on many websites. If you also think of all the previous people (George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis ) etc who have gained awards for whatever reason, there compliant and help the country in some way. So as usual this makes no sense and no explanation can be found.

    There is also an example of his work on display in the Lefkás national gallery but unless your looking at the fact sheet you would never know.

    I don’t think the locals thought highly enough of him for there to be a statue, plaque or road named after him. His family can’t have been wealthy, influential or big enough to exert any power on his memory to make a memorial of some kind which is usual here. (See my post on Meganisi for evidence of this).

    He does however get mentioned on tourist websites and websites dedicated to famous Lefkádians so he can’t be thought of that badly. As you may be coming to realise, there is a lot of contradictory information out there and I’m unsure which is correct due to the fact I’m writing about dead people whose brief biographical information is online but not much else.

    There may be more information in the Nikos Svoronos Library or the Haramoglis Library but I can’t find it despite walking round in circles several times on a couple of occasions.

    Do you have any authors in your country that were banned for the political ideals?

    He is part of my novelist series :-

    Other series include Greek Poets, Painters, Art, Authors, Musicians, Museums, Specialist fields of interest, Conversation, Famous Greeks, Greek islands and Rural Villages in Lefkás. All the links can be found here Series links.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Panos Rontogiannis Lefkás Library founder 1911-1996

    Was a local historian with Ioannis Stamatelos and Nikos Svoronos. Was involved in research to do with colonialism in the Ionian Islands. Very technical and high brow. The history of historiography and neo-Hellenic studies. So Greeks examining their own culture with a fine tooth comb as we say in the UK.

    He was also a philologist so a man who studies words so that makes he the perfect choice to found a library. Specially one that is linguistically diverse as the Lefkadian one.National Library

    He wrote a couple of books concerning education in Lefkas and seismology as well. For his troubles the street the Library is on is named after him so it’s easy to remember.

    He is part of Famous Greeks series :

  • If you would like to see the rest of my work visit here Series links.
  • Best wishes

    Angela