How To Sight-Read A Foreign Language With Speed And Efficiency

One of the skills needed to acquire reading proficiency in a foreign language is “sight-reading.”  This is the act of reading a text quickly for information and comprehension.  I have found from experience that there are effective and ineffective ways of approaching this skill, and that some discussion of these points may prove to be useful.

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The Rose Of The Alhambra

We will tell the tale of the Rose of the Alhambra.  For many years after the city of Grenada came under the control of the Spanish kings, it remained a quiet and secluded place.  Mute and desolate were its haunting spires; and, while every stone bore a secret, they contented themselves with accommodating the restless spirits of an Almoravid past.  But this changed with the accession of Philip V.  After his marriage to Isabella, he desired to visit Granada with his retinue.  The clatter of horses’ hooves, the blaring of courtly trumpets, and the cries of heralds and pages again resounded through the walls of the ancient city.

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“How Can I Help Someone With Anger Issues?” (Podcast)

A reader says that he has a family member with anger issues. Every time he tries to help the family member, the person lashes out and becomes defensive. Nothing he does seems to make the situation any better. The reader wants to know if there is anything he can do.

We discuss.

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Why We Should Forgive The Faults Of Our Heroes

There comes a time in the life of every son or daughter when they begin to see their parents as flawed mortals.  Before this, they are still under the spell of their upbringing; they see their parents more as imposing authority figures than as anything else.  I am not sure exactly when, or how, this transition takes place; for some it may be one event, for others it may be a series of events, or an incremental process.  But it does happen, and the son begins to see the father as the human being he is, in all his definitive defects and foibles.

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Do Not Be Too Proud Of Your Generosity

I have always counted myself fortunate when receiving the generosity of another.  I have never paused to ask questions about the circumstances of the giver, or to weigh the relative merits of a gift.  To be graced with the kindness of another is enough.  Perhaps what matters more is the sincerity of the giver; for a gift wrapped in cold anonymity is valued less than a benefaction derived from proximate familiarity.  We appreciate any generosity, but are more likely to cherish that which carries this aura.

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The Justice Of Malik Shah, Son Of Alp Arslan

Malik Shah I lived from about 1053 to about 1092, and was the sultan of the Seljuk Turkish Empire from 1072 to 1092.  His name in Turkish is given as Melikşah; and he succeeded his father, the renowned Alp Arslan.  According to his biographer Ibn Khallikan, Malik Shah was famous for his sense of justice and equity; he was said to have been untiring in his efforts to correct wrongs that were in his power to cure.  So known was he for this trait that some Arabic historians took to calling him الملك العادل (al-malik al-a’adil), which means “the just king.”

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The Mystery Of Cicero’s Lost Work “On Glory”

Of the literary works of classical antiquity, only a fraction have survived to the present day.  What fraction this is, we do not know; one estimate places it at one-fourth, but the true figure will never be known.  The reader may wonder how it can be that literary masterpieces could have been permitted to fade into obscurity, and then oblivion; but, on further reflection, he will marvel more at the fact that anything at all survived from antiquity than rue the losses we have suffered.  Printing and the mass production of books are relatively new inventions.  For most of history (in Europe at least) books could only be reproduced as fast as a copyist could transcribe them.  Multiplicity was the only insurance against destruction:  the more copies in existence, the better the book’s chance of survival.

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