Saturday, October 18, 2008

Two puzzles

(If you know the answer to either or both of these and decide to say so in the comments, ploise expline the answers -- ta.)


What's the next letter in this sequence?

OTTFFSSEN_



And what's this?

** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **

** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **
** / ** / ** / ** / **

12 comments:

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

The first one is a list of the first letters of numbers proceeding in an arithemtic sequence, O for "one", T for "two", T for "three", etc, so that the tenth term will be T. (I've seen this before, so no kudos to me.)

I think the second might represent a sonnet in iambic pentameter. There are fourteen lines, arranged into an octave and sestet, and each line consists of five feet - I assume the small star represents an unstressed syllable, and the larger star a stressed syllable.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Both 100% correct. Why am I not surprised. The sonnet grid ('It's my own invention!' said the White Knight) was a truly excellent teaching tool, I discovered. (This was back in the dim days when one still taught poetry.) Pennies dropped all over the classroom.

With the first one, apparently there's no particular correlation between traditional notions of intelligence and an ability to see what it's about. More something to do with the way people's facility with numbers and words relate to each other.

cristy said...

I never get those things. It's almost as though my brain switches off...

Ampersand Duck said...

Baroness, you are a goddess. Pav, you are an evil genius. Fantastic eay to teach poetry. Are there any other metric styles represented this way?

Ampersand Duck said...

*w*ay

[tuh]

Pavlov's Cat said...

There's an accepted notation for teaching metre but almost nobody uses it any more (and if its symbols are to be found on this keyboard then I have failed to find them, so I was just using what was available) -- I was regarded as eccentric for using it to teach a basic understanding of poetic metre to first years 20 years ago, much less now. The challenge was to get them to see that there was a pattern of sound that could be separated from the meaning of the words, and that the effectiveness of the poem was to do with the way that sound and sense had been combined. But my basic diagram of a 'sonnet grid' with 140 syllables -- ten squares across and fourteen down (hey, you could make a pictorial equivalent with a Flickr mosaic) as the basic sound pattern -- came as a revelation to most of them. Musicians, of course, had no trouble with it at all.

Do you like this kind of stuff, &D? It's all there in Stephen Fry's most wonderful and quite recent The Ode Less Travelled, which is what I would be using if I were still teaching.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

I'm guessing the decline in the teaching of prosody coincides with the ascendancy of free verse - and some notion that in teaching formal metrical patterns you're prescribing them, and only an unregenerate fuddy-duddy would do that. But maybe it's apiece with the decline in teaching formal grammar'n'stuff. I haven't been hanging around with the pedagogerie long enough to know if it's about an anti-prescriptivism tendentiously aligned with radical politics, or a belief that the meaning of words transcends the way they're put together, a refusal to see the semantic implications of form, rhythm, sonics, etc. I suspect the former, because the latter would be blinkered in the extreme. Also, to be fair, it may be partly that the English classroom has enlarged its interests so much in recent decades, to include politics, philosophy, and how-to-read-through-Andrew-Bolt, that there isn't much room leftover for the comparatively unsexy minutiae of gerunds and iambic pentameter.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

And way to go poetry teaching technique. Thanks for sharing.

TimT said...

Music teaching got to me first and I only started investigating poetic metrical techniques and forms at a very late stage. Consequently, while I still find it difficult to remember what metre is called what, I constantly go about referring to poems as in 'triple time' or 'starting on an accent' or having a 'beat'...!

Kathleen said...

PC, I bought the Fry a while back when you recommended it. EXCELLENT. Got me understanding scansion as I would never have previously thought possible. As with your sequence here, I think the secret is Fry's own examples...

Beth said...

I got the second one, but I think it says something about my internet use/inner thirteen-year-old that I read the first as "Over The Top For F**'s Sake" and then ran out of ideas.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Beth, if it makes you feel any better, that's exactly what I thought, and I am a woman of mature years as you know.

Alexis, my answer to the sentence that begins 'I haven't been hanging around ...' would be 'Both', with neither of those things fully thought through, especially not by primary and secondary teachers who are too busy providing breakfast for half the class, teaching life skills, hanging out in Casualty after being beaten up and/or reamed out by (unjustifiably) outraged parents, disposing of used syringes and condoms and attempting to teach huge classes of kids with heavily mixed abilities to have learned the finer points of prosody themselves and I do not blame them for that one bit. I do however blame them like crazy for teaching their students that ignorance is bliss and non-ignorance is bourgie and elitist.