I have been a COBOL programmer since 1976. Other than a few projects in Assembler, I have coded exclusively in COBOL that entire time. I was trained at Control Data Institute in 1975, receiving top honors from that school. Then I worked for a manufacturer for 9 years, moving up to senior programmer. I then moved on to education, performing system and data conversions. Finally I worked for a major insurer doing two system and data conversions, coding and implementing the Y2K fix (also in COBOL), and holding the position of database administrator. I know how COBOL works with data, the operating system, and the interfaces.
My study of grammar began in 1950, in a one-room country school. There was no room for nonsense, and errors were not tolerated. (We were not beaten for errors, but we knew we must always pay attention and do our best; what we studied was very important!) I continued to do well in all aspects of grammar, spelling, and usage throughout elementary school (yes, we called it Grammar School!), into High School, and beyond in College. I still amaze my friends at what I know about grammar and proper usage. It is second nature to me.
I have studied classical Greek formally for 5 years. I read Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Xenephon, Sophocles, plus much of the New Testament in Koine. While in graduate school studying western philosophy, I did a term paper which consisted of a translation and exposition of a passage of Aristotle. I continue to read Septuagint, Homer, Xenephon, and others. I have three respected grammars, an 1880 edition of Liddel and Scott Greek Lexicon (the lexicon for serious students) as well as a Smyth grammar.
I began Latin studies in 1957, at a Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I studied Latin formally for 6 years. I studied the great named authors: Vergil, Ovid, Caesar (Julius), Cato, Horace. My formal studies included both reading and writing. In my sixth year I had to give an original speech, in Latin, of an historical figure. I chose Copernicus. Then our studies took a turn and I used Latin as a language, in my study of Scholastic Philosophy, in Latin, with Latin texts and Latin lectures, for two years. I maintain a library of Latin authors and research materials to this day. In short, I read Latin for pleasure!
My training in the English language began very early, perhaps even prior to entering school. I caught on easily to the concepts of grammar, usage, spelling and meaning. Moreover, I retained nearly everything that I learned in "grammar school". When I furthered my education in high school and college, I studied not only English, but also Latin, Greek, Spanish, German and some French and Hebrew. Each of these studies in language helped in my understanding of the others. I credit the study of other languages with my ability to spot errors, inconsistencies, and mistakes in the written word. It is a blessing and a curse! I am always correcting, even scholarly works.
Although I took my time learning to read for pleasure, reading has now become my favorite passtime. I read for enjoyment, for discovering new truths, new ways of doing things, new disciplines. I read not only in English, but also in Latin and Spanish, and some little bit in Greek. As a result, I can now read with great facility, and my retention is remarkable. Folks often are amazed that I recall something that I have read even decades ago. What goes in, sticks. My goal is to get in all in!
I studied Spanish for two years in High School; then during two summer vacations I worked with Mexican migrant workers in rural Michigan, ministering to their spiritual needs. I then studied more advanced Spanish in San Diego, CA for another year. After that, I maintained my interest in Spanish by reading for pleasure. Then in 2000 and 2001 I visited Ecuador and Guatemala for two weeks each as a translator and worker in the Spanish language for a ministry program for our church. My son-in-law is Spanish, and I speak with him and his family; they say that I have a "good accent--almost as a native."
Since I hold both a BA and an MA, I have had considerable practice in writing: essays, speeches, research papers, and poetry! Of course, my college studies in Philosophy have required extensive writing of essays and research; but my recent experience at Baker College has also provided me with a venue for research papers. Each class required some sort of research and reporting. I am versed in gathering the information as well as presenting it in any of several formats and styles.