Koine Conversation

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.

Koine Conversation

Postby Tait Sougstad » September 5th, 2013, 12:07 am

Hello,

I am a second-year Koine Greek student who is looking to internalize the functions of the language by speaking it. My school (Montana Bible College, Bozeman) teaches languages without a conversational component, and I want to start a conversation group here. I am painfully aware that our grammars and teaching style has given us the most useful words for Bible translation (good!), but not for conversational fluency.

Are there any resources to help me facilitate this? Has anyone done anything like this? Are there any tested formats?

Some thoughts:
Have a topic each session and print out a few useful words to help people stumble through, ie:
Family ματηρ, θυγατηρ etc.
Hometown πολις
School
Church
Hobbies

I did find the Koine-English phrasebook (http://www.letsreadgreek.com/phrasebook/default.htm) which looks like it might be helpful, but I can't help but feel that I'm stepping out into uncharted territory. Are there any groups doing this online? Am I thinking in the right direction?
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Re: Koine Conversation

Postby Stephen Carlson » September 5th, 2013, 8:49 am

How do people feel about devoting a space in this forum for discussion practice ἐν ἑλληνιστικῇ?

Also, those who Skype can get together?
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: Koine Conversation

Postby Barry Hofstetter » September 6th, 2013, 5:45 am

I think it's an excellent idea. Some moderator should so create a forum... :shock: :lol:
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Koine Conversation

Postby Stephen Carlson » September 6th, 2013, 5:59 am

Not all moderators have the permissions to do that.
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Re: Koine Conversation

Postby Stephen Hughes » September 6th, 2013, 6:05 am

For written dialogues, perhaps if we want to write at a literary level, it might be better to append a key to non-New Testament words or grammatical aids to help non-participating members, or those with limited exposure to the language. (I realised later after writing the messages to Paul in Africa that that might have been a good thing to do).
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
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Re: Koine Conversation

Postby Jonathan Robie » September 6th, 2013, 10:52 am

Let's discuss possibilities before I create a forum - I'm happy to do so, but want to brainstorm first.

If we create a forum, perhaps we want threads to expire after a given time? I would hope our Greek improves over time, and older threads will become increasingly embarrassing.

Or should we try to do this in a more interactive way? The downside of that: if you can't get enough people online at the same time, it kind of falls apart. The upside: it can be more interactive, and it expires with time.

I think you can currently do this on Σχολὴ, http://sxole.com/.

We could use an IRC channel for this, such as freenode/#bgreek or freenode/#koine.

It looks like it may be possible to add a chat room to a phpBB forum.

Google Hangouts might be another possibility, and would allow video chat.

Thoughts?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Koine Conversation

Postby Stephen Hughes » September 6th, 2013, 2:33 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:older threads will become increasingly embarrassing
Or they will be records of achievement, I get through the fear of embarassment (for both the fact that the readership of the our posts are the ones who most capable of criticising them, and also that later I myself find the most stupid mistakes - no verb, wrong case with a prepostion, wrong verb endings ), but remembering ἡ δὲ γῆ ἦν ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος Genesis 1:2 i.e. God didn't make the world in its complete and ultimate form all at once, I guess it is okay if my Greek is not so good but I still use it.

Jonathan Robie wrote:perhaps we want threads to expire after a given time
It will also be worth discussing whatwill be there... Threads by various topics, daily news (public journaling), discussing the grammar, discussing usual subjects? Another thought is that if someone posts a reply in Greek to a regular topic thread in the B-Greek, they could also hyper-link to a section of the composition section with that paragraph or passage and either the background story of how it was composed, a list of uncertainties, an opportunity for peer input, or anything else that respects the other contributors.

Jonathan Robie wrote:if you can't get enough people online at the same time, it kind of falls apar
Unless small snipits are recorded and available for a week or so. And others can do like a video thread A says something B, C reply, D adds to what A say. Can that be mapped? It sounds like it will be messy, but well the B-Greek forum usually is like that too. Advantage, people could listent to a few sentences, take time to work through them, formulate a reply then record it. Disadvantage, B-Greeks server memory consumption will exponentiate.

I'd like to raise the issue of freedom of expression and peer review. I guess that some people will want to be corrected and others will just want to the opportunity to speak. Of those who do want correction some will expect explanations others will want better models. I think that if contributors could mark what they want; "I want to know my mistakes yes/no" "I want explanations yes/no", "I want suggestions yes/no". This is a forum, not a class, no one has an implied power role, so either correctors could voluntarily follow the wishes of the person exosing themselves to possible riddicule, or those who submit could have the power to "allow" corrections / explanations / or whatever else is brainstormed. Either way, a conversation or discussion can carry on in Greek, while other comments could be nested, but I'm not sure of the actual data structure that would be best.
Stephen Hughes
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Re: Koine Conversation

Postby Tait Sougstad » September 6th, 2013, 3:38 pm

Seems like this has been on your minds as well! I am glad that I could spark a discussion-in-the-waiting.

I would love to do some written composition, per the course of this thread. However, there has been silence about my main question of conducting a live, interactive Koine conversation group with my fellow students. Is this because no one is doing it, outside of those who incorporate some speaking components into their classes? I would like to do this primarily, and written composition secondarily, though either seems like worthwhile practice to bridge the gap between theory and fluency.
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Re: Koine Conversation

Postby Stephen Hughes » September 7th, 2013, 1:02 am

Tait Sougstad wrote:there has been silence about my main question of conducting a live, interactive Koine conversation group with my fellow students.

This is the point of what is said here:
Jonathan Robie wrote:Or should we try to do this in a more interactive way? The downside of that: if you can't get enough people online at the same time, it kind of falls apart. The upside: it can be more interactive, and it expires with time.

I think you can currently do this on Σχολὴ, http://sxole.com/.

We could use an IRC channel for this, such as freenode/#bgreek or freenode/#koine.

It looks like it may be possible to add a chat room to a phpBB forum.

Google Hangouts might be another possibility, and would allow video chat.

Each region of the world has different stability issues for the different service providers. Google Hangouts are usually unstable in China (unless one has a VPN), Skype is often okay, QQ is always okay (but only one to one). Given that people live in different time zones, it is likely that you and your classmates will use a media that is stable in your area.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attrib. to Albert Einstein)
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Re: Koine Conversation

Postby Tait Sougstad » September 7th, 2013, 10:03 am

I am talking about tips on how to facilitate a face-to-face meeting with my fellow Greek students at Montana Bible College. I am interested in online interactions if I cannot get something started there. I am not primarily looking for help setting up online spaces for Koine conversation/composition, though I would certainly use such a venue from time to time. I am right now primarily wanting tips on how to lead a face-to-face Koine conversation group to help us move toward an intuitive fluency of the grammar and syntax. Per my original post, I want to know this: If you were going to lead a session with second-year Greek students, with the goal of keeping them conversing in Greek the entire time, how would you do it?

Would you supply vocabulary that is useful for casual conversation, but not often used in the New Testament?

Would you prescribe topics to discuss?

How would you help students practice sentence structures that are not intuitive to English speakers?

How would you help students use participles? What about verb tenses with which English speakers are unfamiliar (like learning to use the Perfect, Pluperfect, Imperfect, and Aorist tenses properly in conversation)?

Are there other aspects of the language that would be beneficial to practice through conversation that I am not thinking of?
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