New Testament Greek Vocabulary Assessment

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: New Testament Greek Vocabulary Assessment

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 12th, 2014, 11:58 pm

jtauber wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Set phrases are regularly introduced to students in the early phases of their language acquisition.
Sadly, I haven't seen much evidence of this in beginning Greek textbooks or classes.
The three vocabulary acquisition aids that I've used for any length of time - Holly, Metzger and Trenchard - all listed single words. That is not typical of how language is learnt. Listing standard phrases would be good too.

I realise that it's beyond what a computer could do by frequency analysis (unless it recognises word classes), but let me add a few things. Different classes of words need different strategies to learn them effectively.

In the majority of cases nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions in some contexts and certain types of adverbs can be learnt by one-to-one equivalence rote - simply, without much to do - with good effect.

In some cases there are significant collocations where one word and another roll off the tongue one after the other without extra thought, like that they are expected to be together, e.g. συνεκάλεσαν τὸ συνέδριον καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γερουσίαν τῶν υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ (Acts 5:21), which I think, are better learnt together.

Other words such as conjunctions, prepositions (in some instances) and temporal adverbs are better learnt in the context of sentence patterns. For them example phrases are especially beneficial. μέν ... δέ ... clauses being an example.

Idioms are also regularly deal with in full and learnt as single units. Not only for things like the special usage of μέρος in the idiom εἰς τὰ μέρη (+gen. of some place) "to the region of such and such a place, but also things like when ἐπὶ πίνακι is not be enough, but needs the full phrase φέρειν / δοῦναι τι ἐπὶ πίνακι "Give me a platter with such and such on it", as required by the idiom of the different languages.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

TimNelson
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Joined: October 17th, 2014, 11:04 pm
Location: Australia, Victoria, Geelong

Re: New Testament Greek Vocabulary Assessment

Post by TimNelson » December 13th, 2014, 12:06 am

jtauber wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Set phrases are regularly introduced to students in the early phases of their language acquisition.
Sadly, I haven't seen much evidence of this in beginning Greek textbooks or classes.
Agreed in general. Mounce had a little, Wenham none. I just got Anne Mahoney's reprint of Rouse's grammar (I'm still waiting on the hardcopy of the Reader, unfortunately), and it has a list of set phrases in chapter 1, along with the alphabet, including things like "Hello teacher/students" and "read" (imperative), "raise your hand" (he was teaching high school), and "well done". This is for Classical, rather than NT, Greek.
--
Tim Nelson
B. Sc. (Computer Science), M. Div. Looking for work (in computing or language-related jobs).

TimNelson
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Location: Australia, Victoria, Geelong

Re: New Testament Greek Vocabulary Assessment

Post by TimNelson » December 13th, 2014, 12:08 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:If I had known the changes that I would have attempted later, I probably would have put more effort into memorising by sight than by ear. But really, memorising by ear is easier (as is understanding texts in dialect).
I have a friend who struggled with Greek classes, and he would strongly agree with you. I don't. The best language teacher I ever had was a man who taught (Hebrew) from a grammar-textbook, which he supplemented a little with bits from other textbooks, and which he supplemented a lot with spoken-word and singing (psalms in Hebrew). Occasionally, I would be asking some difficult question, and he would say "Everyone else stop listening for 20 seconds. Tim, the way it works is <explanation using lots of linguistic terminology>". My point is, he used a variety of methods, becoming all things to all men (and women), so that by all means he might teach some :).

On the same topic, while I wouldn't necessarily advocate direct memorisation for most people, it worked OK for me, at least as a starter; it would also have been nice, though, to *also* have the memorisation in context which you mention.

HTH,
--
Tim Nelson
B. Sc. (Computer Science), M. Div. Looking for work (in computing or language-related jobs).

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: New Testament Greek Vocabulary Assessment

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 13th, 2014, 12:50 am

TimNelson wrote:My point is, he used a variety of methods, becoming all things to all men (and women), so that by all means he might teach some :).
:geek:
TimNelson wrote:while I wouldn't necessarily advocate direct memorisation for most people, it worked OK for me, at least as a starter; it would also have been nice, though, to *also* have the memorisation in context which you mention.
A context only becomes a context when unrelated things nearby each other become a whole. Memorisation in context could only work within a broader communicative context in the early stages, rather than a simply linguistic context, I think.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
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Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: New Testament Greek Vocabulary Assessment

Post by RandallButh » December 13th, 2014, 3:43 am

Tim Nelson egrrapsed
The best language teacher I ever had was a man who taught (Hebrew) from a grammar-textbook, which he supplemented a little with bits from other textbooks, and which he supplemented a lot with spoken-word and singing (psalms in Hebrew). Occasionally, I would be asking some difficult question, and he would say "Everyone else stop listening for 20 seconds. Tim, the way it works is <explanation using lots of linguistic terminology>". My point is, he used a variety of methods, becoming all things to all men (and women), so that by all means he might teach some :).
I agree with this point heartily, more than some may expect. There are some significant points that should be made explicit.

"20 second explanations" means that the person is ready for the explanation. But if 10-20 minutes were needed that would mean that the person was not ready for the explanation. My rule of thumb is that under-60 second explanations don't hurt internalization and can help with comprehension and freeing a person up for more work in the language. Not that many are needed either. Another aspect of such short explanations is that in many cases they can be done in the language itself. Whether done 'in language [target language]' or 'outside the language [foreign]' they are still a break with whatever communication was underway and that communication needs to be restarted with as little disruption as possible.

In other words, an occasional 20-60 second clarification in a foreign language can be useful in classes where there is a shared second language to enhance comprehensible input in the target language. On the other hand, a 'grammar-textbook' base to a program will only lead to internalization where there is massive use of the language outside of class. In effect, the internalization takes place outside of class and any pedagogy will succeed where massive language use occurs outside of class. For internalization to succeed inside a class, a 90%+ rule probably needs to be followed. This can be distilled from successful modern language classes.

TimNelson
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Joined: October 17th, 2014, 11:04 pm
Location: Australia, Victoria, Geelong

Re: New Testament Greek Vocabulary Assessment

Post by TimNelson » December 13th, 2014, 4:29 am

RandallButh wrote:
Tim Nelson egrrapsed
The best language teacher I ever had ..
I agree with this point heartily, more than some may expect. There are some significant points that should be made explicit.
Amusingly, it was from the lips of this teacher that I also first heard the name "Randall Buth" :). I don't know that he'd ever trained with Randall, but he approved of him.
--
Tim Nelson
B. Sc. (Computer Science), M. Div. Looking for work (in computing or language-related jobs).

Barry Hofstetter
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: New Testament Greek Vocabulary Assessment

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 13th, 2014, 7:48 am

TimNelson wrote:
jtauber wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Set phrases are regularly introduced to students in the early phases of their language acquisition.
Sadly, I haven't seen much evidence of this in beginning Greek textbooks or classes.
Agreed in general. Mounce had a little, Wenham none. I just got Anne Mahoney's reprint of Rouse's grammar (I'm still waiting on the hardcopy of the Reader, unfortunately), and it has a list of set phrases in chapter 1, along with the alphabet, including things like "Hello teacher/students" and "read" (imperative), "raise your hand" (he was teaching high school), and "well done". This is for Classical, rather than NT, Greek.
One thing I have found very helpful in teaching classical Greek and Latin are mottoes and famous sayings:

Pumbaa: "What's our motto?"
Timon: "I dunno -- what's a motto with you you?"

It's surprisingly helpful when teaching the perfect tense in Latin to be able to refer to Caesar's famous statement "veni, vidi, vici" (and since those are common words in the language, helping students to remember the third principal part of the word, only four in Latin vs. 6 in Greek). Similarly in classical Greek. the Crosby and Schaeffer text that I chiefly used had a famous Greek saying in each chapter. There is no substitute for buckling down and learning the language, as this thread has abundantly made clear, but having memorized short phrases and sentences, especially those illustrative of grammatical principals (and what phrases wouldn't be?) is a really good thing.

On "The Lion King" I can't help but mention that some time ago one of my colleagues was a graduate student from Africa. He came up to me one day and asked why the only Swahili phrase that Americans knew was "hakuna matata..." I told him it was our worry-free philosophy that he had to watch The Lion King.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Jacob Rhoden
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Location: Greenville, South Carolina
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Re: New Testament Greek Vocabulary Assessment

Post by Jacob Rhoden » January 1st, 2015, 8:53 am

Yea, I feel cheated after trying out your site. I got the number down to "3 words left" before you get something, and then I did a few more and it jumped up to "28 words left", its like it forgot that I had already done so many words.

That said, its good study practice :)

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