Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
Stephen Hughes
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 1st, 2015, 10:47 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:I'm sorry to enter the room after everybody has already high-fived each other...
Aye-fived actually.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by cwconrad » July 1st, 2015, 11:14 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:I'm sorry to enter the room after everybody has already high-fived each other...
Aye-fived actually.
For some reason, I don't think you are one little bit sorry about that; not only did you "enter the room", but you left it and came back to offer yet another quip. We are amused, but we're not fooled.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 1st, 2015, 11:25 am

cwconrad wrote:We are amused,
Since when did it become fashionable again for people from the other side of the oceans to put on royal airs.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » July 1st, 2015, 12:20 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote: I'm sorry to enter the room after everybody has already high-fived each other...
The trick is to slip in before the cleaning staff gets there, and grab some of those little tuna sandwiches cut diagonally into quartets and now slightly stale, and the two or three Nanaimo bars towering above the surrounding crumbs, and the few remaining dried up shrimp which have somehow migrated to the otherwise empy smoked salmon plate, and a big styrofoam cup full of that wonderful thick just-above-room-temperature-bottom-of-the-urn coffee.
Stephen Hughes wrote: Some words basically just have lexical meaning that can be quite successfully tethered to English. Verbs and nouns can do that to a large degree. They are more or less fixed and their meaning is well-defined (self-defined to a larger degree), "knowing" them is possible without knowing Greek. Prepositions - at the other end of the spectrum - take most of their meaning from context, and are vaguely self-defined in meaning. Unfortunately, prepositions are often presented as being little elements of the that language that can be well-known from glosses, presumably because they are small. Grammatical / syntactical words like ὅστις, ἤ, οὖν provide only false analogies with English grammar. In the case of those words, knowing how they work means knowing Greek.

The grammar and syntax of the language can be mastered in all it's usual patterns without knowing much vocabulary. That knowledge will lead to fluency, without much comprehension. If you feel the need to train yourself to think in Greek, this point is the basis. I think that pursuing the aim of Greek to Greek in every way ends up throwing bath-water, baby and bath out the window. Substituting pictures, actions or sounds for glosses (of things that relate to sensible perception) is not Greek, it's words.
You’ve addressed the question on a number of different ‘planes’, one of them being the lexical identity of words, and another being language structure and profile issues as highlighted in Funk’s introduction. The one I want to respond to is the lexical description of a word.

If ἵππος and horse meant exactly the same thing, I believe that would not change the effect of learning – directly from context – that the critter portrayed below is ὁ ἵππος.

Image

You would not add new lexical freight by learning it directly from the language, but you will make an association in your brain that promotes facility in the language.

What Randall Buth and others are doing with graphic images (typically used mainly at entry level) is NOT first of all teaching new lexical content, but new mental associations. That is, I associate this concept (a horse) with ὁ ἵππος. Of course you can make a similar language-to-language association, but this tends to result in ‘tethering’ your L2 response to your mother tongue. The result is that when I see the animal, I think – “horse” = “ἵππος”. In fact I think much more than that because I think “horse” = “ἵππος” – and it is in the nominative and the second declension nominative requires an ος ending, and the matching article is the omicron with the forward facing squiggle. What the real language advocates say is that this is a NOT real language function.

Real language responds “thoughtlessly”, and you will not begin to gain that facility until you have acquired direct associations which come from direct interaction with the language itself rather than from grammatical analysis or L1 to L2 derivations.

It is easy enough to know whether you’re there or not. Simply dialogue freely with someone in L2 only. Or sit down and express your thoughts freely in L2 without endless analysis and mental cutting and pasting. I am mostly not there yet, but I do think getting there is important, or at least getting as close as possible, and so I trundle along. Some will say that this is not why they are learning the ancient Greek language, and it is mostly a waste of time, but I am convinced by the argument that real language facility vastly improves your comprehension of the language itself and its elements – AS A LANGUAGE.

PS: I know he is perhaps better described as ὁ πῶλος than ὁ ἵππος , but the image is so nice that I decided to use it anyway.
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Shirley Rollinson
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by Shirley Rollinson » July 1st, 2015, 8:27 pm

Peter Montoro wrote:I am trying to take the jump from reading only the NT to reading ancient Greek more widely. I am doing several things in pursuit of this goal, one of which is to memorize this https://quizlet.com/25270650/info vocab list that claims to constitute 80% of the vocabulary used in the the corpus of all forms of ancient Greek. Are there any lists more comprehensive than this? I know that it would be possible to create lists for the NT that were just as detailed as one would like, but what about the next thousand most common words more generally, or the next thousand most common words in Patristic Greek, or in Classical, or in Classical Historians or whatever? What I am looking for is something that has already been computerized and is reasonably accurate. I have read that once you learn 2-3 thousand words you can begin to pick up others much easier, even by context alone as I often do in English. Thanks for any help!
I've just listened to some of the audio files for this site - the Greek pronunciation sounds to me like modern Greek - and whatever the English is I really can't decide. I think if I were to try learning words in vocabulary lists I'd make myself a set of flash-cards instead.
I find it more useful to learn words in context, as I meet them when reading the GNT, or in short stock phrases eg. μετα ταυτα

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 2nd, 2015, 2:24 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:The one I want to respond to is the lexical description of a word.

If ἵππος and horse meant exactly the same thing, I believe that would not change the effect of learning – directly from context – that the critter portrayed below is ὁ ἵππος.

Image

You would not add new lexical freight by learning it directly from the language, but you will make an association in your brain that promotes facility in the language.

What Randall Buth and others are doing with graphic images (typically used mainly at entry level) is NOT first of all teaching new lexical content, but new mental associations. That is, I associate this concept (a horse) with ὁ ἵππος. Of course you can make a similar language-to-language association, but this tends to result in ‘tethering’ your L2 response to your mother tongue. The result is that when I see the animal, I think – “horse” = “ἵππος”. In fact I think much more than that because I think “horse” = “ἵππος” – and it is in the nominative and the second declension nominative requires an ος ending, and the matching article is the omicron with the forward facing squiggle. What the real language advocates say is that this is a NOT real language function.

...

PS: I know he is perhaps better described as ὁ πῶλος than ὁ ἵππος , but the image is so nice that I decided to use it anyway.
I think that the best functional rendering of ὁ ἵππος into English would be "car" (automobile).

The weakness of picture associations - especially context-free ones - is that objects are more than their form.

Situational antonyms are a good way of building up a body of the kind of associations and knowledge that people in another cultural and technological context had about ὁ ἵππος. The "opposite" of "have a horse" could be "throw spears", "walk" or "cover just 15 miles a day" depending on who was being described as having it. In the text of Lysias that Wes Wood and I read together at the suggestion of Barry and with Carl's supervision, the concept of "have a horse" was included in things that raised flags for means testing for Athenian social welfare.

Just seeing a picture is equivalent in that regard to glossing with an English word. The English language may be silent - we are becoming bilinguall, but we have not become bicultural by simply seeing a picture. In learning a dead language, the foreignness of a foreign language is dulled or even lost. We are spared the confronting experience of culture shock and personal re-orientation, in which we must find new expression for our same humanity. We are like tourists who walk through a foreign country in isolation and non-interaction with the world, bringing all of our conceptualisations and interpretations of life to bear on the experience of travel, and who go home a little richer, but not fundamentally different.

Encyclopedic entries - written in Greek - to explain how concepts and objects were viewed by various groups in ancient society would be a good supplement to just pictures. Given time, you will get over this learning stage, and the struggle to acquire the language will end. Texts will become valuable in themselves, not just a means to acquire the language. In my thinking, extensive reading is like a disorganised / unstructured encyclopedia. To further state the obvious, more closely related works will be of more immediate utilitarian benefit.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:grab some of those little tuna sandwiches cut diagonally into quartets and now slightly stale
The corners of the sandwiches are as upturned as they are going to be now, and the juice from the melting (self-reconstituting) diced tomatoes that was mixed in with the tuna is beginning to turn the centre of the bread soggy.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 2nd, 2015, 9:56 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:Real language responds “thoughtlessly”, and you will not begin to gain that facility until you have acquired direct associations which come from direct interaction with the language itself rather than from grammatical analysis or L1 to L2 derivations.
Real language may not think too hard about what a horse is, but real language requires real thought when confronted with something like ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός· ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, in English or in Greek. Language is not thoughtless, language is the medium of thought.

But we want to be thinking in the target language.

And while I agree that we don't need to be analyzing forms abstractly, we do need to know these forms intimately. The challenge is to get sufficient practice of the right kind, and there aren't currently a lot of materials that do that. For Attic Greek, the composition workbooks go a long way, but they don't do much to break it down into manageable steps for most students.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:It is easy enough to know whether you’re there or not. Simply dialogue freely with someone in L2 only. Or sit down and express your thoughts freely in L2 without endless analysis and mental cutting and pasting. I am mostly not there yet, but I do think getting there is important, or at least getting as close as possible, and so I trundle along. Some will say that this is not why they are learning the ancient Greek language, and it is mostly a waste of time, but I am convinced by the argument that real language facility vastly improves your comprehension of the language itself and its elements – AS A LANGUAGE.
I took a class in conversational Koine Greek, I didn't feel that it really helped me read texts better, probably because conversational Greek is not closely related to most of the sentences you will encounter in Greek texts. I think it would be more convincing to have conversations about the texts you want to read, or write about those texts. I'm not very far along at all on that, but this is something I'm playing with now, asking and answering very simple questions about texts in Greek, either orally or in writing.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » July 2nd, 2015, 11:06 am

Stephen Hughes wrote: The weakness of picture associations - especially context-free ones - is that objects are more than their form.
A picture is just an arrangement of colours and or lines on a surface. It is what that arrangement of colours/lines evokes in the mind of the beholder that matters. And the effect is different for different kinds of images. The effect is different, for example, when viewing a photograph as opposed to a cartoon. The effect is also quite different when viewing squiggles that represent a language as opposed to a graphic. Someone (I think it was Paul Nitz) said that cartoons are more useful than simply photographs, and I can believe that, because they evoke more complex reflections.
Jonathan Robie wrote:Real language may not think too hard about what a horse is, but real language requires real thought when confronted with something like ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός· ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, in English or in Greek. Language is not thoughtless, language is the medium of thought.

But we want to be thinking in the target language.
I need to clarify what I mean by “thoughtlessly” (in quotes). I am only saying that real language responds without intervening analysis with respect to the language itself. When I have decided what to say in English – what content to communicate, as it were – I simply say it. I am not suggesting that one just responds without reflection, but that in normal language use, expression is immediately ‘available’ without necessity to analyse or derive or construct, or repeatedly revise. One might consider the best way to express something, but that is quite different, and the very act of that critical reflection is a function of ease and mastery in the language.
Jonathan Robie wrote:I took a class in conversational Koine Greek, I didn't feel that it really helped me read texts better, probably because conversational Greek is not closely related to most of the sentences you will encounter in Greek texts. I think it would be more convincing to have conversations about the texts you want to read, or write about those texts. I'm not very far along at all on that, but this is something I'm playing with now, asking and answering very simple questions about texts in Greek, either orally or in writing.
For me, also, the texts themselves, and language to consider them directly, is the goal. I too am working on developing facility with that language, and right now am developing some curriculum for the last chapter of Luke. Nevertheless, so far I am also finding any use of Koine Greek in a normal language setting is of benefit. Maybe it is just confidence building, but I think it is more. It gives me a feel for imperatives and endings and modes of questioning, etc. Even more than that, so far I find it helpful just to be able to simply ‘say something’ (anything) or respond to something in Greek without having to search for the word(s) or the structure(s). There is something about the 'immediacy of availability' of the desired expression which is unique. I'm sure it is what Randall and others are talking about, when they are describing real language activity as opposed to the analytical approach. I can easily believe it is a different kind of brain function.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 2nd, 2015, 1:32 pm

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:For me, also, the texts themselves, and language to consider them directly, is the goal. I too am working on developing facility with that language, and right now am developing some curriculum for the last chapter of Luke. Nevertheless, so far I am also finding any use of Koine Greek in a normal language setting is of benefit. Maybe it is just confidence building, but I think it is more. It gives me a feel for imperatives and endings and modes of questioning, etc. Even more than that, so far I find it helpful just to be able to simply ‘say something’ (anything) or respond to something in Greek without having to search for the word(s) or the structure(s). There is something about the 'immediacy of availability' of the desired expression which is unique. I'm sure it is what Randall and others are talking about, when they are describing real language activity as opposed to the analytical approach. I can easily believe it is a different kind of brain function.
I think pretty most people who post regularly on B-Greek agree that 'immediacy of availability' and thinking in the target language are important, and that thinking about language is different from thinking in a language. I deeply respect Randall's work, he's a real pioneer and has brought together a community that is finding new ways to do this. He uses many approaches, not just conversational Greek. For instance, he has written a very useful Greek morphology, which is sold on his website.

I think morphology in Greek is a lot like phonics in elementary school teaching. If you read the research, I think it's quite plain that most reading instruction should involve reading real texts, but something like 10 minutes a day spent teaching skills like phonics significantly improves children's reading skills (yes, I think Frank Smith was wrong about this), but going over 10 minutes a day no longer does much to help. On the other hand, the more time they spend actually reading texts, the better. Once kids have learned enough phonics, reading reinforces what they have learned and solidifies it, and they no longer spend their time "learning phonics". But even some children who grow up in America do not have enough phonemic awareness to understand how words are put together without a little directed teaching. Similarly, once you've learned a verb form, your reading solidifies your understanding of it, and you learn best you spend the vast majority of your time reading and actively engaging with texts. There are many approaches to teaching these things, but spending some time teaching them is important.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Comprehensive Vocab Lists

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 2nd, 2015, 2:32 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Real language may not think too hard about what a horse is, but real language requires real thought when confronted with something like ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός· ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, in English or in Greek. Language is not thoughtless, language is the medium of thought.

But we want to be thinking in the target language.
Thinking about what is said or written requires an ability to handle ambiguity and then to make a sensible choice. That requires some vocabulary to be able to discuss it. In the first phrase ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ, of what you have chosen as an example, I think there are a few obvious questions (together with some partial answers facilitated by adding glosses:

What is the meaning of ζῶ?
  • Live with others? περιπατῶ ἐν ... "live among" - κοινωνῶ "share" - συνοικῶ "live with"
  • Carry on with bodily function over which we have some self-control? ἐσθίω "eat" - πίνω "drink" - οὐρῶ "urinate" - πέρδομαι "fart" - ἀποπατῶ "go to pass a stool" - κοιμῶμαι "sleep" - συνουσιάζομαι (γαμῶ) "copulate"
What is the force of the emphatic pronoun ἐγώ?
  • alone? μόνος "alone" - ἄθεος "without God" - χωρὶς Χριστοῦ "apart from Christ" [a state of needing God] or
  • independent? αὐτόνομος "living under one's own laws, independent" - ἀκατάστατος "unstable" - αὐθάδης "stubborn" - αὐθαίρετος "following one's own choices" [ways of characterising persons who live away from God]
  • Selfish? πλεονέκτης "acquiring gain for himself" - ἄστοργος "without natural feeling for others - νάρκισσος / αὐτάρεσκος "loving oneself" ("homo incurvatus in se")
What is the meaning of οὐκέτι?
  • Changed in the present - οὐ ζῶ νῦν τοιάδε ὡς πρίν
  • Changed from the past - πρίν ἔζησα τοιαῦτα (= καθὼς ἐγὼ ἔζησα), νῦν δὲ καὶ ὕστερον διαφόρως
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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