Life after a basic grammar

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
Michael Sharpnack
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Life after a basic grammar

Post by Michael Sharpnack » February 16th, 2017, 1:36 pm

So, I'm about to finish my first intro grammar! It's been a really fun journey, but I know I'm just at the beginning of my studies. What are your recommendations on where to go next?

My first goal is to be able to read the GNT without aids, but my ultimate goal is mastery of the language; I want to be able to smoothly read classics as well as the GNT. This grammar focused heavily on memorization, and not a whole lot on explanation, so I was thinking of maybe picking up a book like Mounce's to get some more explanation and theory, working through it quickly, and then taking up a greek reader to go through.

Also, my vocab is at only about 600 words right now, so I also want to be building that up. I know learning words in context is the best way to do it, so what are the best ways to do that?

What are your thoughts? What do you recommend? What are common mistakes people make at this point in their learning?

Thanks!

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Life after a basic grammar

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 16th, 2017, 2:29 pm

Do you have a reader's edition New Testament? If so, read, read, read. Do you have a cell phone? If so, Android or iOS? There are good Bibles for cell phones, some with Septuagints, some with audio.

But also write. Currently, I'm very pleased with Eleanor Dickey's An Introduction to the Composition and Analysis of Greek Prose.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Michael Sharpnack
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Location: Nashville

Re: Life after a basic grammar

Post by Michael Sharpnack » February 16th, 2017, 3:47 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Do you have a reader's edition New Testament? If so, read, read, read. Do you have a cell phone? If so, Android or iOS? There are good Bibles for cell phones, some with Septuagints, some with audio.

But also write. Currently, I'm very pleased with Eleanor Dickey's An Introduction to the Composition and Analysis of Greek Prose.
So, do you think after only having done a basic grammar, I could start reading a readers version? Which editions do you recommend? I have an Android, what are the best ones to download? I would prefer I hard copy, but might as well get something on my phone too. Also, should I start with writing right away?

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Life after a basic grammar

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 16th, 2017, 4:21 pm

Michael Sharpnack wrote:So, do you think after only having done a basic grammar, I could start reading a readers version?Which editions do you recommend?
Probably. Here are two I have used:
Michael Sharpnack wrote:I have an Android, what are the best ones to download? I would prefer I hard copy, but might as well get something on my phone too. Also, should I start with writing right away?
I'm pretty happy with MyBible right now, for both the GNT and Septuagint.

And yes, start writing! Read, write, listen, speak ....
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Emma Ehrhardt
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Re: Life after a basic grammar

Post by Emma Ehrhardt » February 16th, 2017, 5:24 pm

Michael Sharpnack wrote:So, do you think after only having done a basic grammar, I could start reading a readers version?Which editions do you recommend?
I've been happy with Zondervan's reader (although I think I have 1st ed)

For someone just starting a reader's GNT, here was how I eased into it: It's a big jump from isolated sentence translation into reading larger texts, so I intentionally set expectations low at the beginning. I started with John's gospel, since it's story and uses more common vocabulary. My first read through I just read a section aloud (aka 'pronounced it', since I didn't really comprehend much of it), and let myself be excited by words I recognized. Then I'd read an English translation of the same passage, then go back and read the Greek again. This time, be excited that a few more phrases stick out. I very slowly worked my way through the book, just being content with what stood out, what I did notice, new words I figured out, etc. Then I started over again from the beginning. By now, certain words that John uses frequently (but that I had not previously encountered or memorized) were more familiar, and I was starting to recognize more phrases, and could follow the gist of each paragraph. Third or fourth time through you can read it fairly well, still needing vocab helps, but being familiar with the text enough that you can probably guess what the word means even if you can't formally parse the verb form itself.
Emma Ehrhardt
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Life after a basic grammar

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 17th, 2017, 12:57 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:And yes, start writing! Read, write, listen, speak ....
Writing is a good way to show how little one really knows of Greek. Asking the simple question, How does my Greek differ from any of the authours I'm reading? Then discovering what you need to know to close the gap is an interesting exercise.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
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Re: Life after a basic grammar

Post by RandallButh » February 17th, 2017, 3:38 am

Start talking to yourself in Greek.

You will quickly discover what you need to learn.

This works in every language.
Universal learning rule #1: you learn a language by using a language. This must be fueled with massive comprehensible input.

Emma Ehrhardt
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Re: Life after a basic grammar

Post by Emma Ehrhardt » February 17th, 2017, 12:45 pm

Michael Sharpnack wrote:So, I'm about to finish my first intro grammar! It's been a really fun journey, but I know I'm just at the beginning of my studies. What are your recommendations on where to go next?
p.s. Congrats on making it through boot camp. ;) I think the biggest encouragement I can offer is to find ways to set yourself up to enjoy the language learning process over the long haul. I remember too many classmates that put in the hard work during Greek classes in college, but once done with the coursework, Greek fell by the wayside. They never made the transition into being a self-directed learner. Remember what your stated goal is: to read stories and letters and poetry that were written in Greek, not to know a bunch of vocabulary words and parsing. If whatever method you're using to help you study isn't working for you, be willing to try something else. I'm thankful that I came to think of learning Greek as a lifelong process, rather than something I need to cram into a year or two. Makes the journey much more fun, and I don't feel guilty when life gets busy and Greek takes a backseat for a time. I know that the more it becomes a part of your life, the more you naturally gravitate back towards it.

Blessings,
-Emma
Emma Ehrhardt
Computational Linguist

Michael Sharpnack
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Location: Nashville

Re: Life after a basic grammar

Post by Michael Sharpnack » February 17th, 2017, 1:03 pm

Thanks for the responses. So, I just bought Deckers Greek Reader, and I think I'll buy Smyth's grammar as a reference as well as Dickey's composition book to start working through.

Another question: as I'm reading passages right now, I'm basically translating them into English in my head. I know the best way to learn the language is to internalize it, and read it for itself, not to translate it, but I feel I have to right now for it to make sense to me. Are there any specific steps to work towards that goal? Anything to avoid? Or, just keep reading that way, and eventually it will start to internalize?

RandallButh
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Re: Life after a basic grammar

Post by RandallButh » February 17th, 2017, 1:21 pm

Again, you won't find out what you have actually internalized until you start talking to yourself. Start small, keep adding what you need.

One problem with reading biblical texts is that there is a probably memory echo in your head from repeated exposure to a passage in translation.
But that is not the biggest problem. You must creatively engage the language in the language.
Of course, you want to read biblical texts, and you must. But engage them in the language, discuss them in the language, and talk about things in your daily life.

Otherwise, you may be following the advice of the Nobel laureate, "twenty years of schoolin' and they put you on the day shift. Look out kid. They keep it all hid."

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