"I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
Paul-Nitz
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Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Paul-Nitz » January 27th, 2019, 2:09 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:
January 11th, 2019, 10:13 am
You won't find any scholarly SLA articles about the use of composition to learn language, at least not in the sense we think of with Greek composition.
Sam Parkinson wrote:
January 24th, 2019, 11:57 am
Is that true? Paul Nation (quoted earlier in this thread), in talking about his four strands of language acquisition/learning, has output as one of those strands, and many of the writing activities that he mentions are at least very close to Greek composition.
True. Nation is well known, quoted often. His specialty is vocabulary acquisition. Learner output (speaking, writing) is a part of nearly any language instruction. There is a debate about what role output (speaking, writing) has in acquiring language. It it a tool to increase and improve input, or is it a means of developing language in your head? There is research about the the role of writing output. I was commenting on Greek composition.

The use of writing in language learning is different from what we normally think of with Greek composition (e.g. Sidgwick, North & Hillard books on composition). The one asks a learner to use what they have internalized and communicate via writing. The other (it seems to me) is a method of improving a learner's understanding of grammatical rules.

Learning through explicit instruction, such as studying grammatical rules, can help with language acquisition. Learning those rules better through composition can help acquisition. Explicit instruction is more useful when it serves as a consolidation of implicit understanding. For many learners, beginning with explicit instruction can delay implicit understanding.
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

RandallButh
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Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by RandallButh » January 27th, 2019, 6:47 am

Learning through explicit instruction, such as studying grammatical rules, can help with language acquisition. Learning those rules better through composition can help acquisition. Explicit instruction is more useful when it serves as a consolidation of implicit understanding. For many learners, beginning with explicit instruction can delay implicit understanding.
Yes. Well put.
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Scott M.
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Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Scott M. » January 31st, 2019, 8:30 am

Regarding the necessity of language production for language acquisition, Merrill Swain was perhaps the most influential person in the field of SLA in the post-Krashinain era (after the 1980s). Krashen, of course proposed that comprehensible input (i.e., reading/listening) was the most important thing for language acquisition, but subsequent research, not to mention most people's experience, showed that second language learners MUST produce the language (i.e., speaking/writing) in order to reach high levels of competency.

Swain's output hypothesis (see attachment) makes the case that language production has four uses for language acquisition: 1) it allows one to practice his/her linguistic knowledge so that it can become more automatic/fluent; 2) it forces the learner to move from semantic processing to syntactic processing (e.g., you can know only some of the words in a text and not even have a knowledge of all the grammar, but you can still largely comprehend it based on the few words you do recognize, context, extra linguistic cues, background knowledge, etc. But when you produce the language, you are forced to make decisions for EVERY semantic word, syntactic construction, conjugation, etc. In other words, you don't realize what you don't know of the language until you try to speak it!); 3) it allows the learner to test his/her hypotheses about what does and does not work in the target language; and 4) it generates responses from speakers of the language which can provide learners with information about the comprehensibility or well-formedness of their utterances.

Swain's hypotheses has massively influenced the entire field of SLA, the literature of which reflects these principles of language production. As Ben asked, I would be interested in seeing an article that argues otherwise.
Attachments
05+Swain+(1993)+The+Output+Hypothesis.pdf
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 31st, 2019, 5:47 pm

I read these articles and can only conclude that there's no royal read to learning a language. While good pedagogical technique may ensure that the time with the language isn't wasted, learning a language still takes time, a lot of time. The severe time constraints in most seminaries make it all but impossible to properly learn a language with the little time they allocate to the Biblical languages.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

RandallButh
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Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by RandallButh » February 1st, 2019, 8:34 am

The severe time constraints in most seminaries make it all but impossible to properly learn a language with the little time they allocate to the Biblical languages.
Actually, it is impossible to properly learn a biblical language or any languagge at a seminary. Full stop. There is insufficient time. A functional level probably takes about 50 credits-worth of efficient instruction (instruction in English for Hebrew or Greek does not count as instruction!) and a more polished fluency, maybe 75 credits-worth. That is about 2000 to 3000+ hours usage in-the-language and with proper environments.

As to methods, I partially agree with you. There is no royal road, only the one that God put in the heart of mankind:

A person must use a language to learn a language. That is how every little kid does it.

(Yes, there are some differences for adults as to plasticity and development of the brain. Nevertheless, adults can learn second languages to very high levels, even faster than children, and that is the goal with biblical languages.)
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: "I just don't think it makes you a better exegete ... " Theology, exegesis, and Learning Koine Greek Communicatively

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 1st, 2019, 6:49 pm

RandallButh wrote:
February 1st, 2019, 8:34 am
The severe time constraints in most seminaries make it all but impossible to properly learn a language with the little time they allocate to the Biblical languages.
Actually, it is impossible to properly learn a biblical language or any languagge at a seminary. Full stop. There is insufficient time. A functional level probably takes about 50 credits-worth of efficient instruction (instruction in English for Hebrew or Greek does not count as instruction!) and a more polished fluency, maybe 75 credits-worth. That is about 2000 to 3000+ hours usage in-the-language and with proper environments.

As to methods, I partially agree with you. There is no royal road, only the one that God put in the heart of mankind:

A person must use a language to learn a language. That is how every little kid does it.

(Yes, there are some differences for adults as to plasticity and development of the brain. Nevertheless, adults can learn second languages to very high levels, even faster than children, and that is the goal with biblical languages.)
Even with Classics, which don't practice active Krashen like acquisition, get their students a lot more competent in the languages (Greek and Latin) than is possible in a seminary environment primarily because they spend more time and focus primarily on the languages.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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