Let me explain more fully, my, "Yes (I can read read at that speed/
with fluency), and (why is that remarkable)?" comment.
I understand that linguists come up with ideas from time to time with ideas based on their own experience or that experience of other, or by analogously applying what suits one situation to another seemingly similar situation, but making blanket negative statements is never a good way to go.
Besides not speaking Koine Greek, I don't speak any of the classical (regional or genre-based) dialects either. I had a classmate in second year (Ancient) Greek who wanted to use it to speak with me all the time, the intonation was so annoying, and he made the whole language sound like sung Sanskrit.
I have had some related learn by speaking experiences though. ((Actually, my Sanskrit teacher had lived in an ashram (religious communal village) for a few years, and he used to speak to us in Sanskrit I - his aspiration of the consonants was not so pronounced and had even learnt to wiggle his head when speaking - that of itself was okay but, I really was hoping for a PIE comparative linguistics approach. Actually, the class was run by the Indian Studies Department, and the 2 of the students were heritage learners, 2 were searching for deeper religious meaning and the other one apart from me had no particular reason for being there and just chose the course at random from a list of available courses. Another experience I had of learning by speaking was Coptic, after doing a regular academic Lambdin / Gospel of Thomas course, I was introduced by a friend of a friend of a friend to an old man who had migrated from Egypt years earlier. He had an Arabic name that he usually went by outside the home, but at home he and his family all spoke Coptic. I visited him for about a year for an hour or an hour an a half each time, and he inducted me into speaking Coptic. That was a very different experience. I would bring literary texts and he could sight read all of them, and he also pointed out which features made the texts literary, and what he would usually say as an alternative. He understood the "Greek" words in the text, but always insisted that he used the original Coptic equivalent. I understand the benefit that J-PC got from Coptic when he was working through the hieroglyphs. The basic middle Egyptian (approx. up until the time of the Exodus) form of the verb sdm-f is not so close to Coptic (e)f-sotem as the complex middle Egyptian iw-f sdm form. But once that form was introduced, the knowledge of Coptic (similar to Modern Greek in JR's seminal question for this discussion) became very useful. For lexicon, ti-hemsi hijen pi-tots (I sit on the chair) was a great way of learning hmsi in hieroglyphs. For syntax and construction pi-tots et-ai-hemsi hijwf (the chair which-I (past)-sit on him (it). Explained the idiom of the 'repeated' pronoun in relative clauses, which I had originally thought that was just somehow "semitic". Another experience that I have second had is with Latin. One of my friends came over for some reason. His English was not good, so we ended up "conversing" in Latin - as our most in-common language that we had. His way of construction Latin was from Italian through a series of intellectual transforms.))
I can read at or above 100 wpm (tried reading the Acts of Pontius Pilate and the Protoevangelium of James a few months ago), that was when I read with the text and I didn't start at the verb then decode, I do use my working memory in the same way that I do for English (more or less) and have a 'normal' interaction between my long-term and my working memory. I don't think that that is an unusually fast speed, but as I will explain further down, having the constraint of linearity stops one going faster.
While speaking a language might give some advantage
in being able to think ahead and anticipate, reading fluently is very different to speaking fluently
in some ways. The two are in many ways complementary, but one is not the prerequisite of the other, nor the other of the one.
I think that the major difference between reading and speaking is the attention to detail, consider this short passage: 2Tim4:9 - 15. If I was to speak this I can read out loud quickly, with feeling etc., but the most striking thing, I would say all the sounds, but in (left to right one pass only - what has been referred to early in this discussion fluently) reading it, I do something like
ρός με τ
10 Δημᾶς γ
άρ με ἐγκατ
τὸν νῦν αἰῶ
ς εἰς Δ
ὶν μόνος μ
ἀναλαβὼν ἄγε μ
13 Τὸν φελόνη
ν ὃν ἀπέλ
ἐν Τρῳάδι π
, καὶ τὰ β
ιστα τὰς μεμβράνας
ολλά μοι κ
ὰ ἐνεδείξατο ἀπ
ὰ τὰ ἔργ
καὶ σὺ φυλάσσ
ου, λίαν γ
Skipping over it from significant element to significant element really does speed things up a lot. It is similar to an (expected) baby speech because it doesn't stress differentiating vowels, but it is not the same as baby speech in that grammatical elements of words are still actively imagined but not expressed in the reading.
Familiarity with forms or the declensions and conjugations and an ability to transform words between like verbs to nouns to adjectives (derivational morphological competency) are useful for this method, but what is essential is to have (rote or from experience) learnt what to expect to follow any given form or word. Like if you see an αὐτός, then you are likely to see an εἶπεν or a λέγει you only need to read εἶπ- or λέγ- (without paying attention to the vowel even), but of course with much more complexity.
In this example, the ὃν of 2Tim4:15 required a real slowdown because it needs more thought and is more vaguely assigned to a person (or thing). It seemed to be referring to God, but as that was not an easy input, but going on (not going back) the meaning becomes clear that it was the previously referred to Alexandros. The optative form ἀποδῴη while recognisible, also needed a slow down and a re-think at the end of the sentence, to consider whether Paul was taking a theistic or deistic approach to God. In consideration of the trouble and slowdown with reading the ὃν, I assume that Paul is not trying to get God personally involved, but that he sees it as a possibility or personal expectation not wish.
Now, apart from the above example of reading (in a way that is like reading aloud) those few verses in what was referred to as (true) fluency, there is another way of reading that I regularly use for the narrow column. I read in spirals (inward spiraling vortices) of about 20 words. When using this way, the elements of the sentence float freely in 3-D in working memory with the grammar loosely attached to the words, an an overall impression of meaning emerges (the meaning structures usually form constrants and continuities). Yet another way, is useful in the Gospels, where the characters are more or less fixed. It is like the theatre presentation; Jesus, the disciples, the Jews (in their various groups) are (almost always present) and other characters come 'on stage". Having the predictable elements as an unmoving base speeds up processing immensely. The meaning is understood in blocks, and the text is understood in layers of relative importance like overlays in CAD or Graphic design. The textual construction from aphorism to event with characters is like deconstructed in the reading process. Of course this method doesn't work where the gospel turns to explicate the scene (goes descriptive - for example the guy trying to get into the pool). For that we need to be flexible in following whether the text is moving from detail to generality, or from generality to detail to build up context and then whether the action / discourse occurs in the context or whether the context is an external referentiality.
RandallButh wrote:What does a person say when jumping down from a chair? A Greek would probably choose καταπηδῆσαι καταπηδᾶν.
In my ignorance, I guess that is probably a literary (narrative) form. I would guess that that in everyday speech they might say πηδῆσαι κάτω πηδᾶν κάτω. Is there any evidence either way?
"αἴκα" (The Spartan Ephors' reply to Philip II of Macedon) is even better than "nuts" (General Anthony McAuliffe reply to General Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz).