Why not start with modern Greek?

Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby RandallButh » April 23rd, 2013, 11:09 am

Brian Peterson wrote:I think this thread is deserving of more insights, if there are those who still feel they can contribute to the discussion

I'm a self-taught student of biblical greek. My long term goals are to be able to read the GNT with ease, and maybe learn some proficiency in speaking modern Greek (when studying a language, there's just something to knowing that your efforts will allow you to speak to millions of the same tongue). Up to this point in my Greek studies, I have simply memorized paradigm charts and vocabulary (with modern Greek pronunciation due to the influence of Spiros Zodhiates); I have worked through Trenchard's Vocab book and have just about memorized all words that occur 10 times or more in the NT. Yet, I now realize that I need an immersion type program going forward if I really want to learn the language. Since I'd like to maintain a modern Greek pronunciation, I'm wondering if Randall Buth's program would still be the best option (due to a couple slight differences from the modern pronunciation). Or would a modern Greek program be as a good for my stated goals? And what modern Greek programs are effective for self study?

Thanks you.

Brian


There is something of general interest that might be pointed out:
"Yet I now realize that I need an immersion type program going forward if I really want to learn the language."

Yes. True. Glad that the 'dime has dropped,' if that idiom is still known. ἔασόν με τοίνυν ἀναπείσαι τοὺς πεπεισμένους.
One might ask, how many times does the wheel need to be discovered? Apparently quite a few times when it comes to 'NTGreek" and giving advice to Greek students. Doing 'grammar-translation' and reading the text outloud is not, and cannot duplicate, the effect of truly using a language and including 'listening for meaning' in the pedagogy. Daniel Streett, did I hear an 'Amen'?
Yes, listening for meaning leads to better pedagogy and internalization. Internalization leads to better reading. So that despite the oft-heard cliche 'we're only interested in reading', a listening-based pedagogy is mandatory for high-level reading, the kind of goal attained in other language programs.
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby RandallButh » April 24th, 2013, 2:51 am

Yet, I now realize that I need an immersion type program going forward if I really want to learn the language.


Yes. True. "The dime drops," if that is still understood these days. ἔασόν με τοίνυν ἀναπεῖσαι τοὺς πεπεισμένους.

Brian's comment needs is a kind of perpetual "rediscovering the wheel." The NT Greek field keep giving traditional advice to people as if it works or is psycholinguistically justified. Students keep following, only to discover that the road is not going in the right direction.

Grammar translation and reading outloud do not, and cannot, lead to internalization. For that, a person must use a language and have significant 'listening for meaning' experiences in their pedagogy. Internalization is what produces high-level reading and an ability to read at the speed of speech like 2nd language users of other languages. It's the way people are hardwired.
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby Barry Hofstetter » April 25th, 2013, 6:37 am

RandallButh wrote:
Yet, I now realize that I need an immersion type program going forward if I really want to learn the language.


Yes. True. "The dime drops," if that is still understood these days. ἔασόν με τοίνυν ἀναπεῖσαι τοὺς πεπεισμένους.

Brian's comment needs is a kind of perpetual "rediscovering the wheel." The NT Greek field keep giving traditional advice to people as if it works or is psycholinguistically justified. Students keep following, only to discover that the road is not going in the right direction.

Grammar translation and reading outloud do not, and cannot, lead to internalization. For that, a person must use a language and have significant 'listening for meaning' experiences in their pedagogy. Internalization is what produces high-level reading and an ability to read at the speed of speech like 2nd language users of other languages. It's the way people are hardwired.


Randall, with the greatest respect, I must disagree. Now, please realize that I am pretty much a convert to at least some of the methods used in your approach, but that grammar-translation and reading aloud cannot lead to internalization is simply false. That it takes longer, and requires yet more effort, certainly. That a total immersion approach is better, I'll grant. But there are plenty of modern scholars with reading fluency in ancient languages who started with the grammar-translation approach.
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby RandallButh » April 25th, 2013, 10:46 am

Thank you for the query, Barry. I'll stand by my comment. We are using different definitions of 'fluently read'.

I'm not talking about 'sight reading,' or about having the eyes loop back and reread all the time, but the kind of second language reading that is done at the speed of speech. That is what psycholinguistic studies on reading are looking for. We heard a nice presentation on this at SBL last year and the closing comment was that none of us are fluently reading and won't be fluently reading until we are fluently speaking. Reading studies also see this as the necessary level to reach in order to allow high-level reading and interpretive processes to transfer into the second language.
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby Paul-Nitz » April 25th, 2013, 11:22 am

How to learn Modern Greek? I've been toying with the idea myself. I can't see how it could NOT help with Koine.

If I do take the plunge, I will try to get a Greek to spend an hour with me three times a week. All the better if he/she is nothing close to being a teacher of Modern Greek. He just needs to be a good Greek speaker. Then I would use WAYK (or by another name, "Language Hunting") to pick up Modern Greek organically.

If I couldn't find a real live Greek, I (only personally speaking) wouldn't even try to learn Modern Greek. Fortunately, there are a few Greeks who live in my city. People love to share their language and I don't doubt I could find someone willing to help.

What is WAYK? It really must be seen... http://vimeo.com/27057735
For more, whereareyourkeys.org and languagehunters.org
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby Shirley Rollinson » April 25th, 2013, 3:17 pm

As a compromise, in my koine classes, I introduce a few Modern Greek phrases as the class reaches an appropriate part of the course.
e.g. καλημερα καλησπερα καληνυκτα for καλη ἡμερα καλη ἑσπερα καλη νυκτα
when we do Adjectives,
with Γειασας and μια μπιρα thrown in to illustrate how pronunciation has changed over the last 2,000 years (much less than Anglo-Saxon to English)
One semester, with a class of Advanced students who wanted to try a bit of a change, we all spent one hour a week in the Language Lab, drilling Modern Greek with Rosetta Stone - the conclusion from all was that it was interesting, but not really helpful for koine - It will help if we go to Greece and want a green bicycle. Many of the words were very similar to koine, and much of the pronunciation, but there are enough differences (and simpler grammar) for MG not to be very helpful as a bridge to koine.
As a second example, one of my Distance-Ed students (learning Greek online) found a "tutor" in her home town, who must have been a modern Greek speaker (and who evidently didn't bother reading the textbook or my emails) so she started using δεν for negation instead of οὐ οὐκ οὐχ, and got completely confused by case endings - the "tutor" did more damage than help.
So, my conclusion is, start with koine, then go back in time to Homer and Classical, or forward in time to Modern (or Byzantine) once a taste for the language has been developed.
The advantages of koine are a limited vocabulary, which is familiar to seminary students (or those heading towards seminary), and the intrinsic value of reading the GNT itself.
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby RandallButh » April 26th, 2013, 4:29 am

I introduce a few Modern Greek phrases as the class reaches an appropriate part of the course.
e.g. καλημερα καλησπερα καληνυκτα for καλη ἡμερα καλη ἑσπερα καλη νυκτα
when we do Adjectives,
with Γειασας and μια μπιρα thrown in to illustrate how pronunciation has changed over the last 2,000 years (much less than Anglo-Saxon to English)
One semester, with a class of Advanced students who wanted to try a bit of a change, we all spent one hour a week in the Language Lab, drilling Modern Greek with Rosetta Stone - the conclusion from all was that it was interesting, but not really helpful for koine - It will help if we go to Greece and want a green bicycle. Many of the words were very similar to koine, and much of the pronunciation, but there are enough differences (and simpler grammar) for MG not to be very helpful as a bridge to koine.


Some of those Modern Greek phrases can be filled out and archaized for fun usage.

καληεσπερα can become καλὴν ἑσπέραν ἔχε
καληνυκτα can become καλὴν νύκτα ἔχε,
κτλ. This reinforces Greek syntax while giving a modern feel.

Γεια σας needs its pronoun changed and an optative can be added if you want:
ὑγεία σοι [ εἴη ]
A Koine pronunciation keeps this quite close to MG y-ia (accent on [i] not [a]).
PS: Both Tsippori (behind the symposion room) and Caesaria (south side of harbor-temple) have nice examples of YGEIA inscriptions on little-room floor mosaics.

Personally, I draw the line at μπιρα. It's nicer to use ζῦθος among friends. It even makes for a conversation piece when visiting a quaint καπηλεῖον [ταβερνα] in Greece with a refreshing view. You must be prepared to explain with μπιρα, of course, but it's fun to see whoever might know or be interested in the old name.
Anyway, a Koine pronuciation is close enough to modern Greek that the ears are prepared for visiting Greece and the Greeks will be prepared for the Koine visitor (as long as you're careful to use [eta] sparingly in eta-prominent words like ηδη [modern idhi, Koine edhe]).
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby Barry Hofstetter » April 26th, 2013, 6:32 am

RandallButh wrote:Thank you for the query, Barry. I'll stand by my comment. We are using different definitions of 'fluently read'.

I'm not talking about 'sight reading,' or about having the eyes loop back and reread all the time, but the kind of second language reading that is done at the speed of speech. That is what psycholinguistic studies on reading are looking for. We heard a nice presentation on this at SBL last year and the closing comment was that none of us are fluently reading and won't be fluently reading until we are fluently speaking. Reading studies also see this as the necessary level to reach in order to allow high-level reading and interpretive processes to transfer into the second language.


Randall, it was an objection to your use of the word "cannot," not a query. And we are using the same definition. I read, BTW, that presentation, or a very good review of it. The grammar-translation approach can get you there, but it takes a longer and requires a lot more reading.
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby RandallButh » April 26th, 2013, 9:09 am

I guess that I don't have your faith that grammar-translation can 'get your there'.

Back in the 20's-40's, NorthAmerican modern language pedagogy was 'grammar-translation' and believed that 'it could get you there'. They don't anymore. Again, recent psycholinguistic research on reading points toward the need to develop a phonological loop for reading.
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Postby Barry Hofstetter » April 27th, 2013, 6:53 am

RandallButh wrote:I guess that I don't have your faith that grammar-translation can 'get your there'.

Back in the 20's-40's, NorthAmerican modern language pedagogy was 'grammar-translation' and believed that 'it could get you there'. They don't anymore. Again, recent psycholinguistic research on reading points toward the need to develop a phonological loop for reading.


That's fine, Randall, but please remember that not everything fits into your research and experience. As it is, I am arguing more on principle than anything else -- a conversational, immersion method is certainly superior to what's being done in most schools today with ancient languages.
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