Why not start with modern Greek?

RandallButh
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Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by RandallButh » September 19th, 2015, 12:49 pm

By the time the "average" Greek was finished with school, they would remember about as much as a first year student in America.
This is a caricature and not true at all. A Greek starts off learning ancient Greek with a 50-60% overlap in vocabulary. That is huge.
However, I think that a non-Greek is certainly best starting off with the dialect of choice, be it Koine or older. If the course is taught communicatively, pronunciation should not be an issue.

For what it is worth, a Koine pronunciation allows one's ears to track modern Greek and to be understood when reading/speaking Greek as long as one is careful of HTA [=ii] when speaking to a modern.
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M.M.Carter
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by M.M.Carter » September 20th, 2015, 9:42 pm

Randall,

I realize that what I said sounds as though I made up the information, but the nature of my post was to share an experience about how learning and remembering Koine for a native Greek speaker is still really difficult even though they know modern Greek. The Greeks who I spoke to each told me about how much the "average" person knew (in comparison with a first year student) after they have been out of school for a number of years. In no way did I consider what they said as 100% accurate, but I did take them at their word. The same goes for what they said about pronunciation. However even if they are " learning ancient Greek with a 50-60% overlap in vocabulary," they mentioned how most of what they learned is lost after school; that if I was to speak Koine Greek at them, they would laugh and not know what I was saying.
What this means for us who want to learn Koine, I'd say take it with a grain of salt. I don't know anyone who has learned Modern Greek as a second or third language who also also is learning Koine, but it would be interesting to know how/if it has helped.
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Paul-Nitz » September 22nd, 2015, 2:19 am

M.M.Carter wrote: I don't know anyone who has learned Modern Greek as a second or third language who also also is learning Koine, but it would be interesting to know how/if it has helped.
Post by "marofurio" on the Textkit Forum.
I decided to learn modern Greek with a very simple and efficient English-written method destined to Hellenic-Americans keen on Greek learning. http://www.greek123.com

The experience was absolutely wonderful as both modern Greek helped me with Attic and the other way around. Soon I was able to read at a reasonable speed ancient Greek texts with the infinite generosity of Prof Steadman’s books (1)
as well as other reader's editions such as Mather and Hewitt's Anabasis (in fact as I later discovered based on the Harper and Wallace’s 1893 lavishly illustrated and well-explained edition(2)), Lucian’s True Story (3) or even the excellent UBS Greek New Testament (4).

http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... 97#p174097
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

RandallButh
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by RandallButh » September 22nd, 2015, 2:27 am

FTR, I have spent whole evenings with good-hearted, patient Greeks where I would speak in Koine (with a Koine pronunciation, not Erasmian) and they would put up their best kathereuvousa. Granted, the newer generation doesn't do kathereuvousa, and even that would break down if I didn't know some broadstrokes about what goes on in modern Greek (no future morphology, no dative, no infinitive, and some common vocab that doesn't relate to ancient). It helps to be on a Greek island with salt-scented ocean air, cool evening breeze, a well-spread table, and restina or finer for all, some of whom speak no English.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 22nd, 2015, 2:55 am

M.M.Carter wrote:if I was to speak Koine Greek at them, they would laugh and not know what I was saying.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) wrote:Indiana Jones: The hell you will! He's got a two day head start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody's got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan. He speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom. He'll blend in - disappear - you'll never see him again. With any luck... he's got the Grail already.
[Cut to Marcus in İskenderun]
Marcus Brody: Does anyone here speak English? Or even Ancient Greek?
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Paul-Nitz
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Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Paul-Nitz » June 22nd, 2016, 8:46 am

The impressive "Deka Glossai" guy on Youtube just put up a video HIGHLY recommending learning Modern Greek as a way into Ancient Greek.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AelM2zyv5Us
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 28th, 2016, 8:17 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:The impressive "Deka Glossai" guy on Youtube just put up a video HIGHLY recommending learning Modern Greek as a way into Ancient Greek.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AelM2zyv5Us
He's a bit of an iconoclast, isn't he! He suggests that 2 years of modern Greek, followed by 1 year of ancient Greek, is much more effective than years of ancient Greek.

He also recommends reading the text in a language you understand, in a particular way:
Using Bilingual books is not cheating. It is one of the most powerful language learning tools we have available. The key is to use the properly.

1. Read the translation of whatever section you are working on.
2. Read the Greek, using the translation as a crutch to help you understand the Greek.
3. Reread the Greek, using the translation only when you forget a word or construction. The translation becomes an instant dictionary keyed to your text.
4. Reread the Greek until you can read the entire book without looking at the translation at all. IF you want to read at a normal pace, you have to push your eye to read at that pace.

After you have gone through this process of mastery with repeated readings of a handful of readers and bilingual texts, you will be able to take down a text and read it comfortably without any help.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Stephen Hughes » June 28th, 2016, 8:55 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:He's a bit of an iconoclast, isn't he! He suggests that 2 years of modern Greek, followed by 1 year of ancient Greek, is much more effective than years of ancient Greek.

He also recommends reading the text in a language you understand, in a particular way:
Using Bilingual books is not cheating. It is one of the most powerful language learning tools we have available. The key is to use the properly.

1. Read the translation of whatever section you are working on.
2. Read the Greek, using the translation as a crutch to help you understand the Greek.
3. Reread the Greek, using the translation only when you forget a word or construction. The translation becomes an instant dictionary keyed to your text.
4. Reread the Greek until you can read the entire book without looking at the translation at all. IF you want to read at a normal pace, you have to push your eye to read at that pace.

After you have gone through this process of mastery with repeated readings of a handful of readers and bilingual texts, you will be able to take down a text and read it comfortably without any help.
Some of the most successful of my classmates in the Classical Greek reading classes I took approached Greek in this "sense before language" way. In a system where understanding the meaning is more important than understanding the language, it is great. If students are tested on their real understanding of the language, either by composition, an oral test or by a series of "why?" questions, that method of "mastery" breaks down.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 28th, 2016, 9:44 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:He's a bit of an iconoclast, isn't he! He suggests that 2 years of modern Greek, followed by 1 year of ancient Greek, is much more effective than years of ancient Greek.

He also recommends reading the text in a language you understand, in a particular way:
Using Bilingual books is not cheating. It is one of the most powerful language learning tools we have available. The key is to use the properly.

1. Read the translation of whatever section you are working on.
2. Read the Greek, using the translation as a crutch to help you understand the Greek.
3. Reread the Greek, using the translation only when you forget a word or construction. The translation becomes an instant dictionary keyed to your text.
4. Reread the Greek until you can read the entire book without looking at the translation at all. IF you want to read at a normal pace, you have to push your eye to read at that pace.

After you have gone through this process of mastery with repeated readings of a handful of readers and bilingual texts, you will be able to take down a text and read it comfortably without any help.
Some of the most successful of my classmates in the Classical Greek reading classes I took approached Greek in this "sense before language" way. In a system where understanding the meaning is more important than understanding the language, it is great. If students are tested on their real understanding of the language, either by composition, an oral test or by a series of "why?" questions, that method of "mastery" breaks down.
This may depend on more than one thing. This year, I realized that two of my students were reading the text in English before class, and these two students are doing very well.

The class is conducted largely by asking specific questions in Greek, with students answering in Greek. I don't think that preparing this way teaches them what we learn in class, but it gives them a lot of background that helps them answer questions about texts that might be much harder for them without this preparation, and the process of answering these questions then teaches them the parts of the language they would otherwise miss.

In my own learning, I am finding that writing in Greek in response to a text really helps me.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Haley
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Joined: July 22nd, 2014, 1:19 pm
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Re: Why not start with modern Greek?

Post by Jonathan Haley » July 9th, 2016, 1:08 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:The impressive "Deka Glossai" guy on Youtube just put up a video HIGHLY recommending learning Modern Greek as a way into Ancient Greek.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AelM2zyv5Us
For those who can follow the Spanish, the "Classics at Home" guys not only use this same approach but also understandably endorse Deka's video.

https://youtu.be/gQIVoVzKnfs
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Jonathan Haley

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