Mark Lightman wrote:You are really missing the point. The point is that there are people out there who want to learn to read Greek and cannot read Greek. Priority one is to learn to read Greek. Priority two is to hair-split the difference between καὶ and δὲ and πλοῖον and ναῦς. What the heck difference does it make to me what is the EXACT syntax of the sentence if I cannot even process the sentence at all, do not even know BASICALLY what the sentence means, because the traditional methods used to teach Greek are not working. I did not use πλοῖον because it means the same thing as ναῦς, (I don’t care right now if it does or does not) Ι used it because I know, from personal experience, that there are people out there who can decline πλοῖον but not ναῦς, and that that deficit contributes to the failure to process the sentence. There are people like Jonathan who know what (ἀπ)ῆλθον means but not ᾤχοντο. That, and the strange word order, and the fact that it is hard to keep track of who is leading whom into what city, causes these beginners to fail to process the sentence. All I am trying to do is find a new way to help people process these sentences quickly, staying in the target language, and then to move on to the next sentence. I DON’T want them to slow down and ponder EXACTLY what οἴχομαι means. I want them to speed up and read Xenophon, knowing BASICALLY what he means.
What it comes down, Stephen, is that, as Mike A. might say, we do not hair-split here on the Teaching Methods Subforum. I’m not being sarcastic or cute. I know that I am obnoxious in my constant meta-language bashing, but I am trying to light a light instead of cursing the darkness, to come up with ideas about how we can try something new, how we can develop an alternative pedagogical method to meta-language, which I honestly believe is PREVENTING people from learning Greek, and all I get is more meta-language!
I'm all in favor of pedagogical experimentation. In fact, as a teacher of Greek, I'm sure that all the effort I put into translating Xenophon into Koine will benefit my own Greek. It's a form of compositional practice, after all.
As for benefiting the students, I think it depends on the level of the student's Greek. It looks like that it is geared from someone who's already had first-year Koine, hence my comment, "Perhaps that's helpful for moving people from Koine to Classical Greek." For someone starting fresh, with less than a first year of Koine, I would guess that ναῦς and πλοῖον would be equally difficult if they haven't yet been exposed to any word referring to a ship. If one is to read Xenophon, at some point they will have to learn what a Greek word for ship is.
I do think the paraphrase must have as close to the same meaning as feasible. After all, you did not paraphrase ναῦς with τένκα, did you? (Yes, I'm being absurd, but it proves that meaning is important.)
As for word order, it's not particularly strange. Maybe to an Anglophone, but certainly not to a Greek. Sorry about the meta-language, but the τὰς ναῦς is left-dislocated to topicalize it as the theme of the sentence, and the rest of the word order is fairly unmarked (the subject οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι precedes the verb as a switch topic). Of course, I am construing εἰς Προκόννησον with ἄγοντες rather than ᾤχοντο, so that part of the word order does not bother me. Since you're not a fan of meta-language, you can paraphrase the function of preposing τὰς ναῦς as περὶ τῶν νεῶν/πλοίων.
Mark Lightman wrote:But wait, let me back up. Unlike Mike, I have no problem if anyone wants to critique or challenge the assumptions here on the Teaching Methods subforum. I know we all want the same thing. I appreciate your response and welcome more discussion.
As far as the Scholiasts go, they are great, and they can be used as a model for people teaching via Method 3, but beginners will probably struggle with them until they learn to read Greek. In teaching no other language do we expect people to read scholars before reading Dr. Seuss.
Another thought that occurred to me is that you can accomplish much with the dreaded interlinear, but at least it's Greek glossing Greek.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala