"Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Re: "Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Postby Mark Lightman » March 11th, 2012, 3:57 pm

Paul Nitz wrote: Ὁ μεσος μαθητης - τῳ Τριτημεθοδευτῇῃ

From the intermediate student to the Method 3 guy.

Mark, I have worked through the ten levels of Method 3 applied to 2 Cor 10:2. Great fun again. It took me 23 minutes and here are the results of the experiment:
Original – read three times & understood just about zilch.
Level 1 - read once
Level 2 - read once
Level 3 - read once
Level 4 - read twice, and looked up τολμαω
Level 5 - read once
Level 6 - read once, looked up θαρρεω
Level 7 - read once
Level 8 - read twice
Level 9 - read once
Level 10 - read once
Original - Read three times and wrote this:

"I must [use] the not-being-present bold [way] of doing things by which I usually think to be bold against some who think us [to be] walking according to the flesh.


Call it rubbish, but I'm thrilled. Sure, I messed up and thinking δεομαι was δεῖ. But, after a quick look at a translation, I can go back and understand it well "in Greek." Method 3 quickly increased my comprehension and kept me "in the Greek zone," rather than switching back and forth between second language and mother tongue (tiring and tedious).


Χαῖρε Παῦλε,

Thank you for sharing your experience with Method 3. I was impressed that with only looking up two words you were able to get the gist, or at least a lot of the gist, of what is really one of the hardest sentences in the Greek NT. I think on the basis of what we know now we can say at the very least that Method 3 has potential. In the coming days I will apply Method 3 to some easy and hard sentences and see what happens.

It’s like what President Roosevelt said about getting out of the Great Depression. Try something. Try anything.

This Method 3 fits very nicely into a more efficient and natural approach to learning Greek. The approach, as Mark has mentioned, would not start with Method 3. But it would not be long before Method 3 could be used. As soon as we know enough Greek to make a thought, we can use the words and forms we know to help understand what is new. That's pretty much the basis of all learning, to move from the known to the unknown, isn't it?


τὰ ἀληθῆ λέγεις.
Mark Lightman
 
Posts: 258
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:30 pm

Re: "Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Postby cwconrad » March 11th, 2012, 4:27 pm

I respond partly to Mark's earlier response to my reservations about "Method 3" and also to Paul Nitz's comments on the usefulness of "Method 3" once one has reached a point where it can come into play.

First an additional word about the metalanguage: I think it plays a vital role:
(1) Pedagogical method is grounded in an intelligible understanding of how language works, and so depends upon a grammatical and Linguistic framework;
(2) Progress of students toward fluency must depend in part on grasping how the language being learned functions in ways that differ from those of one's native language. In the course of acquisition of language skills, one is going, from time to time, to need answers to questions about usage;
(3) Obviously too, How languages work -- and how a particular language works -- are legitimate objects of sysematic study for their own sakes, quite apart from whether or not they assist pedagogy.

Now, in response to Mark's dismissal of my reservations:

Okay, so I’ve got the whole thing backwards: the student who’s having the difficulty reading, you say, not a “passage” but a single sentence, needs help. It doesn’t make sense, because something doesn’t click together with other elements that one thinks one grasps well enough. So, someone steps in and helps him with a paraphrase.

Who does this paraphrase? Is this a service that you, the παιδάγωγος and τριτημεθοδεύτης, are offering to provide for those confronting an ἀπορία with a text they’ve come upon? Or do you have in mind a published text that offers this sort of paraphrase of all the sentences in a textual corpus? I wonder if the latter is really practical: what I’ve said about the difficulty with commentaries would apply here too. The difficulties that the commentator has foreseen students having all too often don’t match the difficulties with the text that students actually have: they answer the questions you’re not asking.

So it has to be someone who is available to consult when the student runs into a problem. Is this something you see as a service provided at a web-site (such as the B-Greek Forum, for example)? A consultant who will take your verse reference and offer you up a quick and neat simplified reformulation of the sentence that resolves the student’s difficulties with that sentence, either in one shot or in a succession of stages working up to full understanding?

“ … again and again one will encounter a difficult sentence that one cannot understand. Usually there is just one bit of information—what goes with what, a word used in a sense one has not encountered before, an intransitive verb taken transitively, a verb unexpectedly taking two accusatives, an unfamiliar ὡς construction, a genitive or dative going not with a noun it's close to but with verb father away, κτλ--that causes the whole sentence to be mystery.”

Here you resort to metalanguage to describe the types of difficulty; you apparently believe that we can bypass a discussion of what the difficulty is in grammatical terms and move straight to a rephrasing that gets around the difficulty. It seems to me that the rephrasing might be more helpful if there’s an intermediate stage of identiifying where the difficulty in understanding the sentence actually lies. Isn’t it a guessing game if you don’t do that? And if we’re talking about “processing” the sentence as a sequence of syntactic elements, aren’t we already doing a logico-grammatical exercise of the nature of a metalanguage then?

So I’m not so sure that all my reservations have vanished. I still want to know: Who’s performing this service for the students and how do you see it formalized -- in a consulting service at some site that has staff available at regular hours to do paraphrases for students who get stuck in the middle of their reading? Or do we conceive of Readers that offer this sort of paraphrase, readers that have been composed with some sort of providential grasp of which difficulties students are bound to encounter?

I think you’ve not adequately answered the question about metalanguage. Where you and I are in full agreement is that we both acknowledge that grammar and conversion of the Greek text into a word-for-word target-language equivalent is nigh unto useless as a basic pedagogical method for learning a language. I think, however, that it must come into play at some point (and recurringly) as when one comes to see that difficulties encountered have something to do with different ways of expressing or formulating ideas in the two languages. That is to say, I think that grammar -- a metalanguage -- becomes an aid to forward progress in the second language. It’s helpful to look at what makes a sentence difficult and talk about the difficulty. There’s no reason why even that couldn’t be done in Greek, of course.

I also think you’ve equivocated about Smyth: either Smyth’s grammar is an essential tool or it’s completely dispensable. If it’s useful for something, then what is it useful for? I will readily grant that understanding the grammar is not essential to gaining fluency, but I think that most students who do not live and breathe in a cultural milieu where Kone Greek is spoken by people who use it like native-speakers -- those people, I think, are going to find it helpful at one point or another, and at intervals again and again, to become involved in analysis that requires a metalanguage.

In a sense then, I’m still raising my Juvenal question: τίς ἐπιμελήσται αὐτῶν τῶν ἐπιμελουμένων; τίς διδάξει αὐτοὺς τοὺς διδάσκοντας;

Part of the answer, I think, has been implicit all along. We are helping each other, teaching and learning at the same time. The best class in Beginning Greek that I ever taught was one that had (long unbeknownst to me) weekly study sessions of the whole class conducted by the students in that class taking turns at the leadership role. That’s one of the things this forum does for us students; as Solon put it, γηράσκω ἀεὶ πολλὰ διδασκόμενος.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
cwconrad
 
Posts: 1307
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714

Re: "Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Postby Paul-Nitz » March 12th, 2012, 3:20 am

Method 3, to my way of thinking, would just be one strategy in the intermediate stage of language learning.

I'm not really catching what the debate is about metalanguage. Maybe I don't understand the word. I took it as 'labels for things in the language.' Grammar is essential to comprehension, just as much as vocabulary. But is learning labels for grammar up front good?

Does this analogy work?

    I am about to enter a room full of people I have never met. My helpful friend Herb says,
      "I have a list of names and facts about each one of them. Would you like a look? There's Sandy, a tall grey haired lady who teaches. And there's George, a short energetic guy who farms."
    I respond,
      "No thanks, I'll just go in and meet them. Afterwards, I might have a look at that list."
    Herb insists,
      "But this list is accurate and exhaustive. Did you know George also does carpentry?"
Now, if I am a disciplined, detail minded, visual learner with a capacious working memory, I could spend some profitable time with that list. If I'm an average guy, I better just get in there and meet a few of them.

In my experience, for the average learner who is in the pivotal initial stages of learning a second language, grammatical terms are largely unnecessary and can even be a hindrance to efficient and engaging learning.

At some time after the initial stages, metalanguage can be hugely useful for summing up something learned and for use in talking with others about the language (in advanced form, this the study of linguistics). At that stage, my friend Herbert Weir Smyth is a great help and will increase, not interfere, with my comprehension.
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi
Paul-Nitz
 
Posts: 203
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am

Re: "Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Postby ed krentz » March 12th, 2012, 2:32 pm

I have been reading this discussion with interest and a wee bit of understanding. I gather the method asks either the reader or someone else to rewrite in "Greek" words the sense of the passage that seems difficult.

It seems to me that a number of things might be said about the method. 1. It is designed to help the reader who is confused about the syntax and/or vocabulary of a passage to understand it. 2. The rewrite is turning the difficult sentence into a simple English sentence written in Greek words. 3. It does not lead automatically to an understanding of Greek word order. 4. Does it lead the learner to recognize the clues given by word order and inflections that point to how to read an ancient Greek sentence? 5. Does it urge the student to read Greek text out loud? Ina course on Greek historians we did not have to translate if we could read the text out loud in a way that showed we know what it meant. Try reading NT passages that way.

When I taught Greek and students had difficulty in translating, I would ask them after reading the sentence out loud to tell me what the main verb was, then the subject, etc. I would also ask how the sentence stressed some words because of their position in the sentence. Finally I would ask them to assess the significance of any particles. The next question asked if they knew the basic meaning of Greek terms, could infer meaning by analyzing the make up of compound words, etc. Then they would be ready to attempt a translation.

I share many of Carl Conrad's questions about the proposed method. It would help if it were more clearly explained how the method aided the student advance in reading Greek without the necessity of translating it.

Ed Krentz
Edgar Krentz
Prof. Emeritus of NT
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
ed krentz
 
Posts: 55
Joined: February 22nd, 2012, 5:34 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: "Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Postby Mark Lightman » March 12th, 2012, 3:35 pm

Hi, Ed and Carl,

You two raise some decent theoretical objections to Method 3, you really do. I promise I will address those soon, but you really need to let me finish creating Method 3 first, then we can test it out on some more intermediate learners, THEN you guys can tear it to shreds.

But quickly for now:

The rewrite is turning the difficult sentence into a simple English sentence written in Greek words.


Yes, it does do that. I am trying to help out people who speak English and I do use English word order, in the initial stages of leveled readings, but these are quickly replaced by Greek order in the increasing levels. I realize that reading too much of this kind of Greek would not ideal, but only a fraction of one’s reading would be Method 3 Greek, and only a fraction of that would use English word order. But you are correct to have noticed this.


It does not lead automatically to an understanding of Greek word order
.

No, it does not “automatically” lead to anything. It’s a method, not a magic wand.

Does it urge the student to read Greek text out loud?


My own position is that when reading Greek, one is better to do so silently so as to speed up the process. I prefer to get my audio input while speaking, not while reading, Ancient Greek, but Method 3 itself is neutral on that point.

Now really, I need to get back to creating Method 3 before I defend it.

Ed Krentz again: When I taught Greek and students had difficulty in translating, I would ask them after reading the sentence out loud to tell me what the main verb was, then the subject, etc. I would also ask how the sentence stressed some words because of their position in the sentence. Finally I would ask them to assess the significance of any particles. The next question asked if they knew the basic meaning of Greek terms, could infer meaning by analyzing the make up of compound words, etc. Then they would be ready to attempt a translation.



This is sooo Methods 1 and 2! :D
Mark Lightman
 
Posts: 258
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:30 pm

Re: "Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Postby Mark Lightman » March 12th, 2012, 5:39 pm

Here is Method 3 applied to a typically marvelous and somewhat tricky sentence from Plato.

Plato, Symposium 195a: εἷς δὲ τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντὸς ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός, λόγῳ διελθεῖν οἷος οἵων αἴτιος ὢν τυγχάνει περὶ οὗ ἂν ὁ λόγος ᾖ.

Method 3, Level 1: οὖτος ἐστιν ὁ καλὸς λόγος περὶ τῶν θεῶν. δεῖ λέγειν τίς ἐστιν ὁ θεὸς και τίνα ἐστιν τὰ ἔργα τοῦτου τοῦ θεοῦ.

Method 3, Level 2: οὖτος ἐστιν ὁ καλὸς τρόπος παντῶν τῶν λογῶν τοῦ ἐπαίνου περὶ παντῶν τῶν θεῶν. δεῖ λἐγειν οἷος θεός ἐστιν κἀι οἷα έστιν τὰ ἐργα τοῦτου τοῦ θεοῦ.

Method 3, Level 3: ἔστιν μόνος εἷς ὀρθὸς τρόπος λόγου ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός θεοῦ, λἐγειν οἷος θεός ἐστιν. καὶ δεῖ δεῖξαι ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἐστιν ἡ αἰτία τινῶν ἔργων, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν ὁ θεὸς τούτου τοῦ λόγου ἐπαίνου.

Method 3, Level 4: εἷς δὲ τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντὸς λόγου ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός θεοῦ, λἐγειν οἷος θεός τυγχάνει ὢν. καὶ δεῖ δεῖξαι ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἐστιν ἡ αἰτία τινῶν ἔργων περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ λόγου.

Method 3, Level 5: εἷς δὲ τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντὸς ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός, λόγῳ διελθεῖν οἷος θεός τυγχάνει ὢν. καὶ δεῖ δεῖξαι ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἐστιν αἴτιος τινῶν ἔργων, περὶ οὗ θεοῦ ὁ λόγος ἔστιν.

Method 3, Level 6: εἷς δὲ τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντὸς ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός, λόγῳ διελθεῖν οἷος θεός τυγχάνει ὢν. καὶ δεῖ δεῖξαι ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἐστιν αἴτιος οἵων ἔργων, περὶ οὗ θεοῦ ὁ λόγος ἔστιν.

Method 3, Level 7: εἷς δὲ τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντὸς ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός, λόγῳ διελθεῖν οἷος θεός τυγχάνει ὢν. καὶ δεῖ δεῖξαι ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἐστιν αἴτιος τινῶν ἔργων, περὶ οὗ θεοῦ ὁ λόγος ἔστιν.

Method 3, Level 8: εἷς δὲ τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντὸς ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός, λόγῳ διελθεῖν οἷος θεός τυγχάνει ὢν καὶ ἐστιν αἴτιος οἵων ἔργων, περὶ οὗ ὁ λόγος ἔστιν.

Method 3, Level 9: εἷς δὲ τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντὸς ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός, λόγῳ διελθεῖν οἷος καὶ αἴτιος οἵων ἔργων τυγχάνει ὢν, περὶ οὗ ἂν ὁ λόγος ᾖ.

Method 3, Level 10: εἷς δὲ τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντὸς ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός, λόγῳ διελθεῖν οἷος καὶ αἴτιος οἵων ὢν τυγχάνει, περὶ οὗ ἂν ὁ λόγος ᾖ.



And again for reference, here’s the unadapted text:

Plato, Symposium 195a: εἷς δὲ τρόπος ὀρθὸς παντὸς ἐπαίνου περὶ παντός, λόγῳ διελθεῖν οἷος οἵων αἴτιος ὢν τυγχάνει περὶ οὗ ἂν ὁ λόγος ᾖ.


If you either can easily read the unadapted text, or you cannot even read level 1, then Method 3 is not for you. If you can read level 1, but you cannot, after going back and forth between the levels a few times, grasp the basic structure and meaning of the unadapted sentence, then Method 3 does not work.

If you get stuck on a phrase at a certain level, work backward until you find a form of that phrase that you understand. If you have to look up a word or form or two in some non-Method 3 resource, that is not the end of the world. This is a Method, not a religion, but try it first a few times without looking anything up.
Mark Lightman
 
Posts: 258
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:30 pm

Re: "Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Postby Paul-Nitz » March 14th, 2012, 10:03 am

Mark Lightman wrote:If you can read level 1, but you cannot, after going back and forth between the levels a few times, grasp the basic structure and meaning of the unadapted sentence, then Method 3 does not work.


Well, let's not be absolute! The first two samples worked well for me. This one...? Eeesh!

I spent an hour on it and still don't get it. I resorted to a lexicon, and I still don't get it. But what I did get was a full hour of brain exercise entirely in Greek. That's certainly worth something. And, if someone would now explain the grammar to me, I'm sure the lesson would stick. Which brings us back to the split off "metalanguage" discussion. I'm not against metalanguage, just not at the outset. In fact, right now, I'm positively thirsting for some metalanguage to help me make sense of this Plato.

OK, now comes the embarrassing part: revealing what I came up with. If you are an intermediate who is going to try Method 3 on Plato 195a, avert your eyes, lest you be led astray. For the Mark, et alli, hold your nose.

    There is a one straight [reliable] and commendable way concerning each god,
    by this logos (reason? logical test?) [you need to] figure out
    which cause is happening from which [god]
    concerning whichever one it is [that is] the [right] test.
    ....be gentle!
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi
Paul-Nitz
 
Posts: 203
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am

Re: "Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Postby Jonathan Robie » March 14th, 2012, 11:32 am

I'm moving this post to the "Method 3" thread, so Jeffrey's thread can remain dedicated to his own concerns.

Mark Lightman wrote:
Jonathan wrote: I split this off because I think it's separate from Method 3.


You’re right, yes, it is. Just to clarify some of this terminology: Method 3 is simply paraphrasing Greek into easier Greek so that the student can process that Greek. Method 3 can be used, and maybe primarily will be used, in the production of leveled readers, where the same Greek passage is paraphrased into increasing levels of difficulty. But a leveled reading need not be based on an actual Greek passage, and will more likely be a free composition, like a children’s book is in English, or the books that Jeffrey gives his students. Leveled readers are used all the time in ESL.

The assumption behind Greek leveled readers (which do not exist yet) is that Method 3 Greek, i.e. the very simple paraphrase, is useful to read in its own right. This may or may not be true, but this is not the focus of Method 3 as I want to use it. I have no interest in composing a narrative using Method 3 in a leveled reader. Right now I want to use Method 3 as a way for learners to rapidly process as many real Greek sentences as possible. I want the learners, right now, to spend as little time as possible reading Method 3 Greek and focus as much as possible on reading actual Greek, but in a new way—the Method 3 way.

Jeffrey Reqadt—that’s R-E-Q-A-D-T!—wrote: I should also add that a system of leveled readers works best as part of a balanced literacy curriculum. And when it comes to learning a foreign language, which is true for most of the people that would be using them, they would function best in an active language learning environment. Reading naturally makes more sense when other parts of your brain are used to making sense in the same language. That's why we don't teaching English Language Learners to read by simply giving them lots of texts at their level. That's just one part of learning the language.


Absolutely. What you call “an active learning environment” is what I call “Method Zero,” what W.H.D. Rouse and Randall Buth call the “Direct Method” of learning a language. I have nothing against this method (in fact, I promote it all the time on B-Greek.) Nor do I have anything against any other method of learning Ancient Greek, except for grammar-translation (what I call Methods 1 and 2.) I say, remove these weeds and let a thousand pedagogical flowers bloom. I am very much looking forward, for example, to seeing more (any) of Jonathan’s Method 4 (a Greek text broken down into metalanguage in Ancient Greek) and Stephen’s Method 5 (a Greek-to-Greek interlinear.)

One final point. The simplest Method 3 Greek, what is used as level one in a leveled reader, is what I call “Dr. Seuss Greek,” what Conrad calls “pidjun Greek” and what Buth calls “caretaker speech.” Twenty years ago, Paula Saffire in “When Dead Languages Speak” called for vast amounts of this sort of Greek to be produced. Nobody paid any attention to her and, particularly in the area of New Testament Greek pedagogy, the last twenty years have seen only a flood of more metalanguage about Greek but very little simple Greek produced that learners can read. No sequel to Saffire’s Ancient Greek alive, not a Koine version of the early sections of Athenaze or JACT, just more primers based on the old grammar-translation Except…

Except those of us who use Greek as a Living Language on Schole.ning and elsewhere produce tons of Dr. Seuss Greek every day. We don’t really need Method 3 Greek for its own sake because we get easy Greek through the Direct Method. I am convinced that Dr. Seuss Greek—aside from the fact that for some folks it is the only Greek they can read or write or speak—is good for even intermediate learners but, again, I want to make it clear that this is NOT my priority for creating Method 3.

Grammar-translation has been called “decoding.” You take the incomprehensible (real Greek) and you put it into terms that are comprehensible but betray the essence of that real Greek. Method 3 goes the other way. You take the comprehensible (Method 3/Dr. Seuss Greek) and you use it make the real Greek comprehensible. You start with Greek, and Greek is the τέλος.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
Posts: 1494
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

Re: "Method 3" A New Way to Learn and Improve your Greek

Postby Louis L Sorenson » March 24th, 2012, 1:24 pm

While not speaking exactly to your method, I think some of this is going on...

Michael Long (1983) argued the Modified Interaction is the necessary mechanism for making language comprehensible. That is, what learners need is not necessarily simplification of the linguistic forms but rather an opportunity to interact with other speakers, working together to reach mutual comprehension. Through these interactions, interlocutors figure out what they need to do to keep the conversation going and make the input comprehensible. According to Long, there are no cases of beginner-level learners acquiring a second language from native-speaker talk that has not been modified in some way (How Languages are Learned, p. 43).


I think the biggest help for such a method as is to get the reader accustomed to thinking in Greek patterns. Studies have shown that when two students have the same native language (or teacher and student), they can communicated in a 2nd language easier than two people who are from different language groups. I wonder if even in teacher-student instruction via any method, the traditional methods or living language, that word/thought order is something that does not get taught because the student (or instruction book) are always using an assumed English code-base, and so all exercises are predisposed to the 'default' word order (=SVO). I also think that there is a lot of intentional redundancy e.g. αὔριον....ἐλεύσεται to help the student flag a form as future, and that students are not weened off of those redundancies.

Perhaps you could write a Primer, Reading Greek as Greek and have a number of short passages (a paragraph) where you work the student through the text.
Louis L Sorenson
 
Posts: 587
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 9:21 pm
Location: Burnsville, MN, USA

Previous

Return to Teaching Methods

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest