Metalanguage: pedagogical nuisance or necessity?

Re: Metalanguage: pedagogical nuisance or necessity?

Postby Jonathan Robie » March 14th, 2012, 3:58 pm

RandallButh wrote:Not speaking Greek is not an option if people want to read Greek at high levels. The person who does not practice speaking the language will carry around a particular 'pigeon Greek' in their heads. And the stories that I could tell about Hebrew profs, but it's not polite. [Actually, all language users carry around a 'pigeon language' in their head. Those doing the most input/output are the ones who are conforming most quickly to the language's equilibrium nodes. (No, I don't have time to unpack this.)


I'd love to be in your classes, and I think you are doing really important things in Greek pedagogy. But I do believe there are people who read Greek at high levels but don't speak Greek orally. That includes some of the most respected members of B-Greek - the Big Greeks, not just people like me.

I suspect you are right in saying that oral Greek is a better way. And perhaps many more people would be able to read Greek at high levels taking this kind of approach.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Metalanguage: pedagogical nuisance or necessity?

Postby RandallButh » March 14th, 2012, 6:04 pm

I'd love to be in your classes, and I think you are doing really important things in Greek pedagogy. But I do believe there are people who read Greek at high levels but don't speak Greek orally.


We are using 'high' differently.

I'm talking about what reading theorists are talking about when people who are considered fluent in a language read something in the language and interact with it in complex ways. This does not mean that classicists cannot read very well nor does it preclude scholars from producing in depth research within traditional classical frameworks. But I do not believe that classicists read their language psycholinguistically in the same manner that German literature profs read theirs. My guess is that brain-imaging technology may be able to detect some differences. I've read related studies, but nothing using the technology specifically on advanced readers without oral competence vs. advanced readers with oral competence.

You might be interested in an article by Catherine Walter in TESOL Q 2008, 42, 3 455-474 (“Phonology in Second Language Reading – Not an Optional Extra”). I should probably do a blog on this next week. (On another aspect, you might look at 'Need for Some Speed in Order to Read' BLC blog, Dec 2011, http://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/speed-to-read/.)
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Re: Metalanguage: pedagogical nuisance or necessity?

Postby Jonathan Robie » March 14th, 2012, 9:26 pm

RandallButh wrote:
I'd love to be in your classes, and I think you are doing really important things in Greek pedagogy. But I do believe there are people who read Greek at high levels but don't speak Greek orally.


We are using 'high' differently.

I'm talking about what reading theorists are talking about when people who are considered fluent in a language read something in the language and interact with it in complex ways. This does not mean that classicists cannot read very well nor does it preclude scholars from producing in depth research within traditional classical frameworks. But I do not believe that classicists read their language psycholinguistically in the same manner that German literature profs read theirs. My guess is that brain-imaging technology may be able to detect some differences. I've read related studies, but nothing using the technology specifically on advanced readers without oral competence vs. advanced readers with oral competence.


Thanks for explaining this - I understand now.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
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Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm

Re: Metalanguage: pedagogical nuisance or necessity?

Postby Wayne Kirk » March 14th, 2012, 10:28 pm

Randall,

I do get excited by the possibilities of true fluency in ancient Greek. I also believe what you say about the efficiency of the methods you employ. My question is how does someone maintain and continue to grow in fluency? For example, if a person participates in one of your immersion courses, what happens when it's over? Who do they get to speek koine with when they get back home? I have no friends or family even interested in reading Greek. With whom would I continue to regularly interact in a meaningful way?
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Re: Metalanguage: pedagogical nuisance or necessity?

Postby RandallButh » March 15th, 2012, 6:50 am

Thanks for explaining this - I understand now.


I'm glad that this helped. The following expansion may add some clarification for others:

"Not speaking Greek is not an option if people want to read Greek at their highest levels."
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