Vocabulary / Week

Re: Vocabulary / Week

Postby David M. Miller » August 25th, 2012, 11:40 am

Thanks for the helpful suggestions, everyone. Louis, I’ll look forward to the statistics from Graben.

A new idea for me coming out of this conversation is to ditch vocab frequency lists in 2nd year classes, and only require students to learn the vocabulary that we actually encounter in readings. To be sure, students need to acquire vocabulary if they are to read with any comfort, but the effort of memorizing lists of vocabulary words without contextual reinforcement is inefficient, tedious, frustrating and—for those who don’t keep using the language after the course is done—ultimately wasted.

I am more likely to achieve my goal of motivating students to continue reading Greek after classes are through if there is a direct connection between vocabulary and reading. And if we read enough texts, the result in terms of acquired vocabulary, may be similar.
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Re: Vocabulary / Week

Postby Louis L Sorenson » August 25th, 2012, 2:35 pm

Here is an interesting article about how Greek is unique in that it has a smaller core vocabulary.

Major, Wilfred E. (2008). It’s Not the Size, It’s the Frequency: The Value of Using a Core Vocabulary in Beginning and Intermediate Greek. CPL Online, 4.1, 1-24. http://www.camws.org/cpl/cplonline/Majorcplonline.pdf
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Re: Vocabulary / Week

Postby Shirley Rollinson » August 28th, 2012, 8:32 pm

Louis L Sorenson wrote:Here is an interesting article about how Greek is unique in that it has a smaller core vocabulary.

Major, Wilfred E. (2008). It’s Not the Size, It’s the Frequency: The Value of Using a Core Vocabulary in Beginning and Intermediate Greek. CPL Online, 4.1, 1-24. http://www.camws.org/cpl/cplonline/Majorcplonline.pdf


That list can't be correct - look at how few nouns are listed.
It doesn't fit with Biblical Greek (which is supposed to be what this Group Forum discusses), and not Homer, and probably not Classical.

I'm more in favor of learning by reading a text, noting unfamiliar words, parsing, and learning them.
After the first semester of Baby Greek, that's what I usually have my students do.
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Re: Vocabulary / Week

Postby RandallButh » August 28th, 2012, 11:21 pm

Shirley Rollinson wrote:
Louis L Sorenson wrote:Here is an interesting article about how Greek is unique in that it has a smaller core vocabulary.

Major, Wilfred E. (2008). It’s Not the Size, It’s the Frequency: The Value of Using a Core Vocabulary in Beginning and Intermediate Greek. CPL Online, 4.1, 1-24. http://www.camws.org/cpl/cplonline/Majorcplonline.pdf


That list can't be correct - look at how few nouns are listed.
It doesn't fit with Biblical Greek (which is supposed to be what this Group Forum discusses), and not Homer, and probably not Classical.

I'm more in favor of learning by reading a text, noting unfamiliar words, parsing, and learning them.
After the first semester of Baby Greek, that's what I usually have my students do.


There are plenty of nouns. that is what the statistics produced. I'm speaking of the "80% coverage" group.
As for "Biblical Greek", the forum is vitally interested in First Century Greek, the larger framework in which "Biblical" Greek sits. "Biblical" isn't a language, either, but an accidental small slice of the First Century Language.

I did something different with the list. It will be useful for a teacher's manual that some of us are working on. I ran the words against First Century texts and annotated words that I considered "literary". I flagged 50-55 of them. the rest I consider common Koine. Even the 50-55 are words that someone might hear if standing in a public assembly or courtroom, so are still good. Only a very very few (ἄναξ) are epic/poetic and excludable. Likewise artificially added "base" verbs like ἀγγέλλειν should not be taught to students. Real words in common use are always a better choice, and the best way to learn words is to use them in real communicative contexts.
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Re: Vocabulary / Week

Postby cwconrad » August 29th, 2012, 7:57 am

RandallButh wrote:As for "Biblical Greek", the forum is vitally interested in First Century Greek, the larger framework in which "Biblical" Greek sits. "Biblical" isn't a language, either, but an accidental small slice of the First Century Language. .


I think this "by the way" comment really needs to be highlighted. The notion that the Greek of the NT or even of the NT and the LXX combined is a sufficient "corpus" from which to draw conclusions about Hellenistic Greek vocabulary and usage seems too often assumed without question. It's convenient for those of us focused on NT Greek to draw statistics and examples from our tagged texts of the GNT or LXX, but it needs to be understood that to do so is myopic. From time to time arguments about interpretation of a NT Greek text are grounded in evidence drawn only from a corpus of GNT and LXX texts as if that constituted an adequate basis. The speakers and authors of the texts that chiefly concern this forum did not speak and write in a hermetically sealed environment.
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Best Practices in Vocabulary Acquisition

Postby David M. Miller » September 2nd, 2012, 5:28 pm

I should note that the article Louis introduced here (http://ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1442&start=10&sid=a90d38f5db7b0db1d76263d9189f227d&sid=a90d38f5db7b0db1d76263d9189f227d#p7516) supports the traditional method of requiring intermediate students to memorize vocabulary in frequency lists, even when they never encounter them in context. Here are a couple key quotations from Major’s essay:

“Simply put, beginning students should learn vocabulary that they will encounter most often when they read. Reinforcing these high frequency items improves students’ comfort level, since they master the elements which they encounter most often.”

“Vocabulary lists tend to be dominated by the needs of a narrative, reading passage, or grammatical construction. This haphazard approach not only hinders students in their acquisition of the language but in their appreciation of what this vocabulary has bequeathed to modern languages.”


In a follow-up article, Rachael Clark says much the same thing: “A focus on the vocabulary necessary for their later success will ultimately serve students better than a focus on story specific vocabulary that appears less frequently in ancient texts.” ("The 80% Rule", p. 74; http://tcl.camws.org/fall2009/TCL_I_i_67-108_Clark.pdf)

Ideally, of course, readings would be designed to reinforce common vocabulary, but these two articles don’t support my idea (http://ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1442&start=10&sid=a90d38f5db7b0db1d76263d9189f227d&sid=a90d38f5db7b0db1d76263d9189f227d#p7514) of focusing on readings instead of vocab frequency lists. Instead, I'm hearing that frequency lists are the way to go.

I'm curious to hear other approaches people have used to make vocab learning more effective at the intermediate level.
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Re: Vocabulary / Week

Postby RandallButh » September 2nd, 2012, 5:43 pm

People read things differently with different backgrounds.

I see "reinforcing vocabulary" as meaning that these are the words that will be used in classroom banter, in production drills, and in TPRS side-stories.
Ultimately, we all know that words used in context are the ones that stick. Remember the old school adage for building English vocab, "meet a new word? Use it ten times and it's yours." Lists are checklists and for teachers' planning, not adequate learning strategies.
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Re: Vocabulary / Week

Postby Paul-Nitz » September 22nd, 2012, 11:16 am

Major's list is very useful (Note that on http://www.dramata.com, the 80% list is posted in different formats - sorted by part of speech and such).

Randall Buth is taking the list and cutting out some of the literary or poetic vocabulary. I felt I needed a smaller list (a fluency circle*) for teaching my course this year. I am teaching using a communicative method (largely, TPR, and TPRS).

I took the 80% list and cut it down to under 600 words. My criteria were a) is it frequently used in the GNT, and b) would it be useful for communicative teaching.**

I'm posting this message in hopes others would be interested in having this list as a shared document (or wiki). My idea is that others who are teaching Greek in a communicative way would like to cooperate in revising the basic list that I've created.

B-Greek Administrators, is there a wiki or shared docs tool on B-Greek?

Paul aka Σαῦλος

* B. Ray of TPRS fame, encourages concentrating on what he calls the "fluency circle" of words (also called the "small circle"). This is a group of several hundred words needed to have a conversation in a language. The "reading circle" (also called "big circle") includes thousands of words that one encounters in reading. These are picked up through reading and are not practiced in the classroom.

** I will need to add some words to this list as I teach this year. There are not nearly enough concrete words in Major's list for doing TPR commands and TPRS stories. That's to be expected, I suppose. In my house, the phrase "wash the dishes" is heard plenty and would certainly make a 80% core spoken vocabulary list. But I'd doubt if the phrase would be found that frequently in English Literature.
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Re: Vocabulary / Week

Postby Louis L Sorenson » January 16th, 2014, 5:42 pm

I wrote

Here is an interesting article about how Greek is unique in that it has a smaller core vocabulary. Major, Wilfred E. (2008). It’s Not the Size, It’s the Frequency: The Value of Using a Core Vocabulary in Beginning and Intermediate Greek. CPL Online, 4.1, 1-24. http://www.camws.org/cpl/cplonline/Majorcplonline.pdf


Wilfred Major just informed me that the list on the Dickenson College site is more refined - http://dcc.dickinson.edu/greek-core-list.

My 80% list has been superseded by the Dickinson College Commentaries Greek Core Vocabulary list. It was compiled from better data and is shorter. It can be downloaded into Word, Excel or as xml. It can also be sorted by part of speech or semantic group: http://dcc.dickinson.edu/greek-core-list. . . . I am glad to hear of the interest in my work in the NT community. I am part of a group creating a set of materials under the title Ancient Greek for Everyone. Among other features, each unit includes readings from both Classical writings and the LXX/NT. The vocabulary in each unit includes a Dickinson list, an NT 30+ list, but the "Core" that we require are the words common to both lists. Perhaps these units and their lists would also be of interest. Public versions of the units are available at: http://www.dramata.com (scroll down to Ancient Greek for Everyone)
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Re: Vocabulary / Week

Postby Paul-Nitz » January 18th, 2014, 5:42 am

Louis,

I'm posting to highlight and emphasize the usefulness of this new list. I wish it had a new name to distinguish it from the previous 50% and 80% lists they did. I'd name it, "the 2/3rds list for Classical and Biblical Greek."

Major's old list was great, this list is much more useful for Biblical Greek learners.
The list is available for download in Excel - very nice.
Principal parts have been added - very, very nice.

I'm comparing the list with my "Core Communicative Greek" list and updating my list. My list, taken from Major, Voorst and other sources, focuses more on Biblical Greek and words needed for early communicative approach classrooms.

Paul
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