Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby David M. Miller » June 7th, 2013, 3:59 pm

Most discussions of pedagogy on this list deal with approaches to teaching introductory Greek. I am interested in suggestions about best practices for the second year.

To get things started, I invite your feedback on the syllabus I used the last time I taught our 3rd semester Greek Syntax course four years ago (see the attachment). A comparison with other Biblical Greek syllabi indicates that my approach was fairly conventional--i.e., combining a deductive presentation of Greek grammar with a reading of selected texts from the GNT. I would like to consider alternatives this time around, primarily because I want to build on the "living language" approach I tried to implement with my introductory students last year.

General questions: What are desired outcomes for second year Biblical Greek students? Has any tried an inductive approach to Greek syntax? Is a traditional deductive approach necessary, or can we simply read lots of Greek? How much reading do you assign? What do you use as textbooks?
Attachments
GRK363 Greek Syntax (09-01) Syllabus.pdf
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Re: Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby Paul-Nitz » June 9th, 2013, 8:33 am

David, Thanks for sharing your syllabus.
How about this? Introduce “targeted language structures” (syntax points) through TPR, WAYK, and TPRS stories before directing them to read Wallace.
You intended last time to concentrate on Luke 14-15. You could use embedded readings to build up to it.

I pounded out some examples below. Expect mistakes in the Greek. I didn’t proofread or double check forms.

TPR:
θέλω σε λαβεῖν βιβλίον μου. Φίλιππε (μαθητής τις), δύνασαι (ἤ θ̍έλεις) λαβεῖν βιβλίον μου; εἰ συ δύνασαι λαβεῖν βιβλίον μου, ελθέ ὧδε εἰς το λαβεῖν βιβλίον μου.
τί ἤθελεν ὁ διδάσκαλος; ὁ διδάσκαλος ἤθελεν Φίλιππον λαβεῖν βιβλίον αυτοῦ.
ἐδύνατο Φίλιππος λαβεῖν βιβλίον αὐτοῦ; ναί, Φίλιππος εδύνατο λαβεῖν βιβλίον αὐτοῦ.
Φίλιππος ἤλθεν εἰς το λαβεῖν βιβλίον μου. διὰ τί ἤλθεν ὧδε Φίλιππος; Φίλιππος ἤλθεν εἰς το λαβεῖν βιβλίον μου.
WAYK:
ἐγώ ἔχω λίθον. θέλω δοῦναι σοι λι̍θον μου. συ θέλεις λαβεῖν λίθον μου; σύ θέλεις δοῦναι μοι τόν καρπόν σου;
TPRS Story:
Δαυιδ θέλει φαγεῖν. ἔχει καρπός ἐν τούτῳ τῷ τόπῳ. θέλει σφόδρα φαγεῖν καρπόν αὐτοῦ. δεῖ αὐτόν φαγεῖν τὸν καρπόν; Δαυιδ ἄρχεται ἐσθίειν καρπόν αὐτοῦ. οἱ μαθηταί θέλουσι διδάσκαλον παύσαι. Δαυιδ ἐξέρχεται εκ τούτου τοῦ τόπου εἰς τὸ φαγεῖν καρπόν αὐτοῦ. τί συμβαίνει προ τοῦ διδάσκαλον εἰσελθεῖν ἐν τούτῳ τῷ τόπῳ;
EMBEDDED READING: Example of one level of embedded reading: I’ve overused Infinitives to match one of your first syntax points.
Ιησους ἦλθεν εἰς οἶκον τοῦ ἄρχοντος φαφεῖν. οἱ Φαρισαίοι ἤθελεν βλέπειν τὸν Ἰησοῦν. ἐνταύθα ἦν ἄνθρωπος τις. ὀ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἀσθενής. οὐ ἤθελεν ἄνθρωπος εἶναι ἀσθενής. ἤθελεν εἶναι ἰσχυρος. ὁ μεν Ἰησοῦς ἤθελεν διδάξαι Φαρισαίους. οὕτος δε ἤρώτησεν Φαρισαίους ὅτι Θέλετε με θεραπεῦσαι αὐτόν ἤ οὐ θέλετε με θεραπεῦσαι αὐτόν; αὐτοί οὐκ ἤθελον ειπεῖν οὐδέν. ἀλλά Ἰησοῦν ἥθελεν θεραπεῦσαι ἐκεῖνον ἄνθροπον. καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἤθελεν διδάξαι Φαρισαίους.
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Re: Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby David M. Miller » June 10th, 2013, 2:56 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:[color=#4000bf][size=110]David, Thanks for sharing your syllabus.
How about this? Introduce “targeted language structures” (syntax points) through TPR, WAYK, and TPRS stories before directing them to read Wallace.
You intended last time to concentrate on Luke 14-15. You could use embedded readings to build up to it.


Thanks, Paul, for your very helpful suggestions about how one might use TPR, etc., to shift how content is delivered while still taking a fairly systematic approach to Greek syntax. (Is this the kind of thing you do in your second year classes?)

I am also toying with the idea of pushing syntax completely into the background. Instead of structuring the course around syntax, one could structure the course entirely around (lots of) reading, and deal with syntactical issues as they arise. This seems to be a fairly common approach to Biblical Hebrew and Classical Greek. Why not Biblical Greek?
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Re: Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » June 10th, 2013, 4:54 pm

David M. Miller wrote: I am also toying with the idea of pushing syntax completely into the background. Instead of structuring the course around syntax, one could structure the course entirely around (lots of) reading, and deal with syntactical issues as they arise.


If you do that then you could omit GGBB from the curriculum. There is a lot in GGBB which will need to be unlearned at some point, better to just not to learn it in the first place.

Are there approaches to syntax which are not totally immersed in metalanguage? When the demons of neo-Machenism have been cast out into the swine of second-language-acquisition, the heard rushes headlong over a cliff and drowns in the sea of syntactophobia.
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Re: Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby cwconrad » June 11th, 2013, 7:18 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
David M. Miller wrote: I am also toying with the idea of pushing syntax completely into the background....


If you do that then you could omit GGBB from the curriculum. There is a lot in GGBB which will need to be unlearned at some point, better to just not to learn it in the first place.


The question then becomes: What does one do by way of explaining how the elements of a language being learned construe with each other? It seems to me that the best that tradition and linguistic probing have made available to pedagogy are very imperfect instruments. I personally like Funk's 1977 BIGHG very much and would use it if I were to return to teaching Koine Greek, but I recognize that there are many inadequacies in it.

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Are there approaches to syntax which are not totally immersed in metalanguage? When the demons of neo-Machenism have been cast out into the swine of second-language-acquisition, the heard rushes headlong over a cliff and drowns in the sea of syntactophobia.


Stirling, you stir in me a passion to edit apparent typos and at the same time to question whether the "typos" weren't intentional. That is a fascinating allegorical formulation. "Syntactophobia" indeed! Yesterday there was an essay in the NYT by Barbara Montero, "The Myth of 'Just Do It'" (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... ust-do-it/) on the chicken-or-egg question of whether we can or should attempt to think while performing an action. It's an interesting discussion, but hardly conclusive. It seems we're damned if we do and damned if we don't probe the rationale of texts and utterances in a language that is not native to us. If we want to analyze texts and utterances, there's no avoidance of the course between the Scylla of syntactophobia and the Charybdis of syntactophilia and there seems no vessel to carry us through but the flimsy "craft" of metalanguage.
Carl W. Conrad
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ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω
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Re: Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby Alan Patterson » June 11th, 2013, 12:52 pm

Stirling, you wrote:

If you do that then you could omit GGBB from the curriculum. There is a lot in GGBB which will need to be unlearned at some point, better to just not to learn it in the first place.

Would you mind sharing a few of these parts that need to be "unlearned"?

I've already seen discussion on the many, many uses of the Genitive. I'm hoping you can share other issues that need unlearning.
χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη,
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Re: Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » June 11th, 2013, 5:25 pm

Alan Patterson wrote:Stirling, you wrote:

If you do that then you could omit GGBB from the curriculum. There is a lot in GGBB which will need to be unlearned at some point, better to just not to learn it in the first place.

Would you mind sharing a few of these parts that need to be "unlearned"?

I've already seen discussion on the many, many uses of the Genitive. I'm hoping you can share other issues that need unlearning.


GGBB is metalanguage cover to cover. Most of it pretty useless for actual reading. There are ways to talk about grammar and syntax without all extra baggage. This week on textkit I raised a discussion of Guy Cooper's use of objective complement a term which Cooper uses in a vague manner. I had to read a dozen samples from Aeschylus and Sophocles before I could figure out what in the world he was talking about. I noticed in the b-greek archives it was defined in a precise manner but Cooper wasn't using that definition. He was talking about a whole family of related things. Cooper is not unique, inconsistent use of metalanguage is something that constantly gets in your way when you are using reference works. But we can't live without H.W.Smyth or K-G, or Cooper if you are learning Attic. GGBB is the uncontested champion in the use and abuse of metalanguage for NT readers. Really, it is time for one or two of you smart Greek Prof's to step up to the challenge and write a descent syntax with a minimalist approach to terminology.
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Re: Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » June 11th, 2013, 7:16 pm

Alan Patterson wrote:Stirling, you wrote:
Would you mind sharing a few of these parts that need to be "unlearned"?


What about the basic assumption about meaning and texts.

What If we call into question the assumption that meaning is encoded in a text according to established rules and the task of exegesis entails rule driven decoding of the ancient text and re-encoding in a modern language? A bit of reading in Aeschylus or Sophocles is all it takes to see that meaning is somewhat independent of the syntax and lexical semantics. The poet playwright has something he intents to say and he imposes that intention on some words the structure of which are are determined by considerations somewhat unrelated to meaning. The basic flow of the story line is already known by audience, the poet is free to play all sorts of games the with language. The syntax rules can be strained or broken[1]. The meaning of the words can be altered dramatically. It would seem perhaps that the poet is intentionally showing a disrespect for language. But some of these works won the prize at the Dionysian Festival.

A new student might read GGBB and come away thinking that this is something like solving a problem in math. Perhaps GGBB isn't to blame for this.


[1] three difficult lines A.Ag. Χορός 1625 http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... =2&t=60075
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Re: Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby Barry Hofstetter » June 11th, 2013, 9:34 pm

David M. Miller wrote: I am also toying with the idea of pushing syntax completely into the background. Instead of structuring the course around syntax, one could structure the course entirely around (lots of) reading, and deal with syntactical issues as they arise. This seems to be a fairly common approach to Biblical Hebrew and Classical Greek. Why not Biblical Greek?


All I can say to this is, "amen." Discussion of syntax before understanding the language is less than helpful, and at times can be downright harmful. Go for it!
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Re: Best Practices for Second Year Greek

Postby David M. Miller » June 11th, 2013, 11:26 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Are there approaches to syntax which are not totally immersed in metalanguage? When the demons of neo-Machenism have been cast out into the swine of second-language-acquisition, the heard rushes headlong over a cliff and drowns in the sea of syntactophobia.


Thanks Stirling. I'm not proposing 'syntactophobia', but a non-systematic discussion of syntactical issues as they arise, with a focus on describing function rather than teaching a technical syntactical metalanguage. I'm interested in hearing from people who have tried this already. Does it work? Are there significant losses? Also, can anyone recommend an alternative to Wallace as a reasonably accessible and recent reference grammar?
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