Prompts for teaching verbs

Jonathan Robie
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Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 14th, 2014, 5:51 pm

Micheal Palmer and I are playing with computer-based ways to teach the syntax and morphology of verbs using examples drawn from the corpus. We want to minimize the use of metalanguage or English, so we are looking for prompts that can be used on flashcards or in sentence-level cloze paradigms to indicate things like:
  • Person and number (this is easy)
  • Tense, time, or aspect (this is hard)
We started with the notion of using the present infinitive and aorist infinitive for this. For instance, a prompt might say:

Prompt: Ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ [ αὐτός / ἀκούειν ]

And the user would supply the correct finite form of the verb ἀκούειν in the given context, using the person and number associated with αὐτός:

Answer; Ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ [ ἀκούει ]

If we wanted the Aorist form instead, we could indicate that by using the aorist infinitive in the prompt instead of the present infinitive:

Prompt: Ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ [ αὐτός / ἀκούσαι ]

In some places, context is sufficient without the pronoun:

Prompt: οἵτινες [ ἀκούειν ] τὸν λόγον

But using this approach, how would we indicate future or perfect or pluperfect, or distinguish present from imperfect?

Another possibility would be to use the principal part, which gives us some of this, but still does not, for instance, distinguish present from imperfect. Or perhaps we could use the infinitives for aorist vs. present stem, and use principal parts for those things the infinitives don't handle. But that's assymetrical and less than ideal.

Or perhaps we could indicate the aspect and time using the same conventions we use for verb coloring in texts, and use pronouns for person and number. I can't replicate that with phpBB coloring, but if blue meant imperfective and underline meant past, it might look like this:

Prompt: Ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ [ αὐτός, ἀκούειν / ἀκούσαι ]

So the user is expected to give the past imperfective form of the above, i.e. the imperfect:

Answer: Ὁ ἀκούων ὑμῶν ἐμοῦ [ ἤκουεν ]

I don't know that these are good examples ... I'm fishing around for better ways to do this. Any suggestions?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 15th, 2014, 8:29 pm

I myself, in a great many of the instances I see in the text, don't really know why a certain aspect / voice / mood was chosen, but even still, I approach comprehension with an a priori assumption that the authour's selection of an aspect / voice / mood was more than arbitrary.

It seems to me that while you are distancing yourselves from the (use of) metalanguage by underlining and colouring, you are keeping the way of thinking that gave rise to the need for it. Users are going to have to decode the meta-encoding and then analytically construct the verb forms. The effect of that is that you are training the students' thinking to jump from (i) a Greek infinitive form to (ii) an abstraction with about 5 variable and then (iii) you are requiring them to produce a single correct form. It is jumping to the multi-variable abstraction that is the basis of abstraction. That is a lot to do in real time, so to compensate, learners will do one of a number of things some where on the graded scale between memorising all forms as individualities and analytically generating them each time. Lucky ones will chance upon an efficient way to do that.

Are you familiar with state-diagrams or other ways of describing the steps that are needed to be taken to get from A to B? With some planning you can base things on single simple steps like what I think you are finding you can do with number and case. Have a think about how you understand your own thought process when you see this example this example:
πέπτωκα -> πεπτωκυῖα
πεπίστευκα -> ?
For me at least, there is very little abstraction into meta-understanding. In an extended list of examples, at some point the graphical changes - accentuation and the insertion of the υι becomes "automatic", and (depending on how you are fostering students' learning styles) at that point a student will be ready to begin associating meaning with the form. There is no need to explain in each instance that this is a transition from indicative to feminine participle by an abstraction, though the preamble to the set or the context of the lesson / chapter of the textbook would give that. Exceptions to the rule can be given separately after the pattern that they fit into, but don't conform to has been made clear, as in
οἶδα -> εἰδυῖα
Assuming, with this form at least that it was not aimed at beginners, to give significance to the transition without explanation, you could use examples like this
Ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ... ____ (οἶδα) ὃ γέγονεν ἐπ’ αὐτῇ, ἦλθεν καὶ προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ,
And assuming competence in the number-case system
καὶ ἀνοικοδομήσω τὴν σκηνὴν Δαυὶδ τὴν _____ν (πέπτωκα)·
where the expected answers are εἰδυῖα and πεπτωκυῖαν

Of course there are many other ways to reduce the number of steps in the students' thinking - program their thinking actually.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 15th, 2014, 10:34 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:Are you familiar with state-diagrams or other ways of describing the steps that are needed to be taken to get from A to B? With some planning you can base things on single simple steps like what I think you are finding you can do with number and case. Have a think about how you understand your own thought process when you see this example this example:
πέπτωκα -> πεπτωκυῖα
πεπίστευκα -> ?
For me at least, there is very little abstraction into meta-understanding. In an extended list of examples, at some point the graphical changes - accentuation and the insertion of the υι becomes "automatic", and (depending on how you are fostering students' learning styles) at that point a student will be ready to begin associating meaning with the form. There is no need to explain in each instance that this is a transition from indicative to feminine participle by an abstraction, though the preamble to the set or the context of the lesson / chapter of the textbook would give that. Exceptions to the rule can be given separately after the pattern that they fit into, but don't conform to has been made clear, as in
οἶδα -> εἰδυῖα
I like that a lot.

And yeah, we computer guys do a lot with state diagrams, I'm familiar with them.
Stephen Hughes wrote:Assuming, with this form at least that it was not aimed at beginners, to give significance to the transition without explanation, you could use examples like this
Ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ... ____ (οἶδα) ὃ γέγονεν ἐπ’ αὐτῇ, ἦλθεν καὶ προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ,
And assuming competence in the number-case system
καὶ ἀνοικοδομήσω τὴν σκηνὴν Δαυὶδ τὴν _____ν (πέπτωκα)·
where the expected answers are εἰδυῖα and πεπτωκυῖαν

Of course there are many other ways to reduce the number of steps in the students' thinking - program their thinking actually.
Yes ... and the challenge is to figure out what those ways are ;->

Thanks, Stephen, this is helpful. Any other takers?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

mwpalmer
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Re: Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by mwpalmer » December 18th, 2014, 12:14 am

Thanks, Stephen. Points well taken. Careful design of exercises so as to clearly target the skill to be mastered is a fundamental part of good lesson design!
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Micheal W. Palmer

Paul-Nitz
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Re: Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by Paul-Nitz » December 18th, 2014, 2:02 pm

I think you are aiming at a “substitution drill.” Follow this pattern:

  • Start with a template sentence: “He went to town.”
    Give a cue for a substitution to the sentence. “She”
    The learner is expected to produce the sentence, “She went to town.”
    The facilitator (or computer program) supplies the correct sentence: “She went to town.”


This would be best done as an audio drill. But I could see the template & cues being given via text with the responses from the learner spoken. I’ve long wanted to create these kinds of drills for my class.

Below, I’ve put in bold words that would be supplied by a languge helper (or audio tape, or computer program). Normal lower case represent what the learner would be expected to speak (or write). Text in parenthesis would not be included.


SUBSTITUTION DRILL – HE SHE IT

πορεύται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν. (template sentence stated first)

οὗτος (cue word)
πορεύται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.
πορεύται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.

αὗτη (cue word)

πορεύται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.
πορεύται αὗτη εἰς τὴν πόλιν.

τοῦτο (cue word)

πορεύται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.
πορεύται τοῦτο εἰς τὴν πόλιν.

A similar drill, called a “differential drill” could be used for nearly any language structure, e.g. declensions.

DIFFERENTIAL DRILL – GENDER / DECLENSION CHANGE

εἰσἤλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον. (template sentence stated first)

οἶκον

εἰσἤλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον.

πόλιν
εἰσἤλθεν εἰς τὴν πόλιν.
εἰσἤλθεν εἰς τὴν πόλιν.

ἱερόν

εἰσἤλθεν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν.
εἰσἤλθεν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν.

This differential drill asks the learner to subsitute different tenses. The learner would need to learn the significance of the use of the cue word συμβῆναι. For simple Present, Past, Future drills, simple cue words like σημερον, εχθες, αυριον could be used.

DIFFERENTIAL DRILL - TENSES

πορεύται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν. (template)

συμβαίνει (cue word - Present)

πορεύται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.
πορεύται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.

συνέβη (cue word – Aorist)

ἐπορεύθη οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.
ἐπορεύθη οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.

συμβήσεται (cue word – Future)

πορεύσεται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.
πορεύσεται οὗτος εἰς τὴν πόλιν.

κτλ... συμβέβηκεν (it has happened) συνεβεβήκει (it had happened)
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

mwpalmer
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Re: Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by mwpalmer » December 18th, 2014, 7:17 pm

It's great to hear from you, Paul. I look forward to being able to generate these kinds of exercises from authentic texts from the period of the New Testament. I believe that is a realistic possibility and would be a great help for anyone using a communicative approach.

Are you familiar with Betty Azar's materials for teaching English? I used them when teaching ESL at the University of Louisville (Kentucky). She uses the kinds of exercises you mention. It will be very nice to have technology that can generate these kinds of materials from the extant texts.
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Micheal W. Palmer

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 19th, 2014, 2:15 pm

Both Paul and Stephen have given us a lot of really great ideas here ...
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » December 19th, 2014, 8:17 pm

Both Paul and Stephen have given us a lot of really great ideas here ...
Yes, indeed - and Jonathan. I'm casting about for some ideas to break up and enhance the introduction of verbs after Christmas. I've made some notes here. Thank you all.
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γράφω μαθεῖν

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 20th, 2014, 9:56 pm

I'm sitting next to Micheal Palmer, here are some prompts that could be used to teach the present tense of the verb εἶναι. These use Cloze sentences, the student's job is to supply the information in the brackets in each instance. If you see a field like {{c1::εἶ}}, it means that the student is shown a blank space in that place, and is expected to supply the correct answer, which is εἶ.

If you have Anki installed, you can right click and save this file, then click on it to import it into Anki. Give it a try and see wha tyou think

The first set should probably be simple, so to get a complete set, we wound up creating some artificial examples. We start with changing person and number in sentences like these:

Code: Select all

ἐγώ μακάριός εἰμι.

σύ μακάριος {{c1::εἶ}}.

Code: Select all

σύ μακάριός εἶ.

ἐγώ μακάριός {{c1::εἰμι}}.

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αὐτή μακαρία ἐστίν.

αὐταί μακάριαι {{c1::εἰσίν}}.
After that, we move on to supplying the correct form in context, drawn from the biblical text. In some cases, we add a word or modify the text somewhat, e.g. by supplying εἰσίν in the following quote:

Code: Select all

Μακάριοι {{c1::εἰσίν}} οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι

Code: Select all

μακαριά {{c1::ἐστιν}} ἡ πιστεύσασα
So far, we have only one tense, so we haven't needed to use the form of prompts that Stephen suggested earlier, but we will.

Does this seem like it's on the right track? I'm trying to establish a pattern for moving forward with other tenses and verbs. Obviously, pictures and audio would be good, we're going one step at a time. And Micheal has some other thoughts I think he will share.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Prompts for teaching verbs

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 23rd, 2014, 1:55 pm

I've progressed a little further in my thinking.

1. Move to question / answer format?

Code: Select all

ἐγώ μακάριός εἰμι.

σύ μακάριος {{c1::εἶ}}.
I prefer:

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τίς μακάριος εἶναι;

σύ μακάριος {{c1::εἶ}}.
Or possibly:

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τίς μακάριός ἐστιν;

σύ μακάριος {{c1::εἶ}}.
Is there a reason to prefer one of these forms of the question over the other?

2. Reversing the question

When reading, we usually see the verb and have to figure out who the subject and objects could logically be. The above exercises are more useful for writing than for reading. Reversing the question tests the other direction:

Code: Select all

μακάριος εἶ.

τίς μακάριός ἐστιν;

{{c1:σύ}}.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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