On Reading Greek Aloud

RandallButh
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by RandallButh » April 5th, 2015, 11:57 am

Thomas,
it sounds like you are putting off work on fluency, automaticity, and internalization until a "third year." Maybe we've discussed this already.

Most successful modern language programs would reverse this order.
(PS: "reading aloud" is a complex skill. However, it does not seem to build fluency, but it does help, ... surprise..., with being able to read a text aloud, which is a useful skill. Reading aloud is not how successful language programs instill a language.) There are materials available that allow a first, small fluent base to be built. I would recommend at least some true fluency-work over "Mounce," or at least as parallel to a grammar-translation approach to the language so that students can start to experience what it might be like to function in the language.

FWIW. ἔχων ὦτα ἀκούειν, κτλ.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 5th, 2015, 6:07 pm

RandallButh wrote:Thomas,
it sounds like you are putting off work on fluency, automaticity, and internalization until a "third year." Maybe we've discussed this already.

Most successful modern language programs would reverse this order.
(PS: "reading aloud" is a complex skill. However, it does not seem to build fluency, but it does help, ... surprise..., with being able to read a text aloud, which is a useful skill. Reading aloud is not how successful language programs instill a language.) There are materials available that allow a first, small fluent base to be built. I would recommend at least some true fluency-work over "Mounce," or at least as parallel to a grammar-translation approach to the language so that students can start to experience what it might be like to function in the language.

FWIW. ἔχων ὦτα ἀκούειν, κτλ.
Actually, I haven't put it off entirely. We have done some communicative exercises somewhat similar to those Paul has on video. And I am contemplating more of this for next year, so I'm glad Jonathan asked the question regarding resources.

The project is to establish a community of brethren reading the Greek Bible together in Greek - and hopefully also, the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew at some point. There are lots of competing pressures, and no guarantee of ongoing support. Thus, visible success at this stage is almost more important than anything else. I think we have achieved that so far, which has allowed the next phase of the program to be put in place. Stickhandling through all of this has meant - for me, a rookie with few formal credentials in this area - choosing the well worn path, even while introducing some communicative exercises, underlining the need to internalize the language, and introducing students to available resources and different approaches. (Biblical Languages Center is not an unfamiliar reference.)

So I guess it is a matter of doing what is possible while working toward what is ideal. I do agree with you about the ideal approach - although there are certainly a few caveats. The success of the communicative method has been demonstrated so often in so many settings and languages, that it needs no further defence. No doubt if Randall Buth were here, this is what we would be doing, In some fashion or other. The caveats include a group of lay students which have limitations on the time they can give to this effort, the need to keep the costs very low in this particular setting, and again, the need to demonstrate success as defined by students and decision makers. And, of course, Biblical language competency includes formal knowledge of language elements as well as communication skills (a truism, I know, but one I hear a lot!). For TD that means, at this point, reaching milestones that the academic / Biblical traning community has established, and demonstrating achieved competencies as defined by local decision makers (ability to 'read' / translate / explain GNT passages, etc.).
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 6th, 2015, 8:33 pm

Randall Buth wrote:(PS: "reading aloud" is a complex skill. However, it does not seem to build fluency, but it does help, ... surprise..., with being able to read a text aloud, which is a useful skill. Reading aloud is not how successful language programs instill a language.)
I'm sure you know whereof you speak, and the definition of "fluency" is important here, but I'm quite certain this runs counter to the perception and to what seems to be the experience of many. I understand that reading aloud does not replace real language exchange / dialogue - that is clear. But to read aloud a piece of text regularly, is to remember significant parts of it and to be able to mull it over in one's mind. It is to be able to recite snippets of it (or more) from memory and to gain mastery over the 'rhythm' of the spoken language. (I include listening to the passage narrated by accomplished speakers in this exercise.) I don't know how else to say this, but it is to become familiar with the 'roll' and the cadence of a piece of text. It is also to become familiar with the form of words in a specific context.

Do these activities really not contribute to fluency in the language?
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RandallButh
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by RandallButh » April 7th, 2015, 3:59 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:
Randall Buth wrote:(PS: "reading aloud" is a complex skill. However, it does not seem to build fluency, but it does help, ... surprise..., with being able to read a text aloud, which is a useful skill. Reading aloud is not how successful language programs instill a language.)
I'm sure you know whereof you speak, and the definition of "fluency" is important here, but I'm quite certain this runs counter to the perception and to what seems to be the experience of many. I understand that reading aloud does not replace real language exchange / dialogue - that is clear. But to read aloud a piece of text regularly, is to remember significant parts of it and to be able to mull it over in one's mind. It is to be able to recite snippets of it (or more) from memory and to gain mastery over the 'rhythm' of the spoken language. (I include listening to the passage narrated by accomplished speakers in this exercise.) I don't know how else to say this, but it is to become familiar with the 'roll' and the cadence of a piece of text. It is also to become familiar with the form of words in a specific context.

Do these activities really not contribute to fluency in the language?
does reading outloud lead to fluency? No, not in a significant way.

However, "contribute" is a wide enough word that the answer becomes 'yes'. It allows one to practice mouthing new syllable patterns. There is a gradual building up of an ability to pronounce words smoothly. But thinking in a language is different and reading outloud is not a mechanism for building that. The decisive distinction is 'comprehensible input' and 'real (intended) communication', these are the mechanisms for internalization. These mechanisms also need to be performed at 100-200 words per minute to build the short-term audio memory loops that the brain uses for decoding written text fluently. Reading "crashes" without that loop in place. The brain uses audio memory/decoding within itself for matching potential words and getting to the identity and meaning of a chunk of text, written or oral. But it can only hold the pre-recognized audio bits (not yet formatted into semantic meaning) for a short time (apparently about two seconds) before it needs to return and try a 'do over' of a written text.

As for "counter to perception", that may depend on the audience. It is widely touted by people studying Koine Greek but not by people studying German. What might this reflect? This may be another instantiation of the phenomenon of "looking under the streetlight" for the lost coin. Of course, practice in reading outloud is recommended by everyone, German too, it's just that it is not considered a vehicle for internalization by psycholinguistics and reading specialists.

Maybe the following will help. Have you ever read a chapter of a text outloud in English and then at the end you couldn't remember reading a particular phrase or sentence ? Reading out loud is a different skill from thinking in a language. Generally, a person will get more out of hearing a chapter read in a language that they know well than reading it out loud themselves. why? Because conscious energy is spent on the reading process rather than comprehension and picturing the communication.
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James Spinti
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On Reading Greek Aloud

Post by James Spinti » April 7th, 2015, 11:37 am

Randall,

Do you have references to studies for this information? I'm especially interested in any studies on oral reading and comprehension. I know from experience that reading aloud doesn't assist understanding, but it would be nice to have data...

Thanks,
James
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 7th, 2015, 12:17 pm

What do you see when you turn out the light
I can't tell you but I know it's mine
Randall Buth wrote:does reading outloud lead to fluency? No, not in a significant way.
audio bits (not yet formatted into semantic meaning) for a short time (apparently about two seconds) before it needs to return and try a 'do over' of a written text.

However, "contribute" is a wide enough word that the answer becomes 'yes'. It allows one to practice mouthing new syllable patterns. There is a gradual building up of an ability to pronounce words smoothly. But thinking in a language is different and reading outloud is not a mechanism for building that. The decisive distinction is 'comprehensible input' and 'real (intended) communication', these are the mechanisms for internalization. These mechanisms also need to be performed at 100-200 words per minute to build the short-term audio memory loops that the brain uses for decoding written text fluently. Reading "crashes" without that loop in place. The brain uses audio memory/decoding within itself for matching potential words and getting to the identity and meaning of a chunk of text, written or oral. But it can only hold the pre-recognized
As for "counter to perception", that may depend on the audience. It is widely touted by people studying Koine Greek but not by people studying German. What might this reflect? This may be another instantiation of the phenomenon of "looking under the streetlight" for the lost coin. Of course, practice in reading outloud is recommended by everyone, German too, it's just that it is not considered a vehicle for internalization by psycholinguistics and reading specialists.
I’ve done some work on modern Greek using Pimsleur, and of course I can observe my own severe limitations in communicating in Koine Greek or Hebrew, so the proof of what you’re saying is close by. The language you are using to describe the mental processes is also very interesting; it provides a handle for the imagination (I reap where I didn’t sow). So when you say, “But thinking in a language is different and reading outloud is not a mechanism for building that.”, I get it.

Something more is happening when I read Greek or Hebrew, though, than “practic(ing) mouthing new syllable patterns” or “a gradual building up of an ability to pronounce words smoothly.” And I have to clarify that I am talking about reading and re-reading and listening to professional narration of Greek or Hebrew text for which I have a syntactical and lexical understanding. One outcome is this: when I think of those scintillating first verses of Isaiah 40, I think
נַחֲמ֥וּ נַחֲמ֖וּ עַמִּ֑י יֹאמַ֖ר אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ - or - ק֣וֹל קוֹרֵ֔א בַּמִּדְבָּ֕ר פַּנּ֖וּ דֶּ֣רֶךְ יְהוָ֑ה יַשְּׁרוּ֙ בָּעֲרָבָ֔ה מְסִלָּ֖ה - or - ק֚וֹל אֹמֵ֣ר קְרָ֔א וְאָמַ֖ר מָ֣ה אֶקְרָ֑א כָּל־הַבָּשָׂ֣ר חָצִ֔יר וְכָל־חַסְדּ֖וֹ כְּצִ֥יץ הַשָּׂדֶֽה׃

When I think of the storm bearing down on Jonah’s ship, I think וְהָ֣אֳנִיָּ֔ה חִשְּׁבָ֖ה לְהִשָּׁבֵֽר

When I think of the opening verse of Rev 4, the phrase that comes to me is ἀνάβα ὧδε; or of the incarnation - ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο; or of the “earth dwellers” of the apocalypse - οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, and so on. There are countless examples of these ‘stored mental associations’. I’m sure that this would also be true for everyone who has a basic knowledge of Greek or Hebrew, and has spent much time reading text in that language.

I could not communicate or dialogue about these word associations with a fluent Koine Greek speaker, and I agree that is a rather fundamental disability – especially in a teacher. I have to fix it. But still, there is a whole lot more going on when reading Greek text than learning how to mouth Greek words smoothly.
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RandallButh
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by RandallButh » April 7th, 2015, 12:51 pm

One of the most prolific and astute writers on Reading is Frank Smith. For example,
Smith, Frank (2004). Understanding Reading: A Psycholinguistic Analysis of Reading and Learning to Read. 6th ed.

A nice article on the phonological loop and reading that deals with the experimental data is:
"Phonology in Second Language Reading: Not an Optional Extra"
Author(s): Catherine Walter
Source: TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 3, Psycholinguistics for TESOL (Sep., 2008), pp. 455-474
(Available thru JSTOR)
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RandallButh
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by RandallButh » April 8th, 2015, 3:44 am

On reading, the email above needs to be processed.
Meanwhile, another question shows up as the difficulty to talk about reading.
Something more is happening when I read Greek or Hebrew, though, than “practic(ing) mouthing new syllable patterns” or “a gradual building up of an ability to pronounce words smoothly.” And I have to clarify that I am talking about reading and re-reading and listening to professional narration of Greek or Hebrew text for which I have a syntactical and lexical understanding. One outcome is this: when I think of those scintillating first verses of Isaiah 40, I think
נַחֲמ֥וּ נַחֲמ֖וּ עַמִּ֑י יֹאמַ֖ר אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ - or - ק֣וֹל קוֹרֵ֔א בַּמִּדְבָּ֕ר פַּנּ֖וּ דֶּ֣רֶךְ יְהוָ֑ה יַשְּׁרוּ֙ בָּעֲרָבָ֔ה מְסִלָּ֖ה - or - ק֚וֹל אֹמֵ֣ר קְרָ֔א וְאָמַ֖ר מָ֣ה אֶקְרָ֑א כָּל־הַבָּשָׂ֣ר חָצִ֔יר וְכָל־חַסְדּ֖וֹ כְּצִ֥יץ הַשָּׂדֶֽה׃

When I think of the storm bearing down on Jonah’s ship, I think וְהָ֣אֳנִיָּ֔ה חִשְּׁבָ֖ה לְהִשָּׁבֵֽר
What is the difficulty? Here, the practice of reading outloud is conflated with interpretation. There is nothing wrong in that but it mixes issues.

Another issue is talking about processes that are ultimately sub-conscious. For example, when I read the words "storm-battered ancient sailboat creaking in the wind" I get a potential image in my head. But I don't get the shapes of the English letters "s" "t" "o" "r" ... etc. in my head. The same is true when I read וְהָ֣אֳנִיָּה חִשְּׁבָה לְהִשָּׁבֵר. When I've spoken with many traditionally trained people in Greek or Hebrew they often relate that they picture writing in their head as they try to listen to a piece of conversation in those languages. That may illustrate another aspect of the difference between natural reading and internalized communication. The connection between building a phonological loop, internalization, reading, and speaking is addressed in the Walter article above. It takes place in a different plane and with different points of reference than 'reading outloud'. The reason that I make a point of this, is that many assume that anything audio or oral is automatically more or less of the same cloth and that reading outloud is part of the same process of building a phonological loop and internalization of a language. But they are not. While reading outloud and internalization are connected by being part of the same language and involving speech activity, reading outloud is not part of a cline that leads to internalization but marginal to it. Another example: I sometimes describe some of what we do in class, or what is done when students listen to the 'picture book'. Then I get a response like, 'oh, yes, we cover the audio part of language by having students read out loud.' And then I perceive a miscommunication that is difficult to bridge.

I am not always the best communicator. It is sometimes easier when compared with shared learned second languages as adults that can be used for rapid, meaningful communication. It's that second language learning that I'm trying to connect to Greek and Hebrew.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by Stephen Hughes » April 8th, 2015, 10:48 am

Randal Buth wrote:However, "contribute" is a wide enough word that the answer becomes 'yes'. It allows one to practice mouthing new syllable patterns. There is a gradual building up of an ability to pronounce words smoothly. But thinking in a language is different and reading outloud is not a mechanism for building that. The decisive distinction is 'comprehensible input' and 'real (intended) communication', these are the mechanisms for internalization. These mechanisms also need to be performed at 100-200 words per minute to build the short-term audio memory loops that the brain uses for decoding written text fluently. Reading "crashes" without that loop in place. The brain uses audio memory/decoding within itself for matching potential words and getting to the identity and meaning of a chunk of text, written or oral. But it can only hold the pre-recognized audio bits (not yet formatted into semantic meaning) for a short time (apparently about two seconds) before it needs to return and try a 'do over' of a written text.
Here are 3 lines from Aeschylus' Prometheus Vinctus read - with a few jolts and jerks - in your Imperial (Restored) Koine pronunciation (or as near as I can get to it) at a little over 100 wpm, and one section from Longus, Daphnis and Cloe (the start of the text that I did the pictures for last month), read in the same pronunciation system at about 111 wpm.
Aeschylus' [i]Prometheus Vinctus[/i], lines 709-711 wrote:Σκύθας δ᾽ ἀφίξῃ νομάδας, οἳ πλεκτὰς στέγας
πεδάρσιοι ναίουσ᾽ ἐπ᾽ εὐκύκλοις ὄχοις
ἑκηβόλοις τόξοισιν ἐξηρτυμένοι:
Audio (right-click and open in a new window or save)
Longus, [i]Daphnis and Cloe[/i], 3.12.1 wrote:Ἤδη δὲ ἦρος ἀρχομένου καὶ τῆς μὲν χιόνος λυομένης, τῆς δὲ γῆς γυμνουμένης καὶ τῆς πόας ὑπανθούσης οἵ τε ἄλλοι νομεῖς ἦγον τὰς ἀγέλας εἰς νομὴν καὶ πρὸ τῶν ἄλλων Χλόη καὶ Δάφνις, οἷα μείζονι δουλεύοντες ποιμένι.
Audio (right-click and open in a new window or save)
That seems to be about fast enough. If you are suggesting doubling that speed, it would seem rushed, I feel.
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RandallButh
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Re: The Perennial Question: Best Intermediate Grammar Text?

Post by RandallButh » April 8th, 2015, 11:17 am

That seems to be about fast enough. If you are suggesting doubling that speed, it would seem rushed, I feel.
I would agree. I used 100-200wpm because I've heard that quoted.

Poetry, of course, needs a special cadence is not really natural speech. In Greece I've only heard one play and that was by modern translation. (something to do with their 1977-law, it seems :?: )
by the way, the reading was nicely done, with a slight mixture of modern and koine. (e.g. [tis] for [της])

200wpm is certainly rapid-fire, like what is heard sometimes on Israeli talk shows, or worse, with two talking at once :o .
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