Bringing interlinear users to the language without formal g

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Stephen Hughes
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Bringing interlinear users to the language without formal g

Post by Stephen Hughes » May 16th, 2015, 4:32 am

Can anybody suggest some ways that interlinear users could acquire some knowledge of Greek without going through formal grammar training?
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Bringing interlinear users to the language without forma

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 17th, 2015, 5:41 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Can anybody suggest some ways that interlinear users could acquire some knowledge of Greek without going through formal grammar training?
I doubt that an interlinear is the right starting point. Parallel aligned syntax trees or phrase-by-phrase translations might come a little closer, but don't you think people will need to learn the grammar to have useful knowledge of Greek?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Bringing interlinear users to the language without forma

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 17th, 2015, 6:19 am

It must start with repentence, and like the books of the former magicians in Ephesus, the linterlinear must be burned.
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RandallButh
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Re: Bringing interlinear users to the language without forma

Post by RandallButh » May 18th, 2015, 3:33 am

but don't you think people will need to learn the grammar to have useful knowledge of Greek?
Actually, they need to know more than the grammar,
they need to know what other choices were available at any one point in a text,
and then they need to know what the differences are between the choices and the choice that was made.
And 'idioms' must be recognized.

Otherwise they will misinterpret or overinterpret.
How many sermons could have been avoided on "will have been loosed"?
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Bringing interlinear users to the language without forma

Post by Paul-Nitz » May 18th, 2015, 5:22 am

Perhaps apocryphal, but I once heard about a learner who read Greek every day for 3 years with the help of an interlinear. He came out the other side with full comprehension of Greek. I don't find it unbelievable. If an interlinear were used simply to make the Greek "comprehensible input," it could be successful. Supposedly, John Brown of Haddington (born 1722) taught himself Hebrew, Latin, and Greek simply by comparing them with parallel translations. But using translations or interlinear texts in this way would take a disciplined mind. The learner would need to continually push themselves to take note of the forms and structure of the Greek and get beyond simply matching up basic meaning and thus view the Greek in terms of the English (or other L1).

I understand the sentiment that interlinear texts are the enemy of true language acquisition and agree that for most learners they should be avoided. On the other hand, though they are only slightly different, I do see value in biglot texts that show Greek on one page and a translation on the other. Both Dobson's book "Learn NT Greek" and Shirley Rollinson's lessons make use parallel columns of Greek and English to good effect. Somewhat related, I enjoy using the excellent NET biglot as a GNT "reader." If a learner is fully aware that the translation will only give a general in-this-context idea of an unknown word, I think this is the better way to acquire vocabulary than other methods such as continually looking up words in a dictionary or learning glosses from vocabulary cards.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Bringing interlinear users to the language without forma

Post by Stephen Hughes » May 18th, 2015, 6:41 pm

Still on the same line as Randall and Paul, in answer to Jonathan's question:
but don't you think people will need to learn the grammar to have useful knowledge of Greek?
This is the same question as:
Don't you think people will need to have map reading and drawing skills to be able to usefully find there way around and to be able to give directions.
How would you go if you were required to explain directions from one place to the other without any "metalanguage"? No directions and no street signs. No universally applicable methods of describing how to get around. Individual familiarity. It's like the difference between Ephialtes of Trachis personally leading the Persian, but rather drawing a map, on terms of (what I imagine) Greek Bible programs (do), entering a destination into a GPS, and seeing it display way-points that they could follow with their minds in neutral.

While it is not their originally intended purpose, dictionaries and grammars allow people who don't know a language to be able to convincingly describe it - allow people who are not familiar with a text at all to be able to make adequate overview statements to deal with it.
Randall Buth (quoting an interlinear error) wrote:will have been loosed
Matthew 16:19 wrote:ἔσται δεδεμένον
That is an obvious error, but I suspect that there are people, who would understand the Greek in that way too when they are translating it to understand it.
Paul-Nitz wrote:Perhaps apocryphal, but I once heard about a learner who read Greek every day for 3 years with the help of an interlinear. He came out the other side with full comprehension of Greek. I don't find it unbelievable. If an interlinear were used simply to make the Greek "comprehensible input," it could be successful. Supposedly, John Brown of Haddington (born 1722) taught himself Hebrew, Latin, and Greek simply by comparing them with parallel translations. But using translations or interlinear texts in this way would take a disciplined mind. The learner would need to continually push themselves to take note of the forms and structure of the Greek and get beyond simply matching up basic meaning and thus view the Greek in terms of the English (or other L1).
Those methods are time consuming.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Bringing interlinear users to the language without forma

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 18th, 2015, 6:53 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:Those methods are time consuming.
Even the good ones are time consuming. ;)
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RandallButh
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Re: Bringing interlinear users to the language without forma

Post by RandallButh » May 19th, 2015, 12:36 am

analogies can overly simplify
This is the same question as:
Don't you think people will need to have map reading and drawing skills to be able to usefully find there way around and to be able to give directions.
What if the maps only had 90-degree angles written, everything was squared off? The person could use the map to follow the choices made by a knowledgeable driver but would not do the driving themselves, especially off-road.

Or what if the task at hand was farming and marketing a particular field? Reading a map would be useful, along with plowing, seed selection, and transportation choices.


The goal for someone using an interlinear while involved in an indigenous translation project would be to understand that there are legitimate differences between other translations. The interlinear would allow the observer to follow a discussion about what in a translation was based on explicit information and what was based on implicit information, and maybe what was based on filling in structural ambiguity between languages. Hopefully, they will learn restraint in their own discussion of ἔσται λελυμένον יהיה מותר.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Bringing interlinear users to the language without forma

Post by Stephen Hughes » May 19th, 2015, 10:48 am

RandallButh wrote:What if the maps only had 90-degree angles written, everything was squared off?
The centre of the city of Adelaide would be the only place that I know of where maps would work 100% then.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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