If you learn that, then your reading reinforces and solidifies that knowledge. If you don't learn it, you miss out on much of what you are reading.cwconrad wrote:I do think that the sooner a reader of Greek texts can discern at sight the form of any inflected word in a text being confronted, the quicker the transition to reading ever-longer stretches of text. I recall learning a rather sizable list of principal parts of verbs and also the time spent in the classroom early on at analyzing every verb-form (those are the challenges! -- nouns and adjectives are a piece of cake!) into its component elements: prefix, augment, root, tense-stem, modal infix, thematic vowel (or lack thereof), voice infix, personal ending (or infinitival ending or gender, number, and case endings of participles). Instant recognition came a lot sooner than I expected it, sort of like driving away on a bicycle without training wheels or an adult to keep you in balance.
I think this is analogous to phonics. In Reading Instruction That Works: The Case for Balanced Teaching, Michael Pressley and Richard L. Allington do a thorough literature review of the relevant research, and conclude that we need both whole language approaches and systematic training of specific skills. Whole language should predominate, they suggest 10 minutes a day of phonics training, but a small amount of attention devoted to learning specific skills makes a big difference in overall progress. Spending more than 10 minutes a day in phonics training does not improve reading ability, but spending lots and lots of time actually reading does.
How you teach depends on what you are teaching. The best way to teach math is not a good way to teach flute. The best way to teach the meaning of ὁ ἵππος may not be the best way to teach how to identify the morphological components of a verb - and that's the bottleneck for so many learners, the wall that many people never get past.
For the purposes of this thread, let's assume that Carl is right and you do need to learn this. What are the best ways to teach this skill? What exercises would you suggest?
For instance, is memorizing infinitive forms of a representative list of verbs useful? Perhaps 2-3 forms of 60 or so verbs (depending on the verb), plus some basic rules of verb formation? Or should people learn all the principle parts instead? Are there effective alternatives to this kind of memorization? If someone wants to learn this stuff on their own, what are the best resources? If someone wants to create new resources to teach this skill better, what should they look like?