Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby Jonathan Robie » September 23rd, 2011, 10:03 am

Mark Lightman wrote:What's funny about those who oppose these teaching methods in favor of grammar/translation is that you don't need a teacher or a class to work your way through Machen or Mounce, to say nothing of Wallace. You can do this just fine on your own. What you REALLY need a class for is the the sort of thing that you are doing. Not only hearing/seeing the teacher asking questions in Greek but also the students answering them in Greek.


Does anyone really oppose these methods? I've heard people say they wouldn't know how to teach using these methods, or that there aren't enough materials broadly available, or that they can't easily attend classes that use these methods. From what I can tell, these methods are really good.

But sometimes I feel that the enthusiasm for Living Koine methods expressed on B-Greek focuses too much on evangelizing for the method, and too little on figuring out how to make materials more broadly available, thinking of fluency-based approaches that are accessible for those who don't have a Living Koine class available to them, etc. I'd rather hear a lot less "this method is so much better than everything else" and a lot more "here are methods you can use to improve your Greek".

Suppose a Greek instructor who teaches a class wants to improve what he is teaching this semester, what can he do?

Suppose someone like me is working on improving his Greek at home, what can I do? I have started listening to a lot of Greek, because audio is widely available. I don't speak Greek fluently at all, I'm just beginning to work on writing it, I find that it's a lot easier to write sentences that are a lot like the sentences that I hear from the New Testament tapes. I think there could be a lot more materials for teaching Greek, more widely available, taking advantage of living language techniques. It's possible to learn most languages outside of the classroom using available materials, I've learned several that way, and it should be easier to do this with Greek. The classroom is the best situation, but not everyone is in the classroom, and those who are probably aren't in a classroom that uses Living Koine techniques.

Can y'all post more materials on the Internet? Youtube videos that are really instructional, with high quality content? Could we work together to write software that would teach using these methods? Louis has offered a Moodle-based course, and has made many recordings freely available, I think that's great. People can also buy Randall's materials, which are very well done - I'm starting at the beginning, I haven't yet figured out how high a level they reach, is there need for more Living Koine materials past that level? Don't tell me that your way is better, tell me that the materials are at this URL and they are available for me to use.

And sometimes the Living Koine people seem to be putting down everyone else, and I think that's a shame. There are clearly people who read Greek very well, and are true scholars, who did not learn this way. I imagine that is also true of most of the people whose scholarship I rely on when I use lexicons, commentaries, grammars, or other aids. I'm no Greek scholar, but B-Greek is full of true Greek scholars who did not learn using Living Koine approaches. I don't hear any of these people putting down the Living Koine methods, I do hear some saying they wouldn't know where to start to use these methods in their classrooms.

I like seeing discussion of Living Koine on B-Greek, and I hope B-Greek can encourage people to develop these materials and spread these approaches. I do want B-Greek to be a welcoming place for the rest of the world too.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby jeffreyrequadt » September 23rd, 2011, 8:47 pm

One thing that I rely on for English-only students to progress in their reading ability is "just right" books. This is something else that might be worked on by some B-Greek people. The idea is that when one is learning to read in a language, it is important to be reading something that provides a bit of a challenge, but not something that requires your brain to work overtime. If we could have some kind of leveling system with Greek texts, perhaps even creating some new ones in Koine Greek that would be approved by those on the list who can tell if something is naturally Koine rather than artificial or mistake-ridden, we could give students more texts to practice reading and enjoying. I know that different New Testament texts are at different levels of difficulty, and I've seen different curricula that have texts that get progressively difficult. But that's a far cry from having dozens or hundreds of texts available at many different levels. For example, having the same Greek myth available in 10 different levels of sophistication and length. Another example that I've seen in English is something I think the American Bible Society created, which was the same Bible story at different levels of complexity but geared for adult learners (such as immigrants). This kind of leveling system, and the categorizing/creating of texts, could be created by people with linguistic knowledge who can determine the structural complexity and diversity of sentences and texts, and by people who know Greek really well and can determine the actual difficulty and range of vocabulary, and by people who know literature and can pick and/or create texts that are engaging and interesting to read. I can imagine something like this would also integrate quite well with any of the other "living language" methods, simply because it's more real language for students to interact with. I always find it amazing how well kids can learn to read English just by making sure that they're spending time every day reading something that isn't too easy and isn't too hard--what I call "Goldilocks reading."

If someone is interested in working on this, I'd be willing to get the conversation started. I've never done anything like this--just used the results of everyone else's labor. I'd have a lot of learning to do, and that's always good. If someone knows of a collection of leveled texts already in place, that might be a better option.
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Re: Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby Nigel Chapman » September 23rd, 2011, 10:21 pm

One of the common readability formulas (e.g. based on syllable counts) could be implemented for Koine; that might catch grammatical complexity as well if it correlates with increasing word length.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Readabilit ... y_formulas
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Re: Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby solomon_powell » October 14th, 2011, 4:42 pm

This was a quite mature post Mr. Robie. Thank you for it.

For some time I have been working on the adaption of communicative principles to aid in nurturing one's communicational competency in Koine Greek.

Dr. Buth seems to be doing the same thing. Well done.

Yes, I too have come to think there are gaps to fill -- ways we can supplement his materials. 10,000 words will be a minimum.

I have begun work on a simple Koine Audio-Visual Picture "Dictionary" if you want to call it that. It is just like Dr. Buth's first picture book-- with simple numbered pictures and audio synced to the numbers.

It is my goal to get 6,000 picutres. I am trying to focus on the realm of the concrete, working from the premise that the realm of the abstract is built on the realm of the concrete. Hence I am calling it a "Foundations" picture dictionary. It wont include words like "decide" "justify", etc-- whose main components are cognitive/non-concrete. It will focus more heavily on the realm of the concrete.

Currently I've sorted and depicted about 2,000 words, and I have audio recorded (with Buthian pronunciation, best as I can) for some 1,000. I also have some 300+ pages of notes on each lexical entry, giving two citations from the Koine Period of each word-- that is, samples from Koine literature where the word occurs with the specific meaning being pictured.

My hope is this will simply supplement what Buth and others have.

Each page contains between 5 and 10 pictures. in 5 to 10 squares.

I could use help with putting this together. 2 ways at present:

1) imgage editting (this can be done in MS Paint, basically using cut and paste to put images into the proper
order on the pages where they've been misarranged.)

2) image enhancing (again, can be done in MS Paint or similar image editting programs.)
(cleaning up the pictures that need it. That is, erasing my eraser marks, even adding color if one is so
inclined. A prettier picture can only enhance the internalization process, I expect)

I hope to finish this Koine picture dictionary in the next 6 months, but I will need a lot of help to make that a reality. If you are interested in helping in one of the two above ways, please feel free to contact me. It is totally smething you could do in your spare time-- I could send you however many jpegs you want to take to start with. Each jpeg contains 10 squares with numbered pictures.

Looking for helpers at this stage. Plugging along.

Solomon Powell-

PS- I will be on vacation the next two weeks, to return to work in November. If you are seriously interested in helping or considering helping in this project, I welcome you to email me at solomon_powell@wycliffe.org.
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Re: Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby Jonathan Robie » October 14th, 2011, 6:19 pm

Very, very cool. Perhaps you have seen Daniel Streett's post saying we need something like this, and this related thread?

How do you plan to make your work available?

When you say "pages", are you thinking of paper publication only? This would be tremendously useful in many formats - flashcard software like Anki or Mnemosyne, course authoring systems like Moodle, browser-based systems that might resemble Rosetta Stone or Livemocha ...

It would be really nice to have this in a format that could easily be repurposed in many ways.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby Nigel Chapman » October 14th, 2011, 8:06 pm

http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/greek/reading/text_04/4h.htm

This is another approach that I've been considering for a while, which could be easily set up in a cooperative wiki; the actual quiz logic could be handled in Javascript.
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Re: Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby Jonathan Robie » October 14th, 2011, 9:05 pm

Nigel Chapman wrote:http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/greek/reading/text_04/4h.htm

This is another approach that I've been considering for a while, which could be easily set up in a cooperative wiki; the actual quiz logic could be handled in Javascript.


Very nice. Even better if the questions were also in Greek, perhaps?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby Nigel Chapman » October 14th, 2011, 10:27 pm

Very nice. Even better if the questions were also in Greek, perhaps?


Well, it might be greedy to wish for the whole moon.

My question is how to rank the all-greek material so that readers can find a challenge suitable to their level of competence; some kind of scale should be applied. The six levels of the CERF classification looks like a good start, particularly since it presupposes that the language is living. Still, each category is still very broad.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Eur ... _Languages
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Re: Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby Jonathan Robie » October 17th, 2011, 8:45 am

The other question is how best to write that material. You suggested a Wiki, I wonder if an XML vocabulary might not work better. Or perhaps HTML forms that enforce a certain structure (which may or may not then be captured as XML).

The JavaScript would be in generated code, I assume?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Living Koine vs. The Rest of the World

Postby chinson » November 18th, 2011, 1:22 am

Very nice. Even better if the questions were also in Greek, perhaps?


Has anyone used Rosetta Stone language learning software? It uses pictures and audio to teach a language, within that language, and to train students to think in the language rather than translate mentally. I have worked on several languages this way.

It seems this could be adapted fairly easily to Koine. Those who have used Rosetta know they use the same graphics for every language they teach, just the audio changes. I'd think it could be done in an HTML format even.
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