Materials for building a fluent base

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Jonathan Robie
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Materials for building a fluent base

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 5th, 2015, 4:04 pm

From another thread:
RandallButh wrote: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.

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.
What materials would you recommend?

Also, if a teacher wanted to get really good at asking questions of all kinds in Greek, are there good materials to teach that skill?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Materials for building a fluent base

Post by Stephen Hughes » April 6th, 2015, 3:47 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
RandallButh wrote:putting off work on fluency, automaticity, and internalization until a "third year."
For most people, I don't think it is a question of "putting off" a type of learning. When I started, I never imagined there could be anything other than Strong's and a concordance. Then I tried some other methods. All have advantages and disadvantages. It is a question of what is available and manageable in whatever learning and life situation a student finds themselves in. In my case, I don't see that I have "put.. off" really learning till my thirty-"third year". It is just that I haven't had opportunity to do that till now.

On the topic of principal parts, I think that one needs to learn about 20 principal parts per verb not 6. Infinitives, 3rd person singular active and medio-passive for each of the 6 parts (of course some are middle or passive already). Learning not just by rote, but also in use.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
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Re: Materials for building a fluent base

Post by RandallButh » April 6th, 2015, 4:11 am

What materials would you recommend?

Also, if a teacher wanted to get really good at asking questions of all kinds in Greek, are there good materials to teach that skill?
Fair question, Jonathan.

Well, for starters I would recommend the Living Koine Greek 1 "the picture book". It is available in hard copy and as a digital app download. What it does is forces a person to listen to Greek in order to match it with meaning, directly. Then the Greek builds on the Greek. There are even story lines within the pictures. Over the years we've learned that this book is valuable for people who already know a lot of Greek. When Greek teachers have come to our fluency workshops we ask them to listen to this 'Picture book' first. At first we only mentioned it as optional. However, in feedback from people who were teaching for ten or twenty years we have learned that the book is valuable for everyone. We now require the book for all Workshop participants.

The story lines are the second major recommendation for a Greek teacher. I recommend that a teacher get and read Blaine Ray's TPR-Storytelling book (I'm not sure of its current edition, but there have been several.)

Through trial and error we have learned over the years not to rush into our further materials like LKG 2a and 2b without first spending more time on parallel stories, and Q and A, on stories that parallel that picture book. It is so useful to get basic structures inside a person, and it really helps to work hard on all of the basic verbs that every two-year-old used to learn at the beginning of their entrance to the Greek community.

Verbs like ἔθηκα and τίθησιν, or ἀνίσταμαι with ἔστηκα and ἐκείμην or ἐκαθήμην [sic, in Koine] are so basic to being able to orient to one's surroundings in Greek. These verbs need extensive use at the beginning of language learning. Yet in most books that are left til the end of the first year and I've met people who were not introduced to these verbs until the beginning of their second year. On top of that, I've learned through experience that many people who have been reading Greek for ten+ years can only parse these very common verbs. They cannot produce them and rarely automatically. (Pop quiz: say "you were lying down", instantly and with the correctly accented syllable. Make-up quiz: "we are putting..." or perhaps a more adult "we are proposing..." [you may use either προθέσθαι or ὑποθέσθαι].) Like it or not, only being able to parse common verbs means that distracting processing energy is involved every time one meets these verbs when reading texts. This illustrates one aspect of the differences in the way that a typical language is taught from the way that Koine Greek is often taught.

This can be overcome by any teacher who puts in the time to plan, prepare, and practice, in order to get these central verbs into a new student as part of real communication.

(PS: The 'Picture Book' LKG1 can be used in parallel to any grammar-translation textbook, though I personally recommend that it be used first in order to get students thinking in the right directions.)

Paul-Nitz
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Re: Materials for building a fluent base

Post by Paul-Nitz » April 6th, 2015, 5:17 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Also, if a teacher wanted to get really good at asking questions of all kinds in Greek, are there good materials to teach that skill?
I don't believe there are materials out there to teach that skill. But I think a person could build up a good capacity simply by reading a text and drilling themselves with some questions. Re word order, interrogatives come first, τί ἔχει; τίς ποιεῖ; τί ποιεῖ; τίνα ἔτυψας; ποία ἐντολή; not ἔχει τί; κτλ. But, ἐπὶ τίνος; πρὸς τίνα; ἐν τίνι; ἐν ποίᾳ ἐντολῇ.

Fairly soon, you'll get to the point of asking questions about the text, not just about what happens in the text. τὸ "Materializes" any word. τί σημαίνει τὸ γεωργός; [What does the word γεωγός mean?]. τό ἄλφα... the letter Alpha. To refer to a phrase or sentence, τὸ ρῆμα...

If you want to get more grammatical with your questions, you'll need a list such as Seumas keeps here: https://docs.google.com/a/seelsorger.or ... ucHc#gid=0

I've been meaning to getting around to revising our wiki phrasebook to show more classroom language like this. If anyone has something to add, note that the classroom language is on a separate tab from the master list.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =381871147
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Materials for building a fluent base

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » April 6th, 2015, 9:18 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:For most people, I don't think it is a question of "putting off" a type of learning. When I started, I never imagined there could be anything other than Strong's and a concordance. Then I tried some other methods. All have advantages and disadvantages. It is a question of what is available and manageable in whatever learning and life situation a student finds themselves in. In my case, I don't see that I have "put.. off" really learning till my thirty-"third year". It is just that I haven't had opportunity to do that till now.
This is all very helpful. I think Stephen's point is too often and too much ignored. Both for teachers and for learners it is often a question of: What is available? What is doable? What is affordable? And, for both learners and teachers, WHAT WILL GET MEASURABLE / DESIRABLE RESULTS AND NOT WASTE MY TIME / GET ME FIRED?

I also think the idea of integrating real language training with the typical approach has not received enough attention. If its a choice between this or that, for all kinds of reasons THIS will be the selection. Affordable, well planned, and "just open the package and add water" materials are needed, and they will quickly become the biggest advocates of the method.

Getting back to Stephen's point, when I first set out to learn Greek (considerably later than my "thirty-third year"), the Mounce textbook seemed to 'own the world' of teaching / learning Koine Greek. It didn't take me very long to discover where the crowd was going to get intro Greek learning materials. Mounce is also very well put together as teaching learning material, and I still think it has much to recommend it as a reasonable plan of progress through the basics of Koine Greek.

Where is the comparable communicative material which can be used in tandem? What I mean by that is two things: 1) where are the ready made and well designed and easily usable, and reasonably priced materials which can be integrated easily with a 'typical' approach, and 2) WHERE ARE THEY? They are not visible when prospective learners and teachers go searching.

I am certain that much of this is simply my ignorance - but I think that's Stephen's point, and mine. The few real language exercises I did this year were, as I said, fashioned in imitation of Paul's approach, and the dialogues I developed myself - an activity I would much rather leave to others!
Paul Nitz wrote:I've been meaning to get around to revising our wiki phrasebook to show more classroom language like this. If anyone has something to add, note that the classroom language is on a separate tab from the master list.
Paul, can I ask you what your overall Greek program looks like (ie outcomes - what do they end up with), how much time you have with your students on, say, a weekly basis, and what the mix of grammar / communicative language is?
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Materials for building a fluent base

Post by Paul-Nitz » April 6th, 2015, 2:08 pm

Thomas wrote:Paul, can I ask you what your overall Greek program looks like (ie outcomes - what do they end up with), how much time you have with your students on, say, a weekly basis, and what the mix of grammar / communicative language is?
Sure, ask me again in this thread:
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... =15&t=2138
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

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