Getting started with ΣΧΟΛΗ

Getting started with ΣΧΟΛΗ

Postby Jonathan Robie » March 19th, 2012, 4:25 pm

A number of B-Greekers hang out on ΣΧΟΛΗ, Louis Sorenson's site:

Σχολὴ εἰς τὸ τὴν ἀρχαίαν Ἑλληνικὴν γράφειν, ἀναγινώσκειν, λέγειν καὶ ἀκούειν


It has a Getting Started page, but I didn't see a place where they tell people who haven't done much Greek composition at all how to get started in that community.

I have to say, I find the whole thing a bit intimidating, but Louis gave me some hope when he wrote this:

Louis Sorenson wrote:Then one day Randall Buth asked me to answer him in Greek -- totally intimidating and frightful. It took me about two hours to compose even the simplest of sentences to answer him. My answer was probably 10 words in length.


Well, that's about where I'm at now. I'm a bit nervous about walking into a chat room and having someone greet me in Greek, then spending two hours to respond. In fact, when Randall greeted me in Greek some years back, I just froze ... What advice do y'all have for newbies on ΣΧΟΛΗ? How much time does someone need to spend there to make progress?

Will ΣΧΟΛΗ help me learn how to write "real" Greek, with somewhat realistic word order, or do most people wind up writing English sentences with Greek words?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
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Re: Getting started with ΣΧΟΛΗ

Postby Louis L Sorenson » March 19th, 2012, 4:59 pm

We have had some discussions about how to get more people to participate and why almost none of academia ever participate. I think it is mostly from fear of embarrasment. The solution: create and use a fake persona until you are comfortable.

Louis Sorenson [Schole founder]
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Re: Getting started with ΣΧΟΛΗ

Postby Jason Hare » March 19th, 2012, 7:17 pm

I haven't been as active as I had initially wanted. I haven't even opened ΣΧΟΛΗ for some time, though I will come back to it as quickly as I can. I've gone back into grammar study. I'm currently up to lesson 19 of First Greek Book, and I'm focusing on the English to Greek exercises.

It is one real disadvantage to having studied with Mounce's grammar and workbook (it's what we used ages ago) that there were no such exercises, so I don't have nearly enough experience composing my thoughts in Greek. I want to get more used to thinking into Greek and eventually being able to give my own thoughts in Greek before I go more into ΣΧΟΛΗ. I just think that I was trying to tackle something that I wasn't ready for!

I got to meet Randall this winter when he was in Jerusalem. I stopped by his classroom for a few minutes, and I can totally relate with freezing up when he addressed me in Greek! I was conversing with him over the telephone in both English and Hebrew (yes, his Hebrew and Arabic are both great!), yet when I arrived and he turned to me in Greek, I had no way of communicating my thoughts to him. I just froze up!

So, I've decided to work through grammar again looking at moving into composition once I've worked through a year's worth of Attic. I'm posting my work through First Greek Book online here, so folks can follow along as they like. (Some day, perhaps it will function as a new answer key for the textbook. I'd love correction at any point along the way.) After I finish this, I'd love to work through Sidgwick's First Greek Composition. Maybe then I'll be ready to somewhat participate meaningfully in ΣΧΟΛΗ!
Jason A. Hare
Rehovot, Israel
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Re: Getting started with ΣΧΟΛΗ

Postby Jonathan Robie » March 19th, 2012, 9:17 pm

OK, Jason's very bright, and good with languages. Who else has had trouble being successful with ΣΧΟΛΗ, and why?

Who has succeeded, and what tips can you give?

How much background should you have, or what kind of experiences, before you start with ΣΧΟΛΗ?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
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Re: Getting started with ΣΧΟΛΗ

Postby Louis L Sorenson » March 19th, 2012, 10:12 pm

What most of those people on Σχολη do, who are a little adept at writing, and want to encourage others is to try to engage you in conversation. This can be done in chat or via private message. People like to talk about themselves. Who are you? Where do you live? How many children do you have? Early on, someone only needs to answer in phrases. I would say that this type of banter is something that someone who is in their 1st quarter of Greek can answer. One thing needs to be understood: If you make a post or try to answer something in Greek, and make mistakes (misspell, use a word that is not in quite the right domain, etc.) no one is going to write you a message and say "Hey, you spelled this wrong, it is really spelled as ....." They will most likely answer you, repeating your misstated Greek in correct phraseology and then ask you to reply.

Modern SLA (Second Language Acquisition) has taught us that errors are part of the learning curve; students level structures, e.g expecting all genitive words in -ου to act identically . In the Audio-Linguistic learning methodology (taught in the 1950's-1970's), any incorrect production was avoided at all costs. The Natural method and most recent SLA studies have shown that errors are a natural production of a student trying to put together a predictable and understandable presentation of language. When teachers over-correct language errors in a new learner, it can cause an affective filter, which means that the student/learner will draw back, become apprehensive, and not want to engage in 2L communication. On Schole, we want to avoid this.

Studies in Second Language Acquisition have shown that early on, the ability to produce content (written or spoken) in the 2L is an ability that comes later, rather than earlier, in the learner's abilities. Children work up from words, to phrases, to sentences. It is rare, that a child is silent and then begins speaking complete sentences (My brother-in-law was one of these examples; He did not speak until four years of age and then spoke in complete sentences. (He has an IQ of about 165). So on Schole, we don't expect learners to produce content (complete sentences), but we try to encourage them to produce answers. Most of this easy stuff can be done in the Chat, where the content is not saved -- after about 2 days, no one will ever see what a person wrote ever again.

For those of us (almost 98%) who have learned by the grammar-translation method (i.e. you have to translate any given Greek NT passage into your native language, before you can understand it), it is extremely difficult to recall or create content. (I was one of those people). But creating content starts with words and phrases, not sentences and clauses and periods and full-blown complicated clauses. If a person feels that he needs to spend a whole another year learning grammar via the grammar-translation method, before he starts communicating on Schole, he/she is short-changing themselves. Such an apprehension is "an affective filter," which is actually an impedance to learning.

It would be my hope that those teachers of Koine for 1st year students would make it a requirement for every student in their class to sign up on Schole and try to talk (in Greek) about who they are, where they are studying, what they did today or yesterday, and what they studied or learned today. It is not going to hurt the student to start to compose the simplest of concepts in Greek. And much of what a person says is in the present tense, or aorist. Most simple conversation (take Plato's dialogues) is simple.

On a note about formal composition: The GreekStudy group (an online community) ran a Sedgwick Composition group several years ago. I led the group. Most NT students do not want to write about Xenophon's Anabasis and Sedgewick is focused on those sort of sentences. What is needed for NT studies is a NT composition book, which is based on NT passages. But in the meantime, if someone wants an online Sedgwick course, we could try another go at it on B-Greek or the GreekStudy group. But I would much rather try to have students read a number of passages from Luke and Hebrews, and then try to write (create content) in Greek. Most Greek composition classes are meant for 3rd-4th year students. Schole has no such limitation. It is meant for beginners and advanced students. It it a community. And it takes a village to teach/learn a language.
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Re: Getting started with ΣΧΟΛΗ

Postby Jason Hare » March 20th, 2012, 3:33 am

I can easily express to you that I am not married, don't have any children, love to learn languages, etc. in Greek. These concepts that correspond to English present simple and sentences with the copula are easy and not challenging. What I cannot do is tell you why I chose a certain behavior or what I would do if I were in a different situation. I have a lot to work on with regard to: (1) middle and passive forms; (2) optative mood; and, (3) the various conditional structures. Real conditions, in the present and past, are easy enough for me. I haven't gotten the hang of hypothetical conditions at all yet.

That said, I can read all of these things in the New Testament, even out loud, and understand them without any hesitation (except that we don't really have the optative in any useful structures in the Koine). My issue is on the production side. That's why I've decided to do a complete review of Attic that will cover the conditions and optative and really make me practice producing them – along with thinking into the middle and passive forms.

I'm at lesson 19 in FGB right now, where he begins his presentation of the middle voice. I'll be practicing it a lot before moving on. I want to take it slowly so that it soaks in well.

No matter the goal of Sidgwick's translations, I think that anything that would make me create output in Greek is helpful – something that is graded and progresses through levels of difficulty. I agree with everything you said about second-language acquisition (I'm an ESL teacher in Israel and use Krashen's theories every day), but it cannot apply to me in Greek right now.

I have recently gotten a copy, though, of Reading Greek and Speaking Greek (CDs), so I hope that when I finish FGB, I'll be able to work on the aural and oral aspects more fully. It's a long process, and I don't personally feel that I can contribute on ΣΧΟΛΗ to the extent that I would like, since I constantly get stuck trying to think of what and how to reply. I need to work through much more structured (error-allowing) exercises on my way to confidence.

That doesn't mean that I won't contribute on there from time to time, but I cannot see it as a standard model of second-language production. Because the situation is less formal, it even demands of us that we use more irregular forms – since irregulars are common – and I'm not anywhere near confident with ἵημι, ἵστημι and other words that have regular irregularity because of switches and similarities to other forms. I mean, I guess I could use πέμπω instead of ἵημι, but I want to learn to think more authentically.

Shrug. I guess I'm caught in a funk - but I'll work past it.
Jason A. Hare
Rehovot, Israel
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