Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

cwconrad
Posts: 2112
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by cwconrad » June 3rd, 2011, 1:47 pm

John Hobbins maintains one of the most fascinating and provocative (in the best sense) "Biblioblogs"accessible on the web; it is called "Ancient Hebrew Poetry": http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ ... ew_poetry/. Although my Hebrew is inadequate to appreciate his analyses of specific Hebrew texts, he posts so frequently on much broader issues of Biblical interpretation and contemporary life and affairs that I check his site regularly. This morning, however, he talks about learning Biblical Hebrew with some suggestions that can surely be applied to learning Biblical Greek, if one has at least completed a full year of instruction or worked completely through a reasonably good first-year textbook. The entry is to be found at http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ ... .html#more

John takes the book of Genesis as the text for what I would call a "saturation study" that would keep one busy for a serious summer's learning. I would suggest procedure for Greek that would, I think, be just as much worth the effort as John's program for studying the Hebrew text of Genesis. Here's what I, citing his words (mutatis mutandis) verbatim would suggest for, let's say, either the Gospel of Matthew or the Gospel of Luke:
  If you have a year of biblical GREEK under your belt, one way of weaving a part of the GREEK Bible into your cognitive flesh is to read through the book of Matthew or Luke in GREEK until you understand every line of it on the fly without a dictionary or a grammar to help you. The method I suggest is the following.
(1) Study the text one pericope at a time. Visual tracking is important.
(2) Master an audio version of the pericope. Associate the sounds with a ... text subdivided into phrases.
(3) Master the text grammatically. The goal is to think in terms [of] grammar, syntax, and information structure. It ought to be easy to do research in these areas with tagged versions of the text … But I have not found this to be the case. “Querying” the amount of GREEK text one has in one’s random access memory is the best point of departure regardless. In the end, however, it is insufficient.  
(4) Master the text semantically. Before running to commentaries, it pays to devote time to the language and structure of the text itself. There are a number of simple approaches that deserve wider currency.

    The best advice I can give to a student of the Bible is to learn the languages and set your face like a flint toward Jerusalem – that is, toward the text itself, its fine detail, its linguistic features.
0 x


οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3711
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 3rd, 2011, 2:40 pm

John Hobbins wrote:(1) Study the text one pericope at a time. Visual tracking is important.
That part is easy enough.
John Hobbins wrote:(2) Master an audio version of the pericope. Associate the sounds with a ... text subdivided into phrases.
OK, this requires two things:

1. An audio recording on at least a chapter-by-chapter basis. For Hebrew, Hobbins uses this site:

http://www.aoal.org/hebrew_audiobible.htm

Is there a similar free site that's this convenient for Greek?

What site(s) would you recommend for this, if I just want to click on something and listen, without much muss and fuss?

2. A text divided into phrases.

http://www.ibiblio.org/koine/greek/phra ... -text.html
John Hobbins wrote:(3) Master the text grammatically. The goal is to think in terms [of] grammar, syntax, and information structure. It ought to be easy to do research in these areas with tagged versions of the text … But I have not found this to be the case. “Querying” the amount of GREEK text one has in one’s random access memory is the best point of departure regardless. In the end, however, it is insufficient.
I think this boils down to knowing the grammatical form of each word, and the function it plays in the phrase? Or how do you interpret this?
John Hobbins wrote:(4) Master the text semantically. Before running to commentaries, it pays to devote time to the language and structure of the text itself. There are a number of simple approaches that deserve wider currency.
Adding word meaning and understanding what each phrase means as a whole, and in relation to each other? Or how do you interpret this?
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

MAubrey
Posts: 1018
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by MAubrey » June 3rd, 2011, 2:50 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote: Is there a similar free site that's this convenient for Greek?

What site(s) would you recommend for this, if I just want to click on something and listen, without much muss and fuss?
I'd recommend: http://www.helding.net/greeklatinaudio/greek/

It's a Modern Greek pronunciation, but its quite good. Some have complained that its fast, but its best to work on learning comprehension at a normal rates of speech rather than slowed speech. The speed will be a benefit in the long run.
0 x
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3711
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 3rd, 2011, 5:40 pm

MAubrey wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote: Is there a similar free site that's this convenient for Greek?

What site(s) would you recommend for this, if I just want to click on something and listen, without much muss and fuss?
I'd recommend: http://www.helding.net/greeklatinaudio/greek/

It's a Modern Greek pronunciation, but its quite good. Some have complained that its fast, but its best to work on learning comprehension at a normal rates of speech rather than slowed speech. The speed will be a benefit in the long run.
Nice - thanks!
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Louis L Sorenson
Posts: 709
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 9:21 pm
Location: Burnsville, MN, USA
Contact:

Re: Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by Louis L Sorenson » June 3rd, 2011, 10:11 pm

Jonathan wrote regarding Greek NT audio:
Is there a similar free site that's this convenient for Greek?

What site(s) would you recommend for this, if I just want to click on something and listen, without much muss and fuss?
I keep a list of all the available New Testament Greek Audio at http://www.letsreadgreek.com/resources/greekntaudio.htm. You can find Erasmian, Buthian, and Modern pronunciation audio links at that location.
0 x

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3711
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 3rd, 2011, 10:14 pm

llsorenson wrote:I keep a list of all the available New Testament Greek Audio at http://www.letsreadgreek.com/resources/greekntaudio.htm. You can find Erasmian, Buthian, and Modern pronunciation audio links at that location.
Would you recommend one or two of these that are:

1. Free
2. Organized in a way that makes it easy to hear the text you are studying by clicking on a given chapter
3. Easily accessible via the Internet
4. Not Erasmian?

Thanks!
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Devenios Doulenios
Posts: 174
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 5:11 pm
Location: Carlisle, Arkansas, USA
Contact:

Re: Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by Devenios Doulenios » June 4th, 2011, 6:52 pm

Jonathan,

I would recommend the the greeklatinaudio.com site. I have used it online, and now have the CD (not free, but cheap), which I imported into iTunes. Am about to start using it for the Gospel of John for devotional readings.

As for the Modern Greek pronunciation issue, a couple of points:

1. There are few differences between Modern and Koine pronunciations, especially when it comes to vowels. See http://www.biblicalgreek.org/links/pronunciation.php for details. Almost everybody, even some Erasmians, agrees that Erasmian is not what Koine speakers used.

2. The speaker on this site does pronounce a few things slightly differently from Modern Greek, according to some Greeks I've discussed this with and read. One in particular is the pronounciation of Χ (chi), which comes out as /k/ when he reads. However, you can always substitute the Modern pronunciation for it. His reading is very clear, fluid, and natural sounding—all of which make his recordings the clear winner in my book. :D

I only came around to the Modern Greek pronunciation last year, after using Erasmian since the late 1960's. But I'm already pretty comfortable with the switch, and grow more so with continued practice and listening.

Devenios Doulenios
Δεβένιος Δουλένιος
0 x
Dewayne Dulaney
Δεβένιος Δουλένιος

Blog: https://letancientvoicesspeak.wordpress.com/

"Ὁδοὶ δύο εἰσί, μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανάτου."--Διδαχή Α, α'

refe
Posts: 53
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 11:16 am
Location: Kansas City

Re: Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by refe » June 6th, 2011, 12:01 pm

Here is my system. It is very similar to what has already been posted, but I actually put it together for studying the Apostolic Fathers collection. Using it for the NT would only require ignoring a few of the smaller steps.


1. Pre-emptive Vocabulary Attack
a. Focus on mastering the vocab of one book at a time (or two if they are short).
b. Skim for unfamiliar vocab, look up in BDAG (or other lex for older texts) and create flashcards.
c. Drill until each word is memorized and its semantic range is understood.
d. While reading, take notes on how the particular author uses words when it differs from ‘normal’ or seems to expand its semantic range.
e. Note difficult, irregular or unfamiliar forms for later parsing and investigation in Morphology of Biblical Greek.
2. Preliminary Reading
a. Read through the entire book in one sitting without stopping or taking notes.
b. Once finished, record general observations about style, grammar, challenges, themes, etc.
3. Phrasing
a. Break the book down into phrases, chapter by chapter.
b. Note difficult constructions, uncertainties, unfamiliar word order, etc. for later examination. Also note especially colorful, interesting, beautiful, or otherwise unique phrases in the text to come back to later or memorize.
c. In non-New Testament texts note any parallels, allusions, or apparent quotations from the NT.
d. Examine and record the grammar and syntax of each phrase, paying particular attention to clauses. Work through difficult constructions at this stage using reference grammars, BDAG, and whatever other resources are available.
4. Read, Re-Read, and Re-Re-Read
a. Once vocabulary, grammar and syntax of the entire book is understood, read through the entire book again in one sitting without stopping or taking notes.
b. Record general observations about style, grammar, themes, etc. focusing this time more on the meaning of the text rather than the semantics of the text.
c. Re-read at least 10 more times to fully assimilate the text.
5. Begin Attacking New Vocabulary
a. While on step 4C, begin steps 1A-C with a new book.
0 x

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1792
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 6th, 2011, 12:22 pm

refe wrote:Here is my system. It is very similar to what has already been posted, but I actually put it together for studying the Apostolic Fathers collection. Using it for the NT would only require ignoring a few of the smaller steps.
I think that there is lots of excellent advice and examples in this discussion. My system is simple: in reading a text, if I have to look up a word more than three times, I memorize it. How you go about memorizing stuff is up to you, but I have found that reviewing it once a day for about 6 weeks fixes it nicely in long term memory. Two comments:

1) I have found over the years that I often end up looking up a word I know perfectly well, because it doesn't fit at all into the context I'm reading. That's because it's being used in a sense with which I am unfamiliar – it's an old friend in a new guise. The solution is lots of reading practice, so you see all these old friends in their various suits, and, as I tell my students, when learning a new vocab item, memorize the entire range of meaning, not just what gets you through the quiz.

:shock:

2) As you get more reading experience, you get to a point where you often don't have to look up a words. You just start picking up the vocabulary as you go along, and it sticks. Only lots of reading (and writing and speaking, if you can get) experience gets you to this point. This includes the ability to infer meaning correctly from contexts by identifying word roots and so forth. You don't look up every word when you read an English text – you should get to that point in your experience with Greek as well.
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

refe
Posts: 53
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 11:16 am
Location: Kansas City

Re: Reading Greek beyond the basics: Saturation style

Post by refe » June 6th, 2011, 12:42 pm

NEBarry wrote: 1) I have found over the years that I often end up looking up a word I know perfectly well, because it doesn't fit at all into the context I'm reading. That's because it's being used in a sense with which I am unfamiliar – it's an old friend in a new guise. The solution is lots of reading practice, so you see all these old friends in their various suits, and, as I tell my students, when learning a new vocab item, memorize the entire range of meaning, not just what gets you through the quiz.

:shock:

2) As you get more reading experience, you get to a point where you often don't have to look up a words. You just start picking up the vocabulary as you go along, and it sticks. Only lots of reading (and writing and speaking, if you can get) experience gets you to this point. This includes the ability to infer meaning correctly from contexts by identifying word roots and so forth. You don't look up every word when you read an English text – you should get to that point in your experience with Greek as well.
I think you're right, and that's why one of the steps I take is to note whenever an author's use of a word goes beyond the semantic range I am familiar with. Memorizing a word's entire semantic range upfront is difficult, especially when you are trying to acquire large amounts of vocabulary in a reasonable amount of time. If you take the time to do it once you are reading it's much easier to expand your knowledge of a particular word since the context of the passage can do the heavy lifting for you.

I think that's especially true for extra-biblical texts since pedagogically-focused resources are much less common, so the reader has to do more of the work themselves when it comes to vocabulary and syntax.

If you are going to try to memorize the full semantic range of a word upfront, BDAG is enormously helpful. I like to put the explanatory note (usually in italics preceding the glosses) on a flashcard instead of the suggested glosses because then I am memorizing the actually meaning and function of the word, rather than glosses that may or may not fit the context I will find it in.
0 x

Post Reply

Return to “Seen on the Web”