Trenchard Audio

Anything related to Biblical Greek that doesn't fit into the other forums.
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Trenchard Audio

Post by LaneLingofelter » March 16th, 2013, 1:51 pm

I am looking for mp3 audio that would follow Warren Trenchard's Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament. Does anyone know where I could locate this?

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Trenchard Audio

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 5th, 2013, 10:17 am

Perhaps after waiting this long for a reply to this post, we may be able to safely assume that there may NOT be one that is easily available.

I would like to make a few suggestions about what it would be if it were to exist, and I would like to suggest that voice synthesisation may be a better alternative to a static MP3 given the many different pronunciations that we use as readers of Biblical Greek.

Let me begin by being completely subjective and saying that I think that it is possible, that being perfect in grammar or having a super-extensive vocabulary without purpose could be one of the many distractions that could keep the potential reader from actually reading the Word. It is not bad to do those things, and it is in most cases extremely beneficial, but you can test yourself to see how much Greek affects your walk - try to make it a positive effect.

That caveat being said, learning vocabulary is singularly one of the most useful things for reading any language. The set of "grammar" of a language can be mastered in just few years, but the vocabulary of a language takes considerably longer. Some people say that 3,000 words is a sort of threshold number of words, but due to the familiarity that most readers already have with the corpus, 1,500 is probably enough to not feel over-burdened by the Greek as a language. That is about 1/4 of the possible words. Let me share with you some

The most important thing in vocabulary learning is to minimise the amount of "hard wiring" (rote) learning that the student needs to do.

A vocabulary learning Audio recording would need to be more than just a talking book.
I think it would be of enormous benefit for the print handicapped who wanted to read the book, if someone was simply to read Trenchard through onto a CD and publish it, but beyond a first pass through, there are other better ways to use a vocabulary learning book.

Traditionally we rote learn vocabulary from most frequent to least frequent.
For a beginning student (in college with limited time) it makes good sense to make the most efficient learning in the least possible time then learning the most frequent makes a lot of sense.

But there are numerous possibilities afforded by Trenchard's arrangement of the material:
(i) By frequency - start at the most used and work down the list (probably never reaching the words used less than 10 times)
(ii) Rote learn the group headers for the cognate groups in the first section of Trenchard, then associate the meanings of the others with them. There are two major difficulties to overcome with that approach. First, there are sixteen cognate group key words that are in square parentheses [ ]. Some of them are also found in the LXX. A quick look through give me; βαίνω (LXX), εἴλω, εἶμι, ἐτάζω, ἵημι, κτείνω, λάς, μύω, πεδάω, πέρ, πω, στέργω, σφάλλω, τείνω, τοί, χέω(LXX), ὠθέω (LXX). This associative learning can help the learning, but some of the lists are too long to be useful. There is no pedagogical point in questioning whether the grouping are accurate, but for practical purposes a few of them are too big. For example, there are sixty-two words for λέγω. In those cases one needs to more or less learn all the "other" parts of the word to make sense of the words listed with λέγω. The big groups need to be sub-divided to be more useful, but even if they are not, they are still useful to learn none-the-less. There would then be several sub-key words in the cognate groups. If groups are bigger than 6 or 8 words, they may benefit from sub-division.
(iii) There is also the hidden or missing list in Trenchard, which I have listed in another place on this forum. That list would have been the list of native Greek words that have to be learn by rote (hard-wired) because they have no cognates. Thirty-four of those two hundred and seventy-one words occur ten times or more, and so would be picked up that way, but the rest would need to be learnt with the same effort as the cognate group headers. You can find the list here: ... 825#p10291
(iii) The words borrowed from other languages that were in contact with the Greek that we read in the New Testament also need to be learnt when they are not already in English. The situation is not so "serious" as in Byzantine Greek where knowing Latin is a serious advantage. For the purposes of just reading the New Testament, in some cases, the loan words can be treated as individual cases, without the need to learn anymore of the donor language to be able to make adequate sense of them. In other cases even seemingly innocuous words like πατήρ and ἀρχή carry meanings that would not be clear to a Greek speaker who was unacquainted with Judeo-Christian thought. They are meaning transfers, or translation Greek on a semantic level. This is a form of borrowing that is not listed in Trenchard, but would be useful for some students.

Besides those that need to be learnt by rote, the others in the cognate lists can (theoretically) be learnt by association. Theoretically the header words should be frequenting our dreams before we move onto them:
(iv) The words in the cognate lists are listed consecutively. They do, however, relate to the header word and to the other words in the list in a more complex way. To get the effect of the relationship, it might be better to listen to them with the header word repeated between them.

Trenchard has some limitations.
(i) The "missing" list of words that must be learn individually by rote, if they are to be learnt.
(ii) Grammatical words are listed as if they can be translated by a word. That is true in a number of cases, but often they imply much more than that. On an audio recording, it is minimalistic to say them with a gloss only, and in some ways would slow the students' learning. Seeing that they are much more than mere meaning, defining them by meaning demeans them.
(iii) The vocabulary is not arranged topically. Even if one were to learn all the words in a cognate group, they would only be understood individually, and they could not be used. In a book form it is understandable that vocabulary needs to be arranged in someway, and that arranging it in some way means that it is not arranged in another way, but if it were to be digital, the "topical dimension" could be added to the work.
(iv) It is only from Greek to English, and not from Greek to Greek. That is okay for beginning students, but of course intermediate and advanced students need to have a Greek to Greek list that they can learn by rote - like a primary school level dictionary.

As for the format of an audio recording we need to look at how vocabulary acquisition works.
Vocabulary learning is not an easy thing to put one's finger on. My best guess, according to my experience as a language teacher and as a language learner is that learning happens best when the heart lifts up and asks, "What does that mean?". All the repetition, chanting etc. is to prepare for that bright moment when we accept the new word. With that in mind, we could do some things to facilitate the learning:
(i) keep the languages separate while the second language is being learnt. That is to say that the Greek word has to be strong enough for the students to hear it inside their heads before the word is given a translation.
(ii) be patient enough to let the students think of the word before a gloss is given. Say the word, wait (be patient, shut up, don't clutter their minds with the fear that they will not learn), let the student say the word to themselves silently and in calmness inside their mind, and then say the gloss. That will let the student reach the point of questioning when learning comes so easily.
(iii) associate one gloss with each word at each time. We all know that we learn 5 glosses for a word and then are only able to recall one of them, well duhh, yeah, when you are learning new words, you are talking to a four or five year old, and they always forget most of what you tell them. If there are 5 glosses then learn them separately, and then they will be remembered together. Memory is relational, not linear.

Catching the floating word is like taking photos of interesting moments as they occur sontaneously, rather an posing for a picture. Chanting (saying with a regular rhythm) the words may give an ordered effect that would require less high-brain input into the process.

I suggest that an audio recording should be about 50% silence. And, I suggest; 1,2,3 - A,B.
What I mean by that is that is first that it should not be a performance, it is better to be an invitation to join in:
(i) say, say, say the word - then wait and let the student repeat.
(ii) say the word again - let the student repeat it out loud - then repeat in their mind - then let the recording give the gloss after that.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Trenchard Audio

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 5th, 2013, 10:21 am

In the apparent absence of Trenchard MP3, perhaps you could use tts (text to speech) technology.
The only easy way that I can find is useful if you are using Modern Greek pronuciation.

The program "espeak" can be downloaded from
When you run the set up, you will need to include the "el" language option in fields of languages that you want the program to be able to speak out.

The next hurdle is that it correctly pronounces montonic (Modern Greek spelling) Greek and not polytonic. So Greek text needs to be fed to the tts progam in that format.

Once it is working, timing is a big issue, and the audio output is understandable, but not great. I find that a slower speed is better and I need to put the volume up a bit higher than I would normally have for music.

I had to format it with a lot of commas to get the timing to be okay, but I'm not sure that the extra commas actually do anything. I did that by tabulating the words in Word then inserting a lot of columns then converting back to text with comma delimitation. Here is the first 10 entries from page 176 of Trenchard formatted in the way that I find useful for vocabulary learning.

First, learning the sound and then meaning of the words (1,2,3, A-B)
ίαμα, ίαμα, ίαμα, , , ίαμα, , , , healing , , , ,
ίασις, ίασις, ίασις, , , ίασις, , , , healing, , , ,
Ιερεμίας, Ιερεμίας, Ιερεμίας, , , Ιερεμίας, , , , Jeremiah, , , ,
ιερός, ιερός, ιερός, , , ιερός, , , , holy; (neuter substantive)the holy things , , , ,
ιερωσύνη, ιερωσύνη, ιερωσύνη, , , ιερωσύνη, , , , priestly office, priesthood, , ,
Ιός, Ιός, Ιός, , , Ιός, , , , poison, rust, , ,
Ιούστος, Ιούστος, Ιούστος, , , Ιούστος, , , , Justus, , , ,
Ισκαριώθ , Ισκαριώθ , Ισκαριώθ , , , Ισκαριώθ , , , , Iscariot, , , ,
ισότης, ισότης, ισότης, , , ισότης, , , , equality, fairness, , ,
ίχνος, ίχνος, ίχνος, , , ίχνος, , , , footprint, , , ,

Second, associating the word with a grammatical class or category.
ίαμα, ιάματος, , , neuter noun, , , ,
ίασις, ιάσεως, , , feminine noun, , , ,
Ιερεμίας, Ιερεμίου, , , masculine name, , , ,
ιερός, ιερά, ιερόν, , , 3 termination adjective, , , ,
ιερωσύνη, ιερωσύνης , , , feminine noun, , , ,
Ιός, Ιού, , , masculine noun, , , ,
Ιούστος, Ιούστου, , , masculine name, , , ,
Ισκαριώθ , Ισκαριώθ , , , masculine name , , , ,
ισότης, ισότητος, , , feminine noun, , , ,
ίχνος, ίχνους, , , neuter noun, , , ,

Now, I realise that not all people use the Modern Greek pronunciation. However, at present, I can't use an IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) TTS program successfully. Ideally, the Greek text to be read, could be converted to IPA using an equivalence table such as this Wiki one It is easy enough to convert the English of Trenchard to IPA by using a English to IPA converter such as this ... verter.php?

I have tried to put those ten words that I tried with espeak above in the Imperial Koine pronunciation (RB's reconstruction) with my grammatical categories and Trenchard's glosses in IPA are perhaps:

/ˈijɑmɑ/ /ˈjɑmɑtɔs/ /ˈnjuːtə naʊn ˈhiːlɪŋ/
/ˈijɑsis jˈɑsɛɒs ˈfemənən ˈnæʊn ˈhiːlɪŋ /
/jɛrɛmˈias iɛrɛmˈiu /ˈmæskjələn ˈneɪm ˌdʒerəˈmaɪə/
/ijɛrˈɒs ijɛrˈa ijɛrˈɒn ˈθriː ˌtərməˈneɪʃən ˈædʒɪktɪv ˈhəʊli ˈnjuːtə ˈsʌbstəntɪv ðə ˈhəʊli ˈθɪŋz/
/ijεrɒsˈyne/ ijɛrosˈynes ˈfemənən ˈnæʊn ˈpriːstli ˈɒfɪs ˈpriːsthʊd/
/iˈɒs iˈu ˈmæskjələn ˈnæʊn ˈpɔɪzn̩ rʌst/
/iˈustɒs iˈustu ˈmæskjələn ˈneɪm ˈdʒəstəs/
isκarιˈɒθ isκaριˈɒθ ˈmæskjələn ˈneɪm ˌɪˈskeriət/
/isˈɒtes isˈɒtetɒs ˈfemənən ˈnæʊn ɪˈkwɒlɪti ˈfeənɪs/
/ˈixnos ˈixnus ˈnuːtər ˈnæʊn fʊtprɪnt/

It was my hope that they should have worked in at&t demo version here but actually it comes out as goobledy-gook.

I am unable to go further with this. It think that the at&t demo only contains the phonemes needed for standard American English, and not for Greek.

If I had the skill with computers, and with sound, I would like to put Randall Buth's voice into the syllable units required for the e-speak voice synthesiser and then allow anyone to make their own vocabulary lists, either in the way that I have suggested above or in any other way that their teachers or personal experience suggests would be good for them.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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