Hello from Tim

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Hello from Tim

Postby tdbenedict » June 29th, 2014, 11:43 am

Hi,

I'm a self-learner in the Pacific Northwest. Started out last year with Dr. Buth's Living Koine volumes, which took about 250-300 hours to work through. The Living Koine series is fantastic. Also used Mastronarde's Intro to Attic Greek as a supplement, which I was able to long-term loan from my local library. Then started through the NT, using the UBS readers edition. Just finished the NT and went through Epictetus' Enchiridion and now am working through the Discourses, which are over my head, but I'm going to work through at least through Book 1.

I'm trying to learn Greek like a modern language -- i.e try to learn all vocab and verb forms by context rather than charts or flashcards and read as much as I can, without concern for perfect understanding. I'm about 750 hours in now. I figure I have about 500 hours to go to reach a more comfortable, intermediate stage.

One approach I've used, which has been helpful to me, is avoiding using an English translation when studying the GNT. I use the Spanish Reina Valera translation (I would call myself an advanced intermediate Spanish reader), and I've noticed that Greek vocab retention is much higher if I do my best to keep my mind outside of my mother tongue.

This forum is a great resource. Thanks to all who put it together!

Tim
Tim Benedict
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Hello to Tim

Postby Stephen Hughes » June 30th, 2014, 2:50 am

Hi Tim
Many of us share your gratitude to those who put the forum together and to those who now maintain and moderate it.

Learning Greek like a modern language is really learning Greek as a language. Terms like "intermediate" are convenient for categorising learners into classes / grades, but are not so easy to delimit. Previous language learning experience, personality and motivation make the counting of hours a somewhat inaccurate generalisation too.

I concur with you about the advantages of distancing oneself, from time to time for the purpose of memorising, from one's mother tongue. Doing it for the purposes of uncluttering the memorisation process is one of the easier things that can be done. Logically understanding complexity without using one's mother tongue is really a great leap up from doing that.

Paraphrasing Greek in Greek, is a good goal too, and one that can be worked towards incrementally. The easiest thing to do in that regard is to "paraphrase" single words with a Greek definition. For a while, that really reduces accuracy, but later it introduces a different sort of accruacy based in understanding the usage of words (in real or imagined contexts) rather than in the definitions that we give words in (usually Latin-based) English definitions. Replacing grammatical structures with others is a more difficult, but attainable. Changing between narrative perspectives is a good way of practicing those skills, "Jesus said" -> "the people listened". Those are all things that we are very comfortable doing in our own mother tongues, and part of "knowing" a language.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attrib. to Albert Einstein)
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Re: Hello from Tim

Postby Ben Clark » July 3rd, 2014, 8:07 am

Welcome Tim,
I am just learning too and I am very interested in learning Greek (not modern) as a language. Elsewhere I have seen the suggestion to only take notes in the target language when doing study, and writing definitions seems to be a great way to do that. As a beginner my definitions will certainly be simple but how will I know they are correct? Does learning Greek as a language require feedback, just as we give feedback to children learning English? They are learning by 'playing' with the language and having it correctly modeled by those that already know it. Sentences like 'Daddy goed work' are met with 'Yes, daddy went to work.' In learning a primarily written language, how does one get this kind of valuable feedback? I wonder if these things would be corrected over time just by long and constant exposure to text but I am curious if anyone has any advice/suggestions.
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A suggestion for writing definitions in the target language

Postby Stephen Hughes » July 11th, 2014, 5:44 am

Ben Clark wrote:I am very interested in learning Greek ... as a language. Elsewhere I have seen the suggestion to only take notes in the target language when doing study, and writing definitions seems to be a great way to do that. As a beginner my definitions will certainly be simple but how will I know they are correct?

I have written a suggestion about how to compose your definitions in Greek in a new thread, Fuzzy-trace theory and vocabulary acquisition, as they are not all together relevant to our saying, "Hello." to Tim.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attrib. to Albert Einstein)
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Re: Hello from Tim

Postby Barry Hofstetter » July 12th, 2014, 6:34 am

Ben Clark wrote:Welcome Tim,
I am just learning too and I am very interested in learning Greek (not modern) as a language. Elsewhere I have seen the suggestion to only take notes in the target language when doing study, and writing definitions seems to be a great way to do that. As a beginner my definitions will certainly be simple but how will I know they are correct? Does learning Greek as a language require feedback, just as we give feedback to children learning English? They are learning by 'playing' with the language and having it correctly modeled by those that already know it. Sentences like 'Daddy goed work' are met with 'Yes, daddy went to work.' In learning a primarily written language, how does one get this kind of valuable feedback? I wonder if these things would be corrected over time just by long and constant exposure to text but I am curious if anyone has any advice/suggestions.


The best way to get this kind of feedback is in a class which uses this style of instruction. If you do not have this available, your path to Rivendell will be a bit more tortuous, but still doable. Yes, read lots of text, as much as you can according to the level of ability you've attained. Read text beyond that ability to stretch yourself. You will also occasionally have to look things up in your dictionary or lexicon to verify that your sense of it is right, but the more you discern the meaning from context the better off you are.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: A suggestion for writing definitions in the target langu

Postby Devenios Doulenios » July 13th, 2014, 5:55 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Ben Clark wrote:I am very interested in learning Greek ... as a language. Elsewhere I have seen the suggestion to only take notes in the target language when doing study, and writing definitions seems to be a great way to do that. As a beginner my definitions will certainly be simple but how will I know they are correct?

I have written a suggestion about how to compose your definitions in Greek in a new thread, Fuzzy-trace theory and vocabulary acquisition, as they are not all together relevant to our saying, "Hello." to Tim.


χαιρετε παντες!

ασπασμοι εισιν, ω φιλοι Βενιαμιν και Τιμοθεε!

Here's what I said in my recent post about getting started with Greek definitions for vocabulary: [I haven't figured out how to copy a link to a post)

Devenios Doulenios wrote:Jesse,

I applaud you for wanting to avoid English glosses when working with new Greek vocabulary. It probably can't always be avoided, though.

For some abstract words pictures can work, if carefully chosen. For others, perhaps not.

One thing that probably also would help is using short simple Greek definitions instead of glosses along with the images, and also adding sound clips pronouncing the word if your software supports that.

You should take a look at how W.H.D. Rouse did it with the vocabulary for his story A Greek Boy at Home, a story for first-year students written in simple Attic Greek. Rouse does use English glosses for some words, but even then he often provides a short definition in Greek. (If you don't feel ready to compose these yourself, Rouse would have definitions for some words you might want, and I'm sure some list members would help with hints for this.)

Here are the download links for his story book and the vocab (The vocabulary is in a separate volume; both are availible in PDFs).

Story: http://www.johnpiazza.net/greek_boy_at_home

Vocabulary: http://www.johnpiazza.net/greek_boy_vocab

I am attempting this approach (using definitions in the target language instead of English glosses) for learning Biblical Hebrew vocabulary, starting with that for Jonah, which I'm working with now. I'll put a sample up on the B-Hebrew forum soon.

I have an iPad too and am continuing to look for things related to Greek to use on it. Which software are you using for the flashcards?

Δεβἐνιος Δουλἐνιος
Dewayne Dulaney



Stephen Hughes is definitely right in the usefulness of the "gist" approach. With more time and reading, you will find things get less "fuzzy".

Δεβένιος Δουλένιος
"τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὸν θάνατον δέδωκα πρὸ προσώπου ὑμῶν τὴν εὐλογίαν καὶ τὴν κατάραν ἔκλεξαι τὴν ζωήν ἵνα ζῇς σὺ καὶ τὸ σπέρμα σου"-Dt. 30:19

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