bkegley wrote:Hello everyone!
I'm Bryan from out in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota (Yes, it is a state). I've been involved off and on again with Greek for the last three years. I took an informal beginning Greek class my junior year of my undergrad (we almost made it all the way through Mounce) and put Greek aside shortly after the class ended. I have over the last two years, with almost an obsession, taken up the study by myself and have been enamored by it. I've been through Mounce a few times, read Campbell's Basics of Verbal Aspect, occasioned Wallace's GGBB and am now working through Runge's Discourse Grammar along with doing translations. The majority of my time in Greek however, is spent jotting down over and over paradigms and flipping vocab cards, which in my brief time here I have learned is not the preferable method for learning Greek. I've been fascinated with more inductive approaches but I'm still not exactly how to implement them into my routine.
I think my desire to be involved with B-Greek is mainly for guidance. I know that I am quite lacking in more advanced grammatical categories and am still incompetent to critique arguments with regard to verbal aspect or DA v. Syntax kinds of things. So I come asking for help. I've already been helped hugely by what is here and greatly look forward to the coming discussions. Thanks already!
I see Devenios (I actually forget how to spell his English name!) has already given you loads of good advice (and that's not
being sarcastic). First of all, there is a subforum devoted to learning and teaching NT Greek, with some helpful posts along these lines. Secondly, the first time I really looked at an advanced grammar (that would by Smyth) was sometime in graduates school (although I had made heavy use of LSJ and BAGD). The focus through my undergraduate years was simply reading and understanding Greek. We didn't worry about aspect and what type of genitive might be lurking – after a year of instruction in basic Greek, we just read the stuff and learned to understand it. This actually continued with most of my prof's in grad school. This is absolutely foundational, and I suggest that you make it your focus. Work to understand the Greek as Greek, and the only way to do this is read, guess what, lots of Greek. Now, I had the advantage of competent professors for guidance, so the reading you've done in the grammars and so forth is a good thing, since you don't have them. But don't let it substitute for sitting down and reading the Greek.
1) Read through the passage, as much as you feel you can get your head around (a sentence, a paragraph). DO NOT TRANSLATE. DON'T LOOK STUFF UP.
2) As you read, look for vocabulary you recognize. Pay attention to your forms as you read. That's why knowing your paradigms is so important – it shouldn't be a self conscious effort – you should recognize the form automatically, by reflex as it were. Look for key words and and micro word groups (like prepositional phrases or attributive adjectives) and try to feel their relationships.
3) If you don't get it immediately, go back and do the same thing a bit more slowly. Often at this point things will start opening up.
4) By now you should recognize everything you know about the passage, and it still might not make sense. However, what you've done tracked down the sticking point – often one word or form will be the key which helps you fit the passage together. By process of elimination, you figure out what you don't know in the passage, and that's what you look up. Soimetimes, too, it might the semantic range of a particular word or words – you've learned one meaning of the word, and it might have a different usage in the passage that's not immediately clear from context (always try to use context to figure out meanings as much as possible). So yeah, now it's ok to look stuff up.
5) If it still doesn't make sense, translate.
6) At the very end of all this, feel free to check a translation. This is practically necessary at the early stages if you don't have an instructor, but only after you have worked the passage to death, if necessary.
Don't worry about making mistakes. Unless you are making a formal presentation or writing of some sort, you'll only learn from them. The mistakes my students make often tell me that they know a lot more Greek or Latin than they might think...
And the more you practice, the better you get!
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Classics
The American Academy