John, Luke or Paul

The forum for those who still struggle with morphology, syntax, and idiom, or who wish to discuss basic questions about the meaning of Greek texts, syntax, or words.
Forum rules
This is not a place for students to ask for the answers to their homework assignments. Users who do that may be banned.
Mason Barge
Posts: 18
Joined: August 16th, 2014, 1:52 pm

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Mason Barge » August 26th, 2014, 5:18 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Mason, you have gotten some really good replies here. I am still reeling over the fact that you say that you have already spent 4 hours on the first word of 1 John, ὅ. It really makes we wonder what was going in your first 4 semesters of Koine Greek? Even in terms of translation, you can't translate a single word in a text unless you have excellent comprehension of that text in both the source and receptor languages. Ideally, you should be able to explain the word and what it's doing in the text in the source language, Greek, but at the very least you should be able to explain it in your own language. The advice you are getting is sound: forget translation, and read the text for comprehension without consciously trying to translate it. The ironic things is that as you develop this essential skill, you will also be laying the foundation necessary for the translation and exegesis that is being formally required of you. This only comes from understanding the language as a language in its own right. You don't spend hours in English trying to understand what "which" means. You simply see or hear it in context and move on from there. That's how automatic you want to make it in Greek.
You just stated why it took me so long! I refuse to just write down "which" without understanding exactly what the passage means, and really, I think it's a toughie even now. I actually want to find some early facsimile manuscripts of it at this point.
0 x



Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1621
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 26th, 2014, 8:20 pm

Mason Barge wrote:
You just stated why it took me so long! I refuse to just write down "which" without understanding exactly what the passage means, and really, I think it's a toughie even now. I actually want to find some early facsimile manuscripts of it at this point.
Okay, but I think you missed (or didn't address) the point, which is that you should intuitively know what ὅ means. The only way to get there is to spend a lot of time reading Greek for comprehension and not for translation purposes. Like many on this list, my initial training all the way through grad school, in both Latin and Greek, was what we now call the "grammar-translation" method. I got very good at it (I was definitely one of the "4 percenters," i.e., approximately 4 percent of people trained in this method are supposed to get really good at it. For the rest, their study of the language becomes a memory...). I could (and can) rapid translate with the best of them, and still occasionally default to that method of reading when I hit a particularly difficult passage. I had to retrain myself to read without translating, and it's taken a while. I had some help along the way. In grad school, I took a course in Plautus and Terence where we had to read 6 plays of Plautus and one play of Terence in 10 weeks. The professor encouraged us to "read," not translate. "Don't look up words -- figure them out" and so forth were among his advice. Another professor had us read the entire Odyssey in one academic quarter. It was brutal, and I didn't finish it, but I did learn to read large chunks trying to acquire the unobtanium for that course. But where I really started developing the skill was when I began interacting with people on this list several years ago, and made self conscious effort always to read that way, not just the NT, but extra-biblical Greek and Latin as well. Hebrew not so much... :shock:

Now, let me add that if I had been taught using a more conversational and reading oriented approach, I would have reached the goal far earlier. But one plays the hand dealt... "Know when to fold 'em, know when to run."
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Shirley Rollinson
Posts: 337
Joined: June 4th, 2011, 6:19 pm
Location: New Mexico
Contact:

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Shirley Rollinson » August 26th, 2014, 11:10 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Mason Barge wrote:
You just stated why it took me so long! I refuse to just write down "which" without understanding exactly what the passage means, and really, I think it's a toughie even now. I actually want to find some early facsimile manuscripts of it at this point.
Okay, but I think you missed (or didn't address) the point, which is that you should intuitively know what ὅ means. The only way to get there is to spend a lot of time reading Greek for comprehension and not for translation purposes. - -- snip snip - - - ."
At the risk of "pushing" the Online Textbook - maybe you could use it as a refresher for what you have already learned, and as an encouragment to read and comprehend NT Greek. By "reading" I suspect that most on this list would encourage "reading aloud" - it really does re-enforce the learning process if we hear and speak a language - and the only way most of us (outside the classroom) will hear much Greek is if we hear ourselves speak it.
Here's the url for the Online Textbook
http://www.drshirley.org/greek/textbook02/index.html
0 x

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

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 27th, 2014, 2:31 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Mason Barge wrote:You just stated why it took me so long! I refuse to just write down "which" without understanding exactly what the passage means, and really, I think it's a toughie even now.
Okay, but I think you missed (or didn't address) the point, which is that you should intuitively know what ὅ means. The only way to get there is to spend a lot of time reading Greek for comprehension and not for translation purposes.
Writing down "which" would not be adequate. In Greek, there is often an understood sense of the demonstrative in a relative (τοῦτο ὅ). I think that this is one of those situations.

The English word "what" is sort of similar in that the limited range of syntactic construction that we can use it in allows (or forces) it to carry the sense of both demonstrative and relative. The way that the working class British say, "Him what were sat 'ere" (= "The man who just got up"), is marked as a regionalism, because we recognise that "what" has a limited range uses in grammar. "The stuff what I got from him..." is more than awkward. "The stuff which I got from him ..." is okay. "What I got from him ..." is acceptable and we recognise that if we were to paraphrase it, it would have both demonstrative and relative meaning, "Those which I got from him ..."

Even though there is a similar phenomenon in the two languages, that is not really grounds to insist that ὅ should be taken as "what" in this or any other case. The example of "what" allows us to analogously understand what is happening in the grammar, but being a similar linguistic feature is not basis enough to insist that that is the translation - each language has its own peculiarities - e.g. Greek ὅς, ἥ, ὅ is not limited to the neuter. It is my opinion that Greek ὅ for is more like an abbreviation rather than a grammarian's proscription - that gives the Greek situation a much more optimistic air.

I agree with many of the view-points about translation using grammar rather than understanding and rephrasing. Let me add a few personal observations; I was initially surprised when I sat for the 汉语水平考试 (Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì) (HSK) because it was all in Chinese, despite my taking it in Sydney - even the gruff-faced invigilators only spoke Mandarin. There are basically two types of words, right? Meaning words and structure words. My day-to-day thinking inside my head is in English or Greek, but the majority of my speech which I actually produce is in Chinese. I understand the meaning words differently to the way I understand the structure words in Chinese. I choose and think about the meaning words which I would like to let someone else understand, they often require some logical choice and then they float about inn my thinking ready to be said. The structure words (and the patterns in which they are used) give the (special) effect that I want the meaning words to have in a given circumstance. It is something like what when BH says "intuitive". These types of structures don't need to be thought of so much, as they are as much impressionistic as they are meaingful.

At a very simple level, the exercise of "Go through and underline / highlight the important words" often gives a different result in your first language than it does in a language learnt through the medium of grammar. In your native language you are more likely to pay attention to the meaning words, while in a language learnt by grammar, there is more attention to grammar words. Look at his simple sentence, "He will go to the beach next w'end." A non-native speaker might comment on the choice of future (will / be going to go / be going), or on the fact that "He" and "will" are not contracted, but "w'end" is. A native speaker will comment on the weather report he saw on the TV last night, or perhaps feel envious.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
Posts: 1019
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by RandallButh » August 27th, 2014, 3:08 am

By "reading" I suspect that most on this list would encourage "reading aloud"
Ironically, as an advocate of oral approaches, I do not think much about "reading aloud."

Building the network in a brain that we call fluency comes from massive use of a language in two-directional communication. That can be enhanced by oral communication, in class, with oneself, with others. If we consider a language like German or French, we may get a better perspective on where and how "reading aloud" fits into the learning picture only marginally and minimally. Recommended: Real use, real communication on a wide and rapid scale, nested in massive reading. ... The second-language-studies buzzwords for this are "comprehensible input" and "production."
0 x

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1621
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 27th, 2014, 7:45 am

RandallButh wrote:
By "reading" I suspect that most on this list would encourage "reading aloud"
Ironically, as an advocate of oral approaches, I do not think much about "reading aloud."

Building the network in a brain that we call fluency comes from massive use of a language in two-directional communication. That can be enhanced by oral communication, in class, with oneself, with others. If we consider a language like German or French, we may get a better perspective on where and how "reading aloud" fits into the learning picture only marginally and minimally. Recommended: Real use, real communication on a wide and rapid scale, nested in massive reading. ... The second-language-studies buzzwords for this are "comprehensible input" and "production."
I remember ages ago, way back in the 20th century, reading an article which stressed that while reading aloud has some limited benefits in a classroom situation, we often retain less of the content than if we read the passage silently, although people reading along tend to retain more of the content (thus an argument for reading along in church!). I like the idea doing two way communication with oneself -- talk to oneself in the text about the text. Τὶ σημαίνει; and so forth. My experience in a recent online conversational class was interesting. Much of what we did was there in my head, but not immediately accessible, but became more so as we progressed. The instructor commented at one point that I was the only student who always got my cases and conjugations right in context, but at the same time I sometimes would not know "easy" words that a three year old growing up in the linguaculture would know. A very beneficial experience overall...
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 2835
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Stephen Carlson » August 27th, 2014, 8:11 am

Since most Greek teachers in the US are not fluent in Kone and most (seminary) students will unfortunately not have access to classes with oral communication in Greek, the question remains whether reading aloud is better than the alternative (no reading aloud).
0 x
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

RandallButh
Posts: 1019
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by RandallButh » August 27th, 2014, 9:15 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Since most Greek teachers in the US are not fluent in Kone and most (seminary) students will unfortunately not have access to classes with oral communication in Greek, the question remains whether reading aloud is better than the alternative (no reading aloud).
As Barry's remembered article might say, I don't think that reading aloud would make any difference to the internalization of a language.

On the other hand, reading aloud is a separate skill that a person should develop, if for no other reason than that others could benefit from listening to the reading. So YES I would recommend that a small amount of time would be spent on reading aloud.

What I don't appreciate in discussions about ancient languages is the idea sometimes heard that "reading aloud" fulfills the task that oral communicative pedagogy does. It doesn't, not at all. Too many students and teachers simply make the assumption that reading aloud or listening to a text being read (definitely better and a separate issue) fulfills the communicative side of things so everything is hunky dory. Sadly, everything is not hunky dory in our field as the fruit of our programs for 2, 4, 6, 8 or more years amply attests.
0 x

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

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 27th, 2014, 12:17 pm

RandallButh wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:the question remains whether reading aloud is better than the alternative (no reading aloud).
As Barry's remembered article might say, I don't think that reading aloud would make any difference to the internalization of a language.
In my experience, students below upper intermediate level get very little understanding from what they say, especially in a potentially embarrassing public situation. They are generally neither able to answer content questions immediately after reading, nor to avoid tell-tale mistakes that they probably wouldn't make in private reading (The restaurant had many) "live fish" / "live fish", (After I eat breakfast) "I read the newspaper." / "I read the newspaper".

It seems to be that when more competent students are at a level where their reading is an active co-authouring in which they create language then speak, that reading aloud is both meaningful and beneficial. That happens somewhere in the intermediate level depending on student aptitude. For some students, hearing themselves read is a prompt for error self-correction, for others it is a distraction. I don't think it could be taken as an example of listening to a speaker - though it may appear to be that - because it is quite difficult to both talk and listen in our native languages, and learners tend to do either one or the other, but never both, until a quite advanced level.
RandallButh wrote:On the other hand, reading aloud is a separate skill that a person should develop, if for no other reason than that others could benefit from listening to the reading. So YES I would recommend that a small amount of time would be spent on reading aloud.
I agree with this. In my experience, students who are good at this skill have the confidence to relax in their reading and to move more smoothly into advanced reading strategies - where the transition always seem to involve an increase in both random and systemic errors for a period of time (marking the end of the plateau period of slow development).
Barry Hofstetter wrote:I like the idea doing two way communication with oneself -- talk to oneself in the text about the text. Τὶ σημαίνει; and so forth.
People who have learnt English in this way are the bane of my life! :x

Apart from how benefits them, it has 3 bad effects, which tend to characterise the students who learn that way;
  • Some of them come up to me and sort of have a conversation in my general direction with very little of my involvement.
  • Others completely lack filtering and immediately jump to a variety of inappropriate topics, which would cause a native speaker varying degrees of embarrassment.
  • Still others have no concept of timing, and expected response delays in a conversation and tend to talk over me as I'm about to talk, or an impatience leading to disinterest in interpersonal communication.
The things that form part of the social interaction in language are just so not there. Furthermore, those deficiencies can give a wrong impression about both the persons general character and their immediate intentions, which they would not be giving in their own language.

The first one tends to correct itself quite quickly. The second often needs direct correction. The third usually leads to an irrevocable breakdown in the communication process.
RandallButh wrote:What I don't appreciate in discussions about ancient languages is the idea sometimes heard that "reading aloud" fulfills the task that oral communicative pedagogy does. It doesn't, not at all. Too many students and teachers simply make the assumption that reading aloud or listening to a text being read (definitely better and a separate issue) fulfills the communicative side of things so everything is hunky dory. Sadly, everything is not hunky dory in our field as the fruit of our programs for 2, 4, 6, 8 or more years amply attests.
I don't need to ask whether I'm missing something here. I know I am.

I assume that the last sentence here is not a reference to agriculture (field & fruit), but don't have the background knowledge to know what the significance of the even numbers is, nor who the "our" (x2) refer to, nor what programs some people are running. :? I'm so sorry for my low IQ.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
Posts: 1019
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by RandallButh » August 27th, 2014, 3:16 pm

Stephen,

talking to oneself, thinking, musing in the target language, is an emergency measure for people who would learn a language in isolation or where no other language user can or will interact with them in the language. In other words, in typical Koine Greek learning situations.

The "field" referred to Koine Greek classes and programs, the fruit is a metaphor referring to the outcome of those programs, for example the ability of a "student"/PhD to express themselves after 8 years of working with the language. Hunky dory is an idiom that means 'just fine', 'things are going smoothly and well.'
0 x

Post Reply

Return to “Beginners Forum”