Checking answers in Duff's "The Elements of New Testament.."

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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Checking answers in Duff's "The Elements of New Testamen

Post by Stephen Hughes » January 20th, 2015, 2:54 am

Jacob Rhoden wrote:1. After completing Chapter 3, section B and I found myself thinking, "Did I get any of those right, I have no idea? Why did I just do them?"

2. I just did practice section 4.1, I got a bunch of them wrong, and now I am like, how do I practice this again knowing what I misunderstood the first time?
I don't mean to cut into anything that Jeremy himself may say on this matter, but I do think that these are very normal feelings.

Most of the time we read, there is a feeling of uneasiness, rather than satisfaction, because we are never quite sure in a second language that our understanding is right.

Learning to handle language is as much the acquisition of skills as it is the amassing of a repository of knowledge. Dealing with the "fog of" texts, and accepting that you are very often going to make your best rendering possible, while it may not have been the best if more information were possible, is par for the course.

In the cases where there is no key to the exercises in a textbook, you can try your best and then shelve them. You may not get the correct answer, but you will have practiced working with the Greek. If you want to be self-critical, you could jot down your questions / uncertainties as a learner's diary of sorts. That may rationalise your feelings a little and allow you to systematise your ignorance. Knowledge and skill are of course the best, but when we can't yet get the best, awareness of our ignorance is the next best thing. Being aware of that is a step in the right direction.

Most regular participants on the board have moved beyond textbooks and their exercises. They deal with the same feelings that you are experiencing when they look at Greek texts. There is no right or universally applicable response to them.

I suggest that you push on in partial ignorance and despite your feelings. Doing what you can is a surer way forward than stumbling over what you can't. Take the easiest path, with the most markers, get to the end, then come back and work on through it all again. No matter where you are in your engagement with Greek, there will always be little things that come up. What do we do in those cases? Gloss over them? Confront them? Ask for advice? Fudge an answer? Work back from an answer? Memorise and mull over them? In fact in different situations either, one, a combination or perhaps none of those approaches will be the most useful. Acquiring the skills to deal with difficulties is part of the development of your general language learning aptitude, not specifically related to Greek.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jeremy.Duff
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Re: Checking answers in Duff's "The Elements of New Testamen

Post by Jeremy.Duff » January 20th, 2015, 6:48 am

Yes I am to blame for the book.

The feedback is useful Jacob though I have no immediate answer for you.

I have long thought that someone ought to produce a 'book' for self-teaching NT Greek. When I was writing The Elements I was very conscious that the needs of self-teachers are not the same as those using a book in a class context. I tried to ensure that they were kept in view in The Elements and a lot of folks have found it a great book to use self-teaching. (And I think we also need to add that completely self-teaching a language is a really hard job.). However, I know that if I were solely focused on the self-teaching market, the book would have been slightly different. I did think about producing a self-teaching 'version' of the book, but the time never emerged.

I do think that there is lots of wisdom in Stephen's reply, though, which is if you can don't get too worried about understanding and nailing everything down. Knowledge, understanding and confidence in a language tends not to come in a linear - I've nailed this down, now onto the next thing, fashion.
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Jacob Rhoden
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Re: Checking answers in Duff's "The Elements of New Testamen

Post by Jacob Rhoden » January 20th, 2015, 9:44 pm

Thanks Guys, I appreciate the feedback, I have come to realise that given my interest in this, perhaps I should apply to study this for real at college here in Melbourne. I've put in some application forms, we'll see what happens. :)

In terms of the book for self teaching; apart from feeling like I need more self-checkable practice, and feeling unclear about the section on vocatives, the rest of my experience has been that it is very clear and very useful. I am doing the exercises at the end of chapter 4 and it feels like I am making progress. Hoping to get into chapter 5 today. :)
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Brent Elkins
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Re: Checking answers in Duff's "The Elements of New Testamen

Post by Brent Elkins » February 9th, 2015, 2:12 pm

Hi Jacob,

You could always send your answers to someone on the board privately and they could check them for you... If you'd like, you could send me a couple of the ones that you find difficulty with and I could look at them.

Blessings,
Brent
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Jacob Rhoden
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Re: Checking answers in Duff's "The Elements of New Testamen

Post by Jacob Rhoden » February 13th, 2015, 12:59 am

Thanks Brent, I've gone on to enrol in a course to formally learn, we'll get a study group together which should be a great benefit!
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caspianrex
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Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Checking answers in Duff's "The Elements of New Testamen

Post by caspianrex » April 15th, 2015, 10:44 am

I'm glad I checked out this thread!

I have been using Jeremy Duff's book for the past couple weeks, and I am really enjoying it. It actually seems to me that having half the answers can be a useful exercise, even for self-study students (such as myself). After all, I suspect if I really dig back through the previous material, I can work out even the more difficult exercises that don't have answers in the back.

Also, thanks for the links to Funk's text, and Dr. Rollinson's text. I am going to be checking those out as well. I've been using Mounce's book for awhile, but I've always found the layout just a bit too confusing (so many sidebars!).

As I try to get my self-study of Greek going (again), I intend to check into this group quite often.

Thanks,
Cory Howell
Nashville, TN

:ugeek:
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Jacob Rhoden
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Re: Checking answers in Duff's "The Elements of New Testamen

Post by Jacob Rhoden » April 21st, 2015, 8:54 pm

caspianrex wrote:I'm glad I checked out this thread!

I have been using Jeremy Duff's book for the past couple weeks, and I am really enjoying it. It actually seems to me that having half the answers can be a useful exercise, even for self-study students (such as myself). After all, I suspect if I really dig back through the previous material, I can work out even the more difficult exercises that don't have answers in the back.
Aside from my small list of annoyances with the Duff book, overall I have found it really great. I didn't realise this but it seems like Duff is much more practical than other grammar oriented books. The example/practice sentences really seem to help. I had a look at the Mounce book and I was astounded to find that it seemed to not really have any example sentences at all (I really don't get it??)

We may not be in the same country, but I am far enough ahead of you that I can probably help with questions about the earlier chapters, feel free to throw them out there. (:
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Wes Wood
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Re: Checking answers in Duff's "The Elements of New Testamen

Post by Wes Wood » April 21st, 2015, 9:27 pm

Mounce has a separate workbook that contains several exercises for each chapter. The primary reason that I used Mounce instead of other grammars was that it had many free and/or easily accessible resources to supplement it. There are other grammars that I like better, but the availability of his many resources is why I ultimately went with it.

The bottom line is keep on studying, and you will do well regardless of the book. But I have heard from others that Duff is fantastic :)
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

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