Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

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.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 15th, 2015, 2:59 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:while καρφοῦν is the driving of the nail to fasten something, προσηλοῦν is the fastening of something with the nail that is being driven. What's the difference? Both of them describe the same process. [I'm having trouble finding images that can describe the difference graphically ... ].
How about very short, simple sentences like "nail is driven" and "signpost is fastened" using the perfect tense?
The best image that that search showed up was good for
Judges 4:21 wrote:ἔπηξεν τὸν πάσσαλον ἐν τῷ κροτάφῳ αὐτοῦ
She pitched the (tent) peg in his temple
That is a form of driving where pinning things together is not the primary aim of the action.

Image

(Pitching a tent is, but in this case the peg first went through his head and then into the ground - καὶ διεξῆλθεν ἐν τῇ γῇ).

Attribution:
The image painted by Palma il Giovane 1548–1628 taken by Stefania Mason Rinaldi: – Disegni e dipinti. Electa, Milano 1990, are in the public domain.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Chris Servanti
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Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Chris Servanti » September 16th, 2015, 10:29 am

So can anybody here have a full conversation in Koine about either doctrines or maybe everyday life (I think the first would probably be easier because of vocabulary)?

It is my dream to one day be able to debate in koine... not sure with whom... but it would be so awesome
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 16th, 2015, 1:10 pm

Chris Servanti wrote:So can anybody here have a full conversation in Koine about either doctrines or maybe everyday life (I think the first would probably be easier because of vocabulary)?
You'd have to ask the Randall Buths and Louis Sorensons of the world, I sure can't. In my Greek Sunday School class, we have about 30 minutes that are almost entirely in Greek, with occasional English prompts, but we end with discussing the passage and its application in English. When I look at Youtube videos of discussion in Hellenistic Greek, I don't see examples where people have a fully adult conversation about a passage in Hellenistic Greek. I'd like to see examples like that.
Chris Servanti wrote:It is my dream to one day be able to debate in koine... not sure with whom... but it would be so awesome
IMHO, the best use of Koine is to appreciate the full richness of the text in its original voice, e.g. to appreciate how Mark, Luke, and John write so very differently. Much of that would get lost in a doctrinal debate, they don't teach different basic doctrine. I'm actually quite interested in seeing how far we can get discussing texts in my class, but that's going to be a very slow process.

A little perspective. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages publishes a set of proficiency guidelines, the skills that we would expect a language learner to have at various levels of learning. I think you are asking how many people know Hellenistic Greek at the ACTFL Distinguished level:
Speakers at the Distinguished level are able to use language
skillfully, and with accuracy, efficiency, and effectiveness. They are
educated and articulate users of the language. They can reflect on a
wide range of global issues and highly abstract concepts in a
culturally appropriate manner. Distinguished-level speakers can use
persuasive and hypothetical discourse for representational purposes,
allowing them to advocate a point of view that is not necessarily
their own. They can tailor language to a variety of audiences by
adapting their speech and register in ways that are culturally
authentic. Speakers at the Distinguished level produce highly
sophisticated and tightly organized extended discourse. At the same
time, they can speak succinctly, often using cultural and historical
references to allow them to say less and mean more. At this level,
oral discourse typically resembles written discourse.

A non-native accent, a lack of a native-like economy of expression, a
limited control of deeply embedded cultural references, and/or an
occasional isolated language error may still be present at this
level.
I suspect there are very few Distinguished speakers of Hellenistic Greek. Let's try a level down, Superior:
Speakers at the Superior level are able to communicate with
accuracy and fluency in order to participate fully and effectively in
conversations on a variety of topics in formal and informal settings
from both concrete and abstract perspectives. They discuss their
interests and special fields of competence, explain complex matters in
detail, and provide lengthy and coherent narrations, all with ease,
fluency, and accuracy. They present their opinions on a number of
issues of interest to them, such as social and political issues, and
provide structured arguments to support these opinions. They are able
to construct and develop hypotheses to explore alternative
possibilities.

When appropriate, these speakers use extended discourse without
unnaturally lengthy hesitation to make their point, even when engaged
in abstract elaborations. Such discourse, while coherent, may still be
influenced by language patterns other than those of the target
language. Superior-level speakers employ a variety of interactive and
discourse strategies, such as turn-taking and separating main ideas
from supporting information through the use of syntactic, lexical, and
phonetic devices.

Speakers at the Superior level demonstrate no pattern of error in the
use of basic structures, although they may make sporadic errors,
particularly in low-frequency structures and in complex high-frequency
structures. Such errors, if they do occur, do not distract the native
interlocutor or interfere with communication
If you drop down one level, perhaps there are a very few people on B-Greek who might qualify as Advanced High:
Speakers at the Advanced High sublevel perform all
Advanced-level tasks with linguistic ease, confidence, and competence.
They are consistently able to explain in detail and narrate fully and
accurately in all time frames. In addition, Advanced High speakers
handle the tasks pertaining to the Superior level but cannot sustain
performance at that level across a variety of topics. They may provide
a structured argument to support their opinions, and they may
construct hypotheses, but patterns of error appear. They can discuss
some topics abstractly, especially those relating to their particular
interests and special fields of expertise, but in general, they are
more comfortable discussing a variety of topics concretely.

Advanced High speakers may demonstrate a well-developed ability to
compensate for an imperfect grasp of some forms or for limitations in
vocabulary by the confident use of communicative strategies, such as
paraphrasing, circumlocution, and illustration. They use precise
vocabulary and intonation to express meaning and often show great
fluency and ease of speech. However, when called on to perform the
complex tasks associated with the Superior level over a variety of
topics, their language will at times break down or prove inadequate,
or they may avoid the task altogether, for example, by resorting to
simplification through the use of description or narration in place of
argument or hypothesis.
But for Hellenistic Greek, that's almost Superman level.

You start low and work your way up. At the Novice Low level, you know your name and a few nouns. At Novice Mid, you can communicate about predictable topics using isolated words and memorized phrases, and answer questions with two or three words. You keep working your way up ...
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 16th, 2015, 1:40 pm

By the way, I'd be interested in hearing from people like Randall Buth, Paul Nitz, and Louis Sorenson - how far up the ACTFL Proficiency guidelines do the best modern speakers of Hellenistic Greek reach?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Chris Servanti
Posts: 55
Joined: September 10th, 2015, 2:30 pm

Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Chris Servanti » September 16th, 2015, 3:49 pm

I think the cause to raise Koine as a modern usable language won't ever work until there is a standardized full dictionary of everyday words, standardized pronunciation, and some people who are really REALLY good at Koine and can write let's say devotionals or newsletters in it. If there could be maybe a small group of people at this level, maybe they could raise their children bilingual with English and Koine (because the likelihood of the average person succeeding in even a beginner's level of Koine is low, but if you heard it all you're life it would be natural). Idk, that's a pretty far out there idea, but I can dream!
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Louis L Sorenson
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Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Louis L Sorenson » September 16th, 2015, 7:22 pm

Chris Servanti wrote
I think the cause to raise Koine as a modern usable language won't ever work until there is a standardized full dictionary of everyday words, standardized pronunciation, and some people who are really REALLY good at Koine and can write let's say devotionals or newsletters in it. If there could be maybe a small group of people at this level, maybe they could raise their children bilingual with English and Koine (because the likelihood of the average person succeeding in even a beginner's level of Koine is low, but if you heard it all you're life it would be natural). Idk, that's a pretty far out there idea, but I can dream!
I think the Koine spoken Greek community is close to being there. There are two 'schools' One is Randall Buth's who can be found at biblicallanguages.org; the other is Christophe Rico's who can be found at PolisJerusalem.org. Buth uses a Koine pronunciation (note: I just noticed that Logos software now has Erasmian, Koine, and Modern Greek pronunciation audio). Rico uses a mix of pronunciation which is closer to Erasmian. Rico also just came out with a new version of his textbook called "Polis." Buth's and Rico's textbooks are very different in format and content. Buth's is based on NT passages; Rico's is based on dialogues of modern current situations.

You can send me a private message, if you would like some additional help or training.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 17th, 2015, 4:37 am

Chris Servanti wrote:So can anybody here have a full conversation in Koine about either doctrines or maybe everyday life (I think the first would probably be easier because of vocabulary)?
Jonathan Robie wrote:Speakers at the Advanced High sublevel ... in general, they are
more comfortable discussing a variety of topics concretely.
I agree with the reversal that Chris is suggesting here.
Chris Servanti wrote:I think the cause to raise Koine as a modern usable language won't ever work until there is a standardized full dictionary of everyday words,
If by "standardized" you mean "manageable and small", then that is probably the urgent wish of all language learners. If you mean "everyday words" that you use in English, that is a little more difficult. In both cases, there is a tendency to lose the subtleties of the language in the name of expediency. There are often a great number of ways to explain or express the one and the same thing. It is possible to get by with just one way, but having flexibility of expression is something to be worked towards.
Chris Servanti wrote:some people who are really REALLY good at Koine and can write let's say devotionals or newsletters in it.
Writing is not so difficult as speaking is. How many people could manage to participate in this forum if it was conducted in the language?
Louis L Sorenson wrote:maybe they could raise their children bilingual with English and Koine
Jordan Day has a YouTube of him doing that with his daughter. There really are a very limited set of resources for that. The children of migrants or non-native speakers tend to need years of education in addition to their parents' valiant attempts, to be able to master the dominant language in the country they have settled in. What you are imagining is people who are barely functional in a language to teach their kids - I think it will have some good effects, but their kids will still need to do formal study to standardise, systematise and utilise what they have picked up at home.

In another thread, I have posted pictures of a few things from my daily life, places I've been to or done, and things that I think about, in an effort to facilitate getting my thinking into Greek. Three things have become clear from doing that; most everyday words are not needed to read the New Testament (which is a departure from the original purpose of becoming fluent), objects as we see them in a picture require a whole lot more language to be able to come to life and be usable, and there is a lot more to learn than I had imagined before I started.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 17th, 2015, 8:50 am

Louis L Sorenson wrote:Chris Servanti wrote
I think the cause to raise Koine as a modern usable language won't ever work until there is a standardized full dictionary of everyday words, standardized pronunciation, and some people who are really REALLY good at Koine and can write let's say devotionals or newsletters in it. If there could be maybe a small group of people at this level, maybe they could raise their children bilingual with English and Koine (because the likelihood of the average person succeeding in even a beginner's level of Koine is low, but if you heard it all you're life it would be natural). Idk, that's a pretty far out there idea, but I can dream!
I think the Koine spoken Greek community is close to being there. There are two 'schools' One is Randall Buth's who can be found at biblicallanguages.org; the other is Christophe Rico's who can be found at PolisJerusalem.org. Buth uses a Koine pronunciation (note: I just noticed that Logos software now has Erasmian, Koine, and Modern Greek pronunciation audio). Rico uses a mix of pronunciation which is closer to Erasmian. Rico also just came out with a new version of his textbook called "Polis." Buth's and Rico's textbooks are very different in format and content. Buth's is based on NT passages; Rico's is based on dialogues of modern current situations.
You can get a feeling for Buth's materials from this Youtube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v9TShKuBBU

You can get a feeling for Rico's technique from this Youtube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJrGaOF-bOw

Paul Nitz is also doing great stuff along these lines:

https://www.youtube.com/user/PDNitz

I definitely think these communicative approaches are a major step forward. I don't think anything I've seen so far takes you all the way up to the higher levels of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages proficiency guidelines.

But they are taking us to higher levels than most people reached without communicative approaches. I really think you need to write or speak a language to get good at it. I think we're heading in the right direction. We should be grateful to these pioneers.

Does anyone know of examples of people writing or speaking at the highest levels? Either texts that or Youtube videos that demonstrate discussion of biblical texts at the same level that we would expect if we were discussing them in English, for instance? Or discussion of other topics? I could easily believe that Buth or Rico could do this, but I haven't seen such examples yet.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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

Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 17th, 2015, 12:58 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Does anyone know of examples of people writing or speaking at the highest levels?
I think we could all do that. It is not a difficult thing to do inaccurately. You have fully developed adult mental faculties and a smattering of Greek compositional skills. Write out what you want to say in English, or think about it for a few days. Then (re)compose it in Greek. There is nobody here better than you, who hasn't suffered through the arduous and self-abasing task of composition.

Alternate your compositions, between your three cardinal values. In one exercise, stick closely to the idiom of the first century - wear white gloves when handling the time capsule. In the next compositional exercise, express your higher order thinking about the text with whatever compositional skills that you currently possess - God said the world was "good", when it was not fully formed, so have that attitude about yourself. In the third compositional exercise, express yourself, your world, your everything - like be unguardedly Jonathan in your Greek - hang grammar, hang historical accuracy, have a self-indulgence. You don't need to be so crazy as me and post them - though that helps - be loosen up and tighten up on certain things at certain times.

In traditional language teaching methodology, the difference between fluency and accuracy exercises needs to be observed. In your thinking - as observable from your posting your thoughts - you have three things that are important to you. If later, you see the value of composing a certain length of text, within a certain time, rather than with a certain level of accuracy, you could incorporated that into your compositional cycle.

Basically, don't get bogged down developing just one skill-set. Feel free to make mistakes in the other skill sections as you develop each required skill-set in turn. When you see comments and feedback, don't filter them defensively and say, "That comment isn't applicable to the skill-set that I (CAPITAL EGO) was trying to develop, and ignore it. When you concentrate on one, your errors in the other will become apparent, and truly so. Take your real mistakes (what you were not concentrating on), as opportunities to learn and design drilling exercises to get correct patterns and forms into you sub-conscious, or the correct usage of words into your lexicon. Mistakes are the process of learning, don't shy from them. Everyone here supports someone who tries. If you have the stamina to undergo the emotional churning, progress in any language can be swift. Try your best.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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

Re: Hellenistic Greek for the Modern World

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 17th, 2015, 2:00 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Koine Greek wasn't really designed to describe the modern world or to think like modern people think.
I have a problem with the world "bottle". It seems to me that the concept of putting so ephemeral a thing as wine or water into such an expensive and lasting container as glass was not conceived of. Should each "bottle" as we modernly think of them be translated as λήκυθος or φιάλη.

ImageImage

It seems that φιάλη is the more general word for a glass container or still only for fragrant ungent? Additionally, should a bottle of oil still be considered a λήκυθος regardless of its material. Likewise, should a bottle of water still be called an ὑδρία, even though it is glass or plastic? Should a bottle of wine still be called an ἄσκος?

ImageImage

Does function supercede form, shape or materials in the priority of naming.

Attributions:
Copyright for the oil-container image rests with C messier, and they have authourised its use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Copyright for the image of the vial rests with the authour Rama, and they have licensed it under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license. Copyright for the image of the water container rests with Marcus Cyron, and they have licensed it under a Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. The copyright of the image of the empty wine bottle is held by Patrick Heusser, and they have authourised its use under a Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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