Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

How can I best learn the paradigms of nouns and verbs and the other inflected parts of speech?
R. Perkins
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Joined: January 18th, 2013, 9:55 pm

Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by R. Perkins » June 5th, 2015, 1:28 am

I realize this thread is quite old, but wanted to inquire a bit into this subject.

Several years ago I was reading a heavily exegetical work edited by Kostenberger & Schreiner. The authors kept using syntactical references (I didn't even really know what syntax was at the time :oops: ) to the infinitive verb + οὐδὲ + infinitive verb construct. Every time I would come to a Greek word I would just read over it & attempt to figure out the word via context.

Finally, I said, "Okay, I'm going to at least *try* to learn greek & just see how it progresses." So, I started listening to Mounce on-line & bought his book BBG. I learned the vocabulary, how to read the language (though not always able to translate), and made much progress in understanding the relationship between mood-tense, the function of the nominative case vs. the accusative, genitive, dative, vocative (though still not clear on how to distinguish the vocative from, say, the dative :mrgreen: .

I worked through Mounce's BBG up until I learned the article paradigm - then I burned out (I know - too feint-hearted 'eh :oops:? ). During this time I also took classes from Mounce's free courses on-line, which really helped as well. Then, I read about the book entitled "Greek for the Rest of Us" by Mounce. I purchased & read it (as well as following along in some classes) & really learned a lot from this book.

I have all of the standard grammars & lexicons: Wallace's GGBB, BDF, Dana & Mantey, Mounce, BDAG, LXX, NET Full-Notes, Louw-Nida, etc., etc....all of which have really helped.

Conclusion of the matter for me? Slowly still learning as I go along & to be honest, it can be overwhelming at times (been working through verbs in Mounce's Greek For the Rest of Us & when I got to the augments I felt that old sinking feeling again that perhaps this is just too much for me. The further I progress the more I realize that you have to pay attention to every single letter in word - not to even mention the significance of word-order (syntax) in translation-proper.

Then there is the ever nettlesome question of how to distinguish between a 1st or 2nd Aorist (or even how to recognize an Aorist?), the approximately 12-20 different forms of the genitive, the varying forms of the dative, etc., etc. Yes, to be honest I lose the heart sometimes, but, still, there is something very intriguing about Koine' to me & I try to read at least a little from the GNT every day or so.

The rewarding part is that recently while on a plane I picked up my iPad & just started reading a Greek text in I Cor. (with no tools) & was able to accurately translate the whole passage without ANY assistance :o ! Felt very rewarding - but, to be honest, it does get overwhelming when working through verbs & syntax. But, this forum is an unbelievable help (also just acquired the Discovery Bible with the in-depth word definitions by Drs. Gleason Archer & Gary Hill, which is also helpful).

Funny thing is, several times before preaching I've been introduced by well-meaning men as a "Greek-scholar" :lol: !? I wince in embarrassment, knowing how laughable that is to *anyone* with a cursory knowledge of Koine'. Tks. for letting me vent my frustration :oops: .

cwconrad
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Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by cwconrad » June 5th, 2015, 9:15 am

R. Perkins wrote:Funny thing is, several times before preaching I've been introduced by well-meaning men as a "Greek-scholar" :lol: !? I wince in embarrassment, knowing how laughable that is to *anyone* with a cursory knowledge of Koine'. Tks. for letting me vent my frustration :oops: .
This is an old, old source of amusement amongst us here on B-Greek, but it's alway good for another smile! Sort of like, "The poor you have always with you ... " Sad, but true.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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

Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by Stephen Hughes » June 5th, 2015, 2:00 pm

R. Perkins wrote:the approximately 12-20 different forms of the genitive, the varying forms of the dative, etc., etc. Yes, to be honest I lose the heart sometimes, but, still, there is something very intriguing about Koine' to me
The article and diminutives are a great help.The grammatical simplification of moving vast quantities of vocabulary to neuter, without the force of the diminutive is one of the features of Koine (language of the people's daily communication), i.e. not the literary language (where the words keep their full forms) [Is "full" or "augmentative" the opposite of "diminutive" in this sense??]. Presumably, it was the way that adults spoke to the children that they had contact with, with the full case system probably being acquired by the age of about 8 or 9. Needless to say, communication went on between people while the mastery of the number case system was being developed. A mark of education and formal training would be to be able to use the full forms in compositions, rather than just the ones usually used in speech.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

R. Perkins
Posts: 34
Joined: January 18th, 2013, 9:55 pm

Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by R. Perkins » July 28th, 2015, 3:01 am

I am presently taking classes on-line from Dr. Maury Robertson's "Greek for Everyone." Just started my 2nd semester - have worked my way up to verbal tense-formatives.

Good grief - and I thought the noun declensions were rough (actually, believe it or not I had the most trouble with the 3-3 adjectives - & pronouns were no fun either :o !).

Question: When you took 1st year Greek were you allowed to use your master chart for tests? Or, were you expected to memorize every-single paradigm & subsequent morph(ing)?

My professor has absolutely no problem with me doing so (he even stated that he *STILL* has to use his master chart sometimes - & he has a PhD.).

So far, I am averaging approx. 95% on all quizzes & made a 93 on my substantive mid-term (would have made a 96 but made a couple of stupid mistakes that I knew better than to make :evil: ). But, I confess - now that I have launched into the verbal paradigms I am beginning to think I'll never get this down :cry: .

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 29th, 2015, 8:46 am

I took beginning Greek starting in 1977. No charts. Strict memorization. A professor who never smiled the first semester. A traditional textbook. Somehow it all worked.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 29th, 2015, 9:13 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:I took beginning Greek starting in 1977. No charts. Strict memorization. A professor who never smiled the first semester. A traditional textbook. Somehow it all worked.
My experience in 1983 was very different: my teacher had a great smile.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

cwconrad
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Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by cwconrad » July 29th, 2015, 9:26 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:I took beginning Greek starting in 1977. No charts. Strict memorization. A professor who never smiled the first semester. A traditional textbook. Somehow it all worked.
My experience in 1983 was very different: my teacher had a great smile.
I think I've talked (perhaps ad nauseam) about my experience back in 1952: plunging into the gospel of Mark and talking about each new word and how it adds to a developing construction and meaning, with smiles, laughs, adventures, revelations, enchantment. Looking back it does seem like magic, like a vision unfolding before our eyes and mind's eyes.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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

Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 30th, 2015, 11:33 am

I too started my study of Greek early enough to be unencumbered by the use of digital technology's intrusion into the learning process. No gimicks or promises of an easy way. It used to be easier to know what had been internalised and what still needed to be. Now there are so many ways to get around various steps in the learning process. Unless you're struggling, frustrated at your wit's end the language is not fashioning you inside. If it's not foreign and difficult, it's not Greek, it's English dressed up in clothes put on awkwardly.

A significant part of my job as a language teacher is helping students pick up and reform the pieces of their ego after their realisation that all that was familiar and "real" before was a construct. My students pay me to make them the best, and that takes effort both by me and them. A lot of that effort is emotional.

The personal interaction between teacher and student to brrak and make is not so easy or direct in a digital medium. I don't call Wes my student, but the way I dealt with him was tame. The only way to get the best is to work together for it. The digital situation is remote and somewhat unengaging. Reformation of a students' self-perception and place in the world is not easy, especially for first foreign language learners.

This post in no way implies that others contributing to this thread share my view.
Last edited by Stephen Hughes on July 30th, 2015, 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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

Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 30th, 2015, 11:47 am

Actually, Dr. freyman had an excellent sense of humor and on occasion was known to do tri-lingual puns.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

cwconrad
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Re: Beginners: how are you learning? how is it going?

Post by cwconrad » July 30th, 2015, 1:09 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:The personal interaction between teacher and student to brrak and make is not so easy or direct in a digital medium. I don't call Wes my student, but the way I dealt with him was tame. The only way to get the best is to work together for it. The digital situation is remote and somewhat unengaging. Reformation of a students' self-perception and place in the world is not easy, especially for first foreign language learners.
Perhaps I state the obvious if I say that "the swerve" -- the inevitable deviation from what is assumed to be a "norm" -- vitiates so many generalizations about pedagogy. There's something unique in the character and modes of interaction of every student and every teacher, a fact that can facilitate or hinder the success of almost any pedagogical method or textbook. A facile student or a facile teacher is a blessing, but in my experience there's a "chemistry" that is unique in every interaction between teacher and student. Hitting the home run in pedagogical interaction may depend as much on luck or the grace of God as on the skill of the teacher or the discernment and industry of the student. I guess we strike out more often than we hit home runs, but ...
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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