Policy: B-Greek does require Greek

How can I best learn the paradigms of nouns and verbs and the other inflected parts of speech?
Ken M. Penner
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Re: Policy: B-Greek does require Greek

Post by Ken M. Penner » June 23rd, 2015, 9:12 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Here is an acid test: you'll know it's worked when you pick up an extra-biblical Greek text and are able independently to read it without an interlinear. Let me know when you can do that, and then I'll revise my opinion on the destructive nature of interlinears.
I started reading the NT with an interlinear, and I can now independently read extra-biblical Greek texts without an interlinear.
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Policy: B-Greek does require Greek

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 23rd, 2015, 3:23 pm

Ken M. Penner wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:Here is an acid test: you'll know it's worked when you pick up an extra-biblical Greek text and are able independently to read it without an interlinear. Let me know when you can do that, and then I'll revise my opinion on the destructive nature of interlinears.
I started reading the NT with an interlinear, and I can now independently read extra-biblical Greek texts without an interlinear.
καλῶς. οὕτως δὲ πάσας τὰς πτώσεις μεμάθηκας ἢ ἄλλως;
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Ken M. Penner
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Re: Policy: B-Greek does require Greek

Post by Ken M. Penner » June 23rd, 2015, 5:12 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:οὕτως δὲ πάσας τὰς πτώσεις μεμάθηκας ἢ ἄλλως;
ἄλλως.
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

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

Re: Policy: B-Greek does require Greek

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 24th, 2015, 6:25 am

Ken M. Penner wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:οὕτως δὲ πάσας τὰς πτώσεις μεμάθηκας ἢ ἄλλως;
ἄλλως.
ἀληθῶς κάκριβῶς! You didn't simply use interlinears, and with all due respect, my guess would be that you quickly migrated to other and more traditional means of learning your Greek. I also suspect that your learning the language would have been helped even more had you not had any involvement with interlinears.
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: Policy: B-Greek does require Greek

Post by cwconrad » June 24th, 2015, 8:41 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Ken M. Penner wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:οὕτως δὲ πάσας τὰς πτώσεις μεμάθηκας ἢ ἄλλως;
ἄλλως.
ἀληθῶς κάκριβῶς! You didn't simply use interlinears, and with all due respect, my guess would be that you quickly migrated to other and more traditional means of learning your Greek. I also suspect that your learning the language would have been helped even more had you not had any involvement with interlinears.
I do think that the sooner a reader of Greek texts can discern at sight the form of any inflected word in a text being confronted, the quicker the transition to reading ever-longer stretches of text. I recall learning a rather sizable list of principal parts of verbs and also the time spent in the classroom early on at analyzing every verb-form (those are the challenges! -- nouns and adjectives are a piece of cake!) into its component elements: prefix, augment, root, tense-stem, modal infix, thematic vowel (or lack thereof), voice infix, personal ending (or infinitival ending or gender, number, and case endings of participles). Instant recognition came a lot sooner than I expected it, sort of like driving away on a bicycle without training wheels or an adult to keep you in balance.
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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Re: Policy: B-Greek does require Greek

Post by Stephen Hughes » June 24th, 2015, 8:53 am

Progress, change of approach and development of one's ideas is part if learning and sign of education. Doing or saying the same thing over and over again contrawise.

In teaching from interlinears, I have found some good points and some limitations.

The main positive point is that they preserve Greek word-order. The downside is that without representing the grammatical relationship between elements, the preserved word-order creates the negative impression that the Greek word-order is unnatural. Recognising patterns of what a grammarian would call cases from conversational and games part of the class helped a lot with that.

They simply things greatly. This is good because the amount of information supplied does not overwhelm the user. The downside is that the verb system is understood in terms of tge English verbal system. Υπάγετε (Mark 11:3) is rendered as "go" the nuances of "from this place" (lexical semantic), "and while you are going" (present imperative - grammatical information for aspect in relation to the following verbs), "together" (from the 2nd person plural form of the imperative) are lost.They would be lost in a translation approach too. Pointing out that the interlinear is a translation is a simple matter and easily solves that.

An interlinear is a dictionary and it is not. There are two features of a dictionary. One it divides the meaning of a Greek word intp parts that are semantically different. Also it gives a number of alternative glosses so that meanings can be understood in a narrow way within those broader divisions. The interlinear presumably correctly assigns to each word a gloss from the right semantic domain. In that way it is better than learning a list of words with single glosses. Polysemy is incorporated into the model of dealing with the text. The downside is that all the understanding of the word derives from assocuations in English, and not from etymology (which is useful in a few situations) and from cognate words that could be recognised if the Greek itself were read. Explaining which sense the English gloss should be taken in, works with a teacher. For someone reading without guidance it could be difficult. For readers in a translation method, the errors would be multiplied by the number of semantic domains a word has which meanings could be randomly chosen from. In both cases, the skillful use of a dictionary is needed - and interlinear users have an initial leg-up.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Policy: B-Greek does require Greek

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 25th, 2015, 7:27 pm

In my experience, over-the-top condemnations are not persuasive to people genuinely curious about the pro's and con's of a particular matter--even when, as here, the substance of these expressions reflects years of experience in pedagogy where learners reliant on interlinears rarely seem to advance to the next level of learning Greek.

I find interlinears helpful in studying the translation technique of a particular translation, to see fairly quickly how formal or dynamic the translation is. Of course, this use of the interlinear allows me--not to learn Greek--but to use my knowledge of Greek and the source text to learn about a translator's technique in the target text. Of course, this only works for interlinears keyed to a particular translation. (Reuben Swanson has also developed a Greek-to-Greek interlinear for textual criticism that is extremely useful too.)

As learners are neither interested nor competent in this topic, I agree that it is best to recommend avoiding them altogether in the learning process and advance to reading Greek without a net as soon as practical. But claiming that they are the spawn of the devil or some such may be more effective at communicating one's feelings than one's rationale.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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