More flashcards?

How can I best learn new vocabulary items? What aids are there and what pitfalls should be avoided? How does a beginner learn to use a lexicon?

More flashcards?

Postby Jesse Goulet » April 15th, 2013, 5:58 pm

At one point should a student stop making and using vocabulary cards?

The typical beginning, first-year biblical Greek student will probably be using flashcards for the words they are introduced to in their first-year textbook, which usually is something like words used 50 times or more, etc.

I went through Mounce, and now know 319+ words out of 5,423 that are in the NT. So once a student has a solid grasp of their first-year vocabulary, should they then go on to add more vocabulary cards as they come across new words in their NT reading? Or is it time to put the flashcards away and move on to looking up new words in the lexicon as we come across them during our further studies?

Or is a combination of both recommended?
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Re: More flashcards?

Postby Barry Hofstetter » April 16th, 2013, 6:33 am

Jesse Goulet wrote:At one point should a student stop making and using vocabulary cards?

The typical beginning, first-year biblical Greek student will probably be using flashcards for the words they are introduced to in their first-year textbook, which usually is something like words used 50 times or more, etc.

I went through Mounce, and now know 319+ words out of 5,423 that are in the NT. So once a student has a solid grasp of their first-year vocabulary, should they then go on to add more vocabulary cards as they come across new words in their NT reading? Or is it time to put the flashcards away and move on to looking up new words in the lexicon as we come across them during our further studies?

Or is a combination of both recommended?


Absolutely the best way to learn vocabulary items is to use them in context, especially through reading the literature. Having said that, I used the Vis-Ed Classical Greek cards through grad school, and they helped build a base which helped me to read the Greek with a lot less attention to the lexicon than I would have otherwise had to do. The Vis-Ed cards have one thousand "root" forms, and each card has anywhere from one to six related words. As I recall, the biblical Greek Vis-Ed cards weren't nearly as helpful. One of my college Greek professor's rule was: if you have to look up a word three times, memorize it -- the entire range of of meaning...
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Re: More flashcards?

Postby John Brainard » April 16th, 2013, 6:46 am

One of the tools that has helped me is found here.

http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hil ... ioPage.htm

The segment on 1 John is very helpful as it gives the Greek and the English.
Also I listen to the New Testament in Koine as I travel in my car everyday. I have the complete New Testament by Marilyn Phemister on CD.

I still use flash cards as well.

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Re: More flashcards?

Postby Shirley Rollinson » April 16th, 2013, 9:19 pm

After about the first year, I started reading the GNT for myself (with the aid of Grosvernor and Zerwick).
As I read a passage I made a note of the words I didn't know, wrote out the meaning and any relevant etymology.
I keep the notes in 3-ring binders, then they're there when I read the passage again.
That was years ago.
I'm now teaching, and I'm still doing it.
In fact, today I was learning how to make online flash-cards for my students.
Adding the LXX, Homer, assorted classics.
The discipline of writing the words and their translations helps me to remember when I meet them again.
Read - read - read at least a few minutes every day :-)
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Re: More flashcards?

Postby Louis L Sorenson » April 16th, 2013, 10:13 pm

Check out Flashcard Exchange: http://www.flashcardexchange.com/. Also check out the ANKI decks and other iphone/droid/android/etc. apps for learning NT Greek vocabulary.
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Re: More flashcards?

Postby Jesse Goulet » April 17th, 2013, 4:39 pm

I'm simply asking at what point students should stop relying on flashcards and begin relying more on looking things up in a lexicon. Because if students are going about doing flashcards for every single word they are going to be creating cards for the rest of their life. Especially if they also want to study the Septuagint as well.

Personally, I'm done Mounce's Basics and am now going through his Graded Reader and have been adding all the new words to my iFlash program on my laptop, but even with a computer program it's been tedious. But then I worry if I drop the flashcards and just look up words that I might then be missing out on acquiring a super sturdy vocabulary base.

I'm pondering whether I should only create cards for words used over 3, 5, or 10 times in the NT (or LXX) and then look up words used less frequently, just like I do with an English dictionary.

Or perhaps this is all personal preference?
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Re: More flashcards?

Postby Ruth Mathys » April 18th, 2013, 2:42 am

I wish there had been more emphasis on learning vocabulary in the courses I took. I haven't read a lot of Greek in the many, many moons since I was a student, and now I find that the grammar comes back to me fairly easily but the vocab isn't there.

If creating the cards is a nuisance for you, try Ken Penner's Flash!Pro which comes with LXX and NT Greek and MT Hebrew cards already made. Well, Ken can tell you the details! I'm no expert with flashcard software, but I like the various options for selecting the items you want to drill (everything that occurs more than x number of times in the NT, every lexeme in such-and-such a book, every word I got wrong last time, etc.).

The difference between learning from flashcards and using a lexicon, I find, is that most flashcards only list glosses rather than meanings-in-context. You really need your cards to include details like whether a verb is used transitively, intransitively or both; does a verb have a mediopassive meaning that is not just a passive of its active meaning; how prepositions change their meaning depending on the case of the noun; significant grammatical constructions or collocations; etc.

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Re: More flashcards?

Postby ed krentz » April 19th, 2013, 5:25 pm

If you memorize all the terms that occur 10 times or more in the GNT, you will be able to read over 90% of the GNT at sight. Use Bruce Metzger's book that lists words in terms of frequency.

Of course, you will also need to memorize the principle parts of all the irregular Greek verbs.

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Re: More flashcards?

Postby Jesse Goulet » April 21st, 2013, 3:24 pm

It's not so much that creating the cards is a nuisance, because I quite enjoy creating more cards (I used iFlash which is fantastic and simple to use for Mac users).

I'm asking what the learning value is of continuing on with adding more flashcards for new words. Should a student stop once they have the basic introductory textbook words memorized? Do students learn newer vocabulary better by looking up new words over and over until they know them well enough? Or by creating a card for the new word and then reviewing the card over and over?

Or is it a matter of personal preference?

***

I should ask an additional question.

For those who have taken intermediate and advanced coursework in biblical Greek, what did your teachers do for additional vocabulary? Did s/he make you learn up to an increased percentage of words (e.g., going from words used 50x or more down to 20x or more)? All my teacher did was review the basic vocab from the intro courses.
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Re: More flashcards?

Postby Louis L Sorenson » April 21st, 2013, 9:56 pm

Jesse wrote
For those who have taken intermediate and advanced coursework in biblical Greek, what did your teachers do for additional vocabulary?


Not much for NT in my minor. But at the University of MN (where I got a major in classical Greek) it was read, read, read, and make a running vocab list of the passage. There were none of the niceties of click-and-parse or click-and-gloss. Each class we had to read two full pages of the Greek text for each class - three times a week. And that was texts which we did not know and had never or seldom read in English.

You need to get a handle on Greek word formation and learn word groups. Metzger's "Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek" is an old one. There are several new books on this such as Trenchard's "Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament." Another older book is "Greek Word-Building" by Matthias Stehle (SBL Sources for Biblical Study 10 Revised by Herbert Zimmermann and Translated by F Forrester Curch and John S. Hanson, 1976).

Being able to identify word roots and split apart words, e.g. ὁδοιπορούντων (Ac 10.9) > ὁδοῖ (ὁδός) + πορεύομαι = travel, be on the way, is an important skill that will increase your vocab quickly.

Identifying English cognates also helps, e.g. ἕρπω, ἕπετον > s-erpw, serpet- , similar to our word serpent and the word herpatology.

I would steer away from more flash cards after you've got the basic 300 words. The problem is that flash cards give you glosses out of context and almost always in the nominative forms. If you want to keep using flashcards, you should start glossing phrases, e.g. προσευχόμενος ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ, ὁδοιπορούντων ἐκείνων (Ac 10.9)

I think you might get more range of vocab by reading through the entire entry of a word when you are stumped. The Middle LSJ lexicon which you can find on Perseus is a great tool for the intermediate student. Go to http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph? and drag that link to your browser's toolbar. Middle LSJ generally omits all the dialect forms of various words and has mostly gloss information and citations. Also, Danker has an intermediate lexicon (a condensed) BDAG that is useful. The lexicon in the back of the USB (Newman-Barclay) is way too slim to help you and may steer you incorrectly sometimes because it does not have the range of word use that you need to see.
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