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?
Jesse Goulet
Posts: 85
Joined: October 15th, 2011, 12:48 pm

Re: More flashcards?

Post by Jesse Goulet » April 22nd, 2013, 1:11 pm

Louis L Sorenson wrote: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.
That is essentially what we did also in our intermediate course. We'd have to read half or an entire chapter from John's Gospel and simply look up words we didn't know.
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).
I have Robinson's Mastering Greek Vocab which groups words by stem/root.
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.
Robinson does this :)
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 looked up some syllabi of intermediate classes online, and many of them go through Metzger or Trenchard and have students memorize words about 20 or 30 times in the NT. The little lexicon at the back of Mounce's Basics has words used 10 times or more which I think is a reasonable goal so I've opted for that.
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 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.
How about memorizing glosses using simple lexicon but then expand and build upon those with a thicker lexicon?

I'm also wondering why textbooks and professors have students memorize glosses instead of actual definitions. In English classes going through elementary school we never learned English glosses, we learned definitions.

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