Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

How can I learn to express my ideas in clear and intelligible Greek?
Jonathan Robie
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 26th, 2015, 2:41 pm

There is a group that would prefer more systematic instruction related to biblical texts, and would prefer a private setting.

To me, it sounds like some people would like an area that lets them write the kinds of things we are seeing in the Greek Writing Practice: Hold your nose and jump! thread, are reasonably comfortable writing in Greek, and don't want such narrow constraints. I don't think this is the same thing, and I think it would tend to drown out what the first group wants. Traditionally, the answer has been to send such people to chat on sxole.com. I could imagine setting up a place for this too, but I would want to discuss the idea further and think about whether this would undermine sxole, whether it should be an opt-in subforum, whether it should be archived, whether it should be public, etc. First question: does it belong here, or does it belong elsewhere?

I could also imagine organizing a Hangout group for people who want to practice conversational Koine, if we could think of a way to do so. But I suspect that's much more likely to succeed with at least one teacher committed to it.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Devenios Doulenios
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Devenios Doulenios » May 26th, 2015, 9:15 pm

Jonathan, definitely add me to your list of participants. Except for not having hung out on existing sites where composition is going on (Textkit and ΣΧΟΛΗ--although I have written very little in Greek there), I definitely meet the qualifications of having very basic and not so good composition skills. But I am eager to improve and willing to learn and accept correction. Stephen, I appreciate the reply and am pleased to tell you I understood the gist of your Greek. Though your explanations of the vocab were also greatly appreciated. :D

Could the moderators please email or PM me here when the forum gets unlocked?

Meanwhile, I am following the discussions about the new forum with great interest and no doubt will contribute more to that.
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"τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὸν θάνατον δέδωκα πρὸ προσώπου ὑμῶν τὴν εὐλογίαν καὶ τὴν κατάραν ἔκλεξαι τὴν ζωήν ἵνα ζῇς σὺ καὶ τὸ σπέρμα σου"-Δευτερονόμιον 30:19

"Ὁδοὶ δύο εἰσί, μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανάτου."--Διδαχή Α, α'

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Stephen Hughes » May 27th, 2015, 12:31 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Besides the well known North and Hillard, Greek Prose Composition available from Textkit, there is also the 1891 work by Frank Edward Woodruff, New Greek Prose Composition, which appears to me to be a little easier. It is available on Google books.
Those both take a different direction than what I suggested. I would really prefer something based on writing in response to biblical texts, starting with very basic skills and working our way up. But maybe these could be used to help construct exercises around the biblical texts.
Anther work with a very mid-nineteenth century sounding title is Charles Anthon, An introduction to Greek prose composition: with copious explanatory examples in which all the most important principles of Greek syntax are fully elucidated.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Stephen Hughes » May 27th, 2015, 12:36 am

Devenios Doulenios wrote:Stephen, I appreciate the reply and am pleased to tell you I understood the gist of your Greek. Though your explanations of the vocab were also greatly appreciated. :D
I had originally thought it was in the Beginner's Sub-forum when I wrote the vocabulary explanations, hence the illogical inclusions.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » May 27th, 2015, 10:49 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:There is a group that would prefer more systematic instruction related to biblical texts, and would prefer a private setting.

To me, it sounds like some people would like an area that lets them write the kinds of things we are seeing in the Greek Writing Practice: Hold your nose and jump! thread, are reasonably comfortable writing in Greek, and don't want such narrow constraints. I don't think this is the same thing, and I think it would tend to drown out what the first group wants. Traditionally, the answer has been to send such people to chat on sxole.com. I could imagine setting up a place for this too, but I would want to discuss the idea further and think about whether this would undermine sxole, whether it should be an opt-in subforum, whether it should be archived, whether it should be public, etc. First question: does it belong here, or does it belong elsewhere?

I could also imagine organizing a Hangout group for people who want to practice conversational Koine, if we could think of a way to do so. But I suspect that's much more likely to succeed with at least one teacher committed to it.
Thank you for steering us through these (sometimes competing) interests and requirements. My own centre of interest for certain is the Biblical text, but I have come to see that if one is to gain real facility with that language as a language then one will have to access a wider corpus. Not only is the Biblical text a relatively small corpus, but when you begin to take account of what is NOT included there, then you realize that a much broader base is needed to construct a functional language. And, of course, the writers of Biblical text themselves would have been proficient in the much larger context of Helenistic Greek.

Speaking just for myself again, I think that if you wish to achieve some 'liberty' in the use of the language, then spontaneity and variety are of great benefit. If it is too tightly 'constructed' - at least past the initial stages - then I think it will be hard to achieve that 'thoughtless' response that is the mark of a real language. As I think the great majority of L2 learners would readily attest, learning a new language is an untidy business.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 3rd, 2015, 1:23 am

Jonathan Robie in the private composition thread wrote:I'm going to lock this forum until next week, when Wes can join us, and suggest that we discuss how to do this in the public forum for now.
Since the private sub-forum was locked, over 10% of the world's population is a year older now. Within the limited population of 1,614 members on this forum, that results in a total waiting time so far of 172 equivalent human life years, rather than "next week".

Has the idea keeled over and been left for dead in the water, or perhaps it has been sent to Rachel, Navada for long-term secret storage?
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Louis L Sorenson
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Louis L Sorenson » July 3rd, 2015, 1:41 am

I think the only way such a forum could be ultimately successful would be for users to be anonymous. U1, U2, U3. ... Those posters, probably confident compositionists or neo-compositionists would feel free to use their real identities. But if a NT professor at a college wants to get involved, and must use his real name, he/she won't. because he/she does not want to be embarrassed. So I think that anonymous needs to be an option. I would never trust an online forum -- ultimately, my real name would come out. So why would a Greek professor at some college or university participate in a composition forum which could reveal their true identity?

Is there a solution to this problem? I'm not sure. I suppose there are 200-300 Greek Koine professors out there. People who teach NT Greek, Koine Greek, in academic institutions in the US. If we on B-Greek could get 10 to participate, that would be fantastic. But no one wants to reveal their weaknesses. At some point, those who have some confidence/competence reveal their identities and in their revelations, let other compositionists let everyone know that in most posts, after you hit 'submit', you realize you made about 3-5 errors in the post. That 'error' hurdle is the issue a composition forum has to compensate for.
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Wes Wood
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Wes Wood » July 3rd, 2015, 9:33 am

I understand why some people may shy away from public mistakes-and certainly no one enjoys making them-but abstaining from participation can be just as revealing. I count myself fortunate to be in a position where I have absolutely nothing to lose, and, even if that should change, I won't do anything any differently. I hope that mine will be a record of steady improvement.
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

cwconrad
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by cwconrad » July 3rd, 2015, 10:18 am

Louis L Sorenson wrote:Is there a solution to this problem? I'm not sure. I suppose there are 200-300 Greek Koine professors out there. People who teach NT Greek, Koine Greek, in academic institutions in the US. If we on B-Greek could get 10 to participate, that would be fantastic. But no one wants to reveal their weaknesses. At some point, those who have some confidence/competence reveal their identities and in their revelations, let other compositionists let everyone know that in most posts, after you hit 'submit', you realize you made about 3-5 errors in the post. That 'error' hurdle is the issue a composition forum has to compensate for.
It's certainly easier to ask the question than to answer it. The fact is that competence is only relative. To a greater or lesser degree, every one of us is deficient, but some are more obviously deficient than others. I doubt that the sort of "anonymity" Louis describes would really disguise participants -- our mannerisms in our posts are so clearly manifest. The hurdle to be overcome is the dread of exposing one's warts to others even if there's hope of removing them. But teaching and learning is a two-way process in my experience. It's not a matter of one or more learning from another, but rather of everybody learning from each other. I firmly believe that in a career of four decades of active classroom teaching, I learned more from my students than I taught them.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
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Devenios Doulenios
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Devenios Doulenios » July 3rd, 2015, 3:56 pm

I certainly understand why some Greek professors might not want to reveal their identities. Not everyone in academia is as humble as Daniel Streett, for instance. And likely not all administrations are sold on applying living language techniques to learning ancient Greek. But even though we might have to make anonymous posting available, I still believe the forum could be valuable. Yes, there are other sites where people can practice writing Koine. But I believe that when learning and improving a skill, you should use every opportunity for growing in that skill--even if you have to create new avenues for doing it.

The B-Greek community has shown great generosity in helping its members improve their Greek skills in other areas. I am confident those who are more competent will assist with the new sub-forum.

Δεβένιος Δουλένιος
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"τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὸν θάνατον δέδωκα πρὸ προσώπου ὑμῶν τὴν εὐλογίαν καὶ τὴν κατάραν ἔκλεξαι τὴν ζωήν ἵνα ζῇς σὺ καὶ τὸ σπέρμα σου"-Δευτερονόμιον 30:19

"Ὁδοὶ δύο εἰσί, μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανάτου."--Διδαχή Α, α'

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