The Daily Dozen

The Daily Dozen

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 14th, 2011, 4:21 pm

After playing the flute most of my life, I finally learned how to practice the flute in my mid-30s. There are certain things you should do, and things you should pay attention to when you do them. You don't just play scales, you listen for particular things as you play them, working on your tone or articulation. (This is the amazing book that taught me how to practice the flute: http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Books-Flute-Omnibus-1-5/dp/0853609365/.)

What daily routines do you recommend for learning biblical Greek? What should you pay attention to when you do these things?

I'm sure this varies by experience level, so consider these cases:

  • A beginner
  • Someone refreshing their first year Greek after a while
  • Someone who has just finished a first year Greek class

Also consider how much time someone has:

  • 15 minutes / day
  • 30 minutes / day
  • 45 minutes / day
  • 60 minutes / day

What kind of daily routine would you recommend? What kind of weekly routine? Can we put together a sample program that covers each of these cases?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
Jonathan Robie
 
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Re: The Daily Dozen

Postby Jason Hare » June 14th, 2011, 6:31 pm

Subscribing.

I'm eager for the replies. I'm not the master reviewer that I'd like to be. I kinda depend on my mind to hold on to things more than I should.

Thanks for starting this up, since I'll be one to reap the benefit of others' intuition and trial-and-error. :)

Regards,
Jason Hare
Jason A. Hare
Rehovot, Israel
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Re: The Daily Dozen

Postby refe » June 20th, 2011, 10:27 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:After playing the flute most of my life, I finally learned how to practice the flute in my mid-30s. There are certain things you should do, and things you should pay attention to when you do them. You don't just play scales, you listen for particular things as you play them, working on your tone or articulation. (This is the amazing book that taught me how to practice the flute: http://www.amazon.com/Practice-Books-Flute-Omnibus-1-5/dp/0853609365/.)

What daily routines do you recommend for learning biblical Greek? What should you pay attention to when you do these things?

I'm sure this varies by experience level, so consider these cases:

  • A beginner
  • Someone refreshing their first year Greek after a while
  • Someone who has just finished a first year Greek class

Also consider how much time someone has:

  • 15 minutes / day
  • 30 minutes / day
  • 45 minutes / day
  • 60 minutes / day

What kind of daily routine would you recommend? What kind of weekly routine? Can we put together a sample program that covers each of these cases?



For the student who has just finished a year of Greek (or anyone attempting to transition from 'beginner' to 'intermediate' for whatever those terms are worth) I recommend spending as much time in the text as possible. I think the best route is to put down the Reader's New Testament and pick up a text that doesn't come with glosses. Read through a section (maybe a paragraph if you only have 15-30 minutes and an entire chapter if you an hour) without assistance, even if you don't understand all of what you're reading. If you choose a book or passage that corresponds to your level of proficiency (maybe 1 John or John if you are a relative beginner, Mark or Matthew or even something from Paul if you are further along) you should be able to get a basic idea of what you are reading. Then, go back through it with BDAG and Wallace (or another reference grammar) close by. When you get to a word you don't understand, look it up and take notes. When you get to a clause or grammatical structure you don't understand, look it up and take notes. This is akin to what you described in your flute playing: you are not just practicing reading Greek, you are paying attention to what in the reading is tripping you up, and where you could be improving your skills.

It may be slow going at first, but after a while you will notice that you are looking things up less and less and reading with comprehension more. This way everything is rooted in the text, inductively, rather than simply isolated drills or flashcards, etc. If you switch it up on certain days of the week with review or further reading in something like Beyond the Basics by Wallace, or Idioms by Porter, you'll be in good shape.
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Re: The Daily Dozen

Postby Jonathan Robie » July 1st, 2011, 5:13 pm

I think this is very helpful advice, Refe. I like the balance of reading a lot without having to understand everything (this builds your intuition for the language), then going back to get the parts you missed. Or even just most of the parts that you missed.

And I do think reading at the right level for you is good advice.

I'm finding I like Carl's format when I go back for the parts I missed the first time.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: The Daily Dozen

Postby Shirley Rollinson » July 6th, 2011, 9:46 pm

Not only "read" some Greek each day - but "read aloud", and "read aloud as if reading a speech, or reading the Lessons in Church" -
i.e. slow down, glance at the words ahead, make sense of the phrasing, and listen to yourself.
Repeat a section until you get it fairly fluently.
It's tough at first, but it really gets Greek wired into the brain.
Students who do that for me are reading fluently with comprehension before the end of their first semester.
Students who don't do it are still stumbling and bumbling even after a couple of years.
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Re: The Daily Dozen

Postby ZackSkrip » February 17th, 2012, 6:54 pm

Sorry for the necro-post, but this is along the lines of what I'm trying to do.

I have a B.A. in biblical studies with 2yrs of Greek, plus a bunch of LXX Greek in my M.A. and right now I am a manager at a pharma company, while also being a lay teacher and my church. I have been totally convicted that I have been wasting my languages, and I am trying to get them back to proficiency.

I'm currently working through a passage (slowly) that I will preach on in March. When I get the chance, I am reading through Mounce to help me understand sections that are confusing. I'm also reading the passage in Greek quietly and aloud a couple times a day. I'd like to get the Zondervan Reader's Bible as I am trying to work towards actually reading and understanding the text, rather than "working" the text for the sole purpose of exegesis.

I'm also working on getting my vocab back to everything greater than 30x and I'm reviewing my parsing charts regularly. (everyday)

When you all talk about "reading," do you mean reading with comprehension? Or do you mean able to pronounce the words quickly? I've never had a problem with the latter, but the former has proven more difficult. That's why I'd like to add the Reader's Bible and work on that more than using BW with my sermon prep. I'd like the language to actually become a part of me. Is my plan the right one, or is there something else I should be doing? Thanks!
Zack Skrip
Teacher with Lifeway Church of Billings
http://strandedscholar.blogspot.com
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Re: The Daily Dozen

Postby Shirley Rollinson » February 17th, 2012, 11:09 pm

Yes, I mean "read with comprehension" - the way I hope someone would read the lessons in church. Look ahead, get the sense of the sentence, and read it with natural breaks etc, to show the phrasing. Repeat it a ocuple of times if the first time gives problems with the sense and phrasing.
To help with vocabulary - write out the words I don't recognize promptly, then check them in the dictionary and parse them (write out notes on the parsing to help remember them). Make flash-cards if necessary, of maybe 5 new words a day. A help with parsing and unravelling the text is Zerwick and Grosvenor "A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament"
I really don't find Mounce very helpful - and my students hated it when I tried it for a couple of weeks - they didn't even finish a semester with it, but asked to go back to Dobson's book. I don't use Dobson any more either, because every edition has spawned more typos, and though it gets them reading fluerntly it's deficient for grammar. That's why I'm currently working on an Online Greek Textbook (see http://www.drshirley.org/greek/textbook/contents.html ).
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Re: The Daily Dozen

Postby RandallButh » February 18th, 2012, 3:45 am

I suppose I should close the triangle on this.
Yes, 'reading' means comprehension.
And yes, reading is PART of the process.
However, true fluent reading is based on having fluent speaking skills in a language.

To quote the results of one recent study, if teachers want to improve the reading skills of some intermediate level students in a language, they should focus on improving their speaking skills.

PS: 'reading aloud' is a separate skill and not directly related to developing fluency or speech. You may have noticed that when you read a passage to someone else in a language that you know well (e.g. mother-tongue), you sometimes have trouble remembering all of the parts or a piece of what you said/read. The read-aloud process takes extra energy and is a little bit distracting.
(In antiquity people usually read aloud, but that was because they were 'discovering' the text that was written as one long run on word.)

Speech is developed through live speaking on real topics and through much listening. That will build the matrix in the brain that provides for fluent reading.
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