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Alphabet resources

Posted: December 20th, 2015, 9:27 am
by Jonathan Robie
If we're aiming this at real beginners, we need to start with the alphabet. I suspect we could steer students to existing resources for teaching the alphabet rather than create our own from scratch. What are the best ones? I'd like to teach both pronunciation and handwriting, what web-based resources do that well? Micheal Palmer does this well here:

http://greek-language.com/Alphabet.html
http://greek-language.com/grammar/

These are also useful:

http://livingwaterbiblegames.com/greek- ... iting.html
http://www.foundalis.com/lan/hw/grkhandw.htm

But I'd really like worksheets that can be printed out so you can practice writing the way we did in elementary school. Are there good ones? What other good alphabet resources are there? Are there good Youtube resources?

Re: Alphabet resources

Posted: December 20th, 2015, 10:36 am
by Jonathan Robie

Re: Guinea pigs

Posted: December 20th, 2015, 1:19 pm
by Stephen Hughes
I realise that it is slightly cross-purposes with your intention, but let me say it anyway.

It is easier to learn an alphabet, if the students already know some words that they then have a need to write down. Alphabet is the basis of reading an unknown text, rather than of language learning per se.

Re: Alphabet resources

Posted: December 20th, 2015, 3:18 pm
by Jonathan Robie
Another pet peeve: we should teach people how to find things in alphabetical order, not just now to pronounce words. The only good mnemonic I know for this is not thinking in Greek at all, but I do find it effective:

αβγδε - All Bigots Get Diarrhea Eventually
ζηθικ - Zorro ate the ice cap
λμνξο - Let's munch nuts excessively, OK?
πρστ - pigs really stink terribly
υφχψω - under five chairs, psychiatrists wink

Re: Guinea pigs

Posted: December 20th, 2015, 3:49 pm
by Jonathan Robie
Stephen Hughes wrote:I realise that it is slightly cross-purposes with your intention, but let me say it anyway.

It is easier to learn an alphabet, if the students already know some words that they then have a need to write down. Alphabet is the basis of reading an unknown text, rather than of language learning per se.
I agree. At the same time, I think learning the alphabet very early on is important if we want people to be able to use all four channels: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and I think it's relatively easy to pick up.

I've seen people use common words or widely know words like Ἀββά, ἀγάπη, θεὸς to teach the alphabet, I've seen people use well known names like Ἰησοῦς, Παῦλος, Δαυίδ, and I've seen people use cognates like δόγμα, ἀλάβαστρος, Ἀσία, βάρβαρος, γάγγραινα. Ideally, any approach would be combined with pronunciation and writing the letters by hand. And if done efficiently, it shouldn't take more than an hour or two to master the alphabet.

Is there a group of people that wants to put their minds to this part? It might be an easy one to use images with.

Re: Alphabet resources

Posted: December 21st, 2015, 12:23 pm
by Peter Pankonin
I used Mounce's Alphabet song:
http://doxa.billmounce.com/Alphabet.mp3

Re: Guinea pigs

Posted: December 21st, 2015, 4:34 pm
by mwpalmer
Stephen Hughes wrote:It is easier to learn an alphabet, if the students already know some words that they then have a need to write down. Alphabet is the basis of reading an unknown text, rather than of language learning per se.
Excellent point, Stephen. The lessons on the alphabet at Greek-Language.com were written in the mid-1990s. If I were writing them now I'd teach the alphabet the way you recommend! I still may do that, but finding the time is difficult. ;)

Re: Guinea pigs

Posted: December 21st, 2015, 4:54 pm
by Thomas Dolhanty
mwpalmer wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:It is easier to learn an alphabet, if the students already know some words that they then have a need to write down. Alphabet is the basis of reading an unknown text, rather than of language learning per se.
Excellent point, Stephen. The lessons on the alphabet at Greek-Language.com were written in the mid-1990s. If I were writing them now I'd teach the alphabet the way you recommend! I still may do that, but finding the time is difficult. ;)
I agree. I teach the alphabet in the context of the first simple vocabulary words, and then for the first quiz I spell out the words orally - slowly, letter by letter. The student must write down the word and then write the gloss. It puts the focus on the words rather than a list of abstract letters.

Re: Alphabet resources

Posted: December 21st, 2015, 5:08 pm
by Jonathan Robie
In the context of teaching the John 1 materials, I'm not sure what people are suggesting. Are you suggesting that we start by teaching the letters together with the words that appear in the first few verses, rather than before they start? That might work, but I think there's a problem with the uneven distribution of letters and dipthongs in those verses.

Here's a pragmatic question: is anyone interested in developing resources for the alphabet that take a better approach? If not, I'd rather point at existing resources and focus on other factors when introducing the text of John 1. If so, I'd like to identify the person who is doing that.

Re: Alphabet resources

Posted: December 21st, 2015, 6:23 pm
by Stephen Hughes
Jonathan Robie wrote:In the context of teaching the John 1 materials, I'm not sure what people are suggesting. Are you suggesting that we start by teaching the letters together with the words that appear in the first few verses, rather than before they start? That might work, but I think there's a problem with the uneven distribution of letters and dipthongs in those verses.
I for one, think that would be good.

Present the words ἐν ἀρχῇ as ἐν and ἀρχή in their dictionary forms. Ask your students to spell them. They could even recite,
  • "ἐν, 'in', epsilon - nu - lenis (or smooth breathing on the epsilon)",
    "ἀρχή 'beginning' - alph - rou - chi - eta - oxytone (or acute on the last syllable) - lenis (or smooth breathing on the alpha)",
    "λὀγος, 'word', lambda - omicron - gamma - omicron - sigma - paroxytone (or acute on the second last syllable)"
    "θεός, 'God', theta - epsilon - omicron - sigma - oxytone (or acute on the last syllable)
Either technical language ("oxytone") or description ("acute on the last syllable") etc., so long as they all do the same. That is basically what we recite to ourselves when we write down a word. Giving them the vocabulary to describe that, empowers them to produce the language at an early stage of their learning.

Spelling means giving them the information to be able to write the word down from a description.

It will be easier for your students to learn for words that they are using. Don't worry that all of the alphabet is not in those verses, if you have covered about 90% of the alphabet in situ, it will be much easier for you to teach the other 10% in an abstract fashion and to systematise the knowledge that they already have.

For the dictionary order of the words; after they have learned 20 words, and you have given them a list of the alphabet, ask them to arrange the words in dictionary order. Play that game again when they know 50 or 100 words. For your look-a-likes, you could follow the LSJ order.