Proofreading your Greek

Jonathan Robie
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Proofreading your Greek

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 1st, 2015, 9:03 am

Teachers wind up writing Greek sentences that we subject our students to, and we wind up making lots of mistakes when we do so.

What approaches have you found useful for proofreading your Greek composition, verifying usage, etc?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

cwconrad
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Re: Proofreading your Greek

Post by cwconrad » November 1st, 2015, 9:43 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Teachers wind up writing Greek sentences that we subject our students to, and we wind up making lots of mistakes when we do so.

What approaches have you found useful for proofreading your Greek composition, verifying usage, etc?
I’m afraid that the only honest answer, from my own experience of Greek composition, at least, is: submit what you’ve written for review and beg for honest and thorough critique. I tend to discover errors in my own Greek compositions as soon as I’ve hit the “send” or “save” button, and I find more errors almost every time I reread what I wrote previously. Repeated re-editing is onerous, but the recurrent discernment of obvious errors in my own writing is almost a deterrent to the effort. I first became painfully aware of the pitfalls of composing one’s own exercise sentences ages ago when I first taught from Machen and recognized how phony so many of the Greek-to-English sentences there were — and also how phony the English-to-Greek sentences were in terms of understandings of Biblical Greek sentences as if they’d been composed in English originally. One resolution deriving from that was: use original ancient texts as much as possible for illustration of constructions rather than sentences you’ve cobbled together on your own. I might add that I write this after having taught Greek composition myself, wondering how I ever had the audacity to do so. To be perfectly honest, I think that the best we can achieve in speaking or writing Koine Greek, rooted as we are in the 21st century, is a sort of polished pidgen dialect, although undoubtedly some are more proficient at this than others — and we recognize them when we see what they’ve written. I might add that even composing English online seems pretty hazardous: one discerns the stupid error as soon as one hits "send" or "save."
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Proofreading your Greek

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 1st, 2015, 11:56 am

It is difficult to express a meaning and to control the grammar at the same time. Paying attention can be at the expense of the other. It is much easier to express yourself on a language that you are used to expressing yourself in. The vanity of showing students how good a command of Greek they have by composing without long-term struggle with the language is probably not so good. People generally get better at what they practice.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Proofreading your Greek

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 1st, 2015, 12:52 pm

As teachers teaching a language from the point of view of grammar patterns, things get easier. A simple known pattern can be taken and adapted. That is much easier than teaching things like, How can one express regret, hope or one's admiration. That requires a much broader understanding of the language.

For words with multiple uses, it gets involved. Take for example, the uses of άν the indefinite particle. Sure they can easily be listed and categorised, but it is another thing to master all the uses.
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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: Proofreading your Greek

Post by Louis L Sorenson » November 1st, 2015, 11:14 pm

Use the Hopperizer to check your work. http://www.katabiblon.com/tools/perseus ... /index.php. Paste in your text, click "Link Only," and then beautify. Then click on every word and see if Perseus' Hopper will parse your word. A link that is clicked changes color, so you know when you have clicked on every word. Note: If one of your forms is a valid, well-formed Greek word, but not attested in the Perseus database, Perseus will return a "Not found" message. That does not mean the word form is incorrect. Perseus forms have to be either without accents/breathings or have correct accent/breathing marks to work. If you mess up on an accent, Perseus returns a "Not Found" message. So this is a tool for teachers to work on their accents and breathings.Hope this helps.
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Proofreading your Greek

Post by Paul-Nitz » November 2nd, 2015, 9:32 am

PROOFREADING:
Regarding using the Hopperizer to do a spell check or form check (see previous post), I show how to do this in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQTyIJr ... 8zt07628B1

There is also an Ancient Greek Spellchecker, only available in LibreOffice. See the following video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i99DAXi ... 8zt07628B1

As a teacher, getting things right is very important. I once had a dyslexic class in which I used αγοράζειν for "sell" and πολεῖν for buy. We had trouble mixing those up for the rest of the school year.

USAGE
Finding the proper usage sometimes sends me on an hour long search. Then the work is not done. A teacher has to THINK that structure or usage so that he/she can produce it in full speed communication. For example, I learn that επι + Accusative is used for motion to a thing (θὲς κάλαμον ἐπὶ τὴν τράπεζαν) and that επι + Genitive is used for the place something is resting (ὁ κάλαμος ἐστιν ἐπὶ τῆς τραπέζης). Then I need to make it something that comes out of my mouth when I think it without going through a mental gymnastics.

PRONUNCIATION
Last week I was reminded how important precise pronunciation is. We were doing a dictatio exercise in class (I verbally tell a story, students take dication). The mis-spellings that the students produced showed my sloppiness between ε & η and between υ & ου (in Restored Koine).
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Proofreading your Greek

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 2nd, 2015, 10:11 am

Really good advice in this thread. I would add the coffee rule. Once you have composed, leave it for a few minutes and go get a cup of coffee (or whatever, but coffee works best). Come back and look again at your text -- you'll probably note things you missed. If you have time, do it again. And remember the coffee.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Louis L Sorenson
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Re: Proofreading your Greek

Post by Louis L Sorenson » November 2nd, 2015, 10:17 am

And probably, if you have time, run your content by a friend who can read/write Greek so you have a second set of eyes. i.e., get someone else to proof-read your content.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Proofreading your Greek

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 2nd, 2015, 10:55 am

Louis L Sorenson wrote:run your content by a friend who can read/write Greek so you have a second set of eyes. i.e., get someone else to proof-read your content.
It is much easier to spot errors than to write Greek.

There are two ways of looking at composition. The one is to internalise as much as possible and then to produce good Greek according to the internalised models and examples you have mastered. The other is to get corrections from an external body, a community whose understanding or comfort is impaired by your poor production, or un-Greek sounding texts.

Starting with internalisation then "perfecting" with external help, or starting with communication then perfecting by learning Grammar are both possible, but the later is more natural. A written only language would be following the internalisation path only, and an illiterate person would be external correction and basically colloquial only. Each method produces a different style of language usage.

Teachers should generally be able to produce "error-free" language - agreement, idiomatic usage, staying within a register.

In the end, there is a lot of guess-work. Having experience and nuts and bolts things like Paul's ἐπί distinction done well make or break the composition. Mastery of the use of the compound or simplex verbs in given situations is important too for showing finer meanings.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Proofreading your Greek

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 2nd, 2015, 11:13 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Really good advice in this thread. I would add the coffee rule. Once you have composed, leave it for a few minutes and go get a cup of coffee (or whatever, but coffee works best). Come back and look again at your text -- you'll probably note things you missed. If you have time, do it again. And remember the coffee.
I'm guessing whiskey doesn't work as well.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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