Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

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Beosweyne
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Re: Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

Postby Beosweyne » Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:02 pm

Great choice! I worked through the same Assimil as my introduction to Ancient Greek.

Deinonysus wrote:One of the voice actors used a uvular trilled /ʀ/ instead of an alveolar /r/ which is not a huge deal, but he seems to pronounce it voiced at all times, which means I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a voiced (single) and voiceless (double) rho in the middle of a word. But the biggest issue is that his long acute accent sounded like a falling tone when it should have been a rising tone. There may be some subtle way of telling his ή from his ῆ but that is an unnecessary annoyance.

Is that the guy who acts the part of the didaskalos/teacher? Then it's Stefan Hagel, a scholar in his own right and co-author of Homeric Singing. I love to bits this recording of him performing an excerpt from the Odyssey (the text can be followed here starting at line 267). You can also find videos of him performing ancient Greek musical pieces using reconstructed instruments.
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Re: Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

Postby Deinonysus » Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:55 pm

Beosweyne wrote:Great choice! I worked through the same Assimil as my introduction to Ancient Greek.

Deinonysus wrote:One of the voice actors used a uvular trilled /ʀ/ instead of an alveolar /r/ which is not a huge deal, but he seems to pronounce it voiced at all times, which means I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a voiced (single) and voiceless (double) rho in the middle of a word. But the biggest issue is that his long acute accent sounded like a falling tone when it should have been a rising tone. There may be some subtle way of telling his ή from his ῆ but that is an unnecessary annoyance.

Is that the guy who acts the part of the didaskalos/teacher? Then it's Stefan Hagel, a scholar in his own right and co-author of Homeric Singing. I love to bits this recording of him performing an excerpt from the Odyssey (the text can be followed here starting at line 267). You can also find videos of him performing ancient Greek musical pieces using reconstructed instruments.

Very cool! I don't think the serial /ʀ/ triller was Hagel, I think it was the other guy, Philippe Brunet. I listened ahead to a later lesson where the teacher appears and his voice sounds quite different. I thought his pronunciation sounded very good, although I think I also caught him pronouncing the acute with a falling tone at least once. I'm not sure what's up with that, it seems like all of the voice actors do that regularly, some more than others.
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Re: Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

Postby Deinonysus » Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:43 pm

Modern Greek

In an earlier post, I almost wrote that I could swear the Greek bilabial /β/ sounds just like a labiodental /v/ if I didn't know any better, and in today's lesson of Pimsleur Greek I heard a very clear /f/ sound, not /ɸ/. So I looked it up and the reason they sounded so much like /f/ and /v/ is because they were /f/ and /v/. I don't know how I got it into my head that Greek used bilabial fricatives. I must have assumed it because the IPA uses Greek letters to represent the bilabial sounds. So the use of /v/ instead of /β/ is a difference from Spanish. Another difference I've noticed is that /θ/ and /ð/ sound a bit sharper than in Spanish, in fact just like the English versions of those sounds.

I forgot how much I love studying Greek. I may continue Modern and Epic Greek even after the summer. There is a very comprehensive Modern Greek FSI course with lots of audio. But another option is to give up Modern Greek after I finish Pimsleur and go straight into Spoken Hebrew.

Ancient Greek

I think I'm deciding against studying Attic Greek alongside Epic for now. Maybe I'll go for it after I finish Pharr instead. I also decided against going through any other courses after Pharr. Instead, I'll try to keep learning new vocabulary by frequency and reading through bilingual editions of Homer and Hesiod. It's a bit premature but I already ordered Hesiod's Theogeny and Works and Days as well as the first half of the Odyssey. I also got a frequency dictionary, but I might end up returning it because I didn't notice that the reviews say it doesn't list principal parts. I can put together a frequency list with Perseus for free, that is specifically tailored to what I want to read. I later ended up ordering a copy of Cunliffe's Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect, which seems to very nicely list the principal parts for everything.

Meanwhile, I finally found someone who's even more anal about pronunciation than I am (or at least, he's gone further down the rabbit hole than I have)! I'd seen his videos pop up before and dismissed them because they seemed a bit clickbaity, but I was very impressed by this video on the history of the pronunciation of ει:


He seems to mostly be into Latin but hopefully he will make more videos about ancient Greek pronunciation, particularly the history! He does seem to have his own idiosyncratic pronunciation system that he devised that is meant to balance the various eras, which I'm not that interested in because I'm mostly into the older stuff and not so much Koine. But he does seem to really know his stuff.
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Re: Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

Postby Deinonysus » Mon Jun 21, 2021 11:02 am

I've been thinking a lot of my goals for different Greek dialects. I said earlier that I want to be able to produce Epic Greek and read Attic passively, but I'm walking that back a little. Epic Greek is only known in poetry and it isn't useful for general composition or conversation (word order is almost completely free and depends a lot on the meter, so I just translate from English with the words in whatever random order pops into my head), so I think it's Attic that I'm going to eventually try to speak and write fluently. With Epic, I do want to achieve a basic level of being able to think in the language and do the Pharr translation exercises from English in my head, but that's probably the extent of it. I think the only reasonable level of fluency in Epic Greek is to read it fluently.

My general plan has not changed much, and I'll still be working through Pharr at least for the whole summer. So far I've still only completed chapter 3, but I have the vocabulary and morphology through chapter 5 in my Anki deck. I'm going on a short vacation in a couple of days so hopefully I can put even more chapters into my deck. That way I should be able to keep up during my downtime. Although the book has 77 chapters, I'll have learned most of the major concepts by chapter 30 or so, and after chapter 50 there are just a few review chapters and then it just walks you through the rest of Iliad book 1. After that, the plan is to learn as much new Homeric vocabulary as I can (by frequency) so I can comfortably read through bilingual texts without having to glance at the English side too much. I'll plan on starting with the Odyssey rather than finishing the Iliad right away. Odysseus has tons of iconic adventures; I think that will be more interesting than Achilles just going H.A.M. for a few hundred pages.

Once I feel like I'm ready to start learning Attic, I think I want to focus on conversational and general writing ability more than reading comprehension. Not that there isn't tons of great material to read in Attic, but there's so much to get through in the Epic dialect that it's probably better to start slow with Attic. I'm not exactly sure what I'll focus on to be able to speak and write Attic since even the best resources seem to focus on passive skills. But I suppose I'll build that bridge when I come to it. The Polis series seems interesting but sadly it teaches Koine, not Attic. Maybe I can find some Attic conversation partners online. Italian Athenaze does have some workbooks so that might help with my written Attic skills. My Italian is quite basic but between my advanced level of French and by then hopefully a good knowledge of Epic Greek, I should be able to figure it out.

I used to think that after Navajo, no other language would be able to intimidate me with its grammar, but Ancient Greek is coming close. Ancient Greek verbs are like Spanish or Italian on steroids. Using auxiliary verbs for the Perfect tenses? That's for suckers! Throw in the optative mood, passive, and mediopassive, and loads of other features along with the dual number that I'm stubbornly flipping to the back of the book to learn, and it takes about eight pages to write through every form that a verb can have, although that includes definitions in English so without that it might be only 4-5 pages. But tbh I think after all that Ancient Greek has nothing on Navajo verbs, I just haven't gotten far enough in Navajo to really pull my hair out.

Plan Summary: Rest of the summer, focus on Pharr and Pimsleur Greek. In the fall, learn spoken Hebrew in the car using Pimsleur and then FSI; the rest of my study time will be focused on finishing Pharr and transitioning to Epic vocabulary expansion and extensive reading with bilingual texts. At some point if I feel like I'm hitting diminishing returns in Epic I might want to start focusing on Attic speaking and writing skills instead; I don't know how much I fancy getting my skills to lopsided with great reading ability but no speaking and writing ability. When I'm done with spoken Hebrew maybe I can listen to audio recordings of the epics with reconstructed pronunciation so I can build up my listening skills too.

: 3 / 77 Pharr - Homeric Greek
: 6 / 60 Pimsleur Modern Greek
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Re: Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

Postby Beli Tsar » Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:05 pm

Deinonysus wrote:I'm not exactly sure what I'll focus on to be able to speak and write Attic since even the best resources seem to focus on passive skills. But I suppose I'll build that bridge when I come to it. The Polis series seems interesting but sadly it teaches Koine, not Attic. Maybe I can find some Attic conversation partners online. Italian Athenaze does have some workbooks so that might help with my written Attic skills. My Italian is quite basic but between my advanced level of French and by then hopefully a good knowledge of Epic Greek, I should be able to figure it out.

There isn't much for speaking Attic, but if you want to write, there's a lot out there: Textkit has a multiple free out-of-copyright composition books, for instance. And Eleanor Dickey has a well-reviewed and excellent-looking composition book that's a bit more modern, which I have been meaning to work through for ages. And that's the tip of the iceberg. It's certainly taught a little differently from learning to write in a modern language, but if you add it all together, there's a lot.

If you are willing to use some slightly more unusual materials, there are other options for learning Attic, like Schachter's 'Greek: a structural approach', which seems to be the closest you'll get to FSI for Ancient Greek, including audio, though you'll need to work to track down a pdf (see here - https://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-for ... hp?t=70484).

I can't vouch for any of this personally, sadly. My Greek would be better if I could...
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Re: Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

Postby Deinonysus » Mon Jun 21, 2021 10:21 pm

Beli Tsar wrote:There isn't much for speaking Attic, but if you want to write, there's a lot out there: Textkit has a multiple free out-of-copyright composition books, for instance. And Eleanor Dickey has a well-reviewed and excellent-looking composition book that's a bit more modern, which I have been meaning to work through for ages. And that's the tip of the iceberg. It's certainly taught a little differently from learning to write in a modern language, but if you add it all together, there's a lot.

If you are willing to use some slightly more unusual materials, there are other options for learning Attic, like Schachter's 'Greek: a structural approach', which seems to be the closest you'll get to FSI for Ancient Greek, including audio, though you'll need to work to track down a pdf (see here - https://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-for ... hp?t=70484).

I can't vouch for any of this personally, sadly. My Greek would be better if I could...

That is an amazing find! I should lurk on textkit more often.

This changes my calculus a bit. I think my new plan is to jump straight into spoken Hebrew with Pimsleur and then FSI. Then when I'm done with FSI Hebrew, if I'm feeling secure enough in Epic Greek I'll jump into Schachter to work on spoken Attic. Otherwise I'll go through Pimsleur Modern Greek first and then Schachter.

Luckily my free trial of Pimsleur Greek wasn't up until tomorrow so I didn't get charged.

As always, any long term plans come with the caveat that I'm easily distracted and for all we know I could be working on Sumerian in a month.
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Re: Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Tue Jun 22, 2021 6:55 pm

Beli Tsar wrote:If you are willing to use some slightly more unusual materials, there are other options for learning Attic, like Schachter's 'Greek: a structural approach', which seems to be the closest you'll get to FSI for Ancient Greek, including audio, though you'll need to work to track down a pdf (see here - https://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-for ... hp?t=70484).

If anyone here tries the whole Schachter course, I would be curious to see whether his method works.
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Re: Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

Postby Deinonysus » Wed Jun 23, 2021 2:44 am

I took a quick listen to the beginning of lesson 1 of the Schachter course. I learned that although an acute accent at the end of a word turns into a grave accent when followed by another word, there are two words that always keep an acute accent even when followed by another word: τίς and τί. I recognized these words from Pharr. However, I was not able to parse the other words in this drill. I'm not sure whether this was exclusively due to the poor recording quality or due to the fact that it was fast and the phrases were not short or built up from simpler building blocks like in Pimsleur. I'm sure it will be easier once I have more Greek vocabulary under my belt. I think there's a possibility that when I'm more advanced I can use the audio in the car without worrying about the text.

I'm still waffling back and forth between spoken Modern Hebrew and spoken Modern Greek. My rationale for wanting to study Hebrew is, once I get Pimsleur and FSI out of the way I'll feel like I've done my due diligence and I can spend as much time as I want on other languages without feeling guilty. But, I think I may have changed my mind back to Modern Greek, because I think it's important to put as much of the Modern Greek accent and intonation as possible into my Ancient Greek pronunciation. I can probably finish most of Pimsleur Greek over the summer, and then I'll have the whole school year to go through Pimsleur and FSI Hebrew, and maybe then dive into Schachter the following summer. But it's tough to make long term plans like that when there are so many tempting languages out there.
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Re: Δεινόνῡσος εἰμί - Learning Epic (aka Homeric) Greek

Postby Deinonysus » Mon Jun 28, 2021 4:36 pm

I got back from my vacation and as it turns out, loading a bunch of chapters' worth of vocabulary at once was not the best idea. I have cleared out my grammatical terms and inflection decks, but I still have a lot of stuff to review in my vocabulary deck, so it could still be a couple of days before I finish that.

The place I went on my vacation was Storyland, a fairy tale themed amusement park, so rather than using all of my downtime on Greek vocabulary, I decided to read Charles Perrault's 1697 French version of Cinderella. It is not the very oldest version of the Cinderella story but it's one of the most popular. As usual, I didn't bother looking up unknown words unless I was particularly curious or there was a sentence that I couldn't understand from context. The word lézard was easily guessable as "lizard", and the hapless lizards became Cinderella's "laquais", or footmen. "Laquais" is easy to remember due to its similarity to the English word "lackey", which it probably inspired. There was another word I had to look up and it ended up being a slightly irregular preterite verb form, but I was able to understand most of the preterite verbs in the story. I was a bit surprised that some of the gorier aspects of the story (such as the stepsisters mutilating their feet to fit them into the slipper, or getting their eyes pecked out) were absent in this version. They were in the later Grimm version. I also started reading bits of stories by the Brothers Grimm, but I don't know if I'll finish them. In particular, I started reading „Aschenputtel“, their version of Cinderella. I also checked out the story „Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot“ (Snow White and Rose Red) to see if it had anything to do with „Schneewitchen“ (Snow White), but I checked Wikipedia and they seem to be unrelated.i

Anyway, back to Greek. I decided that Modern Greek is quite useful and spoken Greek with Pimsleur has been a big help in helping me get more comfortable with some Homeric grammar and vocabulary because a lot of Modern Greek's vocabulary and grammar is quite conservative. For instance, the indicative present conjugation of many words seems almost unchanged in the 2700 or so years since Homer used them, and in particular, the first person singular ending -ω and the second person plural ending -ετε are exactly the same as in Homer. There are also many basic words like καί and αλλά that are also unchanged since Homer, except for regular pronunciation changes and probably some differences in usage that I'm not advanced enough to know about.

So because Modern Greek has been so helpful, I ended up ordering a copy of Assimil's Le grec. It should be here in a couple of weeks. I don't know if I'll be able to finish it by the end of the summer, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep it up in the fall when I'm planning on splitting my time with Hebrew, but I think it will be very helpful to at least get started with it. It will compete with Homeric Greek for the before-bed time slot but hopefully I'll be able to make it work.

I have not said much yet about my motivation to learn Modern Greek but Greek food is my favorite cuisine in the entire world, and if I travel to Greece I certainly can't order a gyro in Classical Attic! And there is also a fairly large population of Greek immigrants and people with Greek heritage in my area, and there may be opportunities to overhear it and possibly strike up a conversation.

I have noticed a couple of interesting similarities between Greek and Arabic. First, neither one has an infinitive, so in Greek you don't say "I would like to eat", you say "I would like that I eat", using the subjunctive. In Arabic you also use the subjunctive to say things like that. I believe this is a general quality of Balkan languages and the similarity to Arabic is a coincidence. This is not a general quality of Semitic languages; Hebrew of all eras has an infinitive. Another similarity is that while English uses one word "not" to negate both verbs ("I do not want to") and other words like adverbs ("not now"), but both Arabic and Greek have different negation words for different scenarios.
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