Beli Tsar's log - Ancient Greek, Farsi & Hebrew

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Beli Tsar
Orange Belt
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:59 pm
Languages: English (N), Ancient Greek (intermediate reading), Farsi (Beginner), Biblical Hebrew (Beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9548
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Beli Tsar's log - Ancient Greek, Farsi & Hebrew

Postby Beli Tsar » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:50 pm

I'm new to the forum, and pretty new to languages, so I'm going to lay out my history so far and my current plan of attack.

That's very much open to change. It's also much too ambitious - since I work long hours, have young kids, plenty else to do, and don't want to give up on reading in English.

Advice is very welcome!

The Journey so Far

Ancient Greek/Koine
I taught myself Koine Greek in order to read the New Testament. This took a long time, as it was my L2 and I didn't know anything about grammar or language learning. I got through a basic grammar with a lot of stops and starts, and then stopped, as I just wasn't up to reading at that stage.

Then I discovered memrise, which got my vocab up to a decent level, and the UBS Reader's Greek New Testament, which footnotes words and parsings for words occurring less than 30 times in the New Testament. That meant I could start reading.

Though my grammar is still pretty shaky, I've got to a point where I can comfortably pick up and read most of the NT. I still need occasional vocabulary and parsing help from my Reader's Greek New Testament in order to read with precision, but reading is a pleasure and mostly relatively effortless.

While I have various plans for improving my grammar and morphology, active learning is on the back burner as I pursue other languages. Meanwhile, I'm extensively reading and, as far as I can, listening, which are both very enjoyable. I'd love to increase my reading speed substantially. That means reading the Bible every day - both the New Testament and the Greek Old Testament, the 788,000 word Septuagint (LXX). I'm simultaneously going back in time to Attic Greek, via the Italian Athenaze for now, and hoping to read Plato, Lysias, Lucian, Xenophon, as well as planning to go forward to the Apostolic Fathers and then the Church Fathers.

Every morning, before the kids get up I spend at least twenty minutes in an armchair with the either the Greek New Testament or the Septuagint, with some music on. Then there's a few minutes of Anki on a bus or at lunchtime, and on my sporadic free evenings I'll read some other Greek if I'm not too tired.

Targets:
1. finish the NT & LXX by November 30 2020
2. Finish Athenaze I by Dec 31 2018
3. Finish 10 (short) reader's editions in Attic and Koine by Dec 31 2019
4. Anki - ongoing grammar review

Biblical Hebrew
I want to read the Old Testament in the original - not necessarily brilliantly, but at as well as I can read Greek now. I've made a start - learning 900 odd words of vocab, and starting to go through grammars by Pratico & Van Pelt and by Kittel, using Anki for grammar, and doing a bit of basic reading and sentence SRS. Learning a new language from scratch was like a dream - so much easier than the first time, easily double the speed. And unlike the first time, Anki and Memrise mean I go through things once and retain them. It's just so much fun compared to the first time!

But I've put Hebrew on hold for now because of taking up Farsi. I'm using standard hardcore grammar-translation textbooks (there isn't much else) but want to reinforce it with modern Hebrew - so Pimsleur, Netflix and so on.

Targets:
1. Memrise words to 2000 (currently 900)
2. Finish Kittel textbook (with Anki)
3. Start reading the OT
4. Finish Pratico & Van Pelt
Last edited by Beli Tsar on Mon May 13, 2019 10:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
9 x
: 8 / 20 Ancient Greek - Read 1,000,000 words
: 13 / 55 Hebrew - Kittel & Hoffer
: 19 / 20 Persian - Read 100,000 words

Beli Tsar
Orange Belt
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:59 pm
Languages: English (N), Ancient Greek (intermediate reading), Farsi (Beginner), Biblical Hebrew (Beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9548
x 296

Re: Beli Tsar's log

Postby Beli Tsar » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:59 pm

Farsi
I work with Iranians a lot, and have for the past couple of months been offered free lessons in Farsi. I'm not as desperate to learn this as Greek or Hebrew (or Latin. Or French), but it's more urgently useful, even necessary. So it is my main focus right now. My goal is not to reach any serious level of fluency, but more a decent level of usefulness, and a level that I can maintain with a little daily work. If it goes beyond that, that's great, but I'm certainly not aiming for C1 let alone C2.

Learning a language that's actually spoken is quite new for me, and a new challenge.

I am still in the initial phase - not really A1 yet.

Plan
1. Basic grammar review from the Lonely Planet phrasebook (what an excellent little book) all in anki.
2. Memrise/Anki a core vocabulary of 2000 odd words (currently 350ish)
3. Core verbs and conjugations & sentences through Anki (underway).
3. Pimsleur (by April 2019?)
4. LingQ/Readlang - trying to get daily exposure early, and especially to use audio and text combined to get the hang of this pesky abjad. I started with LingQ, because some of the Persian stuff they have on there seems quite helpful, and there isn't much else in the way of easy beginner reading with audio out there.
5. A textbook. This I've been slow in starting, but unlike everything else doesn't fit into commutes/lunchbreaks. So I'll use either the modern TY (not because it's good, but because the kindle enhanced version is possible for commutes) or Colloquial Persian by Rafiee (which is supposed to be decent, but I've struggled to get into it).

The future
Once the above is completed, I'll have to double down on speaking, and will switch to daily reading, intensive and extensive - especially the Bible, since that fits into existing routines nicely. I'll try and do most of my news reading in Farsi. I'm thinking too about substoSRS, but there's so little out there in a decent format for Farsi. Certainly a bit more TV would be good. Another textbook is possible too.

The routine
I'm working through 500+ words a day of reading and listening, using LingQ, on the bus during my morning commute.
Then Anki & Memrise I use at lunchtime/through the day/etc. And I am listening for 20-30 minutes at lunchtimes - the plan is to use this for Pimsleur long term, but I'm re-listening to LingQ material at the moment.
5 x
: 8 / 20 Ancient Greek - Read 1,000,000 words
: 13 / 55 Hebrew - Kittel & Hoffer
: 19 / 20 Persian - Read 100,000 words

Beli Tsar
Orange Belt
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:59 pm
Languages: English (N), Ancient Greek (intermediate reading), Farsi (Beginner), Biblical Hebrew (Beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9548
x 296

Re: Beli Tsar's log

Postby Beli Tsar » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:04 pm

Future Dreams
Like a lot of people here, I've got a lot I want to learn, and may never get round to. The real priorities are:

Latin
I really, really want to learn Latin. I always have - and in one sense I'm much keener on it than Hebrew or Farsi. And while there is a lot of grammatical complexity to look forward to, the vocabulary is so transparent - unlike the languages I've worked on, this is one I can already decipher bits of simpler texts in, just with a bit of French, English and a history background. And I want to read Seneca, Pliny, Tacitus, Caesar, Augustine, the Desert Fathers, Tertullian, Calvin, Medieval poetry, Anselm, and so many others in the original.

But it clearly isn't happening any time soon. Besides having other languages to do, and no 'official' use for it, I'd be short on time for really keeping it up - it doesn't fit as nicely into preexisting habits as Bible reading or working with Iranians. But I'm looking forward to it, very much.

French
I have a little very rusty French, picked up from extraordinarily bad school lessons and, more importantly, osmosis. It would be nice to get this to reading standard. Again, there's so much literature I'd love to read, as well as plenty of good academic history and so on. If only I'd done that before so I could use Assimil Le Persan...

Will that do?
I secretly want to be able to read Tang Poetry in Classical Chinese. But unless I retire 20 years early...
5 x
: 8 / 20 Ancient Greek - Read 1,000,000 words
: 13 / 55 Hebrew - Kittel & Hoffer
: 19 / 20 Persian - Read 100,000 words

Beli Tsar
Orange Belt
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:59 pm
Languages: English (N), Ancient Greek (intermediate reading), Farsi (Beginner), Biblical Hebrew (Beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9548
x 296

Re: Beli Tsar's log

Postby Beli Tsar » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:07 pm

Progress
Today was our weekly Farsi lesson, and it was the first time our teacher pushed us in really speaking rather than composition. The others in the class have been much better at speaking up until now, and I've not practiced speaking or worked on it directly at all.

So it was rather encouraging to find that, though slowly, I can deploy my SRS vocab clearly and with reasonable grammatical accuracy, and have quickly outstripped the others. I suspect I have good advice from this forum largely to thank for that...
3 x
: 8 / 20 Ancient Greek - Read 1,000,000 words
: 13 / 55 Hebrew - Kittel & Hoffer
: 19 / 20 Persian - Read 100,000 words

User avatar
Maiwenn
Orange Belt
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:26 am
Location: Grand Est, France
Languages: English (N) & French
beginner+: German, Moroccan Arabic
beginner-: MSA
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7321
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Re: Beli Tsar's log

Postby Maiwenn » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:17 pm

Welcome to the forum! I look forward to reading more about your linguistic journeys. :)

For Farsi, I wonder if you'll even need to use Pimsleur? I'm not sure that their method would add that much more to your plan than the anki + lessons you've already got. Hopefully, someone with experience with Farsi learning materials could advise you better.
1 x
Corrections are always welcome. :)

SC Arabic movies: 9000 / 9000
SC Arabic books: 611 / 5000

Beli Tsar
Orange Belt
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:59 pm
Languages: English (N), Ancient Greek (intermediate reading), Farsi (Beginner), Biblical Hebrew (Beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9548
x 296

Re: Beli Tsar's log

Postby Beli Tsar » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:25 pm

Maiwenn wrote:Welcome to the forum! I look forward to reading more about your linguistic journeys. :)

Thanks!
Maiwenn wrote:For Farsi, I wonder if you'll even need to use Pimsleur? I'm not sure that their method would add that much more to your plan than the anki + lessons you've already got. Hopefully, someone with experience with Farsi learning materials could advise you better.

Good question. Having not spoken a language before, other than buying baguettes in France and that sort of thing, a bit of speaking drill sounds helpful. But one less thing to do would certainly help!
1 x
: 8 / 20 Ancient Greek - Read 1,000,000 words
: 13 / 55 Hebrew - Kittel & Hoffer
: 19 / 20 Persian - Read 100,000 words

Skynet
Green Belt
Posts: 280
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:37 pm
Location: Cyprus
Languages: BILINGUAL: Shona & English
PURSUING: French (DELF B2), German (B1?), Spanish (A2?)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8686
x 821

Re: Beli Tsar's log

Postby Skynet » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:02 pm

Welcome to the forum, Beli Tsar! Your presence here is a breath of fresh air!

I too intend to learn Koine Greek, Biblical Hebrew and Latin for the purposes of reading the NT, OT and Vulgate. I also have many Persian speaking friends and find the language exceptionally mellifluous. My listening and speaking are in the A1-A1.5 range, but I am decidedly illiterate - a debilitating condition to be remedied at a yet-to-be-determined time - and resort to typing in 'Finglish.' When the time does come, I intend to use the Assimil Persian book you mentioned.

As for learning French, it will be a breeze for you after mastering the diabolical /gh/ and /kh/ sounds.

I look forward to keenly watching you succeed in your language endeavours here.
1 x

Beli Tsar
Orange Belt
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:59 pm
Languages: English (N), Ancient Greek (intermediate reading), Farsi (Beginner), Biblical Hebrew (Beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9548
x 296

Re: Beli Tsar's log

Postby Beli Tsar » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:54 pm

Skynet wrote:Welcome to the forum, Beli Tsar! Your presence here is a breath of fresh air!

I too intend to learn Koine Greek, Biblical Hebrew and Latin for the purposes of reading the NT, OT and Vulgate. I also have many Persian speaking friends and find the language exceptionally mellifluous. My listening and speaking are in the A1-A1.5 range, but I am decidedly illiterate - a debilitating condition to be remedied at a yet-to-be-determined time - and resort to typing in 'Finglish.' When the time does come, I intend to use the Assimil Persian book you mentioned.

As for learning French, it will be a breeze for you after mastering the diabolical /gh/ and /kh/ sounds.

I look forward to keenly watching you succeed in your language endeavors here.


Thank you for the welcome! Having looked over your logs, I'd be delighted if I could imitate a fraction of your success!

You should certainly plunge into Koine - if the New Testament is your goal, you can start using a reader's edition well with 700 words, pretty comfortably with 2000, and there are only 6-and-a-bit thousand. After French it would be easy...

Interested to hear you managed to pick up that much Persian without the script - the pronunciation is hard to master without the script to guide you.
0 x
: 8 / 20 Ancient Greek - Read 1,000,000 words
: 13 / 55 Hebrew - Kittel & Hoffer
: 19 / 20 Persian - Read 100,000 words

Skynet
Green Belt
Posts: 280
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:37 pm
Location: Cyprus
Languages: BILINGUAL: Shona & English
PURSUING: French (DELF B2), German (B1?), Spanish (A2?)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8686
x 821

Re: Beli Tsar's log

Postby Skynet » Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:34 pm

Beli Tsar wrote:You should certainly plunge into Koine - if the New Testament is your goal, you can start using a reader's edition well with 700 words, pretty comfortably with 2000, and there are only 6-and-a-bit thousand. After French it would be easy...

Now that you have piqued my interest... Which one(s) do you recommend? One can only assume that there would be billions for something as widely read as the NT.

Beli Tsar wrote:Interested to hear you managed to pick up that much Persian without the script - the pronunciation is hard to master without the script to guide you.
I am ashamed to say that I had to use unconventional methods (that may, or may not have included social boycotts and my reluctance to help with IELTS, GRE and GMAT exams) to motivate them to teach me to pronounce the words correctly. I wrote down all the words in IPA and my own trademarked pseudo-IPA to retain them. I am pleased to report that I can distinguish Persian accents from 14 cities without too much effort and am a fan of Manoto TV (with heavy help, of course).

I see that you have been going for formal lessons. How I envy you.
1 x

Beli Tsar
Orange Belt
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:59 pm
Languages: English (N), Ancient Greek (intermediate reading), Farsi (Beginner), Biblical Hebrew (Beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9548
x 296

Re: Beli Tsar's log

Postby Beli Tsar » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:05 pm

Skynet wrote:
Beli Tsar wrote:You should certainly plunge into Koine - if the New Testament is your goal, you can start using a reader's edition well with 700 words, pretty comfortably with 2000, and there are only 6-and-a-bit thousand. After French it would be easy...

Now that you have piqued my interest... Which one(s) do you recommend? One can only assume that there would be billions for something as widely read as the NT.

For some reason I can't explain, it hasn't even reached the million mark. I have the UBS Reader's Greek New Testament, which is really excellent. It footnotes words that occur less than thirty times, parses those when they are verbs, and is generally nicely printed and easy to read. But the Tyndale House Greek New Testament Reader's Edition, which I haven't seen, may be slightly superior in quality of the glosses, ease of reading, and provision of parsing for odd forms. Either would be splendid. The other option, by Zondervan, doesn't have parsing, which could be a bit awkward in the early stages.

And there are plenty Memrise courses and Anki decks of the entire New Testament vocabulary, and if you do want a textbook approach there are some decent ones (if I was starting over, I'd use Rodney Decker's 'Reading Koine Greek') - though there are far more options for Ancient Greek.

Skynet wrote:
Beli Tsar wrote:Interested to hear you managed to pick up that much Persian without the script - the pronunciation is hard to master without the script to guide you.
I am ashamed to say that I had to use unconventional methods (that may, or may not have included social boycotts and my reluctance to help with IELTS, GRE and GMAT exams) to motivate them to teach me to pronounce the words correctly. I wrote down all the words in IPA and my own trademarked pseudo-IPA to retain them. I am pleased to report that I can distinguish Persian accents from 14 cities without too much effort and am a fan of Manoto TV (with heavy help, of course).

I see that you have been going for formal lessons. How I envy you.

I'm impressed!

My 'formal' lessons are pretty informal, to be honest. I get a lot more out of self-study - it's just nice to be able to check in with a teacher too. More than linguistic issues, cultural ones of how to speak and what to say are hard to get on your own. A Cypriot I know finds Iranian culture much closer to theirs than ours is - so maybe you have an advantage there?
2 x
: 8 / 20 Ancient Greek - Read 1,000,000 words
: 13 / 55 Hebrew - Kittel & Hoffer
: 19 / 20 Persian - Read 100,000 words


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