Attic Greek in 2021

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MichaelM204351
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Attic Greek in 2021

Postby MichaelM204351 » Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:40 pm

Hey all!

I am starting a study group that is going to work through Mastronarde’s text at the pace of (roughly) one chapter per week (with 10 extra weeks sprinkled in for consolidation). We have a handful of people. Most are beginners, but a couple are experienced and joining to help answer questions that may come up.

The plan (for those of us who make it thru the textbook) is to continue in 2022 with reading various texts.

Anyways, we would love to have more join us and I’d love to hear any suggestions from those of you who have been down this path.

All the best,
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MorkTheFiddle
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Languages: English (N). Read (only) French and Spanish. Studying Ancient Greek, aiming for mastery by 2424. Studying a bit of Latin and Japanese. Once studied Old Norse. Dabbled in Catalan, Provençal and Italian.
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Re: Attic Greek in 2021

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Fri Dec 04, 2020 12:49 am

My own introduction to Ancient Greek came through Reading Greek by the JACT. It was a good beginning I think. I have looked at Mastronarde, and though I still prefer Reading Greek, Mastrodarde would have been a good alternative for me. In fact, I have a copy of his book and refer to it from time to time.
Whatever book you use, the important thing IMHO is simply sticking to it. To avoid turning into Polonius, I'll leave it at that and wish all of you well.
Oh, and have you submitted this idea to Textkit? Not a suggestion, just wondering, because from time to time folks there take a run through M's text. :)
I give you the url, if you don't know textkit: Textkit
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MichaelM204351
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Re: Attic Greek in 2021

Postby MichaelM204351 » Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:12 am

Thanks for the comment and advice. I will take your advice to stick to one book (wander lust has been a problem for me with other languages in the past). I have considered using either Reading Greek or Athenaze (I own both courses) just for reading practice once I get a ways into Mastronarde. We are taking a nice, slow but steady pace in the study group, so I may have time/desire to find more opportunities for practice/learning.

I have not posted it to textkit, but I will. Thanks for the suggestion.

All the best
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Language patzer
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Re: Attic Greek in 2021

Postby Language patzer » Fri Dec 04, 2020 6:33 am

I love this idea. I would also like to join. I haven't really studied attic greek since my school days, and that's a shame really. Steady and slow is a pace I would also prefer.

So how do we do this?
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MichaelM204351
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Re: Attic Greek in 2021

Postby MichaelM204351 » Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:03 pm

Great! I started a Facebook group called “Mastronarde in 2021”. The details are there.

Essentially, our plan is to do one chapter per week for 3 weeks and the 4th week will be for revision/catch up. So, it looks like this:

Week 1 - chapter 1
Week 2 - chapter 2
Week 3 - chapter 3
Week 4 - revision
Week 5 - chapter 4
Week 6 - chapter 5
Week 7 - chapter 6
Week 8 - revision
....and so on.

This will actually put us at finishing the book in February on 2022, but it’ll be a nice slow and steady pace, making it easier to keep up.
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Language patzer
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Re: Attic Greek in 2021

Postby Language patzer » Sat Dec 05, 2020 7:46 am

Oh, I thought the group would be in here. I am off facebook and I don't plan to join again... I'm sorry.
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Querneus
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Re: Attic Greek in 2021

Postby Querneus » Thu Dec 10, 2020 4:48 am

Language patzer wrote:Oh, I thought the group would be in here. I am off facebook and I don't plan to join again... I'm sorry.

We could still do it here (or over at the Textkit forum, which abounds much more with ancient Greek nerds...).
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Language patzer
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Re: Attic Greek in 2021

Postby Language patzer » Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:13 am

I would rather do this here if that's ok with you. I don't want to cause any inconvenience though.
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Steve
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Re: Attic Greek in 2021

Postby Steve » Thu Dec 10, 2020 5:29 pm

As a FWIW, here's my story of self-learning ancient Greek, with a focus primarily on Koine initially.

I started back in '82 using Stephen W. Paine's "Beginning Greek: A Functional Approach". The reading lessons in the first 38 chapters are from the first part of the gospel of John which is a relatively simpler form of Greek. Those chapters contain an overview of Greek grammar and language. The remaining chapters focus on going through selections from the Anabasis. I did the typical approach where one spends the majority of their time memorizing paradigm tables and practicing parsing words to identify their forms. Over the years, I'd burn out, have other things going on, stop working on Greek, and then get interested and start working on it again. The net result was on and off efforts over about 25 or 30 years at various times.

At one point later in life, I had enough time available to put in a good effort. I spent a lot of money of reference books including LSJ (the big one), Smyth, and a number of standard Koine references. After about 3 months of a couple hours per evening, I took serious stock of where I was. I was able to work through a few sentences per day. At the rate I was going, I figured I might make it through one book in my life. I gave it one last shot looking up things like "learning greek" web searches. I found pretty much the same thing I'd seen for years. The memory assignment on pages 48-49 of Paine seemed to summarize what I was being told to do. "It is felt that the student will be handicapped if he does not have by memory the regular verb luw, thus giving him a good point of reference as he meets the varying formations presented by other verbs to be encountered. Therefore, in connection with today's lesson, the student is asked to memorize the present and future forms of luw as seen in the chart." A few pages later the next memory assignment is for the other parts of luw along with the statement "the student will be responsible for the complete conjugation of the regular verb luw from now on." I don't know how many hours I spent (wasted?) over the next three decades memorizing and re-memorizing that paradigm table with its hundreds of forms. No matter how well I had it down at any point, it never really converted into reading skills to any degree.

It was at this point I ran across the HTLAL site and was exposed to successful independent language learners. I spent a lot of time reading a lot of threads and experiences of people. As I spent a few months reading through old threads and other things, I started to get a picture of what differentiated successful language learners from those yet to achieve success. Among other things, the successful learners practiced the skills they wanted to get good at. I realized that I had never practiced reading Greek. I'd gotten really good at thinking about Greek in English as well as looking up things in reference books written in English about Greek. As I started practicing listening and reading, I found that I started to internalize Greek. I'd simply look at a work or phrase, and eventually sentences and just know what they meant. At this point, I've been through the Septuagint twice (it's a couple millennia old translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek) and the Greek New Testament a handful of times. I've also started through the Anabasis. My reading skills of Greek have been improving. I'd liken it to riding a bike. In some genres, I still need training wheels. In others, I can just enjoy reading with a decent degree of comprehensions. I'm nowhere near a competitive biking level, but figuratively speaking enjoy riding around the block. The main thing is the huge world of difference between being able to enjoyably go through perhaps 10 or 20 pages in an evening in contrast with painfully working through a few sentences and digging through reference books and going through flash cards.

If I could go back almost 40 years ago, here's what I'd do to start. If I was going to spend an hour per evening on Greek, I'd put at least half of that time into some variations of listening and reading and speaking along with audio. I'd start out with audio of a text along with an interlinear of it, and using a program like Audacity to trivially loop sections, I'd just follow along and repeat a section until it started to make sense. I find that doing this is like repeatedly listening to a song over and over. The rhythm, sounds, and tones simply start to stick in my brain even though I have little comprehension. The first few times through, it's gibberish. Then at some point, a word or two will just jump out (sort of like being a noisy crowded room and suddenly you hear your name). After time, more and more words will just jump out both listening and reading. Similarly by looking at the Greek text, some of it will just make sense. Reading reference materials and grammar then becomes like training wheels that help make more sense of what is starting to stick in my brain. This is a short version that leaves out a lot of details, but it conveys the general sense of how I'd start now.

There's an interlinear of Xenophon's Anabasis for free download on archive.org as well as a free recording on the librivox site. Note the first 40 seconds or so of the recording is the librivox license being read. Librivox also has recordings of some other ancient Greek works. Most pronunciation is modern Greek though a few use a reconstructed pronunciation. I find the gain of having audio far exceeds any issues with pronunciation issues of a few vowels that have changed over time.

For me, the key concept is turning Greek into a series of sights, sounds, and patterns that my brain gets used to. Thinking about Greek in English gets my brain used to thinking about Greek in English. Listening, reading, following along, etc. gets my brain used to processing Greek directly. It's an iterative process where each time I listen or read, my brain just gets used to it a bit more and things become clearer. Reference materials I read build on what I'm getting used to and clarify the meaning.

Another thing I found with this approach is that things seem to stick in my brain a lot longer. I can go weeks without touching a Greek text and find that most of it's still there when I pick up a text again to read. I lose some edge, but unlike before, I'm nowhere near having to re-start from scratch each time I stop for awhile. I'm usually mostly back to speed within a few days.

Anyway, I'd be happy to discuss this further or answer questions. I now do a combination of listening, following, using interlinears, parallel texts (e.g. Loeb Greek-English Anabasis). I also incorporate reading reference materials as well as more focused work with different methods that helps improve aspects of Greek I'm weak on. The big thing for me is that instead of struggling to understand a few sentences per day, I'm enjoyably reading (in the sense of a range of bike riding skills) various genres of Greek, especially parallel texts where a quick glance at English fills in gaps in vocabulary or meaning with minimal disruption to flow. It's also a base I can use to effectively improve my skills.

I believe that adding in a regular **enjoyable** daily time of listening and following something like the Anabasis (or something that you would enjoy listening to over and over) would help your brain internalize Greek and start turning it into a language in your brain rather than a never ending series of paradigm tables and rules to memorize, review, and parse with. I hope this helps.
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Steve
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Re: Attic Greek in 2021

Postby Steve » Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:34 pm

Just looked at the FB group.

Here are some links that might be of use for helping to internalize the sounds, tones, and rhythms of Greek and correlate them with the printed language. Listening to actual recordings (even if the pronunciation varies to some degree from actual pronunciations in various geographical areas and time periods in Greek language history) brings to life the various descriptions and rules about sounds, tones, and rhythms even if not perfectly. Even if one does not comprehend the audio or text, exposure to this will start the process of turning academic written descriptions of sounds into something real for us. Given the geographic spread and lifetime of Greek, there were likely a wide range of pronunciations used by native fluent Greek speakers as well as a range of pronunciations from those who were second language speakers. My sense is any attempt to define the "correct" version is sort of like choosing what dialect of English pronunciation is the correct one.

Here's the Librivox link to Plato's Apology of Socrates. https://librivox.org/apology-of-socrates-by-plato/ The reader seems to be using some type of hybrid reconstructed pronunciation with modern consonants, older vowels, and some degree of tones. Most audios of ancient Greek on librivox are done with a modern pronunciation and stress accent. There are a number of recordings of other Greek texts at librivox.

Here's a link to an audio w/text version. It seems to be a reconstructed pronunciation with tones. https://ancientgreek.eu/audiobooks/apology-p.html I have the impression of vowel inconsistencies. That might be due to precise following of complicated rules of tone and syllabification where surrounding letters and accents affect pronunciation, or it might merely be inconsistent. This site also has samples of other books.

Here's the first page of the Greek text at Perseus. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0169%3Atext%3DApol.

I think the main thing is finding a text with available audio which someone likes and would enjoy listening to over and over is key. If parallel English-Greek or interlinear texts are available for it, so much the better.

Hope this is of use to someone.
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