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Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

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Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby LSorenson » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:59 am

Hello all,

I've been an ardent proponent of learning Greek via an aural/oral methodology. It is not how I learned Greek, but I wish I had learned ancient Greek via speaking and hearing. I've been able to read the Greek New Testament with some ease, the last several years. I also read Homer, Epictetus, Plato, Josephus, and many other writers as time allows. What I would like to share with you all is my new foray into teaching Greek via storytelling. Storytelling, really story-asking is a 2nd language acquisition pedagogy that has been making forays into modern language teaching.

It has been primarily promoted by Blaine Ray in the USA. The acronym TPRS (Teaching Proficiency Through Storytelling) and TPR (Total physical response) is based on the 2nd language acquisition theories of Stephen Krashen, James Asher and others. Several teachers of Koine Greek now use some of this methodology (i.e. Randall Buth biblicalulpan.org and Christophe Rico PolisKoine.org and Daniel Streett; all three of these guys have doctorates in Greek and are teachers of the language.).

But none of these guys have used a storytelling approach as the primary vehicle for teaching ancient Greek. I know that the TPRS methodology has been making inroads into Latin teaching. But I can't find where it has made inroads into teaching ancient Greek.

So, this year, I am going to try to make a number of videos and use this methodology for teaching some Greek newbies Koine Greek, via this methodology. The first trial version of this method can be found on my YouTube Channel athttp://www.youtube.com/user/LouisLyle. There are currently three videos up. The videos are not perfect -- there are mistakes here and there, but if you want to try to learn Greek by hearing and speaking it, this is one of the places that you can come to. I'll try to make all of my videos available here. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to get this content to the learner -- a video without captions may be better than one with captions. But for know you can see some of the videos at....

Part 1: (intro) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFERpBEA6eg
Part 2: (the story) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwradcoV7qg
Part 3: (summary) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULQcgdGdx6Y

So if you know of other such attempts to learn ancient Greek via hearing and speaking it, let me know. Respond to this thread with links to other resources.

Louis Sorenson
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby rustymason » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:24 pm

Thank you for taking time to demonstrate. I'm glad you're working on this. I noticed your pronunciation of gamma and oi is different from the classical pronunciation I've seen. What pronunciation scheme are you using?
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby rums.grg » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:26 pm

Loius...Its a great attempt with Markus..I'm a novice and I found it useful.
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby samiparker » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:54 pm

Demonstration is the best way to learn and understand something completely, and videos in this regards can help you in the learning process, I am also looking for some very basics of the greek here, I hope I ll be able to find something in the forum in videos form for the basics of the greek learning.
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby hippopotamos » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:38 am

Hi guys... those are some nice videos. I am going to start incorporating some TPRS in my Greek classroom soon. As I also learned Greek in a traditional TG method, my first forays will be very scripted and will have lots of pictures and will also have the text on the board. I currently teach out of Athenaze and so will be using some extended readings too. I think I want to have them do comic strip summaries of the texts in simple Greek - they are Greek 4 and have already done a little bit of formal composition. I'll post my presentation story after I finish it and do it with my students.

Also, does anyone know anything about Polis Koine? The curriculum seems to be designed for French students, but is mostly designed to be implemented in Koine Greek: http://poliskoine.com/site/
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby Markos » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:46 pm


Check out my You-Tube channel:


All my videos are in Ancient Greek, and check out my Favorites for a sense of what else is out there.


I hope you will make a video of your class and post it. Rico's Polis is a fantastic book and his audio is the best conversational spoken Ancient Greek that I have ever heard. Highly recommended.
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby Σαῦλος » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:51 pm

A search for TPRS led me to this old thread. If you are reading this and also searching for something on TPR, TPRS, WAYK, Language Hunters / Hunting or other communicative approach to teaching or learning Ancient Greek, Biblical Greek, Koine Greek, then you might want to join Ancient Greek Best Practices group for discussing communicative approaches to Greek -
https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en& ... -practices
See also "Discuss Stories With Me in Greek" thread in Textkit
I will babble until I talk. ετι λαλαγω...
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby daivid » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:59 pm

At lot of the points he makes are relevant to all methods.

key points if I recall correctly
* need for repetition to move a form from short term memory to long term memory
* needing 20 to 30 repetitions to memorize a form
* need to produce a form on the fly - looking it up doesn't help fix a form

The video doesn't talk about when you have a whole class rather than one pupil.
When I did a short TEAFL course we taught to organize the pupils to have conversations
in pairs after explaining before hand the grammatical form they would need.
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby jefferz » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:31 pm

Excellent effort, Louis! Thank you.. I really want to learn to speak, write, and think in Ancient Greek. I hope more and more teachers revive this language. Thank you for all your hard work.

I know you're more interested in TPRS for teaching ancient Greek, but I wanted to add in a couple links and info on some pre-TPRS guys. (Rico you already mentioned).

1) Karl A P Ruck created a book and an "experimental method" which (IMHO as one who prefers immersive/inductive language learning) doesn't get nearly enough reviews even here on textkit: "Ancient Greek: A New Approach" which was highly oral/aural, though pre-TPRS. First (1968) and revised (1972) editions were supposedly more oral/aural than 2nd edition (1979). It did require a teacher, speaking and drilling students. His point (quite well taken, and of course used later by TPRS) was that grammar should be learned inductively, not memorized through tables. He wanted students to produce (i.e., be able to speak and write and manipulate the language automatically). Quite fittingly, this is exactly how the ancient Hellenes thought about learning -- you don't "know" something until you can DO it. Like riding a bike. (As opposed to what we moderns think, an "academic" idea of learning, which is that we've learned something once we've memorized some "facts" and can regurgitate them on a test.) The 2nd edition of the book is still in print, but again the aural/oral was slightly de-emphasized. 1st edition can still be found in some libraries. It was teaching Attic. 1972 edition was ISBN 0-262-18047-2 (hardcover) or 0-262-68016-5 (paperback). 2nd edition is only available in paperback, ISBN-10: 0262680319 or ISBN-13: 978-0262680318, amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Greek-Carl-P-Ruck/dp/0262680319.

2) Christophe Rico has had a book out since I think 2009, which he uses (along with other materials and activities) to teach Koine courses in Jerusalem and around the world, using TPR(S) and website is here, along with a sample chapter, and 1 classroom video: http://poliskoine.com/site/

and more of his videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/poliskoine/videos

The book is in French (but very little French is in it -- mostly Greek). Also, it is not cheap, but is available in Europe on fnac.com ($60USD + shipping, at http://livre.fnac.com/a2415875/Christophe-Rico-Polis-parler-le-grec-ancien-comme-une-langue-vivante.

..and on amazon.ca it is published under the title of "Parler le Grec Ancien Comme une Langue Vivante" (about $112USD) at http://www.amazon.ca/dp/2204087572.

In the videos he appears to be using more TPR (i.e. purely physical) than TPRS. Could ask him if he's added TPRS these days..
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby daivid » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:13 pm

jefferz wrote:1) Karl A P Ruck created a book and an "experimental method" which (IMHO as one who prefers immersive/inductive language learning) doesn't get nearly enough reviews even here on textkit:

The lack of reviews here may have something to do with that it is geared to helping a teacher get their class to interact. From the reviews, it does not seem particularly good for those learning on their own. Most of the requests from people here for recommendations are for a book that will help them study on their own.
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby Stephen Hill » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:53 pm

Jefferz, Christophe does use TPRS. The Polis summer course, at least (I can speak to that since I've been one of the instructors), starts off with TPR -- it's a handy way to teach vocabulary and to get people thinking in Greek -- but quickly begins adding other instructional techniques. I'd say stories (not always TPRS-style) are the primary vehicle of comprehensible input. We also use pair and small group work to give people opportunities to talk. As for the book, there's an English edition coming out in the near future, but I'm not sure exactly when.
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Re: Learning ancient Greek by Speaking and Hearing.

Postby Philologos512 » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:05 am

Dear Mr Sorenson,

My name is Artur Zwolski. I am a researcher of the languages and literatures of the world. I would like to speak Ancient Greek (Attic Dialect) with you and exchange letters with you in Ancient Greek. I would like to share with you my reflections concerning the usage of the Attic Dialect as a spoken language. Please write a message to me. I am a homo novus and the system does not let me write a message to you.
Best regards,

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