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Issues with Athenaze

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Issues with Athenaze

Postby Johny Ze » Fri Jul 09, 2004 6:33 am

Hey everyone! I'm using Athenaze to learn Greek, or rather try to learn Greek, and I'm finding that I get lost at certain points. I find it jumps into new declensions without warning in the readings, and almost leaves you to sort out why it changes on your own. I don't know, I'm probably just a bad student. Can anyone recommend what I can do to get this grammar stuff to sink in better? Are the Greek learning books on here really good? I've heard that there is a learning new Testemant Greek book which is apprently the best on learning Greek, but I can't recall it's name. . . Anyway thanks for the help and advice!

John

ps - how does this translate kalos estin cheris (sorry no greek fonts on my cpu right now) Thanks again
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Postby Geoff » Sat Jul 10, 2004 3:20 pm

William Mounce's "Basics of Biblical Greek" is a fantastic book. It could be useful as a supplement for someone studying Attic, but I would highly recommend you sticking with a book that suits your goals (attic, homer, koine)

I've heard of a system called "Reading Greek" which may be from the JACT, I'm not sure. Try the JWW "First Greek Book" available here on Textkit, I think you'll find it plain and straightforward. With one or two good supplemental books I think you could still find the one your using quite helpful as a main text.
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Athenaze@home

Postby Stephen » Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:12 am

I've been working through Athenaze at home, on my own, with no one around who knows a word of Greek. I think that Athenaze is meant to be used in a classroom, and that the teacher would fill in the blanks, especially in the readings. Here's what I've been doing.

I try to translate the readings as best I can, writing it all down, and feeling free to look up words I've forgotten, checking the summary grammer at the end of the book, and looking ahead in the chapter to see what new concepts are being introduced. I'm not sure that this is what the authors intended, but it works for me.

One day I felt really stuck, and not at all confident that I was "getting it," and I bought a copy of the teacher's guide for Athenaze. It tells a little about what each chapter is intended to teach the student, and has a translation, with some helpful notes, of each passage. So I translate a paragraph, and then compare my translation with theirs. Usually, it's not bad, which builds my confidence, and when I've missed the boat, I learn what I've done wrong - which is what's really important, I think.

I also picked up copies of the Oxford Pocket dictionary and grammars, and have sometimes looked something up there, but not as often as I thought I would.
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Postby Baroque1977 » Tue Sep 07, 2004 2:02 pm

NO! You are not a bad student. Athenaze is a bad textbook! I had Prof. Lawall at UMass Amherst for my first 13 credits in ancient Greek(he's retired now!)... and believe me, this was an exercise in frustration. I and my classmates were constantly having to supplement our studies with other textbooks and with help from more sane professors.

Get yourself a copy of Hansen and Quinn and Mastronarde... these books are IMMENSELY better.
Last edited by Baroque1977 on Sat Sep 11, 2004 2:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Lucan » Tue Sep 07, 2004 9:12 pm

I've heard of a system called "Reading Greek" which may be from the JACT, I'm not sure.

I'm using the JACT 'Reading Greek' series at the moment, and it is, on the whole, very useful. There are a few issues I have with it though- namely that the order in which you learn new aspects of the language can, at times, seem illogical. I also dislike the 'English to Greek' sections. Not so much for their difficulty, but the textbook itself provides nearly no points of advice on how to write your own sentences in Greek. Thus you may write a sentence that is grammatically correct, but syntactically awful.

My final gripe is that the 'independent guide', which accompanies the series, takes a far more liberal attitude with the translations than I would have liked. I can understand why the authors would want the translation to seem 'free-flowing', but as a (relative) beginner who is concentrating primarily on translating everything correctly (even if it is not 'good' english) this can be a bit disconcerting.

But despite this, I do still recommend the JACT series. It's certainly taken my Greek to (approximately) GCSE level and I'm still using it to date. I don't know if any other books are generally agreed to be better, but as long as you're willing to put in the work JACT does the job just fine.
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I really like Athenaze

Postby elisa » Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:24 pm

I really like Athenaze. I understand where you're coming from about grammar not being fully explained right at the beginning, but somehow for me this book works great. I have another book which is very grammar heavy but it doesn't have nearly enough readings and examples of the grammar in context, so I find myself frustrated most of the time when I try to learn from that other book. Athenaze has so much in the way of readings and sample sentences of what's being taught that even if the grammar isn't clear at the very beginning, I can see it in use over and over again in the readings and that makes the usage and patterns become much more clear. In my experience it's normal to need more than one book to learn a language. For me, Athenaze is my main text, and for more charts and details I look in the other book. Seems once I'm familiar with the Athenaze chapter, vocabulary, and readings, THEN I can understand the grammar much better.

Another thing I love about Athenaze is the ongoing story. It keeps me interested and looking forward to what's coming next. And another plus is that you get to start reading right from the beginning, so you feel a great sense of accomplishment. I know I've only scratched the surface half way through this book, but I've learned a lot of Greek in a very short length of time. In May I knew nothing at all, and now I'm reading the Septuagint. I'm only a few chapters into Genesis, but I can read it, and it's fascinating to see how much is different from the Hebrew.
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