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Plan of action

Postby Raya » Wed Apr 02, 2003 10:39 am

As I've mentioned in my introduction thread, I'm teaching myself classical Greek with the intention of sitting IB exams in May 2004. I think I'm doing all right in finding the resources I need to do this - but I need a plan of action for the next year, and I'm really having trouble creating one!<br /><br />I ask myself - what should my initial focus be? should I focus on mastering grammar or on reading texts? where do I work in studying the social/ political/ historical circumstances surrounding set texts? (and so forth)<br /><br />I have 2 exams: one is a translation paper (Xenophon) and the other is on 'optional topics' - in my case, Greek Tragedy (Euripides: Medea, Hecuba; Sophocles: Electra) and Aristophanic Comedy (Wasps, Acharnians, Lysistrata). The latter is weighted at 45% of the final mark, the former 35%. (The rest of it is coursework - haven't chosen my option for that yet, though.)<br /><br />Anyway - if any of you out there have suggestions, I would be very grateful.
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Re:Plan of action

Postby annis » Wed Apr 02, 2003 2:06 pm

> As I've mentioned in my introduction thread, I'm teaching myself <br />> classical Greek with the intention of sitting IB exams in May <br />> 2004. <br /><br />What are these?<br /><br />> I ask myself - what should my initial focus be? should I focus on<br />> mastering grammar or on reading texts?<br /><br />Yes. :)<br /><br />I would spend some time going through the old fashioned learning texts to get a feel for how things work in Greek. But I wouldn't spend too much time on those for the simple reason that in most of them the text is terribly artificial. The "Intensive Greek" book (large, expensive burnt-orange thing) is the very best in this regard. You move fast, and you get real Greek quickly.<br /><br />Start reading as quickly as you can. Use student editions that have grammar notes at the back or the bottom of pages. They help with the tricky bits.<br /><br />Learning by reading is the very best approach. It is harder work at first, but you're actually reading text, so it is more interesting, and you're seeing real Greek. You learn what is most important more quickly. You need a good dictionary and a good grammar for when you stop to wonder what is going on in some sentence. You probably also want the "Complete Handbook of Greek Verbs" by Marinone&Guala. When you learn Greek by reading you've not been forced through memorizing lists of principal parts, so this little book will help with the trickiest forms. It's cheap, and you'll use it forever.<br /><br />For the text itself I'm going to recommend a very intensive scheme. Get a large notebook, a lab one with a hard, cardboard binding is best. Grab your Greek text, and start writing. Copy a paragraph into your notebook, leaving about 4-6 blank lines between each written line. Then go through and make vocab notes under words you don't know (most of them at the start... use more blank lines at first). Then grammar (case, number, tense, etc). Look up and make a note of syntax you don't get. I use colored pens to underline words that go together but which are far apart in the sentence. For example (E is eta, e epsilon, O omege, o omicron):<br /><br /> mHnin aeide thea pHlHiadeO akhilleus<br /> oulomenHn, ...<br /><br />So, these first two lines of the Iliad point out one striking feature of Greek syntax. "mHnin" 'rage' has an adjective going with it, "oulomenHn" 'terrible, destructive' but it's in the next line!<br /><br />If you feel you have to, you can add a running rough translation to the text, but by the time you've worked out the grammar, and noted them down, that shouldn't be necessary.<br /><br />In any case, this copy and comment technique is how I handle all greek poetry. I'm about to start in on the Theogony this way.<br /><br />Advice: once you learn about the 3rd declension learn the verb participles! Learn the participles! Both form and usage. These are the most frequently occuring forms of the verb in classical Greek.<br /><br />> where do I work in <br />> studying the social/ political/ historical circumstances <br />> surrounding set texts? (and so forth)<br /><br />Erm. Student editions of texts will have starting information on this. Use that to direct your reading in any good Greek history. <br /><br />> I have 2 exams: one is a translation paper (Xenophon) and the <br />> other is on 'optional topics' - in my case, Greek Tragedy <br />> (Euripides: Medea, Hecuba; Sophocles: Electra) and <br />> Aristophanic Comedy (Wasps, Acharnians, Lysistrata). The latter<br />> is weighted at 45% of the final mark, the former 35%. (The rest <br />> of it is coursework - haven't chosen my option for that yet, <br />> though.)<br /><br />The optional topics I assume is an essay?<br /><br />I find Xenophon uspeakably dull, but I'm a confirmed Homer fanatic. However, the Goodwin Anabasis here at Textkit is the perfect book: notes and vocab in the text. <br /><br />--<br />wm<br />
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Thanks and further explanation

Postby Raya » Wed Apr 02, 2003 4:58 pm

Many, MANY thanks for your response - such a detailed and prompt one, too! I shall indeed try your method...<br /><br />IB stands for 'International Baccalaureate' - in my last 2 years of school I followed the IB Diploma Programme (www.ibo.org if you want details), which is roughly equivalent to the British A-levels. If you're more familiar with the American system... um... suffice it to say you can get university credits if you've taken relevant IB subjects and done them well enough. But in my case it's weird: I've finished school, and have taken a year out to study Greek as an ECS (Extra Certificate Subject) because I need this qualification to apply for the courses I want...<br /><br />Believe me, I'm not a Xenophon fan either! If it *had* to be a historian I wish it were Thucydides - but I had no choice whatsoever. If it were up to me it would be all Sappho and dramatists and such. (Well... I *did* get dramatists, and might be able to work Sappho into the coursework... :D)<br /><br />I'm afraid I'm not much for Homer - but perhaps that's an effect of reading him in translation. The original will have to wait, though - at my current level, the only Homer available is the Catalogue of Ships!<br /><br />Yes, the 'options' paper involves essays. The texts for that paper are studied partly in the original, partly in translation...<br /><br />On a different note: I visited your website, and I notice you've studied Chinese as well! Fascinating language indeed... if only I could get those intonations right - can't even pronounce my Chinese name properly! (It's Siao (smile) Yue (moon) - a gift of sorts from Chinese friends...)
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Re:Plan of action

Postby Jeff Tirey » Wed Apr 02, 2003 7:20 pm

hey i like Xenophon :-) What's wrong with "the army of the greeks moved here.. the general's army shall move there, the army crossed the river, the army has 300 hoplites, the allies of the Greeks are brave, Cyrus commanded both a large fleet and army ..." ok, maybe I'm seeing your point.<br /><br />
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Re:Plan of action

Postby Raya » Thu Apr 03, 2003 10:57 am

[quote author=jeff link=board=2;threadid=40;start=0#130 date=1049311224]<br />hey i like Xenophon :-) [/quote]<br /><br />And I bet you find Homer's Catalogue of Ships just *thrilling*! :P<br /><br />Hehe - okay okay; I shouldn't judge. It's all remarkably dull in English translation but I get the feeling that the original is better...
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Re:Plan of action

Postby annis » Fri Apr 04, 2003 1:32 pm

> And I bet you find Homer's Catalogue of Ships just *thrilling*! :P<br /><br />> Hehe - okay okay; I shouldn't judge. It's all remarkably dull in <br />> English translation but I get the feeling that the original is better...<br /><br />I want to yell when I see some translations of Homer. Some of his phrasing is incredibly vivid, and most translaters obliterate this vividness in their pathetic grasping after what they think is a writing style.<br /><br />I'll admit probably part of the vividness is that I must pay such close attention while reading Greek that everything seems more vivid than it would be if I read the same words in English.<br /><br />--<br />wm,<br />ma Dia, those animated smileys are annoying when I'm trying to compose my brilliant posts
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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