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Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Here you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Greek, and more.

Graded readers in Ancient Greek

would be a harmful distraction from the study of authentic Greek
0
No votes
are not needed
0
No votes
would be helpful but hardly a priority
4
17%
would be very useful and the lack of such is a major barrier to the study of Greek
19
83%
 
Total votes : 23

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby Markos » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:08 am

metrodorus wrote:This neo- ancient Greek text qualifies as a Greek reader:
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Gf9GAAAAcAAJ

La Charte constitutionelle des Français translated into Ancient Greek.

In a sense, yes. If one is very familiar with the original, or very interested in the original, the text serves as comprehensible input. Thanks for finding this Evan, and please continue to mine the public domain for these forgotten but helpful resources. ( I really liked the ολλενδορφείου μεθόδοs you found on the other thread.)
cb wrote:I think that ours is the last generation, or perhaps the second-last generation, that has to deal with this inability to engage naturally - future generations may have an adequate simulation. My guess is that once AI is applied to the huge corpus of Greek, a substantial portion of which has been translated, future learners will be able to supplement their grammar-based learning with natural language questions to the corpus, just any immersed language learner does.

Given the increase in the production (and discovery) of Direct Method resources that I have seen in my own lifetime, I find this quite plausible. The other possibility is that the resource that Daivid seeks (and which I agree is very much needed) was written long ago, and someone like Evan or Joel will eventually find it.

@Daivid: Never give up. Never stop seeking what you are looking for. If you picture yourself having come, they will have built it.

http://factmyth.com/factoids/if-you-bui ... will-come/
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Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:12 am

Fascinating thread, and I don't have too much to add. Not too much... :)

1. I'm eclectic in teaching methodology, and very pragmatic. If grammar-translation does the trick, then I'll use it. If CI and TPRS, then I'll use stories about bears and conversations about the marketplace. In practice, my teaching methods are blended. I like a good textbook with grammatical explanations and a fair amount of exercises and readings. Throw in some of the aforementioned CI and TPRS, mix with some games involving vocabulary and speaking drills, season with some composition. A lot of it also involves the type of learners that I'm working with and what works best for them. The more practice in the language and the less we talk about the language, the better. And... memorizing paradigms and vocabulary may not help in terms of total language acquisition, but neither does it hurt, and in fact, it seems to help at least a teeny-tiny bit, at least in my experience.

2. We know have access to a fair amount of teaching materials preserved from ancient times. These include conversational phrases, daily activities, paraphrases of literary works, vocabulary lists, paradigm recitals. I'm not saying we should teach exactly the way the ancients taught (and we don't know precisely how they always used these teaching texts, although we suspect memorization played a big part in it), but we do have a fairly good idea of how to say a lot of commonplace things in the languages (both Latin and Greek), dating back to ancient times. Why not incorporate some of that in our teaching?

https://www.amazon.com/Learning-Latin-A ... nor+Dickey

I've used some of this with my Latin students. They especially love the insults and debt collection sections... :)

Daivid, I don't know what to say. After graduate school, I stopped doing most Greek except for the NT for several years. Then I ended up tutoring a theology grad student who felt his Greek was lacking and wanted Attic, and that totally motivated me to start reading other ancient authors again. I found what worked best was not to feel anguish that I might never complete the entire corpus of ancient Greek (like, right), or even all of any one author, but simply to read even a small amount each day, and not to obsess if a difficulty presented itself, but use that as an opportunity to do a bit of research in the reference works and then move on. Following this I found both my speed and comprehension increasing over a period of time.

One thing I do with Textkit. If someone posts a question about a passage, I not only read the original language segment that they post, but look at a paragraph or two of the context. Not only is it fun, but it helps to keep fresh in a variety of authors and styles.

I don't know if any of this is helpful, but sometimes reflecting on the experience of others can be beneficial.
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Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:34 am

Grammar is actually the finite and manageable part of language learning. It is an extensive, but simply stated set of rules for how the language is seen to work. Anybody with grade 8 or 9 level mathematics, and 15 or 16 year old reading age in English has the educational background and mental training to be able to understand and learn Greek grammar. It just takes a little effort.

The term "native speakers" is one that could benefit from some discussion too. A difference can be made between monolingual native speakers and those who also share a language with the learner. Nobody who wrote the original texts that we read also spoke English. Tailoring a text to a non-native speaker based on a knowledge of the learners' language advocated by some people, but in some cases, it leads to a type of pidginisation. Greek without participles or perfects because they are most different from English grammar, Greek that starts with the present tense because the present is prototypical in English, Greek that leaves out the complexity of the demonstrative system because it is not present in English, or Greek that in any other way is tailored to English is no longer Greek. Without monolingual native or near-native speakers making a graded reader will probably be an exercise in pidginisation.

Inherent in the model, but unquestioned here, is what is perceived as "difficult" in Greek. What constitutes basic grammar and advanced grammar in Greek is not a self-evident phenomenon. Taking either the native child's order of acquisition or working from what is most similar to English to what is most different, and then incorporating those ideas into the production of a "graded" reader would produce different orders of acquisition for adult learners - different staircases to be climbed.

Weaning somebody off their "addiction" to their own language, can be gradual and comfortable, smooth and user-friendly, or it can be cold-turkey. What is termed "immersion" into Greek (or Latin) is likely to be comfortable, if it is gradual (in a graded structured environment), but more challengung emotionally and psychologically if it involves complete deprivation of known languages for an extended period. Some people claim that 7 to 9 months of cold-turkey immersion is a good start for true learning. Listening to meaningless readings, watching people speaking meaningless sentences and being linguistically inept to negotiate any of one's basic needs for an extended in a non-simplified environment for an extended period might produce competency or the desire for competency.

The application of AI or other computer aids to grading texts is limited by two general factors. First, the algorithms are limited by the designer or programmer's understanding. Second, and underpinning that, the graded readers produced by AI based on ideas of difficulty will entrench ideas about what us difficult. If somebody, who is clever with computers has in mind that the secind declension should be learnt before the first, and produces a reader with that bias in built, then that bias is confirned. If somebody, on the other hand skews a reader towards description, at the expense of dialogue, or direct speech at the expense of reported speech, then the ideas of what is difficult are implicitly stated too.
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Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby daivid » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:03 am

ἑκηβόλος wrote:Grammar is actually the finite and manageable part of language learning. It is an extensive, but simply stated set of rules for how the language is seen to work. Anybody with grade 8 or 9 level mathematics, and 15 or 16 year old reading age in English has the educational background and mental training to be able to understand and learn Greek grammar. It just takes a little effort.


Yes but how much does learning about Greek grammar help you when you then go on to read Ancient Greek?
Karshen's argument, which fits my experience, is that it is reading texts in the target language, that are just a bit harder than you're comfortable with, that allows you to internalise the grammar.

ἑκηβόλος wrote:The term "native speakers" is one that could benefit from some discussion too. A difference can be made between monolingual native speakers and those who also share a language with the learner. Nobody who wrote the original texts that we read also spoke English. Tailoring a text to a non-native speaker based on a knowledge of the learners' language advocated by some people, but in some cases, it leads to a type of pidginisation. Greek without participles or perfects because they are most different from English grammar, Greek that starts with the present tense because the present is prototypical in English, Greek that leaves out the complexity of the demonstrative system because it is not present in English, or Greek that in any other way is tailored to English is no longer Greek. Without monolingual native or near-native speakers making a graded reader will probably be an exercise in pidginisation..


I described my experience from Croatia of listening to two native speakers would be speaking together
and not understanding a word but then being able to understand without problem. I would say that in the majority of those cases both speakers knew no English at all.

As to simple Greek no longer being Greek, it is quite common to find short simple sentences providing a contrast to long and convoluted sentences. A good graded reader would be written taking those simple sentences as a model.

In English there is plenty of stuff written in a simple style. Tabloid newspapers might be sneered by the better educated as being written in childish way but if you wouldn't say it was not English would you?

Voice of America is a good example. It keeps to a vocabulary of 1500 words and avoids complex constructions but there is nothing in their broadcasts that would jar for a native speaker who was listening.
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Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:54 am

daivid wrote:
ἑκηβόλος wrote:Grammar is actually the finite and manageable part of language learning. It is an extensive, but simply stated set of rules for how the language is seen to work. Anybody with grade 8 or 9 level mathematics, and 15 or 16 year old reading age in English has the educational background and mental training to be able to understand and learn Greek grammar. It just takes a little effort.


Yes but how much does learning about Greek grammar help you when you then go on to read Ancient Greek?
Karshen's argument, which fits my experience, is that it is reading texts in the target language, that are just a bit harder than you're comfortable with, that allows you to internalise the grammar.

90% or more of all we learn in school Education is not in itself useful for our lives. The reason for that is that a lot of the subject matter it is unrelated to what we do after education. What we do retain and use is the logical structures and refined ways of thinking.

The structure of knowledge of Classical grammar is most similar, I think, to the knowledge structures in Chemistry, so imagine for a moment that as part of your compulsary education, instead of learning the periodic table of elements you learnt paradigms, instead of oxidation and reduction you learnt patterns of tense, instead of learning the the English (explanatory) names of various molecules you learnt to parse, instead of the properties of covalent bonds you learnt the the relationship between the verb and other nominal elements in a sentence, and instead of learning the differences between physical and chemical mixing you learnt the difference between elements of the sentence that attach strongly to the verb vs. those that could be loosely termed adverbal. Either Chemistry or Ancient Greek will give you the same intellectual training. Practical use of the Chemical theory perhaps helped you understand what was happening in the experiments. If you had learned Classical Greek grammar, it would have informed your practical reading experience as you worked with the texts.

If you had studied Classical Greek grammar, how would you use that hypothetical knowledge of Classical Greek in your attempts to read Greek now? As theory serves as a background knowledge for practical engagement with the natural sciences, the rules of grammar that you hypothetically might have learnt at school would serve as a theoretical background for your reading of (graded) texts.

How hard would it be to learn Greek Grammar now? As far as conceptual difficulty is concerned, Classical Greek grammar stands as a by-product of scientific enquiry within the Western liberal tradition of knowledge. Consequently, the logical structures that you have been trained in will be applicable to Greek to. You would just need to fit the new details from Ancient Greek into the structures that you know.
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Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby daivid » Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:30 pm

ἑκηβόλος wrote:Either Chemistry or Ancient Greek will give you the same intellectual training. Practical use of the Chemical theory perhaps helped you understand what was happening in the experiments. If you had learned Classical Greek grammar, it would have informed your practical reading experience as you worked with the texts.


If you justify the study of Greek Grammar on the grounds that it is intellectual training then I'm all for that. Greek Grammar is fascinating to me so a grammar book that is well written is a good read for me. I just question as to whether it is of much help reading Greek. Only encountering structures when reading texts that are not too difficult allow me to internalize grammar rules It is almost impossible to explain Greek Grammar without examples so grammar books will have some value due to the examples if for no other reason.

Yesterday I was reading a chapter in Theories in Second Language Acquisition: An Introduction (Editors: Bill VanPatten ,‎ Jessica Williams). It was the chapter looking at L2 acquisition from a Universal grammar (UG) perspective. As you know, in English when you make a what question the Wh-word moves to the front. eg The bird is in the tree.->The bird is where?->Where is the bird. Researchers were looking at research on students of English from languages that do not move wh-words such as Chinese. A curiosity about this that was only discovered in the sixties is that sometimes in multi clause sentences the wh-word gets stuck in a subclause hence making a question in this way impossible. The students being studied had never been to an English speaking country and would never have been taught this particular rule of grammar. Yet when tested they were scoring something around 85% compared to the 95% that the native speaker control were getting. In other words they had learned the grammar without ever having been taught it.

Hence explicit teaching of grammar is not needed - just exposure to comprehensible input.


Which is not to say grammar is not important. If graded readers are to be written there needs to be checking that those readers are truly in the spirit of Ancient Greek. Someone who has studied Ancient Greek grammar (whether traditional or UG) is far better equipped to check and correct a graded reader.
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Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:04 pm

daivid wrote:
ἑκηβόλος wrote: Greek that in any ... way is tailored to English is no longer Greek.
I described my experience from Croatia of listening to two native speakers would be speaking together and not understanding a word but then being able to understand without problem. I would say that in the majority of those cases both speakers knew no English at all.

Tailoring their Croatian to what they knew that you knew might be different to they way that they would tailor their language for a child. The psychosocial development of a child dictates the type of language to be used. On the other hand, being informed about your limitations in Croatian by observing how you spoke, they might have mimicked your language as an adaption strategy. Let's look at those in the following two paragraphs.

Typically, a child might under-use contextualising elements around verbs, assuming that a speaker shares their experiences of the immediate surroundings and relationships that they live in (using ET Hall's 1978 terminology children's speech culture is one that might be termed a "high context" speech style), leaving a speaker to guess meaning to some extent from what are seemingly brief and under-detailed phrases. Language might be tailored to young children, by the omission of a lot of explanation, background or relational information and verbal description. Is that real language? Yes it is, but it is imperfect. It is not the standard (or Adult) form of the language.

In the case of adult learners, they typically learn a sentence structure or language feature, then over use it in an attempt to express a similar range of meanings using an altogether too limited for of the language. A non-verbal sentence or a sentence with the copula might be an easy one for a beginner to pick up, or an "I want ..." or "I like ...", or just one tense, or a limited set of cases. Tailoring to an adult means picking up on what they know and limiting one's own language to the elements that you know will have the greatest possibility of being understood. If one has met another non-native speaker, they may use inappropriate tailoring too. Somebody, who knows the native language of the people they speaking to may limit their range if speech to those that are similar in form to feature in the other language. Native speaker English used for non-native speaker reasons.

It is not easy to NOT cater for the needs of others - ie to ignore the fact that you are not being understood. Adaption to the receptive communicative needs of others is a healthy and natural part of human interaction. At the broadest definition of that adaptation of our speech to the needs of others, we learn new languages to be abke to communicate with other people.
daivid wrote:As to simple Greek no longer being Greek, it is quite common to find short simple sentences providing a contrast to long and convoluted sentences. A good graded reader would be written taking those simple sentences as a model.

I think there is a line to be drawn in the sand here between two things. The first is whether in adaptation one is using a subset of what is normally used between native speakers, noting the natural frequency of use, and noting the natural context of use. The second is a variation is something that is never said between native speakers. For example, an utterance such as, "You said what?" is a valid (emphatic) utterance, but if it is used for every question, or if it is used in an unemphatic situations, then it ceases to be the standard adult version of the language, but the adaptation is not outside the briadest norms of the language. An utterance like, "You are say what?" is never used between native speakers of English, and whether that pidginisation takes place on the basis of the speaker's familiarity with the native language or familiarity with the non-native speech habits of the person who they are speaking too, it is not standard language.

daivid wrote:In English there is plenty of stuff written in a simple style. Tabloid newspapers might be sneered by the better educated as being written in childish way but if you wouldn't say it was not English would you
They are not tailored based on the syntactical norms of another language.

daivid wrote:Voice of America is a good example. It keeps to a vocabulary of 1500 words and avoids complex constructions but there is nothing in their broadcasts that would jar for a native speaker who was listening.
I agree.
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Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:15 pm

daivid wrote:Hence explicit teaching of grammar is not needed - just exposure to comprehensible input.

Input is only input and output is also somebody else's input. I don't recall much discussion about two-way output-input. That is an aspect of language worth considering too - either orally, or in composition.

I think there are two types of grammar that can be differentiated. As a skill, grammar can be taught by example. As an analytical science, grammar can take some learning indeed, depending on how deeply you'd like to analyse it. For example, the pattern, "If I hadn't done what I did, then I might have done something else" is much easier to model & master than it is to explain & understand.
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Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby Altair » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:15 pm

In my opinion, everybody learns differently, and different languages require different strategies at different stages of learning. I find it easy to believe that the Krashen approach works well for some people for some languages and for some stages of learning, but I think it would be excessive to claim that it is the only or best way for all people to learn or begin learning a language.

The Krashen method is, unfortunately, not practical for many of the languages I have studied, because there will never be enough interest to create the requisite materials: e.g., Old English, Old Irish, Middle and Late Egyptian, Coptic, or Akkadian. Many languages I have studied have only a limited amount of literature available. Also, some scripts are much easier to learn through explanation than through mere exposure, e.g.,Japanese, Egyptian, Akkadian, and Hittite.

Even with Greek, surely it is easier to learn some things through explanation, rather than through exposure.

How can you look up unknown words at the beginning of your study without knowing something about Greek word formation?

Accents make some sense with an explanation of the underlying principles, otherwise they would probably appear a hopeless jumble. It is unlikely that anyone would ever get enough correct oral exposure to simply figure them out intuitively.

For another example, I am glad of finally getting a comprehensive explanation of many discourse particles and of the force of the middle voice. I think I would have been hopelessly lost about these depending on mere exposure. In fact, I was.

Lastly, there are three quite different patterns used to conjugate the aorist active--the first aorist, the second aorist, and the athematic verbs. Isn’t it easier to have this pointed out, than to expect simply to absorb these differences? Isn’t much of Greek morphology easier to process mentally when looked at systematically, rather than piecemeal?

I am not knocking the usefulness of repeated exposure per se. Exposure is critical to internalize patterns and meanings, and sometimes it is probably superior to explanation and analysis. I am just skeptical about any exclusive use of exposure, which would also have the disadvantages of denying a student access to huge amounts of helpful material written in grammatical terms.

From the earlier posts of others, I have read about a perceived shortage of “comprehensible input” in ancient Greek; but for those steeped in the Christian or Jewish traditions aren’t there simply reams of familiar stores in the Bible that could serve? Some biblical passages are, of course, difficult, but what could be easier than either of these and the passages that follow them?:

1Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. 3πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν 4ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων: 5καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.

Or

1 Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν.
2 ἡ δὲ γῆ ἦν ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος, καὶ σκότος ἐπάνω τῆς ἀβύσσου, καὶ πνεῦμα θεοῦ ἐπεφέρετο ἐπάνω τοῦ ὕδατος.
3 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός Γενηθήτω φῶς. καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς.
4 καὶ εἶδεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ φῶς ὅτι καλόν. καὶ διεχώρισεν ὁ θεὸς ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ φωτὸς καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σκότους.
5 καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ φῶς ἡμέραν καὶ τὸ σκότος ἐκάλεσεν νύκτα. καὶ ἐγένετο ἑσπέρα καὶ ἐγένετο πρωί, ἡμέρα μία.


Why do such passages not suffice?

I find this Greek very easy because of my religious background and yet am skeptical that mere exposure would make clear the relationship between ἐγένετο, γέγονεν,γενηθήτω more quickly than a grammatical explanation putting the forms in linguistic context. On the other hand, after being steeped in the basics of Greek, I could easily appreciate how breezing through pages and pages of similar passages would be a great way to consolidate learning and internalize the grammar.
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Postby marxbert » Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:51 am

I did not cast a vote because I feel this is a nuanced question.
The graded readings that Markos provided (which were graded for those reading with Croy's Biblical Greek textbook) are excellent.

Most people--I assume--begin learning Greek to read Greek. In a lot of beginning Greek textbooks, you are not reading Greek for many, many lessons (if ever!). Croy's textbook--while heavily annotated--has you reading Greek in the first few lessons from LXX and NT. I think this makes many salivate for more. At least me.

But there is no sustained reading of Greek, just verses. Not that good for autodidacts. This is where the work of Markos is incredibly valuable. The work he did is graded to a particular chapter in Croy, so you know that--with another couple weeks--you can progress to reading 'truer' Greek. By the end, you'll be reading all Greek and just use dictionary for infrequent words, a Bible for a more definitive translation, and a grammar for when the dictionary and translation don't add up.

I have not found graded readers of Attic Greek to be much help. Personally, this is because I want to read philosophical fragments, poetry, and drama--and no graded reader helps edge a student towards these goals that I have seen. The best book for poetry may still be Pharr, honestly--maybe not for someone w/o Greek, but with a little Koine it is a reasonable start. But, while Hanson and Quinn and Mastronarde may direct a student to my goals a few lines at a time, it is simply nothing like the graded readings of Koine that Marcos has provided the forum.

I personally feel that some sort of graded poetry or drama would be very useful. Particularly if such readers were leveled to chapters in Croy, Mastronarde, Hanson and Quinn, Pharr, or other much-used textbooks.
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Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Postby daivid » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:00 am

Altair wrote:In my opinion, everybody learns differently, and different languages require different strategies at different stages of learning. I find it easy to believe that the Krashen approach works well for some people for some languages and for some stages of learning, but I think it would be excessive to claim that it is the only or best way for all people to learn or begin learning a language.

This poll is about graded readers in Ancient Greek. Kashen argues that you can learn without formal grammar instruction provided you have comprehensible input. If you argue that easy readers need the support of formal grammar teaching then I don't have any arguments against that. My experience is simply that formal grammar without lots of comprehensible input is futile.

Athenaze volume 1 is an excellent example of the dual strategy. I exclude volume 2 because the pace was too fast for me too much grammar for too little story. (The grammar explanations in Athenaze were very clear - it was the lack of sufficient reading practice that let that volume down for me.)

Altair wrote:The Krashen method is, unfortunately, not practical for many of the languages I have studied, because there will never be enough interest to create the requisite materials: e.g., Old English, Old Irish, Middle and Late Egyptian, Coptic, or Akkadian. Many languages I have studied have only a limited amount of literature available. Also, some scripts are much easier to learn through explanation than through mere exposure, e.g.,Japanese, Egyptian, Akkadian, and Hittite.



This is not true. The first novel of Harry Potter has been translated into Ancient Greek. That is a huge amount of Greek text. The problem is that it is very difficult Greek - as difficult as the most difficult of the extant texts. The problem is not that people are not writing Ancient Greek but that what is being written is far to difficult to be of any help to learners

Altair wrote:Even with Greek, surely it is easier to learn some things through explanation, rather than through exposure.


Even Krashen admits that explicit instruction of grammar is helpful.
He does regard its value as limited.

I am not a hard line Krashen advocate. I tend to think explicit grammar teaching is a lot more useful than Krashen is willing to concede.

However, my experience is that when I learn a grammar rule it only sticks if it is immediately "fixed" with lots and lots of examples.

Like wise learning accidence, cases, verb forms etc by rote is a pointless exercise unless it is combined with meeting lots and lots of real examples of those forms immediately afterwards.

Likewise vocabulary.

Altair wrote:From the earlier posts of others, I have read about a perceived shortage of “comprehensible input” in ancient Greek; but for those steeped in the Christian or Jewish traditions aren’t there simply reams of familiar stores in the Bible that could serve?



I don't agree that reading stories that you already know is the best method. Were that so than it would be a good idea to read a translation of any text you intend to read before attempting it. There is a danger that rather than reading you simply are reminded of what you already know should be there.

Altair wrote:
Some biblical passages are, of course, difficult, but what could be easier than either of these and the passages that follow them?:

1Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. 3πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν 4ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων: 5καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.

Or

1 Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν.
2 ἡ δὲ γῆ ἦν ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος, καὶ σκότος ἐπάνω τῆς ἀβύσσου, καὶ πνεῦμα θεοῦ ἐπεφέρετο ἐπάνω τοῦ ὕδατος.
3 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός Γενηθήτω φῶς. καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς.
4 καὶ εἶδεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ φῶς ὅτι καλόν. καὶ διεχώρισεν ὁ θεὸς ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ φωτὸς καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σκότους.
5 καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ φῶς ἡμέραν καὶ τὸ σκότος ἐκάλεσεν νύκτα. καὶ ἐγένετο ἑσπέρα καὶ ἐγένετο πρωί, ἡμέρα μία.


Why do such passages not suffice?

I find this Greek very easy because of my religious background and yet am skeptical that mere exposure would make clear the relationship between ἐγένετο, γέγονεν,γενηθήτω more quickly than a grammatical explanation putting the forms in linguistic context. On the other hand, after being steeped in the basics of Greek, I could easily appreciate how breezing through pages and pages of similar passages would be a great way to consolidate learning and internalize the grammar.


That first bit of John is indeed quite simple Greek but the concept he is trying to convey. What it means has been hotly disputed. If it is clear to you to you what it means it is because you from your denominational standpoint know what it ought to mean. If you don't have that starting point the obscurity of that text is overwhelming. There are just so many things it could mean.

However, I agree the Greek is much easier than most Ancient Greek writers. The stories are good for intermediate students but for me they are still too difficult for me. I have devoted several years of my life to prove that if you try to run before can walk when learning a language you make zero progress.
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