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Next steps for an autodidact

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Next steps for an autodidact

Postby markcmueller » Sun May 27, 2018 1:08 am

Although I studied Greek in college many years ago, when I decided to learn Greek again I was pretty much starting from scratch. A friend recommended the Italian Athenaze, which I love. As I work my way through the second volume, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about what to do after I finish. Since Athenaze ends with some readings from the Acharnians, I thought it might be good to continue. The fact that the play has features of "old" Old Comedy was appealing. I bought the play. In fact I bought it three times. First I bought a 1901 school edition by Merry. A prior owner had noted that the text had been bowdlerized. Sure enough, lines are missing. I wanted a text with everything. Then I bought a print-on-demand copy of the Starkie edition produced by BiblioLife. Unlike many of the copies of out of print books, the reproduction job was very good. Not a touch of blurriness. Also Starkie's edition has a wonderful layout with notes on each page like the new intermediate books. Unfortunately, the size of the font of the notes is beyond my comfort level, so I ended up buying an original copy which was comparable in price to the reproduction. I knew that I wanted to read it eventually, if not immediately after finishing Athenaze.

I had, in passing, considered other options such as going right into Herodotus and also considered (and bought) Lucian's 'On the Syrian Goddess' before I decided that it made more sense for me to focus on Attic Greek for a while. Recently I discovered Textkit and have been avidly reading old topics. I considered, for example, the suggestion to read 'Salamis in Easy Attic Greek'. To me it wasn't easy. Finally poking around I found Claxton's Attica, and immediately knew that that was the book for me. It has been mentioned on Textkit, but not a lot. My experience learning by myself has left me with a lot of questions about "why". Why is the word order so strange? What's the meaning/purpose of this particle? Looking inside "Attica" on Amazon convinced me that Claxton has the answers I'm looking for.

And then I watched a couple of Stephen Krashen lectures at the suggestion of posters. He's pretty convincing and reminded me of my personal experience with Spanish. One summer I decided to read 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' without using a dictionary. Once I broke down and looked at a translation. The flying carpet really was flying. So I went back to my methodology. Don't worry if you can't understand a sentence. Don't worry if you can't understand a paragraph. If you can't understand three paragraphs in a row, there's a problem. Quite surprisingly to me, I learned the meaning of words without knowing the English translation. And if I asked myself the meaning of certain words in Spanish, I decided "it's complicated". Depending on the use, you'd have to translate the word in different ways.

Needless to say the distance between words in Greek and words in English is greater. 'ἄγω', for example. It applies to a slave or a wife and means more than "lead". There could be big benefits to reading Greek without attempting to translate. But what sort of Greek text could I read without a dictionary and without worrying about not understanding whole sentences? Quite accidentally I ran across "The Ephesian Tale". Hadavas's book cover is wonderful. Reading a synopsis of the plot I realized that so much was happening that if I didn't understand a paragraph or two, it wouldn't matter. Nor would I have to worry about forms, nuances, etc. Unlike my work with Athenaze, where I feel a need to understand everything, the Ephesian Tale should be pure, wonderful trash reading.

So, both 'Attica' and 'Ephesian Tale' are on order (along with the 'Dialogues of the Sea Gods'). Claxton is for after I finish Athenaze, but I'm going to try my technique on the 'Ephesian Tale' and see what happens.
Mark
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sun May 27, 2018 2:32 pm

Just a quick note, Lucian of Samasota writes very good Attic Greek...

You might also be interested in various reader editions designed for intermediate students. The following can either be purchased print on demand or can be downloaded in PDF form for free:

Faenum Publishing, http://www.faenumpublishing.com/available-texts.html

Geoffrey Steadman: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c ... FFY6IGVCLN

They have low frequency vocabulary and various helpful notes.

But in general I like your approach. Read it, get it from context, don't feel you have to understand absolutely every detail, you can always go back and check on such things later.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby markcmueller » Mon May 28, 2018 1:03 pm

Thanks, Barry! I am aware of the Steadman & Faenum books; the Hadavas books I just discovered.

I certainly intend to use them as I progress. There is ample intermediate material out there for my "study". It's Krashen's "free voluntary reading" that is a (fun) challenge to find. Elsewhere in Textkit a case has been made for Euclid. Euclid certainly would be perfect for many people at my level -- but I personally would not find one geometrical proof after another very engaging. Needless to say, for my easy "free voluntary reading" I have to discard any prejudice against modern ancient Greek. I just ordered the print edition of Bedwere's Ben-Hur.

Based on another Textkit topic, I have downloaded chapter 8 of Manuel Gabalas/Matthew of Ephesus's paraphrase of the Odyssey. Based on a first glimpse, my impression is that I might be able to read this without a dictionary and still grasp a lot of what's going on. I'll report back.

.
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon May 28, 2018 2:24 pm

I didn't know about Hadavas either. I notice that he has Lucian's De Morte Peregrini. That was the work for my M.A. thesis way back when. Steadman and Faenum though allow free PDF downloads, which is something of a plus for the budget conscious.
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby Markos » Mon May 28, 2018 3:07 pm

markcmueller wrote:Based on another Textkit topic, I have downloaded chapter 8 of Manuel Gabalas/Matthew of Ephesus's paraphrase of the Odyssey. Based on a first glimpse, my impression is that I might be able to read this without a dictionary and still grasp a lot of what's going on. I'll report back.

I'll await your report with interest, since I am a believer in the pedagogical value of L2 paraphrases. Remind us of the link you used to download this.
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby markcmueller » Mon May 28, 2018 8:35 pm

Here's the link to a paper about Gabalas's paraphrase of the Odyssey. (The links I found in another Textkit topic to two other published chapters are now broken.) The paper's author footnotes the two other chapters, so I suspect they can be located online somewhere. Chapter 8 of the paraphrase is included as an addendum to the paper. The individual pages of the review and Gabalas's chapter are all jpeg files, but they print out fine.
"www.persee.fr/doc/gaia_1287-3349_2003_num_7_1_1438"

Barry -- I did consider Lucian's 'De Morte Peregrini' but decided 'Dialogues of the Sea Gods' was probably easier. I may well come back to it.
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby donhamiltontx » Mon May 28, 2018 8:40 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:I didn't know about Hadavas either. I notice that he has Lucian's De Morte Peregrini. That was the work for my M.A. thesis way back when. Steadman and Faenum though allow free PDF downloads, which is something of a plus for the budget conscious.

Perhaps Textkit needs a sticky note about such commentaries. In addition to the work of Steadman, Hayes and Nimis, and Hadavas, Shannon N. Byrne and Edmund P. Cueva have done Longus' Daphnis & Chloe. Have a look if you like on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0865165939/re ... g=UTF8&me=

To be sure, the price of the new edition is steep for the budget conscious.
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby BartekStepien » Mon May 28, 2018 9:40 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Just a quick note, Lucian of Samasota writes very good Attic Greek...

You might also be interested in various reader editions designed for intermediate students. The following can either be purchased print on demand or can be downloaded in PDF form for free:

Faenum Publishing, http://www.faenumpublishing.com/available-texts.html

Geoffrey Steadman: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c ... FFY6IGVCLN

They have low frequency vocabulary and various helpful notes.

But in general I like your approach. Read it, get it from context, don't feel you have to understand absolutely every detail, you can always go back and check on such things later.


Beware with Steadman. Lots of mistakes and he actually kills the joy of reading, because his notes make no sense whatsoever. (Notwithstanding I am very grateful to G. Steadman, because it is thanks to him that I read my first book in Latin. It’s probably because his writes lots of reading commentaries, that he makes so much mistakes : I don’t know). All the same, beware :) .

Anyway, I have the same method as you do Markc:). I’d suggest you go straight for Homer - a lot of joy and he is actually easy in my opinion (though I have not read much of him, 2 first songs : α and β), so I guess some more experienced readers might give their opinion. Plus, try Herodotus. He should be excellent with your method (I’m reading him now, and it does work very well, when you stop looking into the dict for every word and just focus on what is written trying to deduct; besides, Herodotus is über nice to read :D)
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Mon May 28, 2018 11:22 pm

BartekStepien wrote:Beware with Steadman. Lots of mistakes and he actually kills the joy of reading, because his notes make no sense whatsoever. (Notwithstanding I am very grateful to G. Steadman, because it is thanks to him that I read my first book in Latin. It’s probably because his writes lots of reading commentaries, that he makes so much mistakes : I don’t know). All the same, beware :) .


Dr. Steadman includes his email address. For the Caesar, Herodotus and Plato texts that I used for classes there were some mistakes (not many), concerning which I emailed him, and he responded very graciously and made sure appropriate corrections were made. So if anyone does use one of his texts, and finds something, just let him know...
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby BartekStepien » Tue May 29, 2018 2:37 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
BartekStepien wrote:Beware with Steadman. Lots of mistakes and he actually kills the joy of reading, because his notes make no sense whatsoever. (Notwithstanding I am very grateful to G. Steadman, because it is thanks to him that I read my first book in Latin. It’s probably because his writes lots of reading commentaries, that he makes so much mistakes : I don’t know). All the same, beware :) .


Dr. Steadman includes his email address. For the Caesar, Herodotus and Plato texts that I used for classes there were some mistakes (not many), concerning which I emailed him, and he responded very graciously and made sure appropriate corrections were made. So if anyone does use one of his texts, and finds something, just let him know...


Oh, now I know :D. Thank you very much for this information :) ! I don’t use his works now, but next time I do and if maybe I find a fault, I’ll surely let Dr Steadman know :).
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby Kurama » Wed May 30, 2018 9:44 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Dr. Steadman includes his email address. For the Caesar, Herodotus and Plato texts that I used for classes there were some mistakes (not many), concerning which I emailed him, and he responded very graciously and made sure appropriate corrections were made. So if anyone does use one of his texts, and finds something, just let him know...


What kind of mistakes did you find? Now I'm starting to get worried! I'm reading Mather and Hewitt's annotated edition of the Anabasis and Helm's edition of the Apology. So far my impression of them is good, but are they known to have mistakes like Steadman's? The last thing I need is to start getting confused by a book that mistakenly contradicts what I have so painfully learned from Mastronarde.
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Wed May 30, 2018 11:06 pm

Kurama wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
What kind of mistakes did you find? Now I'm starting to get worried! I'm reading Mather and Hewitt's annotated edition of the Anabasis and Helm's edition of the Apology. So far my impression of them is good, but are they known to have mistakes like Steadman's? The last thing I need is to start getting confused by a book that mistakenly contradicts what I have so painfully learned from Mastronarde.


Mostly typos, nothing that's going to interfere with your learning. A couple of times I've disagreed with him on a construction, but it's the sort of thing that an argument could be made either way.

I have no problem using the text for my AP students.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby Anthony Appleyard » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:02 am

I did not learn Greek in school :: by then, sciences had pushed Greek off the timetable. When I learned Greek, it was much later, self-taught at home. I started with a textbook of Homeric Greek :: as a result, when I write in Greek, Homericisms abound, including a habit of inserting all the digammas, and omitting the definite article, and an early-started habit of Homeric-type versification.
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Re: Next steps for an autodidact

Postby ἑκηβόλος » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:39 am

There is often (but not always) a correlation between the length of the notes that have been written about a portion of a text and the level of difficulty of that portion. If you are starting a text and have an intermediate / school text, looking through the notes for a section that has few (or short) notes, may give you a good guide to which portions of the text might be most proximal to the level of somebody who has not read any of that text or that authour. In terms of Krasden's theories, there is more likely to be comprehensible input in reading a text in the order of least notes to most notes, than there is in reading linearky from the first to the last. An extreme example of this is extracting the easiest portions from many texts to form reading exercises.

By way of example, in Thucydides II, which it seems like I'm reading for the first time, Rusten has very few notes for section 67, and section 67 is quite an easy reading passage.
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