edonnelly wrote:Will Annis, our uber-moderator here, has written an excellent article at his site (aoidoi.org) which can help you decide which dialect is best for you:
I would advise reading that article, then choosing epic, then choosing the Pharr book from which to learn epic.
1. Greek along with Latin was one of the main languages spoken throughout the Roman Empire. I want to read about the Romans in Greek sometime, as I am a big fan of literature as well as the history of the ancient world. Perhaps once you learn one form, the others will come more naturally to you? Of course, I may be entirely wrong...
2. I have a fascination for inflected languages, and so would find it incredibly rewarding (after the challenging part) to understand and be able to use all the inflections and declinations involved with Ancient Greek. The more inflected the variation, the better, in my opinion.
3. Someday I want to learn Modern Greek, although I want to do Ancient Greek first. Perhaps there is a form of Ancient Greek which is closely related to the Greek of the modern world?
4. Part of the reason I enjoy looking into the Classics at all is because they enhance my English vocabulary. Which variant has given the most words to the English language?
You ask good questions.
Jacobus wrote:Can you shed any light on what I would now obviously lose access to if I were to not choose Epic, but Attic instead?
Jacobus wrote:Is there anything historical that I need to be aware of?
Jacobus wrote:Having said all of that, I am hoping that most of what I have just said has a simple answer which I've just overlooked. Are there lots of dual-language texts around? I would have ordered a copy of the Italian Athenaze immediately, but unfortunately I fear that I would not understand the Italian in it - I have never studied Italian and I highly doubt that the French and Spanish I know would get me through it - especially since my French is heaps better than my Spanish. Any dual-language texts would have to be either English-Epic/Attic (don't mind at the moment) or German-Epic/Attic. Or at a push, French-Epic/Attic.
Firstly: If I were to choose Attic Greek, which is the variant I am leaning toward at the moment, what kind of literature would become inaccessible to me for having left out Epic Greek? Although I am mainly talking about historical documents and accounts, I am also talking about poetry and literature, although to a lesser extent. It may even be that Epic Greek is somehow comprehensible to a student of Attic and has never studied Epic in his life, but I doubt it's that simple somehow, knowing how language tends to work...
Secondly, as I am somewhat of a grammar enthusiast, what grammatical features of Epic Greek are lost in Attic that I would indeed lament not experiencing? Although I don't know what period of Greek they exist in, I have heard about one or two interesting sounding elements which I have not had the pleasure of encountering before. If I've missed any out, then I'd hear to hear about them, as grammar is fascinating stimulation for my over-eager mind!
Firstly, I have heard the term "aorist verb" being mentioned once or twice - mainly in the context of Athenaze, I think. Is it just another verb tense or something? How difficult is it? I have looked it up on wikipedia, but it only talks about its formation and such - it doesn't actually say what they are.
Aspect - Russian, Ukranian, Polish and Slovene all have verbal aspect. I don't fully understand verbal aspect in Russian or Slovene, which are both languages have some experience in. I assume that the concept transfers, and learning Ancient Greek will give me more opportunity to get used to the concept of it, which will be good for my degree and for my curiosity of the Classics. Forming the "imperfective" and "perfective", as they are called in the Slavonic languages, is fairly easy in Russian. I struggle with usage, though. I will enjoy grappling with that in Greek, once I understand the basics first, of course.
Dual - Slovene has dual, although I have not got onto that in class yet, so don't really know what it is. Do all dialects of Ancient Greek have it, or does it die out at some point? I assume that if the Dative dies between the time of Classical Greek and Modern Greek, essentially superfluous forms such as the dual will have disappeared in Modern Greek, too, right?
jacobus wrote:I would have ordered a copy of the Italian Athenaze immediately, but unfortunately I fear that I would not understand the Italian in it -
paulusnb wrote:My understanding is that there is little to no Italian in it, just like the English Lingua Latina. Thesaurus can say; he has a copy.
modus.irrealis wrote:Do you mean actual Greek texts? In that case, there's the Loeb series, which has the Greek and an English translation on facing pages and is generally very good.
modus.irrealis wrote:I don't think it's that hard to go from Attic to the other varieties -- I mean you could start out with Attic and learn the other varieties just by learning the differences from Attic.
I think the best variety is to learn the variety that will keep you motivated -- so if you want to read history (even if it's a later writer like Polybius) learn Attic
modus.irrealis wrote:I'd say Epic Greek is very similar to Attic (the base for Epic Greek belongs to the same dialect group as Attic) and is probably simpler in terms of the grammatical constructions you'll face -- I don't think, for example, Homer has many long periodic sentences with subordinate and participle clauses galore (although it is poetry so word order, among other things, can cause confusion).
modus.irrealis wrote:Usually "aorist" on its own refers to the "aorist indicative" which is more or less the "simple past" of Greek. But in most cases, "aorist" means the perfective aspect.
Essorant wrote:Sometimes I think the grammarians teach Homeric and Attic seperately, not because it is necessarily more helpful, but because they may sell more books that way.
Jacobus wrote:By that you mean that Epic grammatical constructions are simpler than Attic? By that do you solely mean because of the absence of so many subordinate and participle clauses?
Also, is the term "participle clause" unique to the Classics? I doubt, but I have never heard that term in any other language I've ever studied. Any, even short, clarification would be very helpful. Thanks.
As one last question, with any luck, I would like to know a little about which dialect you are all learning, and why you chose it? I like to find out a little about others' interests and motivations.
modus.irrealis wrote:To me back then, Ancient Greek was Attic Greek, which was a term I learned only after starting to learn Ancient Greek.
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