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How much reading?

Are you learning New Testament Greek with Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek? Here's where you can meet other learners using this textbook. Use this board to ask questions and post your work for feedback. Use this forum too to discuss all things Koine, LXX & New Testament Greek including grammar, syntax, textbook talk and more.

How much reading?

Postby uberdwayne » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:58 am

Hey all, Its been a while, I've been on Koine Greek for 2 years now and feel like I've hit a brick wall... I've been working though mounce and Wallace along with the corresponding workbooks, Also been slowly going through a graded reader. Any suggestions for what to do next to keep moving forward in my Koine studies? I'm really struggling with vocabulary! Also, How much reading should I be doing each day? oh... and Markos, your my hero, I seem to run into your posts everywhere. LOL!!!
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Re: How much reading?

Postby bappyforum » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:15 am

Can anybody tell, what is Koine studies??? :(
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Re: How much reading?

Postby ragnar_deerslayer » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:52 pm

I hear you. I had two years of seminary Greek, then I spent a year studying on my own (30-45 minutes a day, 4-6 days a week), and I was really disappointed with my progress. I nailed down my paradigms better than I ever had them in school, but my reading speed was still slow. I clocked myself, and it took me 45 minutes to fully parse and translate two verses from the Gospel of Mark!

I decided to take a step back from that approach. I'm using Randall Buth's "Living Koine" materials now, and approaching the whole enterprise from a different angle - that is, (attempting to) learn to think in Koine Greek, rather than trying to translate. Give me another year and I'll report back on how it's going.

Ragnar
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Re: How much reading?

Postby uberdwayne » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:49 pm

Thats interesting that you mention thinking greek rather than translating it. I came across an article, http://www.bu.edu/mahoa/hale_art.html, I skimmed trough it, but the idea that stuck through is to think through a sentance in the order in which the words appear. Rather than finding the subject, than the verb, etc... etc...

It was written primarliy for Latin, but its application applies to greek. I found this article last week. In fact, I think I found it somewhere here on textkit. but yeah.... If your still around here in a year, I'll be interested in hearing how it goes. I think Im going to follow down a similar path, after all, the Greeks didn't need to parse the words as they spoke. lols
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Re: How much reading?

Postby Tombstone » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:28 am

My reading = decoding. I would love to be able to sit down with a text and not have to parse it. When I was in second grade, I didn't parse sentences. I read them, simple as they might have been. How long does it take to really be able to read Greek?
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Re: How much reading?

Postby uberdwayne » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:05 am

Hahaha... There's the rub. I've been studing greek for the last 2 years and I've yet to be able to "read" like you say. Of course, all the books I have teach me how to translate scripture rather than read it for yourself... Its funny, in Mounce, the text book says that you should understand the sentance first, then he goes on to show you the key words you should use for the various cases. This technique isn't bad, but it certainly isn't helping to acheive any fluent reading! I think the key to it is to really internalize the words first, then internalize the way each case or tense is used. I recognized the meaning of some phrases already without the need to translate, just cause of their frequency, I've read somewhere that "repetition and reiteration" are the foundation to language learning. so yeah. Spend time reading without translating or parsing, I'm sure you'll begin to catch the jist of the sentance and you can build on that without your enlish mind getting in the way.

Just some thoughts
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Re: How much reading?

Postby ragnar_deerslayer » Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:22 pm

That's the key: repetition and reiteration.

Do you remember Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham? The whole book was done with only 50 different words. That's what we need to learn Koine: lots and lots of simple, easy sentences, where we know the vocabulary and can practice case and verb form recognition until it ceases to be conscious. Preferably, these simple sentences would be arranged in a compelling, or at least interesting, narrative. (Stephen Krashen calls this the “Compelling Input Hypothesis.”)

But students study Koine to read the Bible, and the textbook companies pander to that by advertising how quickly the students will be reading unadapted Greek. Guess what? That's not going to help you in the long run. The Bible isn't easy Greek (no, not even John). Babies need baby food, and it'll be some time before they eat steak. You don't give steak to a baby and say, “If you just chew it long enough, eventually you'll be able to digest it.”

I am constantly amazed at the amount of easy-reading material available for Latin and even Classical Greek. If you go to Ed Donnelly's page, you'll find upwards of 30 “First Greek Reader”-type texts written for beginning students. I myself downloaded a dozen recommended by Spiphany. Since I always eventually planned to move on to Classical Greek after learning Koine, I've decided to take that step a little early. I've started the JACT Reading Greek program, and it's great. It's giving me a lot of practice in the basic Greek common to Classical and Koine. Between that and Randall Buth's spoken Koine materials, I've got a lot to help me reach the next level.

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Re: How much reading?

Postby Sceptra Tenens » Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:12 pm

bappyforum wrote:Can anybody tell, what is Koine studies??? :(


Koine is the Greek dialect in which the New Testament was written.
mihi iussa capessere fas est
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Re: How much reading?

Postby Markos » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:20 am

Ragnar wrote:

Babies need baby food, and it'll be some time before they eat steak...Do you remember Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham? The whole book was done with only 50 different words. That's what we need to learn Koine: lots and lots of simple, easy sentences, where we know the vocabulary and can practice case and verb form recognition until it ceases to be conscious. Preferably, these simple sentences would be arranged in a compelling, or at least interesting, narrative. (Stephen Krashen calls this the “Compelling Input Hypothesis.”)


χαῖρε φίλτατε. τὴν ἀλήθειαν λέγεις.

If you are looking for daily baby food Greek, bookmark this page

http://percipiolinguamgraecam.wordpress.com/

and read it every day. I don't know about you, but I find this guy's Greek very easy to understand, easier, in fact, than most of the Greek Readers out there, some of which are quite hard for beginners.

And if you want, you can add a daily comment yourself. IMO, daily comprehensible output is just as important as input.

We will see if this guy continues his daily journal for say a year. Then we can ask how helpful it was to him and to us.

χάρις σοι καὶ εἰρήνη.

Μᾶρκος.

{ ει θελεις μανθανω την Ελληνικην γλωσσαν, συμβουλομαι σε αναγιγνωσκειν τουτο το βλογ καθ' ημεραν. ευκοπον γαρ εστιν. γραφε δε συ επι το βλογ καθ' ημεραν.

ελπιζω οτι ουτος γραψω καθ' ημεραν εν τῳ μελλοντι ετει. }
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: How much reading?

Postby arthad » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:27 pm

Markos, thanks for mentioning my blog -- I started it from purely selfish motives, but I would love for it to be helpful to others as well. As you said, anyone's welcome to comment -- in fact that would make it more useful for me and for others too.

For the OP, what revolutionized my own study of Greek was attending Christophe Rico's Polis course in Rome last summer (http://www.polisjerusalem.org/?page_id=6) -- four hours a day for four weeks of comprehensible input in Koine Greek. When I left, my reading speed had nearly doubled, and what was even more important, Greek had become a living language to me, just like my Spanish and French. I no longer had a running translation in my head when I read Greek, and I could even begin to produce it without spending minutes searching for the right form of each word.

So the keys for me were:

1. Comprehensible input and lots of it. John, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and Acts are usually good authentic sources of comprehensible input, depending on one's level. But aural input is really important too. Unfortunately it's much harder to come by.

2. Production. Write and speak Greek as much as you can. It doesn't matter how basic your utterances are. Just do it. Begin with very simple sentences -- ἄσχολος εἰμι. ἔρχομαι πρὸς τὸν φίλον μου -- and gradually increase complexity. Try to do it as spontaneously as possible. I find that comprehensible input is more valuable to me after trying to speak and write has made me aware of the gaps in my knowledge.

Rico has a book, Polis, which you might find helpful. It's available in French, Italian, and German, and he's working on an English translation. But most of the text is in Greek anyway, so it doesn't matter that much.
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