Paul Derouda wrote:My approach to reading Greek is (usually) this: I try to read as much as I can as fast as possible. I first use a dictionnary, and if I don't get it, I don't hesitate to look up in translation and/or a commentary almost at once. As soon as I think I have really understood the meaning of a sentence, I go on. My aim is to get an instinctive feel of the language by being exposed to as much Greek as possible. I believe this is a natural way of learning a language. It certainly is for children (this is how I learned English as kid, by playing computer games), and I believe up to certain points it works for adults too. I've often wondered if I should go on even faster, if I should set a time limit after which I go on even if I haven't understood the meaning of passage.
I have never spent an hour of my life in Greek class, and I have read textbooks and grammars as little as possible; but I think relative to the amount of time spent studying Greek, my ability read, understand and translate a passage is good, probably above average. On the other hand, my grasp of grammatical concepts is rather poor and often I can't explain what a particular construction is or why it has been chosen for the particular occasion, although I can understand it. I understood an epic τε when I encountered one long before I knew there was a name for that. I don't mean it's ok not know your grammatical concepts; on the contrary, I think's it's especially beneficial when we're talking about a dead language. It's just that it has not been my number one priority.
So, that's my method. A systematic reading of Agamemnon like we're starting is of course quite different from what I usually do - and I welcome it!
Sounds a little like Randall Buth and his friends. I find it ironic that Buth, a linguist who taught workshops in discourse analysis with Stephen Levinsohn now parades around making "analysis" sound like the original sin
of language study. What is natural for ESL students isn't natural for linguists who habitually analyze texts even if they can read them without analysis.
In my humble opinion, using Buth's second language learning (SL) method to read Agamemnon of Aeschylus would probably be about as successful as giving the Cantos of Ezra Pound to a student from Turkmenistan who is trying to learn to speak English. In other words, Agamemnon isn't a good text for SL learners. For one thing none of the secondary literature will be intelligible to an SL learner, I find the the 19th century stuff difficult to comprehend just because the linguistic frameworks I use are from the second half of the 20th century. I have a number of old grammars, but I read them with difficulty.
I am not say that Paul or anyone else shouldn't read Agamemnon. I suspect that no one would be reading posts in this forum if they were not interested in hearing language analysis of some form. I'm just taking another shot at the SL purists. There is no question that humans learn language without the aid of metalanguage. Everyone one in Europe who grows up talking to people from neighboring countries can attest to the fact that metalanguage is not required for children to grow up multilingual. On the other hand until recently large portions of the USA were monolingual unless you lived in port city.
C. Stirling Bartholomew