> As I've mentioned in my introduction thread, I'm teaching myself <br />> classical Greek with the intention of sitting IB exams in May <br />> 2004. <br /><br />What are these?<br /><br />> I ask myself - what should my initial focus be? should I focus on<br />> mastering grammar or on reading texts?<br /><br />Yes.
<br /><br />I would spend some time going through the old fashioned learning texts to get a feel for how things work in Greek. But I wouldn't spend too much time on those for the simple reason that in most of them the text is terribly artificial. The "Intensive Greek" book (large, expensive burnt-orange thing) is the very best in this regard. You move fast, and you get real Greek quickly.<br /><br />Start reading as quickly as you can. Use student editions that have grammar notes at the back or the bottom of pages. They help with the tricky bits.<br /><br />Learning by reading is the very best approach. It is harder work at first, but you're actually reading text, so it is more interesting, and you're seeing real Greek. You learn what is most important more quickly. You need a good dictionary and a good grammar for when you stop to wonder what is going on in some sentence. You probably also want the "Complete Handbook of Greek Verbs" by Marinone&Guala. When you learn Greek by reading you've not been forced through memorizing lists of principal parts, so this little book will help with the trickiest forms. It's cheap, and you'll use it forever.<br /><br />For the text itself I'm going to recommend a very intensive scheme. Get a large notebook, a lab one with a hard, cardboard binding is best. Grab your Greek text, and start writing. Copy a paragraph into your notebook, leaving about 4-6 blank lines between each written line. Then go through and make vocab notes under words you don't know (most of them at the start... use more blank lines at first). Then grammar (case, number, tense, etc). Look up and make a note of syntax you don't get. I use colored pens to underline words that go together but which are far apart in the sentence. For example (E is eta, e epsilon, O omege, o omicron):<br /><br /> mHnin aeide thea pHlHiadeO akhilleus<br /> oulomenHn, ...<br /><br />So, these first two lines of the Iliad point out one striking feature of Greek syntax. "mHnin" 'rage' has an adjective going with it, "oulomenHn" 'terrible, destructive' but it's in the next line!<br /><br />If you feel you have to, you can add a running rough translation to the text, but by the time you've worked out the grammar, and noted them down, that shouldn't be necessary.<br /><br />In any case, this copy and comment technique is how I handle all greek poetry. I'm about to start in on the Theogony this way.<br /><br />Advice: once you learn about the 3rd declension learn the verb participles! Learn the participles! Both form and usage. These are the most frequently occuring forms of the verb in classical Greek.<br /><br />> where do I work in <br />> studying the social/ political/ historical circumstances <br />> surrounding set texts? (and so forth)<br /><br />Erm. Student editions of texts will have starting information on this. Use that to direct your reading in any good Greek history. <br /><br />> I have 2 exams: one is a translation paper (Xenophon) and the <br />> other is on 'optional topics' - in my case, Greek Tragedy <br />> (Euripides: Medea, Hecuba; Sophocles: Electra) and <br />> Aristophanic Comedy (Wasps, Acharnians, Lysistrata). The latter<br />> is weighted at 45% of the final mark, the former 35%. (The rest <br />> of it is coursework - haven't chosen my option for that yet, <br />> though.)<br /><br />The optional topics I assume is an essay?<br /><br />I find Xenophon uspeakably dull, but I'm a confirmed Homer fanatic. However, the Goodwin Anabasis here at Textkit is the perfect book: notes and vocab in the text. <br /><br />--<br />wm<br />