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Greek Textbooks

Postby PeterD » Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:55 am

Since we're on the subject of Greek textbooks, I'm currently using Reading Greek by JACT. It's a fine text, but I wish the grammar and explanations were more thorough. I've heard alot of great things about Mastronarde's Introduction to Attic Greek. Is it really as good as they say? Another text that gets mentioned is Thrasymachus by Peckett. A somewhat similar approach to RG -- is it any good?

Studying Greek on your own can be daunting (I'm thinking now of participles). :shock: Were it not for the help I get from this website, I'd probably would have given up a long time ago. But ohhhh the pleasure I get when I read a witty Greek passage and I understand it.

Cheers :)

PS: Was it Milton in Paridise Lost who wrote "Greek is the key to Paridise"?
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Postby benissimus » Wed Mar 03, 2004 1:07 am

I am also interested in finding a thorough and complete Greek textbook. I know that there are many books that can teach Greek well but I also want as many details as possible so I don't have to go reading grammars to pick those up later. I like the no holds barred approach, and I have heard Hansen & Quinn's is good in this area, but if it is anything like Latin Moreland & Fleischer intensive course, then I might have second thoughts.

Having read the introductions to all the Greek textbooks offered by Textkit, they appear to all be abridged versions of former versions which were more expansive, designed to fit into classroom study more easily than their predecessors. This is not an issue with me and I find omitted information and lessons to be disappointing :(
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Postby PeterD » Wed Mar 03, 2004 1:12 am

Please tell me H & Q comes with an answer key.
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Postby Paul » Wed Mar 03, 2004 2:31 am

Hi Peter,

H&Q doesn't have answers to every question. But it does have well-placed self-tests that are followed by answer keys.

I think H&Q is easily the best textbook for Attic Greek. In fact, when I want to check a point of grammar, after Smyth, I turn to H&Q. I highly recommend it.

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby PeterD » Wed Mar 03, 2004 3:09 am

Hi Paul,

It's always a pleasure to read your replies. :)

When I undertook the study of AG last fall, my goal was after a year of study to move on to the Homeric texts via Pharr. My progress is on course -- I have already covered 4 verb tenses, participles (oh those darn participles!), and other grammatical subjects. I figure by summer I shall have achieved this. However, I get the feeling sometimes that the text I'm currently using, the amount of material I've learned, may not be enough -- all for naught! I even entertained the idea -- after visiting prof. Harris's site -- of going full immersion into Homer, since that is my goal.

Now here I am -- after almost 6 months of AG -- still worried about the textbook. It sucks! Good thing I'm not a quitter.

Any suggestions?

Take care,

PeterD
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Postby annis » Wed Mar 03, 2004 3:41 am

benissimus wrote:I like the no holds barred approach, and I have heard Hansen & Quinn's is good in this area, but if it is anything like Latin Moreland & Fleischer intensive course, then I might have second thoughts.


H&Q is quite like M&F, but with a wretched font.
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Postby chad » Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:03 am

Hi Peter, you've already mentioned Thrasymachus. It sounds like you've hit that bit where you're learning heaps of grammar but you haven't yet been able to pick up a greek text, even a simple one, and read it naturally...

Head out and buy Thrasymachus. Especially if you've learned a little bit of Attic already, you can just skim the vocab list at the back for the 1st lesson and read the first chapter like you're reading english, because it's quite repetitive with the question/answer dialogue...

each new chapter introduces you to one new grammatical idea, and this idea gets played out in an entire chapter of dialogue. the whole book's a continuous story in idiomatically correct greek, of an ancient greek boy who is escorted by hermes from his home down into the underworld to meet heaps of characters from greek myth (a different character each chapter)... you'll also learn lots about greek mythical characters themselves if you look up encyclopedia references for each of the characters on something like perseus.

Or just read the first chapter in the bookstore... you'll want to buy it after that ;)

Cheers, chad. :)
Last edited by chad on Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby PeterD » Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:12 am

Thanks Chad. Like Paul ( et al), enjoy reading your comments.

Textkit rocks :wink:
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Postby bingley » Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:52 am

Although H & Q makes a good quick reference grammar as well as a course, I don't find it so useful as a vocabulary reference.
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Postby Raya » Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:44 am

annis wrote:H&Q is quite like M&F, but with a wretched font.
Ack - how true! The English font is bad enough - the Greek one is just terrible!

I'm now at the 18th unit (out of 20) in H&Q. It seems to me a very comprehensive text - you are rarely left wanting more detail - thus (as many have said here) it makes a good grammar reference as well.
It is definitely not an easy text to follow, though - sometimes I feel that the authors' English explanations require translation as much as the Greek!
I find it hard to excuse the lack of an answer key throughout, especially in later units.
I would also agree that the text doesn't help you enough with Greek vocabulary.

PeterD: I've also heard good things about Mastronarde's text, though I haven't experienced it myself.
Has anyone else here seen/used it?
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Postby annis » Wed Mar 03, 2004 2:01 pm

Raya wrote:It is definitely not an easy text to follow, though - sometimes I feel that the authors' English explanations require translation as much as the Greek!
I find it hard to excuse the lack of an answer key throughout, especially in later units.


Yeah. Unlike M&F - which has a layout and progression of topics I can grok - H&Q's system and order of explaining things still defies my abilities to understand.

I would also agree that the text doesn't help you enough with Greek vocabulary.


But I like it that they discuss the vocabulary, if only briefly, after giving the list. Just a list doesn't help you understand the nuances.
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Postby annis » Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:02 pm

I've been saying rude things about H&Q, but I should mention that I think it's an excellent book. I just don't know if it's going to work well for everyone who wants to learn Greek.
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Postby PeterD » Wed Mar 03, 2004 6:50 pm

It's a pity that, unlike Latin, there is not one solid textbook that covers AG from A - Z well -- unlike Latin where you have a variety of good choices. It does not auger well for AG studies. :cry:

Have a look at the new Latin textbook Learn To Read Latin by Andrew Keller & Stephanie Russell. Very impressive. This is how an instructional language book should be :!:
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athenaze

Postby Geoff » Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:14 pm

I hear very little about Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek.

Has anyone here used it and if so what are your thoughts?

H&Q seems to be the standard among "textkitters". I'm learning Koine primarily from Mounce and a half dozen other koine sources, but I've find looking at other dialect textbooks is helpful.

After I get through my studies in mounce and then two other follow up works I'm going to try to study through some Classical and Homer.

I'd love to hear back about Athenaze or just study tips in general.
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Re: athenaze

Postby PeterD » Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:25 pm

Geoff wrote:I hear very little about Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek.

Has anyone here used it and if so what are your thoughts?


It's available at most bookstores so I had a chance to glance at it. In my opinion it appears to be very watered down - not for the serious autodidact. I would pass on it.
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Postby Colin » Thu Mar 04, 2004 12:52 am

I recommend that if learning Homeric Greek is your Goal then go right into Pharr. All the texts that you are comparing to JACT ultimately do the same thing. I worked through J.A.C.T. in University and I found its organization troublesome and I spent a good deal of time cross referencing with other beginning Grammers such as H&Q and Mastronarde in the library. However once I started to do non-text book work I found JACT invaluable just because it was what I was used to. Anyhow back to Pharr. In focussing on Attic Greek textbooks I think you are doing alot of extra work that is ultimately unnecessary for learning Homeric Greek. With Pharr you are basically jumping through the same hoops as the other textbooks, but there's just a better fit with your goal of learning the Homeric Greek. As well, by focussing on the Homeric Greek now you won't have to spend so much time re-learning aspects of the Grammer you have already worked so hard to acquire such as different noun endings and the use of the article, which are different. Basically what I'm saying is at an early phase of learning you want forward momentum. I'd advise either continuing on with JACT and maybe purchase or download a good student grammer like the Oxford for assistance or move straight on to Pharr.
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Postby PeterD » Thu Mar 04, 2004 4:34 am

Thanks Colin. I have already put in alot time and effort into Attic Greek. In a few months I will hace completed the basics of Attic Grammar. I guess then I'll jump straight into Pharr -- "Sing, Goddess, the wrath..."
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Postby PeterD » Fri Mar 05, 2004 3:22 am

Paul wrote:I think H&Q is easily the best textbook for Attic Greek. In fact, when I want to check a point of grammar, after Smyth, I turn to H&Q. I highly recommend it.


I spend a couple of hours at the University library looking at various intro. Greek language texts (something I should have done before I commenced my Greek studies :cry: ). I looked at at least a dozen texts. I Should never have doubted Paul --the man knows!. Only one book in my opinion stood out: Greek: An Intensive Course by Hanson & Quinn. While it's not perfect (what is?), it does cover the grammar and the morphology in a thorough (brother, it's thorough!) and succinct manner. While it may be overwhelming (it's Greek for heaven's sake -- it's supposed to be overwhelming!), it does not shortchange (think Athenaze) the serious student.

Thanks again Paul.
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Postby chad » Fri Mar 05, 2004 3:39 am

there's a uk site which has reviews on heaps of classics grammars/textbooks/compositions &c which is worth checking out:

http://classicsteacher.co.uk/

they give their opinion on the value of a lot of classics books out there.

cheers, chad. :)
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Postby Paul » Fri Mar 05, 2004 3:59 am

PeterD wrote:I spend a couple of hours at the University library looking at various intro. Greek language texts (something I should have done before I commenced my Greek studies :cry: ). I looked at at least a dozen texts. I Should never have doubted Paul --the man knows!. Only one book in my opinion stood out: Greek: An Intensive Course by Hanson & Quinn. Thanks again Paul.


Aw shucks :oops:. But thank you Peter.

As others in this thread have suggested, finding 'the right book' can often be a matter of personal preference. Perhaps it can also be a matter of accident. I have found H&Q helpful when other books weren't. But who knows, had I been looking up different topics, maybe H&Q wouldn't have been the most helpful book. But I suspect its extensive index has a lot do with its usefulness.

I would encourage you to find your way to Homer sooner rather than later. You won't regret it. :)

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby PeterD » Fri Mar 05, 2004 4:11 am

Hi Chad,

I know the site. But most of the texts they mention have been out of print decades ago; there is absolutely no mention at all of any of the current texts out there.

Take care.
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Postby PeterD » Fri Mar 05, 2004 4:26 am

Paul wrote:I would encourage you to find your way to Homer sooner rather than later. You won't regret it. :)


Hi Paul,

I planning to get married this summer in Greece :D (Have I mentioned I'm a Canadian of Greek heritage?). When I return in the fall, the epics of Homer will be my goal. With textkit and William's site --aoidi.org -- it should be a most pleasant experience.

Take care.
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Postby Eureka » Fri Mar 05, 2004 10:12 am

For those using Thrasymachus, here's a website I found:

http://www.vroma.org/~abarker/thrascontents.html
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Postby PeterD » Fri Mar 05, 2004 1:58 pm

Sorry about the typo William; it is aoidoi.org not aoidi.org :oops:
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Postby chad » Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:36 am

hi peter, you're right, that review site doesn't review the latest books, like the one by mastronarde, and athenaze.

but greek has been a static frozen language for over 1,000 years now, it's not like e.g. french books, which need to be updated as the idiom changes.

the only new ancient greek book which i have seen which brings a new "learning approach" to greek (apart from thrasymachus) is peter jones' learn ancient greek, which i enjoyed working through although it admittedly doesn't teach you all aspects of grammar. the other new books just seem to reword the older books, without any attempt to bring in better learning techniques like e.g. the major mnemonic system, association, immersion &c.

i think i've mentioned in another post the book lampas: it's really good as well, but it only gives brief grammatical descriptions, and no comprehensive vocab lists.

there is one new textbook full of classical greek dialogue for classrooms, but it seems to require a teacher: it doesn't give full vocab lists or grammar explanations, so an auto-didact couldn't get much from it.

my favourite greek textbooks are some of those old books reviewed on the uk site, like sidgwick's prose composition and rouse's demonstrations of greek iambic composition.

cheers, chad. :)
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Postby PeterD » Sat Mar 06, 2004 1:33 am

Hi Chad,

Indeed, some of the old texts are priceless, but unfortunately very difficult to find. I can't imagine one having a respectable Greek library without the names of Sidgwick, Goodwin, Smyth, Pharr, Botting, N&H, Sonnenschein, Buttmann et al. gracing their shelves.

Having said this, the problem -- for a lack of a better word -- of the old texts is that they assume the reader has a thorough knowlege of English grammar knowledge ( hey, I'm actually sounding knowledgeable like Paul :)). You will not find in the old texts the much needed grammatical materials that today's student -- including myself :oops: -- desperately needs. It's not that Johnny can't read -- Johnny can't understand :!:

Got to get home before my fiance wonders where the hell I am. I am already in the doghouse for missing supper last night. :wink:

Take care,

Peter
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Postby Kopio » Fri Mar 19, 2004 8:50 pm

No one has mentioned the Grammar that I learned from.....so here goes...

I learned (Koine) Greek using Lyle Story's "Greek To Me" It's a tad bit goofy, but it works very well. Lyle uses mnemonic pictures to help aid the learner. The strong points of the grammar are:

1) You amass a huge vocabulary in a relatively short time.

2) You work through EVERY paradigm in N.T. Greek.

3) There are translations stories following every chapter that reinforce the things that have been learned, and they are stories, sometimes a couple pages. Almost all of them are mimicking an actual biblical story.

In my first year Greek class, we worked through the entire grammar in just over a semster, and the next semester we jumped right into and translated though the entire the Gospel of Mark.

Here is a link to Lyle's website... http://home.regent.edu/lylesto/ Go to the Greek Memory System link and check it out. IMHO this is the best NT Greek 1st year Grammar out there. When I teach Greek (eventually) this will most certainly be the text my students will use.
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Postby Bert » Fri Mar 19, 2004 10:57 pm

Kopio wrote:No one has mentioned the Grammar that I learned from.....so here goes...

I learned (Koine) Greek using Lyle Story's "Greek To Me" It's a tad bit goofy, but it works very well. Lyle uses mnemonic pictures to help aid the learner.


Maybe I did not give this book enough of a try.
I borrowed it but I got so frustrated with the goofy pictures that I gave it back long before finishing it.
My memory is not good enough to be able to remember his mnemonic aids :)
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Postby Kopio » Mon Mar 22, 2004 5:07 am

Bert wrote:Maybe I did not give this book enough of a try.
I borrowed it but I got so frustrated with the goofy pictures that I gave it back long before finishing it.
My memory is not good enough to be able to remember his mnemonic aids :)


It really helps if you have someone who has worked through it and can explain the pictures....Story has a cd that has an interactive process that really works quite well. I have been a tutor for a first year Greek class for the last two years (on occasion I even get to teach!!) and there are so many things I like about this approach it would take quite a while to write them all down. From a teachers perspective, it's nice to see the lightbulbs go on fairly quick. One year they had a different 1st year prof, and he used a different program, the dropout rate spiked, and the students coming out of first year still didn't really know how to read Greek.

You have to understand, working through GTM AND the gospel of Mark in 1 school year is a tremendous amount of Greek, the students then go on to read Luke-Acts, Hebrews, etc. in 2nd year, and generally they are able to hang pretty well in some fairly difficult Koine texts (Biblically speaking that is).
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Postby PeterD » Fri Apr 02, 2004 6:02 am

[face=SPIonic]Xai/rete[/face],

Last month I inquired about Greek instructional texts. Judging from the number of views the topic has received so far, I presume people are very curious as to what others have to say about the matter. There were many textbook suggestions, and all of them very helpful, especially by Paul and Chad.

Obviously, choosing a text is a question of personal preference, what may be good for you may not be good for the next person. Having said that, if I were starting all over in Attic Greek, these would be the texts I would use without the slightest hesitation:

Texts:

    -->Greek: An Intensive Course by H & Q ( I just can't stress how great this text is)
    -->Greek Grammar, HWS
    -->Reading Greek, 3 volume set , JACT ( to be used with the abovementioned texts, otherwise forget it)
    -->Greek-English Dictionary, Liddell-Scott (the "little one' will do for beginners)


Of course, Sidgwick and N & H for composition later on.

In addition to the texts, the Perseus Digital Library at www.perseus.tufts.edu. is an indispensable tool. Also, textkit.com is a godsend for us autodidacts -- BRAVO to William(but you may call him Annis), Benissimus, Raya, et al.

[face=SPIonic]geia/ saj[/face],

PeterD
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