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Self-Learning Greek

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Self-Learning Greek

Postby brandonmason » Mon Apr 05, 2004 6:40 pm

Hi all --

I'm a full time college student majoring in classical languages. Due to a schedule conflict, I can't take first semester Greek in the fall and don't want to have to put it off a year. My professor doesn't think trying to learn a semester's worth of Greek on my own is do-able.

So... I'd like to see what you all think about it. I'd need to go from complete scratch to being prepared to translate new testament greek. How doable is this? Suggestions as for curriculum, the best books on textkit, recommendations for books to buy, etc.

thanks!
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Postby klewlis » Tue Apr 06, 2004 12:08 am

It's definitely doable if you are a hard worker and motivated. :)

If it is koine that you want (you mentioned reading NT) then definitely go with Mounce's grammar... it has the bonus of a cdrom to help with certain things, and I hear it's really great (haven't tried it myself). There are also lots of resources here on textkit and elsewhere on the web, and we are always available to help too!

If you are focusing on classical instead, someone else here can recommend a good textbook... but then it might be best to use whatever the first year greek class at your school is using so that you are all on the same page.
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Yes, Koine

Postby brandonmason » Tue Apr 06, 2004 3:48 am

Thanks.

The second term will be tackling the New Testament, so yes it should probably be Koine Greek.

I think the class will use J. Gresham Machen's New Testament Greek for Beginners (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de ... 023734809/) or Lawall/Balme's Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0195149564/).
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Postby Jeff Tirey » Tue Apr 06, 2004 12:07 pm

If you're a full-time student and you're a diligent self-learner, I think it can be done. But beware - it's not always easy and for some it's in fact very difficult.

Greek is a very difficult subject for lots of reason and one of them is the amount of studying time that's needed in order to do well. My experience with studying Greek went like this. In first semester Greek there were 25 students. After a few weeks it was down to about 12. Then 6 students the second semester, 4 students the third and there were only 2 of us by second year second semester. When I was studying classics I studied Greek 4 to 6 hours everyday.

How much time and effort you'll have to put in will depend upon your natural ability to set things to memory and your language/grammar skills. Learners who have studied other languages I think are always at a better advantage.

I think the real challenge will be for you to stay on course everyday. That's why classes work so well, they're great at making you prepare each and everyday. Quizzes, Exams, oral lessons all force a learner to work really, really hard.

You'll need to develop your own study plan to replace all of that.

So yes, it can be done - but I don't think you'll be successful unless you work very hard at it. Harder than any other course you're taking.

As for textbooks - I like Mounce very much. It's an excellent choice and well written for beginners. But find out too what the first semester students are using. Do you know anyone in the class? I would get a copy of the syllabus and try to study with them if that's possible. With the syllabus you can at least get a handle on the pace you'll need to study at.


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Postby klewlis » Tue Apr 06, 2004 12:59 pm

jeff wrote: My experience with studying Greek went like this. In first semester Greek there were 25 students. After a few weeks it was down to about 12. Then 6 students the second semester, 4 students the third and there were only 2 of us by second year second semester. When I was studying classics I studied Greek 4 to 6 hours everyday.


Mine was practically the same. We had the same three students for all of second and third year greek. The three of us got along well though and spent a lot of time doing homework together so that is a plus.

That is another benefit of doing it in class--although hopefully the textkit residents can help with that a bit. :)
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