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Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

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Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby uberdwayne » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:13 pm

Hey all, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the way one acquires a language, and I've come up with this idea. When I look for videos of how to learn such and such a language, they normally concentrate on learning phrases rather than single words. This to me make more sense than learning lists of words (Of course learning single words are important, but the focus is on groups of words here). I have found that in learning greek, Its much easier to recognize a phrase, and know how the phrase is modified than it is to figure out the phrase from scratch. Let me give an example, a common phrase in the New Testament:

Galatians 1:1 wrote:τοῦ ἐγείραντος αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν,


I know what this whole phrase means. So now, I also know that I can substitute "αὐτὸν" for "Λαζαρον" or "με" or whatever other accusative word! As we learn the alphabet, for example, we begin to see the words as a "Whole" rather than a set of letters. Perhaps we should see phrases as a "whole" as well, rather than a set of words.

What do you think?
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby daivid » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:31 pm

oops
Last edited by daivid on Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby daivid » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:32 pm

uberdwayne wrote:Hey all, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the way one acquires a language, and I've come up with this idea. When I look for videos of how to learn such and such a language, they normally concentrate on learning phrases rather than single words. This to me make more sense than learning lists of words (Of course learning single words are important, but the focus is on groups of words here). ;

Pretty much everything I have read about language learning would support what you say. Words need to be learnt in context not in isolation. However, I have to admit what I do in practice is a little different. The thing is learning the words I have recently learnt (so at least they words that I associate with the context I encountered them) is something I can do even when tired even exhausted. There is something to be said for a habit that I do without fail everyday even if it might not be in theory the best method. By contrast I have been collecting a list of model sentences but working on them is harder work and difficult to sustain. Phrases rather than sentences may be a better option.

Whatever the best method is, in practice most words are learnt by reading so simply increasing the quantity of stuff you read is probably going to be the best strategy even if other methods may in theory are more effective.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby cb » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:55 am

hi, i'm totally with you on learning phrases, and then learning how to adapt these. i actually discussed the same thing here on textkit nearly a decade ago (!!):

http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... php?t=1218

cheers, chad
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby uberdwayne » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:48 pm

Awesome!

When I speak in english, I am able to pull from a library of phrases and apply it to the thought in my head. There is no grammar, because the phrase itself is prebuilt and stashed in a "file" for use when I need it. Think about it, how many people do we know who say "me and my friends" and don't know why it should be "I and my friends." Because its from ROTE MEMORY, not from the grammar we learned in english class!

It seems as though, as an english speaker, there is a set "Phrase Skeletons" that we reference all the time before we speak. So, when focusing and vocabulary, we should also focus on phrasing. Grammar seems secondary!

This brings up the Idea of ROTE MEMORY, I think Mounce in his grammar has done somewhat a disservice by trying to do as less of this as possible, but if one wants to fluently read the NT in Greek, than Rote memory is an absolute essential, a lot of work indeed, but essential nonetheless. I understand his reasoning for trying to keep students motivated, but we end up with students who can sort of decode the text, but are unable, in a sense, to truly read it!

I think Im going to start memorizing phrases I think are "low level" along with my vocabulary.

Here's another example, very common in the gospels:

John 3:3 wrote:ἀπεκρίθη ᾿Ιησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ


This would be a basic phrase structure, now we can make the following changes on the fly: we can specify who Jesus is speaking to by changing αυτῳ to αυτῃ, Παυλῳ or Μαρκῳ etc. Perhaps we want to make Jesus ask a question instead, than we modify the Phrase by changing απεκριθη to ερωτω. Perhaps we want to start a diffirent thought along the same idea, we would just add δε after απεκριθη. There are many possibilities! This also has the added benefit of learning vocabulary in context rather than learning a list of english glosses. Once the phrase structure is learned, then perhaps would be a good time to learn the grammar, and syntax of how the phrase works! That way we can modify phrases correctly and at the same time be able to so fluently!

Perhaps this phrase would be a great starting point for teaching Koine Greek. There's a nominative, a passive 3rd person verb and a dative pronoun! Once the students understand the phrase, then you could teach the grammar! This seems backwards to traditional approaches but could possibly be more effective!
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby Markos » Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:11 pm

What Dwayne and Chad say here finds resonance with some pedagogical ideas that I have had in the back of my mind for a while. The concept of taking an attested Greek sentence or phrase and making various substitutions is, I think, an established pedagogical device called a "semantic switch-out." I have for a while been thinking about using this to provide practice in processing difficult Greek sentences. The idea would be to take a sentence with complicated syntax, one in which it is not readily apparent what goes with what, and by substituting more familiar words, the student is better able to see the underlying syntactic structure. At some point I will get around to trying this out and posting it.

I have no idea how effective this would be--nobody ever does--but I very much agree with Dwayne that we need to give more thought on how Greek is best learned, and we need to experiment with different things. I am well known for a being a foe of the traditional grammar-translation approach, but for argument's sake, let's say that I am here advocating supplementing that approach with new devices, rather than necessarily replacing it all together.

Dwayne's example

John 3:3 wrote:ἀπεκρίθη ᾿Ιησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ



brings to mind a slightly different method, but one that would still be very helpful. Here the idea, I think, is to start with a simple Greek phrase, and the semantic switch-outs would not so much be used to internalize the syntactic structure, but rather would be an active way to learn new vocab and forms in phrasal units. Thus:

John 3:3 wrote: ἀπεκρίθη ᾿Ιησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ...


ἀποκρίνει Χριστὸς καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς...
ἀπεκρίνατο ὁ Κύριος καὶ ἔλεξε τούτῳ...
ἐμείδησέ τις διδάσκολος καὶ ἐλάλησεν ἐκείνῃ...
ἐστράφη Παῦλος καὶ ἧψεν αὐτοῦ.


I should say something about this method that I have said about several methods that I have tried, viz. that these methods are always more useful to the person PRODUCING them than they are to the person USING them. I see great profit in having to come up with these semantic switch-outs oneself. One would be forced to look up certain forms to get them correct. Active learning is always to be preferred, to my way of thinking, and I think simply reading a series of these phrases, while helpful, would not be as helpful as writing them oneself.

One factor here--I don't call it a problem, but a factor--is that in producing these phrases one may well wind up writing stuff that no Ancient Greek would ever write. Even if you started with an attested Greek phrase as your base, your semantic switch-outs would likely produce stuff that would sound funny to Greek ears. Again, I don't see this as a problem. The more Greek I write, the more convinced I am that even if we follow all the "rules" our Greek may always wind up sounding a bit off. If it is any consolation, though, I am convinced that even John's Greek sounded off to many writers. Individual style is a huge component of Ancient Greek, no less so than it is to Modern Ancient Greek.

I would encourage Dwaye and Chad (and Markos, for that matter,) to experiment with some of this stuff and post it on Textkit. It is a shame that Chad's Greek font from his old post does not show up anymore. Do you still have it in some old file?
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby Σαῦλος » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:48 pm

I'm coming to some fairly specific conclusions about what I believe works. I'll only mention one today:

Shield vocabulary, don't shield grammar.

The discussion on TEXTKIT about weather is a perfect example of this. If we counted up the vocabulary in that whole gargantuan thread, it would be fairly sparse. But start counting grammatical constructions. They are many. This theory of NOT shielding grammar, but shielding vocabulary, is held up by at least a couple experts in language acquisition, but (for me) much more convincing is the testimony of the many teachers who discuss and promote the theory on Latin Best Practices group. It's been proven effective in their classrooms.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby Markos » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:43 pm

Σαῦλος wrote:Shield vocabulary, don't shield grammar.


I tend to agree with this as a pedagogy. The Greek Ollendorff essentially does this as the text covers most of the forms and syntax but has a very limited vocabulary, mostly restricted to concrete objects. This makes the grammar more rapidly assimilated because the input is more comprehensible due to repetitive vocab. Morrice's Attic Stories in many ways does the opposite, as the syntax is very basic and there are few unusual forms, but the vocab tends to be unnecessarily rare. For this reason, I don't think his text is very helpful for beginning or even intermediate students.

You could say that the Phillpotts/Jerram adapted Anabasis

http://www.amazon.com/Selections-Adapte ... m+Xenophon

shields from both vocabulary and grammar, if by grammar we mean sentences with difficult syntax. They do provide you with plenty of, say, optatives and result clauses, but they don't overwhelm you with several difficult grammatical constructions at once, as if often the case with real lines from Xenophon. (plus in that case a rare vocabulary word makes the sentence that much more difficult to process.)

I suppose when speaking to our kids or ESL learners, shielding the vocab but not the grammar is pretty much what we do.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby daivid » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:00 am

Σαῦλος wrote:
Shield vocabulary, don't shield grammar.


I almost totally agree with that.

The almost comes from:
    As hinted at by Markos, the kind of monster sentences so loved by some the most admired Attic writers that combine a lot of different grammatical forms seem designed to confuse non native speakers.
    Repetition is needed to allow a grammatical form to sink in so when a new grammatical form has been taught the accompanying reading should use that form to excess.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby uberdwayne » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:10 am

Shield vocabulary, don't shield grammar.


Interesting Idea, I think though that it comes down to a balance between the two, it almost seems that, in order to learn grammar, one must know vocabulary, and the best way to learn vocabulary (as most here would agree) is in its grammatical context. It seems like a bit of a chicken and egg problem. Maybe there are points in one's learning where Grammar is shielded more, and as vocabulary is built, vocabulary is shielded more and vice versa. Like Grammar, I'm not sure this "Rule" could/should be universally applied.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby Markos » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:57 pm

daivid wrote:As hinted at by Markos, the kind of monster sentences so loved by some the most admired Attic writers that combine a lot of different grammatical forms seem designed to confuse non native speakers


I've referred to the ability to break down and process these syntactically complicated Greek sentences as the third ur-skill (after vocabulary and mastering the forms.) We have all had the experience where we more or less know what every word of a Greek sentence means, and we can parse all the forms, but we still fail to understand the sentence, because we can't figure out what goes with what, we fail to see the underlying syntactic structure of the sentence. I call this "failure to process" the sentence.

I have been trying to figure out for several years what makes some Greek sentences so difficult to process, and how one can learn to improve this skill. I'm still trying to work this out, and again, I think I will be posting something soon on this, but if you (ὑμεῖς) have any ideas, I would like to hear them. I know how to improve vocab and I know how to better internalize the declensions, but this last skill is the tough one to figure out how to teach and improve.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby bedwere » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:31 pm

English is my second language, but I noticed that English novels written in the 19th century or earlier have a more complicated syntax than what we are used to see in today's books. Maybe because those writers were imbued with the classics and knew Latin and Greek. I don't know whether reading old novels will really help, but I don't think it will hurt.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby cb » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:29 pm

hi markos, i'd be interested to hear your thoughts on why some sentences are hard to process. i wrote some thoughts on this a while ago here (http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... hp?t=11778), i think each person can test practically what aspect of the language makes them stall (it will quite possibly be different for you and for me and for others, as i said there...)

cheers, chad
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:42 pm

bedwere wrote:English is my second language, but I noticed that English novels written in the 19th century or earlier have a more complicated syntax than what we are used to see in today's books. Maybe because those writers were imbued with the classics and knew Latin and Greek. I don't know whether reading old novels will really help, but I don't think it will hurt.

English is a foreign language for me too. But I remember once seeing an article that was meant for native speakers, where the writer had written the same sample text both in "simple" colloquial English and in "learned" English with "difficult" words and syntax. The funny thing was that it was actually easier for me to read the "difficult" text than the "easy" one. The point is that I've been reading books in English for 20 years but have had little exposure to English spoken in everyday situations. So what's complicated and what's not is largely a matter of habit.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby John W. » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:27 am

bedwere wrote:English is my second language, but I noticed that English novels written in the 19th century or earlier have a more complicated syntax than what we are used to see in today's books. Maybe because those writers were imbued with the classics and knew Latin and Greek. I don't know whether reading old novels will really help, but I don't think it will hurt.


There may be something to this. In translating Thucydides (admittedly an author whose sentences are more than usually involved) in a fairly literal manner, I've often found the result closer to Victorian than to modern English. As the language declines further in complexity and subtlety under the influence of texting and tweeting, this problem can be expected to increase.

Best wishes,

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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby pster » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:06 pm

uberdwayne wrote:Perhaps we should see phrases as a "whole" as well, rather than a set of words.

What do you think?


There is a long and deep debate in semantics about whether truth (of sentences) is primary or reference (of words) is primary, and most people take the former view.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby uberdwayne » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:55 pm

what do you (υμεις) think about the idea of inserting Greek words into English sentances. For example, I might say. σημερον, I am going οικῳ μου. It appears it would add some context for the words σημερον and οικῳ μου. But do you think it will do "damage" to align it with an english usage?

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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby daivid » Sun Sep 22, 2013 12:05 am

Markos wrote:
daivid wrote:As hinted at by Markos, the kind of monster sentences so loved by some the most admired Attic writers that combine a lot of different grammatical forms seem designed to confuse non native speakers


I've referred to the ability to break down and process these syntactically complicated Greek sentences as the third ur-skill (after vocabulary and mastering the forms.) We have all had the experience where we more or less know what every word of a Greek sentence means, and we can parse all the forms, but we still fail to understand the sentence, because we can't figure out what goes with what, we fail to see the underlying syntactic structure of the sentence. I call this "failure to process" the sentence.

I have been trying to figure out for several years what makes some Greek sentences so difficult to process, and how one can learn to improve this skill. I'm still trying to work this out, and again, I think I will be posting something soon on this, but if you (ὑμεῖς) have any ideas, I would like to hear them. I know how to improve vocab and I know how to better internalize the declensions, but this last skill is the tough one to figure out how to teach and improve.


There's a fourth thing which is sort of covered by idiom but wider than that such as the use of a case to mean something just a bit different from usual or a single word which mostly means one thing but sometimes mean something different. I call them the gotchas. They are so tricky because you think you know what they mean so you don't know what is causing the problem. And what makes them so especially tricky is that often the special meaning is a "logical" extension of the more general meaning so some people just get them with no problem but others are stumped and different people get stumped by different things.

But I like your idea of taking a complex bit of real Greek and substituting in the core words that are used in most beginners textbooks. The sentences that make me give up completely are the ones where there are a load of words I don't know and the grammatical forms are ones I'm not on top of and the sentence is complex and there is an idiom hiding in there somewhere. Each of those difficulties just pile on and the brain gives up. Taking one element of difficulty out of the mix I hazard would make it manageable.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby Markos » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:33 pm

cb wrote:hi markos, i'd be interested to hear your thoughts on why some sentences are hard to process. i wrote some thoughts on this a while ago here (viewtopic.php?t=11778), i think each person can test practically what aspect of the language makes them stall (it will quite possibly be different for you and for me and for others, as i said there...)

cheers, chad


Yes, Chad, I had read your post with interest back when you wrote it, even at that time struggling with how to figure out what makes a given Greek sentence so hard to process, and what can be done to develop skills to improve this. Let's get right to an example. Here is the first sentence from the Anabasis that I failed to process.

Xenophon, Anabasis 1:4,7 wrote:
καὶ Ξενίας ὁ Ἀρκὰς στρατηγὸς καὶ Πασίων ὁ Μεγαρεὺς ἐμβάντες εἰς πλοῖον καὶ τὰ πλείστου ἄξια ἐνθέμενοι ἀπέπλευσαν, ὡς μὲν τοῖς πλείστοις ἐδόκουν φιλοτιμηθέντες ὅτι τοὺς στρατιώτας αὐτῶν τοὺς παρὰ Κλέαρχον ἀπελθόντας ὡς ἀπιόντας εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα πάλιν καὶ οὐ πρὸς βασιλέα εἴα Κῦρος τὸν Κλέαρχον ἔχειν.


Now, when I say "fail to process," I don't mean that there is a word or two, or even a phrase or two, that I don't quite get, but that the overall structure of the sentence eludes me, that I cannot break it down because I can't figure out what goes with what. I cannot even find the main verb(s). I wonder, first off, how many other people on the list would fail to process this sentence. (or, at least the second part of it.) We probably cannot get anywhere, if, as you suggest, each of us find different sentences difficult for different reasons. But I would think that this is a good example of a sentence that would give any but the most advanced learners trouble, and I think that there are elements in sentence processing that are equally challenging to most learners.

So, what makes this sentence so hard? Look at it again, try to figure out why you cannot figure it out.

Here are my thoughts. First of all, it is too damn long! It is a compound sentence, and the first half (up until ἀπέπλευσαν) is not too hard, but after that there are just too many clauses and sub clauses and after a while your English brain, hard-wired for shorter and simpler sentences, stops processing, and understanding breaks down. Secondly, as often happens when reading Greek history, it is hard to keep track of all the people mentioned, who is a Greek and who is a Persian and who is enemy to whom. Here there are five parties involved:

1. Xenias and Pasion
2. the former soldiers of Xenias and Pasion
3. Clearchus
4. Cyrus
5. The King of Persia

The background information, mentioned earlier in the chapter, is that Clearchus PRETENDED he was going to stop marching against the King, and at that point some of Xenias' and Pasion's men went over to Clearchus because they THOUGHT that he (Clearchus) would take them back to Greece. Clearchus wound up continuing the march against the King, and Cyrus, rather than punishing the soldiers or at least forcing them to go back to Xenias and Pasion, allowed them to stay with Clearchus. The reader of the Anabasis presumably had all these details straight and so, the issue of the difficulty of the Greek aside, already knew what the sentence meant, and therefore had a much easier time processing it. This does raise one of the points that Chad made in his thread. He said that among the difficulties of reading Greek are the three P's, particles, pronouns and prepositions. I disagree that particles present much of a problem; you can pretty much ignore them and you will still get the BASIC meaning of a sentence. But in this case I agree that the pronoun in τοὺς στρατιώτας αὐτῶν is part of the problem because it is so far removed from Xenias and Pasion that one loses track of the fact that it is their (former!) soldiers that are referenced. Prepositions, I think, don't usually cause much of a problem, but in this case I again agree with Chad. πρὸς βασιλέα adds to the overall confusion of keeping everyone straight because it was not clear (at least to me) whether we are talking about going TO the King or going AGAINST the King.

Some more things that make this (and most difficult Greek sentences) difficult:

1. Whether to take verbs as transitive or intransitive. There is the general rule that active endings mark transitiveness while middle/passive mark intransitiveness, but there are so many exceptions, each verb having its own semantic dynamic, that it is easy to get confused. Here ἐμβάντες is intransitive though active and ἐνθέμενοι is transitive though middle. φιλοτιμηθέντες is passive in form but stative in meaning. None of these things are that tough in themselves, but, in combination with all the other difficulties, they contribute to the failure to process.

2. What governs the oblique cases. Here you have a genitive πλείστου and a dative τοῖς πλείστοις that take a bit of effort to figure out what they go with.

3. The word ὡς. ὡς has to be one of the toughest Greek words, since it can mean so many things and is used in so many constructions. Here the first instance means basically "because" and the second instance is used with a participle marking the presumed intention of a an action. Again, not that hard in isolation, but when piled upon each other and added to the other difficulties, your brain stops working.

4. An unfamiliar form of a verb. Here εἴα is in fact the main verb of the second part of the sentence, the key, really to processing the sentence. But the imperfect of an alpha contract form with a vocalic augment is just not as familiar a verbal form as we would want. To me, βλέπει LOOKS like a verb. ἐτίμα looks less like a verb. εἴα does not look like a verb at all.

5. Infinitive constructions. Infinitive constructions can be easy if the word order is simple, but in this case the subject accusative τὸν Κλέαρχον is far separated from the object accusative τοὺς στρατιώτας.

I'll stop here for now. I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think there are common problems that occur in difficult sentences. And I totally agree with Daivid that what happens in the failure to process is the piling up of these difficulties to the point that the brain just gives up.

Now, the bigger problem is what can be done to help people fail to process less. I have two ideas. One would be to take sentences like these and produce multiple versions with the each successive difficulty leveled out while the rest of the sentence remains unadapted. The second idea would be to use the basic syntactic structure of this sentence but replace all the words with very familiar vocab and forms and concepts. I will create a separate thread in the composition section once I get a collection of several sentences well suited for this purpose and will try out this method. Any further ideas until then will be appreciated.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby daivid » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:24 pm

Markos wrote:
Xenophon, Anabasis 1:4,7 wrote:
καὶ Ξενίας ὁ Ἀρκὰς στρατηγὸς καὶ Πασίων ὁ Μεγαρεὺς ἐμβάντες εἰς πλοῖον καὶ τὰ πλείστου ἄξια ἐνθέμενοι ἀπέπλευσαν, ὡς μὲν τοῖς πλείστοις ἐδόκουν φιλοτιμηθέντες ὅτι τοὺς στρατιώτας αὐτῶν τοὺς παρὰ Κλέαρχον ἀπελθόντας ὡς ἀπιόντας εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα πάλιν καὶ οὐ πρὸς βασιλέα εἴα Κῦρος τὸν Κλέαρχον ἔχειν.

.


What with checking the translations and reading your explanation of why it is so difficult I do now understand that sentence. Until I resorted to that help I was completely stumped.
There are several of what I described as gotchas. You mentioned πρὸς which I myself have encountered in the more neutral form of going to a place and if I have prieviously encountered as “against” I had forgotten. The difficulty has little IMO to do with it being a preposition except maybe the extra detail that the case changes the meaning. Then there is ἄξιος which I have often encountered as deserving but here means valuable. Once you know what it should mean here the connection between the two meanings is obvious but not if you don't. φιλοτιμέομαι is a word that I have never before encountered but I looked it up. However, “loving honor” is deeply misleading for what it means here is “being unable to tolerate any attacks on ones honor”. A logical extension yes but obvious no. I be interested to see how the verb is used elsewhere to see if it being in the passive has something to do with that. Next there is ἀπέρχομαι. Nice familiar verb meaning depart except here it is has the sense of rebellion of going over to. Lastly ἔχω which normally means have and well yes “keep” is again a logical extension but in English we would always use a specific word such as keep or retain rather than a more general have.
Now having done the exercise I think what would have been most help is a number of example sentences that illustrate the usage of the words and constructions used in the sentence.

And this is in supposedly very easy Xenophon! =:-(
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby Markos » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:50 pm

daivid wrote:There are several of what I described as gotchas.


Thanks for going over the passage and sharing your thoughts, David. I assume that there are many Greek teachers out there who have informally kept track of what typically causes students to fail to process sentences, but if this could be systematically collected, new strategies for teaching Greek could be developed. This is what I am after. I think your concept of "gotchas," instances where familiar words have unexpected meanings, is certainly part of the problem.

Now having done the exercise I think what would have been most help is a number of example sentences that illustrate the usage of the words and constructions used in the sentence.


I will incorporate that idea as I develop some new methods to overcome the failure to process.

And this is in supposedly very easy Xenophon!


I do think that the easiness of the Anabasis has been overstated. What you have there is a text where a large percentage of the sentences are very easy, but there are still many sentences that one is likely to fail to process. The Phillpotts/Jerram adapted edition removes or simplifies all these sentences, so you are left with a text 90% of the sentences of which intermediate students are likely to be able to process. The sentence we have analyzed above, for example, is radically simplified, essentially by editing out the second half.

Easy Selections Adapted from the Xenophon, p. 7 wrote:
καὶ ἐνταῦθα Ξενίας ὁ Ἀρκὰς, στρατηγὸς, καὶ Πασίων ὁ Μεγαρεὺς ἐμβάντες εἰς πλοῖον ἀπ-έπλευσαν.


I am not, of course, saying that students should not be exposed to difficult sentences. I am in fact trying to come up with methods to help them tackle just such sentences. But I think the experience of reading extended blocks of easy sentences without experiencing failure to process is essential, and I think this adapted text fits the bill very well.

uberdwayne wrote:what do you (υμεις) think about the idea of inserting Greek words into English sentances. For example, I might say. σημερον, I am going οικῳ μου. It appears it would add some context for the words σημερον and οικῳ μου. But do you think it will do "damage" to align it with an english usage?

τι νομιζετε υμεις;


I would not rule out any method. I think anything and everything should be tried. I am inclined to methods that only use the target language, but in the final analysis I evaluate a method based on how well it helps students learn to read Greek, so I think what you propose is worth a try.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby daivid » Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:32 pm

Markos wrote:3. The word ὡς. ὡς has to be one of the toughest Greek words, since it can mean so many things and is used in so many constructions. Here the first instance means basically "because" and the second instance is used with a participle marking the presumed intention of a an action. Again, not that hard in isolation, but when piled upon each other and added to the other difficulties, your brain stops working.
.

Actually the first ὡς is also sort of a presumed intention of a an action. I say that because I have been working on an alternative sentence to illustrate the use of ὡς. The different meanings of ὡς are related just not in a way that makes sense to an English native speaker.
(I wonder how those of us who are not native speakers find this sentence. I suspect just as difficult but for different reasons)

My start on producing sentences that illustrate the problems of Xenophon's sentence can be found here:
http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=60558
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby jeidsath » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:05 pm

καὶ Ξενίας ὁ Ἀρκὰς στρατηγὸς καὶ Πασίων ὁ Μεγαρεὺς ἐμβάντες εἰς πλοῖον καὶ τὰ πλείστου ἄξια ἐνθέμενοι ἀπέπλευσαν, ὡς μὲν τοῖς πλείστοις ἐδόκουν φιλοτιμηθέντες ὅτι τοὺς στρατιώτας αὐτῶν τοὺς παρὰ Κλέαρχον ἀπελθόντας ὡς ἀπιόντας εἰς τὴν Ἑλλάδα πάλιν καὶ οὐ πρὸς βασιλέα εἴα Κῦρος τὸν Κλέαρχον ἔχειν.


Many years ago, I recall getting stopped by that same sentence in an English translation. I had been skimming Xenophon in the college library, and had to stop there and re-read. I had no memory for Greek names then, so I had to go back and figure out who Clearchus was, and why Cyrus was happy with him taking all these men back to Greece.

It's the logic behind the sentence (out-of-context) that is hard, more than the grammar. Ξενίας καὶ Πασίων are going back to Ἑλλάδα because they are jealous that their men deserting to Κλέαρχον to go back to Ἑλλάδα are allowed by Κῦρος to be kept by Κλέαρχον.

Why would Κῦρος do that? It's too crazy to parse without the preceding context about Κλέαρχος.

I don't really know about translating ὠς, but it's useful for finding out what parts of the sentence are their own logical units when you're reading.
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Re: Phrase Learning vs Word Learning

Postby Markos » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:23 pm

jeidsath wrote:
It's the logic behind the sentence (out-of-context) that is hard, more than the grammar. Ξενίας καὶ Πασίων are going back to Ἑλλάδα because they are jealous that their men deserting to Κλέαρχον to go back to Ἑλλάδα are allowed by Κῦρος to be kept by Κλέαρχον.


Exactly right. I happen to understand your English here only because I took the time to sort out who is who, but you are correct, the multitude of the people involved and the subtlety of the motives results in a "failure to process" (a term coined by me) even in the English.
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