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Hello everyone

Postby CherryNubCakes » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:57 am

I recently became interested in Homeric Greek and have started in Pharr's Homeric Greek: A Book for Beginners. I see that there's a forum for it so I hope I am in good company. What do Classicists think of Pharr's assertion that Homeric is a better start to learning Greek than Attic, and of the textbook in general? It seems quite dated but I haven't heard anything bad about it.
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Re: Hello everyone

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:59 pm

Hello and welcome! I don't know what real classicists think, but I think you should start with what interests you most. If you want to read Homer, start with Homeric Greek. Someone might even say that you should first learn Latin before starting Greek, but don't pay attention! Go ahead and decide what you want and go straight for that.

Pharr's approach is old but it worked for me. You get to read real Homer quite soon, and that's good. It's great for learning the language, but outdated for anything else.
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Re: Hello everyone

Postby Qimmik » Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:54 pm

If your exclusive primary interest is reading the Homeric poems, then maybe starting with Pharr isn't a entirely bad idea, but if you think your interests may eventually be broader, I'd suggest starting with Attic Greek. The Homeric language is a highly poetic, artificial language. It evolved for the exclusive purpose of composing poems orally in a specific meter--the dactylic hexameter. No one ever spoke it as a native language. It's made up mainly of an Ionic dialect, but bits and pieces are drawn from various stages of Greek and various dialects. It strikes me that it would be much easier to learn Attic as the norm and then learn the peculiarities of Homeric Greek than the other way around--although learning Homeric Greek first apparently isn't impossible, as Paul seems to have done this successfully.

Frankly, I can't think of any worse or more ludicrous advice than that provided in another thread on this site (which isn't open for comment)--that even if your interest is philosophic Greek you should to start with Homeric Greek.

Pharr apparently will try to have you translate English sentences into Homeric prose, which is an oxymoron. Homeric Greek doesn't exist outside its metrical framework, which is as much a part of the language as the individual phonemes.
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Re: Hello everyone

Postby daivid » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:34 pm

Qimmik wrote:Pharr apparently will try to have you translate English sentences into Homeric prose, which is an oxymoron. Homeric Greek doesn't exist outside its metrical framework, which is as much a part of the language as the individual phonemes.


The value of translating English into ancient Greek is that you have to confront the grammar and the vocabulary more closely than if passively reading it. As language has a lot of redundancy it is possible to wing it even when not being to clear as to the case of every noun etc. This is not possible when actually producing the target language. To expect learners to produce poetry is a bit of a tall order so I imagine that is why Pharr only asks for prose.

Okay so the result is artificial and would sound comical to any actual native speaker. So what. No native speaker is going to see the result any more than any native speaker of Attic is going to see any prose written today in that variant of Greek.

I have just checked the introduction to Anderson's and Taylor's "Writing Greek" and in their justification for this as a teaching method is rather less than scientific so some degree of skepticism is warranted but not because the end result is artificial.
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Re: Hello everyone

Postby adalinaabella » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:49 am

HI,

This is my first post. I am just checking my post is it going to be live or it gone for moderation.

I apologized if I am posting it on wrong section.
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