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Favourite Textbooks?

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Favourite Textbooks?

Postby Scribo » Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:29 pm

Please list your favourite text book(s) or the one you learnt with. I'm trying to get a good impression for how broad the variety is amongst posters here. Yes this includes books not hosted on textkit, those in print and so on.

This certainly isn't the place for a massive argument about learning methodology. So no flame wars. Note, it also doesn't matter what language, how old or anything like that.
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby Markos » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:12 pm

Scribo wrote:Please list your favourite text book(s)...


Χριστόφορος Ῥίκω, Πόλις: Λαλεῖν τὴν κοινὴν διάλεκτον τὴν ζῶσαν.

...or the one you learnt with.


J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners.

This certainly isn't the place for a massive argument about learning methodology. So no flame wars.


Agreed. All we are saying, is give speech a chance. :D
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby daivid » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:53 am

The one I learnt with is Taylor's Greek to GCSE. It is rather old-fashioned but it brings the old methods to perfection. Hence it counts as my favorite.

It is not the one I started on. My first book was Reading Greek which I really dislike.

Ricco's Polis is great. I like his method but it needs perfecting.

Others that I like are the White First Greek book downloadable from here plus Thrasymachus
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby daivid » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:17 pm

Scribo wrote:Please list your favourite text book(s) or the one you learnt with. I'm trying to get a good impression for how broad the variety is amongst posters here. Yes this includes books not hosted on textkit, those in print and so on..


Aren't you going to tell us the textbook(s) that you learnt with?
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby Scribo » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:42 pm

Sorry! I've been trying to save up my sweet sweet procrastination time a bit and was hoping to see what else people were using, I'm very interested to see two people liking Rico - and one of them who disliked JACT too! It must be bloody amazing. I was also intrigued by your review of Thrasymachus.

Also I'm not sure how to organise my response, I've used quite a few at different levels just out of curiosity (and this is a problem, can one accurately review a textbook if one already knows the language?) and actually I've never finished a single textbook. I ended up picking up texts and reading grammars and style guides. That said here goes.

I'm eschewing listing a favourite so early, the closest I might have has been Donovan's "Advanced Greek Prose Composition" but its been a textbook and a monograph like Denniston's excellent, if judgemental, "Greek Prose Style". That said, the focus on idiom and expression really sorted a lot of stuff out for me. Both volumes are available on archive.org and are recommended.

"Reading Greek". I think this was a bad choice for me, coming in with (modern) Greek and having a textbook which limits hard work was bound to make me lazy and I suddenly went from "oh ahaha this is easy" to "wait what the hell just happened?". That said its a very good book, the best of the reading methods. Too slow. It did sort of get the job done though.

"Alpha to Omega" by Groton. Awful book, I've railed against it before. I don't know why necessarily, something about the layout, the sheer size and the boring as hell readings.

"Pharr's Homeric Greek" this I did a lot of while relaxing in Crete. One can rail against the prose section (I skipped them) but its relatively concise and I feel well explicated.

Günther Zuntz "griechischer lehrgang" Needed to work on my German but not a fan of the language, though I'd revise both at once. Quite theoretical, heavy going....good but not the most sensible course.

As a sample. Generally I've always been a minimise textbook and flail around at a text until you get it kind of guy. Though I must admit for Latin I loved Wheelocks, Lingua Latina and Do'Oge. As in finished them.

If I ever wrote a Greek textbook it would basically we like Houten's "Element of Hittite" but more condensed and with more readings and a handful of discursive essays on reading strategies.
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby pster » Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:45 pm

Assimil has nice audio CDs, beautiful cartoons, wonderful glossy pages, and a compact size. I'll certainly use it when it come time to teach my kids.
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:51 pm

I'm like Scribo in that never really finished a textbook - except Pharr, which has it merits, but like Scribo I skipped the prose composition parts. Before and especially after that I've taken a casual look at many textbooks, but it's difficult to say how good they are, since I haven't used them systematically. The old Teach Yourself is horrible, because the only thing it did was to teach me to ignore the accents. The current Teach Yourself book was pretty good I guess.

Because someone (I guess it was pster) was praising the audio of Assimil, I actually bought it last year and read/listened it through. It didn't teach me much Greek because it's a beginner's book (though probably a good one), but I agree that the audio is very good, at least one of the voices. I think there are four voices, two male and two female, and one the males is very good; I think this was discussed on Textkit on one occasion, and if I remember correctly it's Stefan Hagel. I've been quite sceptical about reconstructed pronunciation and recordings in general for teaching beginners, but I think Assimil gets pretty close to make it really worthwhile. If all the four voices were as good as Hagel, I would definitely say that this is the Way. (Sorry, I know we weren't supposed to discuss methodology, but it's hard to keep it out...)
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby daivid » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:49 pm

pster wrote:Assimil has nice audio CDs, beautiful cartoons, wonderful glossy pages, and a compact size. I'll certainly use it when it come time to teach my kids.

Is this an extract from Assimil?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObRa_H27zB8
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:01 am

daivid wrote:
pster wrote:Assimil has nice audio CDs, beautiful cartoons, wonderful glossy pages, and a compact size. I'll certainly use it when it come time to teach my kids.

Is this an extract from Assimil?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObRa_H27zB8

Yes.
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby Scribo » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:23 pm

This is it? I was hoping we'd have a nice wide range of commentators :(

Speaking of Assimil, I do wonder the efficiency. I met Hagel at a conference and we chatted very, very, briefly about this that and the other. Well mainly Greek music but I pointed out that I did indeed recognise his voice from the Assimil discs. He told me that apparently his wife listened to the discs and could tell his voice. :lol:

Anyway one of the problems with audio is how subject ratings can be. Every **** and his dog feels the need to comment, its what makes Youtube so frustrating. Are these people linguists? philologists with years of experience? phoneticians? No of course not, they might speak Italian or Greek, or they've taken a semester of Latin in college so of course they're experts. We've turned the admirable maxim of question everything into pandering to the mentally incapable. HUR DUR I DON'T FEEL THAT IS RIGHT SO ITS WRONG HUR HUR. I wouldn't mind contributing some Greek audio providing it stays in very close circulation amongst serious learners here, that might be something to think about for the future. We could create a small database of readings.

So, returning to topic, anybody else want to rate/discuss some textbooks?
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby bedwere » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:23 am

I taught myself Greek using Reading Greek(first edition). This was a good choice for an absolute beginner because it came with a self-study guide. I proceeded very slowly because I have many other interests (and a job! :D )

After several years, I got Polis because I wanted to speak Ancient Greek as a living language. I loved it and still do, but I think that I could not have used it on my own from the very beginning.

A great text I learned a lot from is Greek Ollendorff.

I also have Assimil and I think it is useful, but not as a first text. I like the many dialogs but I don't like the method because it leaves too many unanswered questions. I'm now learning (very slowly) German. I started with the Assimil course but soon decided to throw it away and got Deutsche Sprachlehre für Ausländer instead. Fortunately I have a German colleague and his wife corrects my exercises.
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby Bart » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:06 pm

I used 'Begining Greek with Homer' by Frank Beetham, but got stuck halfway. The lay-out of this book is messy and the print way too small. Then I switched to Mastronarde's 'An Introduction to Attic Greek', which I did finish. At first I liked this book a lot because of its thoroughness, but Iooking back I don't think it's that great. The writer seems to have an obsession with completeness and exceptions to a degree that it hinders the educational value of the book. Also, although everything you need is in there, it is badly organised, which makes it very frustrating when used as a reference book.

Lately I have been using 'A Reading Course in Homeric Greek' (just finished the first book) by Schroder and Horrigan. Excellent book. In retrospect I'm very sorry that I did not use it as my first introduction to Greek.
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby Seirios » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:30 am

From alpha to omega...
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby renaissancemedici » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:35 am

Well, I learned with the greek highschool manuals, which took me (and the others of course) from beginner to reading any attic text in four years. We had good teachers that provided us with countless more texts and practice though. Add the θεματογραφιες, books that I still have and believe very strongly in. Because if you have a book full of original texts, plus a grammar/syntax and a good dictionary, you can go a long way. The only serious drawback of this method: it gives you excellent passive skills but no actual active ones. My greatest complaint is that we were never asked to produce our own texts. Not once (minus grammar exercises). I see now this is a flaw.

Enter the nice textbooks that non natives use to learn greek, some of which focus on simple language. Which is great! I would start with the first greek writer, or a composition book like it.
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby daivid » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:06 pm

renaissancemedici wrote: Add the θεματογραφιες, books that I still have and believe very strongly in.

Is θεματογραφιες the name of a publisher or maybe books making up a specific Ancient Greek study course?
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby Scribo » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:40 pm

No, think in terms of thematic readers. So I've one on political writings or something like that which has excerpts from Xenophon, Aristotle, Thucydides etc. They present the ancient Greek texts, say half a page, with glosses and sometimes rewritten sentences. Think of them similarish to Steadman only based around excerpts and less help. They're pretty good, I don't know why the Anglosphere is so poorly populated by readers.

EDIT: Okay so I actually checked what I have. It's called <<ΑΡΙΣΤΗ ΠΟΛΙΤΕΙΑ>> and actually has selections from around 14 different authors. I thought this one had notes, it doesn't, just the barest textual notes (like maybe 1 word per selection lol wth). I'm sure the others have notes, but I can't be bothered to brave my boxes right now.
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Re: Favourite Textbooks?

Postby renaissancemedici » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:53 pm

Edit: I wrote this while the previous answer was being posted! :)

No, they are books that contain lots of texts from several authors, a compilation for learning purposes mostly. I bet there is a term in english. Maybe readers? So, they can be from any publishing house, and for several levels, beginner etc.

Studying them produced great results, but we did have teachers to help. But if you have experience with languages of course you can do it alone, especially since they provide vocabulary and grammar/syntax notes. They are not textbooks, but they have worked for me so I thought I'd share.

Here is a favourite of mine (and of many students). I have the 17th edition, this seems to be the 9th. A classic! There are others, more recent ones if you search around.

Image

Image
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