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Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

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Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby ragnar_deerslayer » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:55 am

It's been nearly a year since Bedwere completed his answer key for the Greek Ollendorff. Since then, both Bedwere and Randy Gibbons have posted their audio recordings for it (in Koine and Attic pronunciations, respectively).

How have you been using it? Any tips for getting the most out of it?

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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby Markos » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:03 pm

I put all of Bedwere's audios on my MP3 player and I listened to them over and over again, while walking to work, while doing the dishes, as background noise while taking a nap. I made sure that I understood every word, looking at the text when necessary. I got his key and, using his English translations, I reproduced the Greek in writing and in speaking. After listening to a chapter, I produce Greek paraphrases of what I just heard. Thus you have a total learning package--listening, writing, reading, speaking. I also happen to think that Kendricks very brief and simple grammatical explanations are the way to go, as I think that that meta-language is best which meta-languages least.

I never, by the way, listen to the audio while reading the text at the same time. I find that I cannot truly concentrate on understanding the spoken Greek if I have the Greek text in front of me. I read the Greek text before and after listening to the text, but not during.

I'm doing the same thing now with Bedwere's simplified Anabasis recordings, and I find this is even more helpful because it is an extended narrative. But you cannot beat the Ollendorff for systematically covering all the forms one needs to know.

Randy's recordings are good too, but in his audios you have to listen to paradigms and explanations before getting to the exercises, something the patience for which I do not have.
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby RandyGibbons » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:53 pm

Just fyi, I made two recordings of each Ollendorff chapter. The first, as Markos says, goes through the English text and Greek paradigms first, then the exercises. The second recording (with a GO in the title), while it includes the paradigms as well as the exercises, is Greek only. In later lessons, I started breaking out the paradigms into separate files, precisely to Markos' point. For cases where I didn't do this, it would be easy enough for anyone to import the file into Audacity (for example) and break it out into two or more files.

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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby Cheiromancer » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:52 pm

I'm listening to Bedwere's version - I prefer the fricative version of theta, phi and chi to the aspirated versions. (Well, actually I think that it would be easier to teach with fricatives than with aspirates. Which is what I hope to do again someday.) Bedwere's pronunciation of upsilon is also more familiar to me. Randy's I have a tendency to confuse with an iota.

Am I hearing the omega and omicron correctly? They sound like they have the same quality, and differ only in quantity. The omega being longer, of course. I had learned the eta as having the same sound as ει, as in "they" or "pay". This eta sound like the e of "let", only longer. Maybe a little difference in quality than ε, I'm not sure.

And is alpha-subscript ( ᾳ ) supposed to be pronounced as a diphthong? ( αι ) I thought the subscript didn't affect the pronunciation after 500 BC or so. In Koine I thought that ᾳ would be pronounced as an α. Bedwere makes it sound like a diphthong, though.

I am just starting Ollendorff, but I must say I like the amount of repetition. I think it really helps to internalize the language, and does so in a quite painless way.
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby Markos » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:48 pm

Bedwere does indeed pronounce the iota subscripts, ῳ more or less like οι, and ᾳ more or less like αι. But ῃ I think remains like η.

He tends, like many Europeans and some North Americans, to conflate ο with ω in open syllables but has a shorter omicron in closed syllables. On the other hand, he tends not, as some Europeans do (for example, Rico) to shorten η to ε in closed syllables.

One unusual feature is that he pronounces the sigma like a Z in the middle of certain words, for example εἰσιν, but not in the middle of other words and never, I think, at the beginning and end of words. This takes about five minutes to get used to.

As I've said before, he does not exactly follow the tones, but he seems to have an intuitive feel to how to make a language seem pleasantly tonal.

Bottom line is that he sounds good and he is easy to understand. What else is there? :D

Cheiromancer wrote:I am just starting Ollendorff, but I must say I like the amount of repetition. I think it really helps to internalize the language, and does so in a quite painless way.


Ditto.
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby Cheiromancer » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:29 pm

Markos wrote:He tends, like many Europeans and some North Americans, to conflate ο with ω in open syllables but has a shorter omicron in closed syllables.


I am reminded of a perplexity I had with page 1 of "Ancient Greek Alive". The book presupposes an instructor who introduces students to oral Greek before teaching the alphabet. Two of the very first lines in the script are the following:

--οὐ γιγνώσκομεν ἀλλήλους.
--γιγνώσκωμεν ἀλλήλους.

The two verbs were put into a box and the last four letters were in boldface. Underneath was the instruction "Endings are important. Listen for them."

This is not a trivial task! I don't know about you, but I have trouble distinguishing the quantity of vowels, particularly in unstressed syllables. But to distinguish between the indicative and the (hortatory) subjunctive it appears that this is required. I would very much like to become familiar with spoken Ancient Greek that lets me train my ear in this way. Alternatively I suppose I could pronounce ο as the 'o' in 'on' and let ω be the 'o' in 'only'. But then I have trouble distinguishing between α and ο. Unless I pronounce α as the 'a' of 'apple'. But this seems to be a bit too lazy.

Another example of pronunciation related difficulties. Suppose that η is to be pronounced with the same quality as ε, but with twice the quantity (that is, as εε). But suppose a speaker pronounces the feminine genitive singular, τῆς, as τές. No harm, right? There isn't (as far as I know) any such word as τές in Ancient Greek, and so I expect the speaker will be understood. But what about if I am trying to listen to (or produce) the difference between ἀληθής and ἀληθές? If I have learned to pronounce τῆς properly I will have a leg up. If not, I will be handicapped. (This pair is challenging to me because I have a tendency to increase the quantity of a stressed syllable).

Markos wrote:Bottom line is that he sounds good and he is easy to understand. What else is there? :D

Ideally I would like a way of pronouncing words that helps me remember how they are spelled and accented. Another desideratum would be that the phonetic changes in written Greek would happen automatically. So that the values of α and ο would be such that if the Ionic τιμάομεν is slurred, it naturally produces the Attic τιμῶμεν. This is one reason why I hesitate to pronounce φ as 'f' - f doesn't naturally follow from juxtaposing a 'p' and an 'h' sound. The ideal system would also have some historical plausibility. Whether Koine or Attic or Ionic, it would be nice to think that its features could have been historically instantiated.

That's why I am leery of pronouncing ᾳ as αι in a system that otherwise resembles Koine - particularly the late variety that replaces tone accent with stress accent. The pronunciation of ᾳ as αι is anachronistic in late Koine, much like someone who pronounces the 'k' in 'knife' but otherwise follows the conventions of modern English. Am I mistaken in this?

Of course, a system that possesses these features should also be one that I can master. That will likely require considerable training, especially with respect to aspiration of consonants and quantity of vowels.

edit: My copy of Bedwere's edition of the Greek Ollendorff just arrived from Lulu! :D It looks great - much easier to read from than the electronic version. And with a glossary in back!
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby bedwere » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:12 pm

Thank you guys! Some of your observations may be explained considering that my first language is Italian. I try to find some middle way between all the different schools of pronunciation to be understood by all. Of course, no one will be completly satisfied. :D
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby Cheiromancer » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:58 pm

χαῖρε, bedwere! (βεδυερε?)

Many thanks for your additions to the Ollendorff text. The table of contents and index is extremely valuable! As are your tapes and your answer key. I hope I did not come across as harsh in my comments about the iota subscript. I was just worried about mixing an archaic language feature with a late one. But otherwise I see the value in giving τῳ a different sound than τω. By pronouncing τῳ and τω alike I have to be sure to make the vowel long, so as to distinguish it from το. It would be easier to pronounce τῳ as a diphthong.

I wish I could pronounce τῳ as τοι without sacrificing my fantasy of historical verisimilitude. Is there any indication, I wonder, that fricatives and iota-subscript-as-diphthongs were contemporaneous, even if in different dialects? I wouldn't mind geographical eclecticism as much as anachronism.
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby jeidsath » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:30 am

I have a theory about the iota subscript. I think that the copyists knew what they were doing, and they chose this presentation for specific reasons.

I note that the move to the lower position makes two things easier for someone reading aloud. First, using τῳ as an example, it says: Pronounce the entire omega. The word looks much closer to "τω" than to anything else, and you may not even notice the subscript until you've already started pronouncing the word. Second, it says: Don't pronounce the diphthong. If it were a dipthong, there would be no reason to lower the iota.

I am experimenting with pronouncing the iota subscript as the normal long vowel, plus a very very short iota following (the barest hint of a diphthong at the end, maybe a third of the length of a normal short iota).

I've made a short mp3 to give an example of what I'm talking about: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B23NN- ... sp=sharing
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby thornsbreak » Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:28 pm

This is an old thread, but as one who has recently begun to enjoy the benefit of studying from the Greek Ollendorff, I want to make a few pertinent comments:

1) THANK YOU SO MUCH to bedwere and Randy Gibbons for giving us these awesome learning tools! Your arduous labors are truly a service to the Greek-learning world, and we are all greatly indebted to your service!

2) I want to point out the key pedagogical differences between these two recordings and suggest a method to harmonize them: bedwere's recording is nothing but the Greek-to-English exercises in the book, read only in Greek. Randy's recording is both the Greek-to-English exercises AND the English-to-Greek exercises, read in both languages each time. That is 100% MORE Greek! Additionally, Randy also reads through the introductory grammatical material in each chapter.

I pair the two together nicely, as follows: I like to sit down with my computer and play Randy's recording while I look over each new chapter in the text for the first time. This gives me a nice little grammar review, and it also acquaints me with the new vocabulary for the chapter and exposes me once to all the phrases, with the benefit of visual reinforcement of forms, plus it means that I get to do the English-to-Greek exercises at least once.

Then, bedwere's recording is perfect for taking with me on phone/ipod and playing on the go, as review and listening practice that lets the forms really soak in deeply. I keep listening to the bedwere recordings until the whole unit is perfectly intelligble on a following day, without reference to the text or translation. Then it's on to the next unit. Periodically, I listen to the entire bedwere series so far, as comprehensive review.

I think I'll incorporate Markos' suggestion to write out what I'm hearing, and to work backwards and forwards on my own from the English to Greek via the answer keys. I feel like Ollendorff is really multiplying my Greek skills in a hurry.

3) I want to clarify a misleading point from the original post on pronunciation schemes:

bedwere's recording of the Ollendorff (and any of his recordings, for that matter) is emphatically NOT a "Koine" pronunciation. This was a misleading statement, especially for those of us like myself who have learned with a modern pronunciation or Buth's restored Koine and are seeking materials in that scheme. bedwere's recordings are fantastic, clear, melodious, well-paced, intelligible, read with comprehension and feeling, and all around excellent, but Koine they are NOT. Both Randy and Bedwere are using "attic" pronunciations that generally follow the conventions of either Erasmian or Reconstructed Attic, including audible pronunciation of the rough breathing ("h" sound) and the much wider range of vowel sounds than the 7 or 5 you find in restored Koine/modern Greek, respectively, meaning the "hoy polloy" "high oy-kee-eye" sounding approach to diphthongs that so offends modern Greeks. I think the biggest difference between the two recordings is really the difference between American vs. European baseline accent of the speakers. Plus bedwere incorporates an element of tonal accentuation in his reading, and pronounces the iota subscripts-- which is really lovely, but if anything, takes his pronunciation even further away from a Koine pronunciation than Gibbons'.

I find it baffling and puzzling that people sometimes conclude that someone like bedwere or Christophe Rico is employing a "Koine" pronunciation, when in fact, they are essentially using an Attic/Erasmian scheme pronounced with a European accent in a fluid manner, as opposed to a choppy ear-grating American accent delivery that one hears most American classicists delivering. That said, I am grateful for well-done audio materials in any pronunciation scheme, and find little difficulty in switching between them (for listening) with a little practice. I highly recommend any prospective student to consider materials in any pronunciation scheme, and never to rule out audio simply because it is not the scheme one prefers or already knows. The adjustment is fairly simple, like getting used to hearing English spoken by Americans vs. Scots vs. Africans vs. Asians. If you can handle English variations on NPR or BBC, you can handle different Greek pronunciation systems. It will click within a few minutes.

I do hope we'll also see more audio materials making an appearance in restored Koine and modern pronunciation, and that those who have learned Erasmian/Reconstructed Attic will give them a fair chance, as well. Perhaps I'll have to make some of my own when I get a little further down the road. I have an interest, for example, in a recording of Sprechen Sie Attisch, which has a huge range of everyday phrases that would surely be helpful for anyone attempting to develop listening/writing/speaking skills in Attic Greek.
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby bedwere » Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:55 pm

I would lie, if I said that I don't like "fan mail"! :D Thank you for your kind words!
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby LSorenson » Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:12 pm

The book 25 Centuries of Language Teaching by Louis Kelly, 1969, says this about Ollendorf:

With the appearance of the Ollendorf grammars for Latin and Greek, the victory of Grammar Translation was complete.

During the second half of the nineteenth century the grip of Grammar Translation tightened.... Language teaching drifted further from the languages....abandoning authentic specimines of literature for synthetic passages that were built around rules, exceptions and restricted vocabulary selected for its congruence with grammatical rules. Language skill was equated with ability to conjugate and decline.


Note, the last part was more about Plotz, but Ploetz' system was basically that of Ollendorf. Kelly's book can be found at https://vivariumnovum.it/edizioni/libri/fuori-commercio/Kelly%20-%2025%20centuries%20of%20language%20teaching.pdf. I would say that book is a requirement to read for any teacher of Greek or Latin.
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby thornsbreak » Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:53 pm

LSorenson wrote:The book 25 Centuries of Language Teaching by Louis Kelly, 1969, says this about Ollendorf:

With the appearance of the Ollendorf grammars for Latin and Greek, the victory of Grammar Translation was complete.

During the second half of the nineteenth century the grip of Grammar Translation tightened.... Language teaching drifted further from the languages....abandoning authentic specimines of literature for synthetic passages that were built around rules, exceptions and restricted vocabulary selected for its congruence with grammatical rules. Language skill was equated with ability to conjugate and decline.


Note, the last part was more about Plotz, but Ploetz' system was basically that of Ollendorf. Kelly's book can be found at https://vivariumnovum.it/edizioni/libri/fuori-commercio/Kelly%20-%2025%20centuries%20of%20language%20teaching.pdf. I would say that book is a requirement to read for any teacher of Greek or Latin.


Well, isn't this a sort of supreme irony, that Ollendorff is regarded as the emergent victory of grammar-translation, while many of us on this board have turned to the Greek Ollendorff out of motives inspired by living language/natural method approaches, as a source of comprehensible input, and, thanks to Randy and Bedwere, a living oral/aural engagement with the language. The circle is complete.

Sorenson, you must be pretty deep in the pedagogical conversation to be running across passages like this from the geeky but cool sources like the one you posted. Thanks for the interesting reading!

Do I take this to mean that you disapprove of the Ollendorff method? I am finding it very satisfying to plant the patterns of inflection more deeply and naturally in my mind, especially using it as listening material to get me thinking at the "speed of Greek."
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby daivid » Mon May 09, 2016 7:00 pm

thornsbreak wrote:[Well, isn't this a sort of supreme irony, that Ollendorff is regarded as the emergent victory of grammar-translation, while many of us on this board have turned to the Greek Ollendorff out of motives inspired by living language/natural method approaches, as a source of comprehensible input, and, thanks to Randy and Bedwere, a living oral/aural engagement with the language. The circle is complete.


Comprehensible input v authentic Greek only is really a different debate to grammar-translation v living language. I read and article a little while back that dated back to the start of the 20th century (which I now can't find) which basically justified authentic-Greek-only on the grounds that most students will never have time to learn Greek on their own. On that basis a teacher leading students thru a text would at least give them some experience of what real Greek was like. That has a logic to it even if it is an acceptance that the teaching will fail if the aim is defined as the students actually mastering Greek. Those textbooks that go to great lengths to avoid "synthetic" Greek seem to me to have managed to master Greek by teachers using such methods and so assume that is the only way without examining whether it works for most students. Ollendorff by contrast is clearly intended as a stepping stone rather than and end in itself.

Nonetheless Ollendorff is surely grammar-translation even if can complement living language methods.
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Re: Greek Ollendorff: How are you using it?

Postby danR » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:36 am

Some decades ago, when taking up the the Greek, I was rather systematic about finding the Hellenic golden mean. If Greek is to mean anything, it might start with that ideal. I went through the main city library, the university library, talked to profs, etc. Altogether I must have examined some 30 beginner's textbooks, all the way from Kendrick's Ollendorf (found, in a used bookstore, with a .22 caliber bullet-hole through a corner—go figure) to Schlacter & Ellis Structural Approach.

Fortunately, also perused Allan's Vox Graeca right early in the game. I settled then on abandoning any text that didn't feature macrons throughout the text and vocab. That may seem like a trivial criterion, however I want to keep this short. In short, macrons weren't more generally supplied to pedagogical resources in Greek until the latter part of the 19th century. That, regrettably, left out the Ollendorf.

What settled out of the dust of decision-making was White's First Greek Book. It had the best balance of simplicity, elegance, completeness (for the beginner), and authenticity. The latter pertains in his early introduction of simplified Anabasis, incrementally directed to almost the straight original, by which time I was already doubling back to the start of the original. I've discovered after some 20 years I still have the opening of the Anabasis memorized.

What if Kendrick had supplied macrons? I still think I'd have gone with White's. For though there was something to be said for the profusion of patterns presented in the Ollendorf for examples, the fact is that inhering in any text in any language are patterns one can use as pattern-practice, and that one must learn thoroughly. The Anabasis, (and White's work-up to it) contains the material at hand to make drills out of:

Dareiou kai Parusatidos gignontai paides duo.
Parusatidos kai Dareiou gignontai paides duo.
Parusatidos gignontai paides duo.
Dareiou gignetai pais.
Parusatidos gignetai pais.

Excuse any errors. I haven't been in this in ages.

There is a dearth of conversational, hence 1st and 2nd forms, in the Anabasis, but then one just goes on to other authors. Then you do a conversational re-mix. This is really not the sort of thing the Ollendorf can provide, and his distillation of forms neither provides a living matrix from which to generate one's one internal representation of the grammar and semantics, nor the texts themselves, which after all are the main goal of most students of the ancient language.

And although his book was certainly a step in the right direction in providing the minimum one needed to learn a grammar point, White's book wasn't too far behind this minimal program. And by page 284, one wasn't working through such enervating exercises as: "What are you looking for? —I am looking for a mirror."... "Why in the world did the thieves come into this house?"..."They found more silver than gold. They found less silver than copper."

Without a Greek prof, the sensible learner can of course omit such traditional English—>Greek nonsense and such, but then he or she can omit them from White's, which I did, and there's certainly a lot less to omit from the latter. So, after 20-30 pages of the Ollendorf, I had to abandon the thing. It was time to get on with it.
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