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Pharr, S&H... what's next?

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Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby huilen » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:03 pm

Hello everybody, this post is for asking your advice.

I have started to study Greek six months ago, I have started with Homer because Pharr's introduction persuaded that this would be for the best. So I have been studied from the books of Pharr and S&H, and currently I am about to start with Book II of the last. However, I have to say that I am a little frustrated at the time, because my progresses with Homer until now have been quite poor, and I can't read him without much effort and an abussive use of the dictionary.

I thought that, as the book of S&H consists only in lecture exercises, may be it will be of help if I include some composition exercises in my studies. I was looking therefore for Greek composition books, but it seems that are all focused on attic/koine dialects. It will be a problem? Should I read first a grammar of attic or koine before? What would you recommend? Pharr promises me that the passage to other dialects would be easy. But this is just an idea, my goals are to achieve enough fluency to enjoy reading classical authors, if you would recommend another next step instead of a get a composition book, I listen for ideas.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:36 pm

I think the best thing to learn Greek is to read real Greek. Decide what interests you and read that, but choose a text that's not too difficult. Get a student's commentary to help you. Why not go on with Homer? It will get easier when you go on. The difficult part is the large vocabulary, the syntax is usually rather simple.

But finally, it depends on what interests you. If you want to switch to Attic, Plato and Xenophon have rather easy texts; tragedy (at least Aeschylus) and Thucydides are very hard. New Testament Greek is a easier than Attic; by far the easiest Greek text I know is the Gospel of Mark.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby jeidsath » Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:48 pm

I'm in a similar position at the moment. I'm 3-4 months in, and I can read the first book of Anabasis without much trouble, but everything else requires substantial effort. Look at my post on the Polybius thread for a laugh and to see what I can do without a dictionary.

I'm concentrating on the following:

1) Internalizing what I have got. I want to start learning parts of Anabasis by heart.

2) More reading practice, repeating whole phrases until I can say them from memory and moving on.

3) Continuing forward in Anabasis. [Using Hamilton's Interlinear to learn new sections]

4) Composition [Sedgwick + Key]

5) Conversation [Blackie]

6) Throwing in a little bit of other texts [Iliad, Republic, NT]

7) Lots and lots of Audio/Video
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby Bart » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:27 am

No, just keep reading Homer. I think I have more or less the same background as you. I plan to read the entire Iliad and right now I'm somewhere in the middle of book II. It would be great to have a fellow intermediate level student as a sparring partner.
That being said, I think it is unrealistic to expect to be able to read Greek easily after 6 months of study.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby Qimmik » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:52 am

I think it is unrealistic to expect to be able to read Greek easily after 6 months of study.


I started studying Greek in 1960 and I still can't read it easily.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby Qimmik » Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:13 pm

I don't mean to be discouraging, but it's not easy to master ancient Greek, and I suspect no one every does so completely--at the same level of facility as someone can master a modern language--especially if they can't devote themselves to it full-time.

Right now, I'm trying to read through Thucydides from beginning to end, and there's hardly a page where the commentaries have divergent views on the meaning of one or more passages, particularly in the speeches. These were scholars who did indeed devote their entire careers to the study of ancient Greek, and knew it quite thoroughly--as thoroughly as anyone can today. Yet they could not agree on the meaning of many, many passages.

Learning ancient Greek is hard work. So don't expect to be able to read it fluently after six months.

But Homer is one "author" you can read with a fair degree of fluency, once you master the basic vocabulary.
Last edited by Qimmik on Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby Cheiromancer » Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:16 pm

Qimmik wrote:I started studying Greek in 1960 and I still can't read it easily.

:lol: Thank-you for sharing that. I sometimes feel worn down by all the vocabulary and grammar to be learned, and all the syntax to untangle, and it comforts me to know that others bear the same burden and carry on cheerfully.

Qimmik wrote:I'm trying to read through Thucydides from beginning to end,

Ah, yes. "Difficult animals to drive is the sheep; one man, many of them, very." :)
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby huilen » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:41 pm

Thanks everybody for answering :)

I have been reading every day, but the main problem is that every ten verses I read there is a lot of new vocabulary to memorize, and that limits the amount that I am able to read by day, because I don't feel capable of internalize so many words. At the same time, I would like to increase the time that I spend with Greek, so I thought that it won't hurt to add some other kind of exercises to my lectures of Homer. But I am not abandoning him! I am a patient person, even an obstinate person, and I like Homer, so I have all time in the world to deal with his many irregularities :)

I just want to add other kind of exercises, may be some multimedia resources, may be some composition exercises, I don't know yet, to complement my readings of Homer. But it is difficult to find resources (I think) being restricted to Homeric Greek, because the majority of them are for attic/koine. Am I right? So I am considering to move to attic first.

7) Lots and lots of Audio/Video

I liked this idea, jeidsath, one of the more frustrating things in learning ancient languages, I think, is that I have no idea of "how they sound". Where may I find these resources? Are they in TextKit? I will be searching.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby Markos » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:45 pm

huilen wrote:I thought that, as the book of S&H consists only in lecture exercises, may be it will be of help if I include some composition exercises in my studies.


What edition do you have? The revised edition does indeed include English to Greek exercises.

Without question one should finish a textbook before worrying about what to do next. The way that S & H is set up, it would make sense to work through it AGAIN after you finish working through it, since so much of it is just annotated reading of Homer. μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε εἰς τὴν αὔριον, ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει τὰ ἑαυτῆς: ἀρκετὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἡ κακία αὐτῆς.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby huilen » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:51 pm

What edition do you have? The revised edition does indeed include English to Greek exercises.

That is Book I, but I have already finished it. I am referring to Book II, that I am about to start and only consists in lecture exercises:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1585101761/ref ... 1_ST1_dp_1
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby huilen » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:55 pm

The way that S & H is set up, it would make sense to work through it AGAIN after you finish working through it

Well, that is a good point, may be I should do that before any other step.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby Bart » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:25 pm

That is Book I, but I have already finished it. I am referring to Book II, that I am about to start and only consists in lecture exercises


Some of the review lessons in Book II of S&H have English to Greek exercises, although not nearly as many as in Book I. At least, that is the case for the 1st and 2nd edition; I'm not sure about the 3rd which is much shorter.

I can see -somehow anyway- the use of going through a textbook a second time, but I would never be able to keep myself motivated. The thing about reading an original Greek text, is that it is the reason why I started studying Greek in the first place. Textbooks are only means to that end.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby huilen » Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:08 pm

Some of the review lessons in Book II of S&H have English to Greek exercises, although not nearly as many as in Book I. At least, that is the case for the 1st and 2nd edition; I'm not sure about the 3rd which is much shorter.

Oh, I didn't know it. The edition that I have is the third, and it has only lecture exercises (Books VΙ and XII of the Odissey).
Last edited by huilen on Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pharr, S&H... what's next?

Postby Bart » Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:24 pm

Yes, 1st and 2nd edition book II of S&H has more than double the length as the 3rd edition with more extended readings from the Odyssey, including passages from books IX, X and XI and also 200 lines from the Iliad and an appendix called 'transition to attic greek', with a summary of the differences between Homeric and attic Greek. Strange enough there seems to be hardly any difference between 3rd edition book I and the older editions.
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