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How authentic is Greek Ollendorff?

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How authentic is Greek Ollendorff?

Postby Paco » Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:14 am

Such a book cannot be totally "Classical" which is understandable. But how good is the book in terms of authenticity? Are the vocabulary and usage drawn from Attic authors or at least in line with them? Did the author just innovate his own Greek with modernism and over-simplified syntax (i.e. similar to modern languages)?

I cannot judge it at my level. I could only say the kind of exercises/drills in the book is quite helpful while learning (modern) languages generally. By the way I am a bit not sure if living/spoken Ancient Greek should be attempted as a large part of what we have is reconstruction where there might not be sufficient sources for it.
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Re: How authentic is Greek Ollendorff?

Postby Qimmik » Sat Jun 07, 2014 5:22 pm

Anything written in ancient Greek by someone other than a native speaker of ancient Greek, to some degree or other, is inherently under a cloud of suspicion.

The ancient Greek language has been studied very extensively and in great depth, particularly over the last two hundred or so (but discoveries about syntax and vocabulary are still being made). And in the not-so-recent past, youngsters (especially in England and Germany) started Greek very early and were rigorously trained to read and write ancient Greek, to the point where they could achieve a very high level of competence. However, there is necessarily some suspicion that a non-native speaker might miss some subtlety of the ancient language.

Take almost any ancient Greek author, and you will find divergences of interpretation over specific passages even among very highly trained specialists. And there are ordinarily textual issues that often make it difficult to know whether we're dealing with authentic and idiomatic ancient Greek or a corrupt text. Also, the Greek language, like all languages, has been in a constant state of change over the course of its history. There are even differences between 5th century BCE and 4th century BCE Attic usages, and later ancient authors attempting to write pure Attic Greek of this period aren't themselves entirely reliable.

I'm not sure that that answers your question, but those are some of the difficulties that stand in the way of modern pedagogues attempting to replicate ancient Greek with perfect fidelity. Still, for learning purposes in relatively early stages, made-up Greek using a limited vocabulary is undoubtedly far more useful than harmful, and somewhat simplified but real ancient Greek can be helpful, too.
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Re: How authentic is Greek Ollendorff?

Postby Markos » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:04 pm

Once you have decided to use made up Greek, there is a balance between the Greek being "authentic," that is, close to actual Greek, and being pedagogically "useful", that is Greek designed to help you learn the language. Greek Boy at Home might be on end, Christophe Rico on the other end. JACT is a bit closer to the "authentic" end whereas Athenaze is closer to the "useful" end.

I would say the Greek Ollendorf is closer to the useful end. All the sentences are very short, particles are limited, only one construction is given at a time, word order tends to be logical to English ears. By design the Greek is therefore not authentic, but it is still proper Greek and (particularly as audio) immensely useful in helping to internalize the language.
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Re: How authentic is Greek Ollendorff?

Postby daivid » Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:43 pm

Greek Ollendorff concentrates on teaching accidence/inflection and hence gives you plenty of practice on odd declensions and stuff like that. It uses a very narrow range of syntax and as most Greek texts that survive have long and complicated sentences it will be a shock to move straight from Ollendorff to reading original Greek.
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Re: How authentic is Greek Ollendorff?

Postby Paco » Thu Jun 12, 2014 1:20 am

Thank you, Qimmik, Markos and Daivid. How inconsistent was I when starting the thread! Indeed the whole point of Greek Ollendorff, together with other adapted Greek, is to familiarise us with morphology and basic syntactically construct; which help us to get to the real deal - corpus - to learn real syntax, when so much of what we have are reconstructions and controversies. And I do believe Ollendorff will do it well when starting out, plus we have the recordings by bedwere! (In Rome right now, will join you in Greece as soon as possible)
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