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textbook for ancient Greek

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textbook for ancient Greek

Postby Stoic » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:26 pm

I've taught myself Latin in the last 5-6 years, and I want to learn ancient Greek the same way. I've purchase Mastronarde's Attic Greek, which has an excellent website but whose early chapters are a bit of a challenge. I've also heard good things about Athenaze, which has a workbook and and a teacher's guide as well, which might be useful for someone trying to learn on their own.

Any recommendations?

Thanks.
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Postby aloimonon » Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:55 am

Since I've just started my studies on Attic Greek myself, the only thing I can contribute would be to say that Mastronarde's book has an answer key as well, which might be worth acquiring. Good luck.
ἀλλ' ἔγωγε ἐξ αὐτῶν τούτων μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τεθαύμακα, ὅτι ἔν τε ἀλλοκότοις καὶ ἐν ἐξαισίοις πράγμασι αὐτός τε διεγένετο καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν διεσώσατο. Dio LXXII 36.3
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Postby megas_yiannakis » Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:49 am

check this out:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltgu ... 61-7792600

it was brought up in a recent forum topic and is a good 'guide' to learning greek. The main word in there is 'guide'... you dont have to follow it exactly but it sets learning greek up in a logical order.

As a beginer myself, i definatelty agree that homeric greek is the best place to start, since youve done latin you should be perfectly comfortable working with 'Homeric Greek: a book for beginners - Clyde Pharr' its the book im curently using and would definately recomend it... it is available free on this site aswell...

hope that helps :D

-Yiannis
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Postby aloimonon » Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:52 pm

In my previous post I had forgotten to mention another book which you may be interested in. You may also want to check out _Greek: An Intensive Course_ by Hansen and Quinn (H&Q). At least from my beginner's perspective, this is even more of a challenge than Mastronarde's book, as all the principle parts and moods are introduced very, very early on. You may want to check it out in a library before considering it for purchase.

From my very limited perspective, it seems to be a great book for those who have some prior knowledge of Attic Greek, rather than pure beginners, as quite a few concepts are introduced to the student quite quickly at the beginning. Mastronarde's book seems, at least to me, to be a happy compromise between Athenaze and H&Q, and it has the additional advantage of having an answer key.

But perhaps people with more experience than I could chime in with a more precise comparison of each book's approach.
ἀλλ' ἔγωγε ἐξ αὐτῶν τούτων μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τεθαύμακα, ὅτι ἔν τε ἀλλοκότοις καὶ ἐν ἐξαισίοις πράγμασι αὐτός τε διεγένετο καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν διεσώσατο. Dio LXXII 36.3
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Postby Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 7:56 pm

plukidis wrote:In my previous post I had forgotten to mention another book which you may be interested in. You may also want to check out _Greek: An Intensive Course_ by Hansen and Quinn (H&Q). At least from my beginner's perspective, this is even more of a challenge than Mastronarde's book, as all the principle parts and moods are introduced very, very early on. You may want to check it out in a library before considering it for purchase.

From my very limited perspective, it seems to be a great book for those who have some prior knowledge of Attic Greek, rather than pure beginners, as quite a few concepts are introduced to the student quite quickly at the beginning. Mastronarde's book seems, at least to me, to be a happy compromise between Athenaze and H&Q, and it has the additional advantage of having an answer key.

But perhaps people with more experience than I could chime in with a more precise comparison of each book's approach.


I would just like to say that if you can, you should stay away from books written by people who don't know the language really well, or who don't have a clue about pedagogy. With me, the first factor weighs more heavily, so I would discard Athenaze out of hand. I know Mastronarde is heavy going in the beginning, but I have seen people work through it with self-study. If you already know Latin, you know the drill: memorize, memorize, memorize these paradigms. First real sentences only show up in 7 (nominal) and 8 (first verbs). If you can stick it out, you'll learn real Greek, though. Use the web tutorials until you can do them in your sleep!

Re: principal parts and their introduction in Mastronarde and Hansen & Quinn: Mastronarde suggests starting the first three as of unit 8 (with the first verbs). That makes by far the most sense (pp-s 4 thru 6 represent less than ten percent of what you'll see in texts, and are much more regular than present and aorist). H&Q introduce principal parts, sure, but only of regular verbs, so you're mostly screwed, because all the important verbs (legw, to say; mi verbs) only show up when you're three quarters of the way through the book. NOT a good idea.
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Postby Stoic » Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:26 pm

Thanks for your response, Helma. I've continued to use the Mastronarde website, which is enormously helpful, and I feel like I'm making a bit of progress.

I've also noticed that students here at UIUC are using Groton's From Alpha to Omega, which is a bit more like Wheelock in its structure. I wonder if anyone here has had any experience with this.

But everyone in classics with whom I speak has great things to say about Mastronarde.
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Postby Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:59 pm

Stoic wrote:Thanks for your response, Helma. I've continued to use the Mastronarde website, which is enormously helpful, and I feel like I'm making a bit of progress.

I've also noticed that students here at UIUC are using Groton's From Alpha to Omega, which is a bit more like Wheelock in its structure. I wonder if anyone here has had any experience with this.

But everyone in classics with whom I speak has great things to say about Mastronarde.


Oh dear. On Groton, ask David Sansone at UIUC. Let's just that it's well-meaning. But it cannot hold a candle to Mastronarde. If you pine for stories, then get Reading Greek. It has a chaotic grammar book (here's hoping for that revised edition) but at least the texts are written in idiomatic classical Attic from the outset.
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Postby Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:10 pm

megas_yiannakis wrote:check this out:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltgu ... 61-7792600

it was brought up in a recent forum topic and is a good 'guide' to learning greek. The main word in there is 'guide'... you dont have to follow it exactly but it sets learning greek up in a logical order.

As a beginer myself, i definatelty agree that homeric greek is the best place to start, since youve done latin you should be perfectly comfortable working with 'Homeric Greek: a book for beginners - Clyde Pharr' its the book im curently using and would definately recomend it... it is available free on this site aswell...

hope that helps :D

-Yiannis


Wow -- I just looked at this list and its precepts. I think I disagree almost every single step of the way. The author assumes that the best way to get a handle on Greek is to start at the oldest stage available to us (but not Mycenaean:-)). Just compare this with learning French, English or German. Would you start with Old English for English or Latin for French? You are much better off starting out in the Classical period since there you have the most options in textbooks, and whether you wish to move forward or backward from there, you'll find books that help you do it. I once had an incoming student who had learnt 'Greek through Homer' -- the result was a mess, because no one had ever bothered to explain the syntax of the definite article in classical Greek to her -- there simply aren't textbooks to help you read classical Attic if you are coming from Homer. Ditto for Herodotus -- you won't find help adapting to Attic if you start with Herodotus. This whole idea is a reflection of the folk linguistic attitude that etymology equals meaning. It doesn't. It only tells you something about a word's history, NOT what it means synchronically, which is what the authors you are reading were using. [End of rant:-)]

So I'd select a textbook for classical that fits your learning style (Reading Greek for continuous readings; Mastronarde for grammar centered), then first of all get comfortable with (Xenophon and) Plato. From these, move on to tragedy and any other classical period stuff that appeals. Once you have a solid basis in the classical period and you are comfortable with verbal morphology, Homer is easy to get used to (and lots of books out there will help you with it), and moving forward in time is easy. Fewer principal parts to memorize, fewer optatives..
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Postby Stoic » Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:19 pm

By "Reading Greek," I assume you mean the JACT texts...right?
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Postby Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:45 pm

Stoic wrote:By "Reading Greek," I assume you mean the JACT texts...right?


That's right. I do hope (but fear the worst) that a new edition will not mess with the quality of the original Greek texts:-) People like Dover had a hand in those. Not too many people's Greek is at that level.
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Postby Stoic » Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:30 pm

This is new information, and very useful. But I gather that you still think Mastronarde is the best introductory text, and that the JACT volumes (not just the Texts, but also the Guide and the Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises) are more problematic.

I'm sorry to keep bothering you with these questions, but I really am a beginner, and groping about a bit at present.

Thanks
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Postby Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:49 pm

Stoic wrote:This is new information, and very useful. But I gather that you still think Mastronarde is the best introductory text, and that the JACT volumes (not just the Texts, but also the Guide and the Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises) are more problematic.

I'm sorry to keep bothering you with these questions, but I really am a beginner, and groping about a bit at present.

Thanks


It depends on what kind of learner you are. If you need connected texts, then I recommend Reading Greek. It's no use getting what in my opinion is the best-informed text if you are not going to make it past the fourth chapter or so. But. If you *can* deal with lots of grammar and useful vocabulary up front, which I promise will pay off later, go with Mastronarde. Given that an answer key and web tutorials are available, you'll be able to check yourself as you go along. What you don't get is an instructor pointing out what needs highlighting and what bears giving it no more than a cursory glance -- Mastronarde does not have the best typography, but then neither does any English-language Greek or Latin text I know of. Continental Europeans are more fortunate. In the US we simply don't want to spend on Greek textbooks what we'd spend on math or physics textbooks.
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Postby aloimonon » Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:34 pm

Helma wrote:
plukidis wrote:In my previous post I had forgotten to mention another book which you may be interested in. You may also want to check out _Greek: An Intensive Course_ by Hansen and Quinn (H&Q). At least from my beginner's perspective, this is even more of a challenge than Mastronarde's book, as all the principle parts and moods are introduced very, very early on. You may want to check it out in a library before considering it for purchase.

From my very limited perspective, it seems to be a great book for those who have some prior knowledge of Attic Greek, rather than pure beginners, as quite a few concepts are introduced to the student quite quickly at the beginning. Mastronarde's book seems, at least to me, to be a happy compromise between Athenaze and H&Q, and it has the additional advantage of having an answer key.

But perhaps people with more experience than I could chime in with a more precise comparison of each book's approach.


I would just like to say that if you can, you should stay away from books written by people who don't know the language really well, or who don't have a clue about pedagogy. With me, the first factor weighs more heavily, so I would discard Athenaze out of hand. I know Mastronarde is heavy going in the beginning, but I have seen people work through it with self-study. If you already know Latin, you know the drill: memorize, memorize, memorize these paradigms. First real sentences only show up in 7 (nominal) and 8 (first verbs). If you can stick it out, you'll learn real Greek, though. Use the web tutorials until you can do them in your sleep!

Re: principal parts and their introduction in Mastronarde and Hansen & Quinn: Mastronarde suggests starting the first three as of unit 8 (with the first verbs). That makes by far the most sense (pp-s 4 thru 6 represent less than ten percent of what you'll see in texts, and are much more regular than present and aorist). H&Q introduce principal parts, sure, but only of regular verbs, so you're mostly screwed, because all the important verbs (legw, to say; mi verbs) only show up when you're three quarters of the way through the book. NOT a good idea.


Thank you for your reply, Helma, I do appreciate it. Personally, I chose to stick to Mastronarde both because his style appealed to me, and because there was an answer key. I did get up to Unit 16, but other books (Loeb or not) have delayed me somewhat (and that's a pretty charitable way to put it!). Work and later vacation will not leave me with too much time in the very near future, but I shall indeed resume my studies. Thanks again for your guidance.
ἀλλ' ἔγωγε ἐξ αὐτῶν τούτων μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τεθαύμακα, ὅτι ἔν τε ἀλλοκότοις καὶ ἐν ἐξαισίοις πράγμασι αὐτός τε διεγένετο καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν διεσώσατο. Dio LXXII 36.3
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Postby aloimonon » Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:02 am

Wow Helma, those are a nice series of guides and handouts to Attic Greek grammar in your user information (and my description does not do it justice). They're sure to be useful to me, and I have already bookmarked them. I'm looking forward to your next piece entitled "Coming Soon: Uses of the infinitive and participle, or..-Ing Is For Wimps.". Looks interesting!
ἀλλ' ἔγωγε ἐξ αὐτῶν τούτων μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τεθαύμακα, ὅτι ἔν τε ἀλλοκότοις καὶ ἐν ἐξαισίοις πράγμασι αὐτός τε διεγένετο καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν διεσώσατο. Dio LXXII 36.3
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Postby Helma » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:16 pm

plukidis wrote:Wow Helma, those are a nice series of guides and handouts to Attic Greek grammar in your user information (and my description does not do it justice). They're sure to be useful to me, and I have already bookmarked them. I'm looking forward to your next piece entitled "Coming Soon: Uses of the infinitive and participle, or..-Ing Is For Wimps.". Looks interesting!


Hmm, I suppose I should really get down to doing that one :oops:
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Postby Didymus » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:49 pm

Helma, I also should like to thank you for making your paper on localization of word shapes in Sophocles' trimeters available online. I have consulted it with interest and profit when writing my own Greek trimeters. Your work is most appreciated. :)
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Postby Helma » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:51 pm

Didymus wrote:Helma, I also should like to thank you for making your paper on localization of word shapes in Sophocles' trimeters available online. I have consulted it with interest and profit when writing my own Greek trimeters. Your work is most appreciated. :)


The tragedy book comes out in October in the US -- for a mere $100 :-(
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Postby Didymus » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:57 pm

Helma wrote:
Didymus wrote:Helma, I also should like to thank you for making your paper on localization of word shapes in Sophocles' trimeters available online. I have consulted it with interest and profit when writing my own Greek trimeters. Your work is most appreciated. :)


The tragedy book comes out in October in the US -- for a mere $100 :-(


Out of my price range, I fear, but with some luck I shall find a copy through interlibrary loan. (Which I suppose profits you rather little financially, but doubtless shall profit me a great deal. And perhaps it may give you some small satisfaction. :))
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Postby Helma » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:22 pm

Didymus wrote:
Helma wrote:
The tragedy book comes out in October in the US -- for a mere $100 :-(


Out of my price range, I fear, but with some luck I shall find a copy through interlibrary loan. (Which I suppose profits you rather little financially, but doubtless shall profit me a great deal. And perhaps it may give you some small satisfaction. :))


Oxford is supposed to offer an e-edition. Don't know exactly how that's going to work, or how many libraries make those available to their users.
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Postby aloimonon » Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:35 pm

Helma wrote:Hmm, I suppose I should really get down to doing that one :oops:


Since I am a beginner, I will certainly read it. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your making these resources available to people who are not your student, but who nonetheless wish to learn. It's much appreciated!
ἀλλ' ἔγωγε ἐξ αὐτῶν τούτων μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τεθαύμακα, ὅτι ἔν τε ἀλλοκότοις καὶ ἐν ἐξαισίοις πράγμασι αὐτός τε διεγένετο καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν διεσώσατο. Dio LXXII 36.3
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Postby tico » Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:11 am

Have you tried Athenaze (Oxford UP)? I thinks this could be a good start for you.
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Postby aloimonon » Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:49 pm

tico wrote:Have you tried Athenaze (Oxford UP)? I thinks this could be a good start for you.


Personally, I have never cared for it, though I admit that I only have an older edition from the nineties. But to repeat what others have said, I guess it comes down to personal taste, and how one learns.
ἀλλ' ἔγωγε ἐξ αὐτῶν τούτων μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τεθαύμακα, ὅτι ἔν τε ἀλλοκότοις καὶ ἐν ἐξαισίοις πράγμασι αὐτός τε διεγένετο καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν διεσώσατο. Dio LXXII 36.3
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Postby Bert » Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:05 pm

Helma wrote: I would just like to say that if you can, you should stay away from books written by people who don't know the language really well, or who don't have a clue about pedagogy. With me, the first factor weighs more heavily, so I would discard Athenaze out of hand.

I have heard of some who didn't like Athenaze but this is the first time I heard that it is written by someone who doesn't know the language really well. (Not that I am questioning your judgement.)
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Postby Helma » Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:00 pm

Bert wrote:
Helma wrote: I would just like to say that if you can, you should stay away from books written by people who don't know the language really well, or who don't have a clue about pedagogy. With me, the first factor weighs more heavily, so I would discard Athenaze out of hand.

I have heard of some who didn't like Athenaze but this is the first time I heard that it is written by someone who doesn't know the language really well. (Not that I am questioning your judgement.)


Well, look at it. The latest edition I've seen explains accents with reference to syllable length (that works for scansion, not accentuation); and - as I found out when I opened the book at random last month - does not know about ordering of postpositives. Theseus to his father: pempe me oun. Arrgh. If you can write that or read that without flinching, you are not yet at the level where you should write a textbook.

Other things: Neuter pronouns referring to things that have masculine or feminine gender. Prepositional problems. Usage that is restricted to poetry in prose. Etc. It is just not up to the level of JACT's Reading Greek or Mastronarde.
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Postby Stoic » Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:19 pm

Thanks to all of you, and especially Helma, for your help and advice here. I seem to be back on track, with Mastronarde, for which the web site is an invaluable aid -- as is this forum.
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Postby Helma » Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:28 pm

Stoic wrote:Thanks to all of you, and especially Helma, for your help and advice here. I seem to be back on track, with Mastronarde, for which the web site is an invaluable aid -- as is this forum.


Keep it up Stoic:-) I'm playing with the notion of maybe asking if I can open a Mastronarde forum here - starting 101 again at the end of next month, and that would be a nice opportunity to do it. Post little chapter guidelines, answer any questions..
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Postby perispomenon » Sun Aug 12, 2007 8:21 pm

Helma wrote:I'm playing with the notion of maybe asking if I can open a Mastronarde forum here - starting 101 again at the end of next month


Sounds good!
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Postby Stoic » Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:53 pm

Sounds great to me, Helma. I'm sure you'll be a great help to those of us just starting off with Mastronarde. I'm al for it.
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Postby HelenB » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:55 pm

Hi,
excuse me for jumping in on this string, (I'm a newbie, so excuse me if this is wrong) but my question kind of relates to this topic as I am currently trying to learn Ancient Greek with the Reading Greek series (inc. the independent study guide). I also have the Thrasymachus book, which I quite like, but cannot really check if I have translated things correctly.

Am I right in thinking that the Thrasymachus book does not have a "key" available? I know the VROMA web site supplementing it, but cannot locate anything to check my work against.....

I have to admit curiosity about Mastronarde and Athenaze, both of which I have never heard of before reading these posts. I am now going off to investigate, so thanks guys & gals! :D
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