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Greetings from Textkit newbie!

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Greetings from Textkit newbie!

Postby pster » Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:13 am

Hello,

I just got my textkit account activated today and I'm so happy. Over the last 14 months, I did every problem in Mastronarde and now I'm moving on to Plato's Apology (Helm) and Demosthenes' Third Philippic (Campbell). I am very interested in philosophy, history and philosophy. I'm also starting Wheelock this week although I am not a beginner. On the Roman side I am interested in Livy's first book and Pliny's Encyclopedia. If anyone is interested in any of these six books, let me know and maybe we can set up a group. If anybody has any general advice for the best way to go from being an intermediate student to mastering ancient greek (and latin) I'd love to hear it.

Changing the subject, I hate fonts and keyboards. I can read Perseus' pages and Mastronarde's pages, but the Greek on Textkit comes out as mush. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks,
pster
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Re: Greetings from Textkit newbie!

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:14 am

Hi,

If you're interested in reading Epictetus we have a group set up for that, which you can read about at viewtopic.php?t=9830. It's not the most active reading group ever, so the more that join the better.

In my opinion, the best way to master Greek is to read, read, and read. Lots of people also find working through some of the book on composition in Greek really helpful too as it helps you master many of the constructions.

pster wrote:Changing the subject, I hate fonts and keyboards. I can read Perseus' pages and Mastronarde's pages, but the Greek on Textkit comes out as mush. What am I doing wrong?

Is it all posts or just the older posts? There was a problem when the forum software was updated and all the unicode Greek is unreadable (although I wonder if the SPIonic Greek in even older posts would show correctly if you had that font). Newer posts should work fine: μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά, Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος. Does that show up correctly?
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Re: Greetings from Textkit newbie!

Postby pster » Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:29 am

Yes, that shows up fine. But most of the threads here look like mush on both computers.

As far as reading goes. What's the best way to read? Parse everything and memorize whole passages? Parse everything? Use a dictionary only when absolutely necessary? Read out loud? Memorize word lists before beginning a text? I've been reading three different ways trying to guage which is best, but I can't really tell.

I probably will look at the Epictetus. It doesn't look as though you are that far into it.
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Re: Greetings from Textkit newbie!

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:59 pm

Then there's nothing wrong on your side. The Greek in those threads seems to be simply lost forever.

I would imagine the best way to read varies with different people. For me, I can't move on if I can't identify what form a word is, so I'll look it up if I have to, but I wouldn't mentally parse words as I read. I think it's very important to read without mentally translating or parsing anything and to read the Greek as Greek in the order it's written. I've found it helpful to always read something that's just a little harder than the level I'm at but also to regularly review stuff that's easy for you, which is why I've found some of the really old school editions and readers very helpful. With actual Greek texts, if they're relatively short, what I do is read it over again so that I could just read it without having to stop in the middle of sentences and look around and trying to analyze the grammar.

Another thing that helps (and I thought this was counterintuitive when I first saw it recommended) is to read longer works because eventually you'll get used the idiosyncrasies of the author and his grammar will become easier to understand, so you reach a point where the biggest issue becomes vocabulary but not the construction of sentences. I personally like to read together with a (free) translation because it not only gives you a quick way to look up the meaning of words you don't know but it also gives you the meanings of larger phrases and constructions in context, and I don't think the translation is a crutch as long as you don't look at it first. But I still regularly use the dictionary, preferably something like the LSJ, which gives you a lot of details and doesn't gloss over more specific meanings, whenever I want more specifics about what the word means.

For me, memorizing word lists has never worked. First, there's the trivial problem that I just forget, but there's also the danger of associating a Greek word with a single English word and this can be misleading in many cases. I think the best way is just to learn the words in context. I find this is also the best way to master inflections too. If you're reading and you constantly see the relation between φέρω and οἴσω, they get associated in your mind.

About reading out loud and memorizing passages, I haven't tried either (except for a bit of Homer). But I think that if you can get an audio component into your learning, it can only do you good. When I worked through Mastronarde I would sometimes record myself reading some of his exercise questions and then playing them back later -- this is really good in terms of making you understand the Greek in the order it comes because you don't have the option to go back or forth like you do with written text. I believe it also did me good that when I was younger I would hear the New Testament read out in Greek and I had to memorize the creed and prayers in sunday school and stuff like that and I do think that the ear is better at learning languages than the eye.

That's much longer than I thought it would be but hopefully there's something there you can use.
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