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Advice on Greek Composition?

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Advice on Greek Composition?

Postby faye » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:45 pm

Greetings to all:

I know that there are several good introductions to Greek prose composition available today. I am not asking anyone to rate one over the other in terms of the material treated. But I do ask whether anyone in this forum might guide me as to which textbook of Greek prose composition might be best for someone in my particular situation - namely someone working alone, who is trying to perfect her command of ancient Greek, without any regular instructor on whom to rely. Is there a textbook of Greek prose composition best adapted to this particular circumstance?

Faye
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Re: Advice on Greek Composition?

Postby edonnelly » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:04 pm

I can't compare the different text books, but I will say that the single most important thing for you is to make sure that you choose one that has an answer key. You can find lots of composition text books out there, but without an answer key they amount to little more than a collection of sentences in English.

The books here at textkit have a good reputation and are all free, pdf files and most of the composition books have keys:

http://www.textkit.com/greek_grammar.php

I have also found some free pdf copies of Greek textbooks with keys (some are composition books) on Google books, and I have listed them here:

http://www.edonnelly.com/google.html#11

I don't know anything about physical books which you might buy, but it might be considerably harder to find keys for those since most would probably have been written for students attending a class.
The lists:
G'Oogle and the Internet Pharrchive - 1100 or so free Latin and Greek books.
DownLOEBables - Free books from the Loeb Classical Library
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Re: Advice on Greek Composition?

Postby LSorenson » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:56 pm

You probably want one with a key. The two best known are

North-Hillard Greek Prose Composition, which starts with simple sentences which are organized according to structure.
Sidgewick's "A First Greek Writer" has many lengthy explanations and examples. But the composition is in paragraph format (which is good) but a little harder.

Both books have keys and recommended vocabulary. Either way you should read the associated grammar sections in each.

There is an ongoing group with the GreekStudy list which is using North and Hillard. They are on lesson 8 this week. You can find more about it at http://www.letsreadgreek.org/moodle2. You can even do your own and then look back at the submissions by others for their errors and yours.

The best way to write is to start doing it and discuss the now and then. There is a small group on the GreekStudy email list (you can Google it) called Dialogos. On it people send emails to each other in Greek (Attic or Koine). There is also a Ning site (at least for now pending Ning's elimination of free websites and changes) where people discuss in ancient Greek. The site is still under development, but it is usable. It can be found at http://schole.ning.com.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Advice on Greek Composition?

Postby LSorenson » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:11 pm

Attic, Hellenistic (Later Greek 300 B.C-300 A.D.) or Homeric? How do you know which words to use. This is the dilemma that is thrust upon those who read from wide periods of literature, who learned NT Greek first or Homeric first. Some simple things to remember.

    All Greek prose composition books are in Attic. So when you are looking at North-Hillard, Sidgwick, or any others, it is Attic they are teaching. Many of the prose composition books assume you will be reading the Anabasis of Xenophon.

    Hints and Cautions on Attic Greek Prose (by Francis St John Thackery) http://books.google.com/books?id=z4sCAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=greek+prose+composition&lr=&ei=KdPSS7G6BYPqlQSLw5myCA&cd=64#v=onepage&q&f=false This book compares Attic with later Greek and Ionic (= Herodotus? and Homer(?)). It is full of pithy examples of how to and not to write in Attic. It even gives lists of words for modern terms. How to use metaphors, etc. This book is unique in that it approaches Greek composition from a different viewpoint than most.

    Differences Between Classical and Hellenistic Greek http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~jtreat/koine/classical.html This article compares the changes that occurred from the Classical (Attic) period into the "Later" Greek period. It is a great summary. ( A unicode version of it can be found at http://www.letsreadgreek.com/Resources/treat_classical.html

    A Short Syntax of New Testament Greek, H.P.V. Nunn http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/141/author_id/62/ This book constantly makes comparisons from the perspective of Attic Students who are learning later Greek.

    There are lists of words which were disapproved as "NON-Attic" by later Greek writers who were part of the Attistic Revival movement in the 2nd Century A.D. such as Phrynicos of Bythinia and Moiris. I believe this period was also called the Second Sophistic. Its authors were Lucian, Dionyssios Halikarnasseus, Plotinos and many others, and even some Christian writers such as Origen, Gregorios and Chrysostomos. Chris Caragounis discusses these words on pages 120-140 in his book "The Development of Greek and the New Testament".

I'm sure there are some others that should be added to this list.
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Re: Advice on Greek Composition?

Postby faye » Wed May 12, 2010 2:41 pm

Thanks to everyone for useful advice. I feel the need for a formal course, even if doing it by myself. I will share one thing that has helped me - though it doesn't replace a formal course. I have been using Athenaze to study grammar and structure, and am about half way through. In addition to doing the readings and exercises for each chapter, I have tried to write seven or eight sentences of my own in Greek for each chapter, using the vocabulary and grammar structures illustrated in each chapter. Some of the meanings of the sentences I have come up with are quite fanciful! But I think this has been helping me slightly to get a firmer feel for grammar and morphology as I progress. But I will soon need to do some proper composition! Thanks again to all. Faye.
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