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which is the best book to study ancient greek?

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which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby mohit » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:40 pm

Now I am trying to learn Latin. Which book is more usefull to study ancient greek.
What about White and Homeric Greek?
What about Introduction to Attic Greek?
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guruhu sakshat parahbrahma tasmai shrigurave namaha
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby steffi.alexa » Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:36 pm

I'm using Reading Greek at the moment with my uni, which a lot of unis use. IMO it's set out in a very accessible way, with the text and vocab and then the grammar in another book. It is, however, expensive.
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby modus.irrealis » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:01 pm

Do you have a favourite book for Latin, because that might help others recommend a Greek book that takes a similar approach? I used the Mastronarde book (and went through it twice) and found it very good, but its approach is like Wheelock's.
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby mohit » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:07 pm

Yes, I like Wheelock's Latin and Dooge's book for latin.
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby tomtom » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:56 pm

If you like Wheelock, then you might like Anne Groton's 'From Alpha to Omega'. I found them to be quite similar, though Groton isn't AS entertaining as Wheelock.
Groton presents a lot of information like Wheelock does; and she structures her course a little differently to the others that I have used.
It is a very comprehensive text and is quite useful. That said, Groton does go a little crazy sometimes and by that I mean she presents a lot of information at once.
A really nice feature of this book is the fact that you read almost unadapted text - in the form of Aesop's Fables from the start of the book.
There is also a 'sort-of' workbook that goes with 'From Alpha to Omega'. I have that too, and have done exercises from it from time to time (mostly drills and more exercises like those in the text), but I think that the in-text exercises are often more than sufficient! On the topic of in-text exercises, Groton has you write some pretty interesting sentences, for example: 'O Wise Greeks, I have found wisdom in your books; therefore, I shall seek to make my life Hellenic!' or another choice sentence, 'Let the handsome brothers possess beautiful trees and fine horses'.

I use it as sort of an accessory text - in conjunction with Athenaze and Reading Greek.
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby Westcott » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:50 pm

There are any number of works that use an inductive method, which I think is superior for getting started. For Attic I like the Cambridge/JACT set.* However, what I think is key is to mate this approach with a primer that has clear charts and indexing so that you can have the best of both worlds. For that purpose, I am a major fan of Abbott & Mansfield’s Primer of Greek Grammar and its Latin counterpart Kennedy’s Revised Latin Primer. On their own, these works are not suitable for self-learners, but they are compact treasure troves of grammar. Both of these volumes are still in regular use in UK universities so inexpensive print copies abound.

Best wishes!


*(For inductive Koine Greek, check out Buth's Living Koine Greek or John Dobson's Learn New Testament Greek)
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby mohit » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:17 am

Thanks all of you for helping me about greek.
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guruhu sakshat parahbrahma tasmai shrigurave namaha
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby tmesis » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:45 am

After learning the basics of ancient Greek with the Assimil course (available only in French or Italian), I would highly recommend it, or another course with an audio component. The courses I know of that use a similar approach are Assimil, Polis, and the Living Koine Greek course mentioned above. Polis is also available only in French at the moment, but I believe an English version is due out soon. The Assimil course helped me achieve an intuitive feel for Greek, something I did not achieve with attempts at Greek using Hansen & Quinn, Chase & Phillips, or Mastronarde. A large part of my success with the Assimil course is attributable to repeatedly listening to and speaking the dialogues, as such a process invites a much more painless internalization of the vocabulary and grammar. After rather haphazardly working through the course a few years back, I picked up Greek again recently and am now enjoyably reading the Iliad in Greek. Given the right method and materials, I believe this is something anyone can do. Good luck.
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby pster » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:04 pm

mohit wrote:Now I am trying to learn Latin. Which book is more usefull to study ancient greek.
What about White and Homeric Greek?
What about Introduction to Attic Greek?


I used Mastronarde and did every exercise. I even sent him an email with what I mistakenly thought was an error and he was kind enough to respond. His book is a work of art, a It contains just about everything one needs for Attic. It has gone through upwards of ten editions and I there are very few errors at this point. You definitely need the answer key. That said, William Harris has argued vehemently that the best way to learn Attic or Latin for that matter was to jump right in with a book. I have to say if I had it to do over again, I would probably do the early chapters of Mastronarde to get regular nouns and omega verbs down and some basic adjectives and prepositions and then I would just read Xenophon. Harris recommends Homer. And his central argument is that a text contains plenty of grammar in itself. And you could always peruse a chapter of a textbook for clarification.

http://community.middlebury.edu/~harris ... ammar.html
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby pster » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:07 pm

tmesis wrote:After learning the basics of ancient Greek with the Assimil course (available only in French or Italian), I would highly recommend it, or another course with an audio component. The courses I know of that use a similar approach are Assimil, Polis, and the Living Koine Greek course mentioned above. Polis is also available only in French at the moment, but I believe an English version is due out soon. The Assimil course helped me achieve an intuitive feel for Greek, something I did not achieve with attempts at Greek using Hansen & Quinn, Chase & Phillips, or Mastronarde. A large part of my success with the Assimil course is attributable to repeatedly listening to and speaking the dialogues, as such a process invites a much more painless internalization of the vocabulary and grammar. After rather haphazardly working through the course a few years back, I picked up Greek again recently and am now enjoyably reading the Iliad in Greek. Given the right method and materials, I believe this is something anyone can do. Good luck.


The Polis course is for Koine, so I'm not interested in that, but the Assimil seems intriguing. Are the dialogs from Attic or are they contemporary constructions? How are the accents?
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby spiphany » Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:23 pm

You can see a sample page of the Assimil course here: http://polyglotte.org/blog/2008/04/appr ... e-vivante/
It's Attic Greek, as far as I can tell. I don't know of any audio samples online, but it's pretty good, I think. It uses reconstructed pronunciation with pitch accents. Stefan Hagel was involved in the recordings, he has some other audio recordings on his website (http://www.oeaw.ac.at/kal/agp/), which should give you an idea of what the Assimil audio sounds like.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby pster » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:42 pm

spiphany wrote:You can see a sample page of the Assimil course here: http://polyglotte.org/blog/2008/04/appr ... e-vivante/
It's Attic Greek, as far as I can tell. I don't know of any audio samples online, but it's pretty good, I think. It uses reconstructed pronunciation with pitch accents. Stefan Hagel was involved in the recordings, he has some other audio recordings on his website (http://www.oeaw.ac.at/kal/agp/), which should give you an idea of what the Assimil audio sounds like.


Thanks, it definitely looks interesting. And my French is decent, so that is a plus. I guess what concerns me is that it somehow reminds me of Athenaze. I bought that book and quickly decided that the story of the farmer and his ox was gonna melt my brain. I guess all books use made up sentences, even my beloved Mastronarde. So maybe I'm being unfair there. But then there is the whole issue of the accents. I have a thread here somewhere about Daitz's recordings and there was plenty of debate over what is the best attic accent and I became persuaded that Daitz's accordian take was pretty justifiable and I'm not sure I want to start getting worked up about accents again. Still, audio components are nice when you want to just review a bit. So maybe I'll check it out.
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby helios » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:28 am

I'm throwing myself up against Hansen and Quinn's Intensive Greek. It's tough going, but I am getting a handle on the verb system and purpose and conditional clauses finally. I can handle heavy grammar and repetitive drills which H&Q is all about. Some books spoon feed you information and fill the extra space with drawings and cultural info. I want to learn Greek, not know the dimensions of the Parthenon.

The only other textbook that seems as good to me is Mastronarde's text, already mentioned, and that one might be better for many because it has an answer key. However, if you're doing every drill and exercise in H&Q then you have a grasp of the material in most cases. An answer key mightn't be needed.

Finally, what's helping me a LOT are two things:

1. Memorize forms and their applications. Declensions and conjugations. Otherwise you'll be flipping and looking for charts for even the most basic forms as you try to read.

2. Writing and reading. As early as possible read and write even if you think you can't. I'm reading from an OCT and looking up words and using Sidgwick's writer and struggling through it. But it's helping me a lot!

Keep on truckin!
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby pster » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:42 pm

What is the best book to practice writing? I would describe my ability as intermediate.
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby helios » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:22 pm

I use Introduction to Greek Prose Composition by Arthur Sidgwick because it has an answer key. For writing, I would choose one suited to your level and has a key because you need to know if your efforts are correct. There are multiple free writers on this site. I'd check them out and choose the one that works for you.
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby thebicyclethief » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:42 pm

On their own, these works are not suitable for self-learners, but they are compact treasure troves of grammar. Both of these volumes are still in regular use in UK universities so inexpensive print copies abound.

What would you recommend for the self-learner to go with the Greek primer of Abbott and Mansfield?
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby refe » Wed May 18, 2011 5:40 pm

This thread is old, but I wanted to chime in. I studied Greek using Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek, and now I am backtracking to the older dialects to get a more complete understanding of the language as a whole. I am looking very closely at Intensive Greek by Hansen and Quinn, but I am learning on my own so the lack of answer key is a bit troubling. Is it really still unavailable?

Either way, with a good understanding of Koine under my belt I'm pretty sure I will be ok without the key, at least that's what others seem to be saying in general. From all that I've read this text seems to be the best for what I need, so maybe I'll check back in here and let you know how it goes...
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby Westcott » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:25 pm

thebicyclethief wrote:On their own, these works are not suitable for self-learners, but they are compact treasure troves of grammar. Both of these volumes are still in regular use in UK universities so inexpensive print copies abound.

What would you recommend for the self-learner to go with the Greek primer of Abbott and Mansfield?


Dear Bicycle Thief,

I’m so sorry for missing your question. If you’re still following Textkit, here’s a slightly (over a year) tardy reply:

Here in the UK many universities use a textbook by Wilding that is tailored to Abbott & Mansfield, worth checking into if you want that perfect fit between types of books. I think if you want a more inductive approach you could probably use the (Koine) works by John Dobson or Randall Buth just as profitably. Of course, if you’ve moved on in the last year or so, you may want to skip A&M and find a copy of Smyth-Messing! :)
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Re: which is the best book to study ancient greek?

Postby Great Scott » Fri May 25, 2012 12:38 pm

I am surprised no one has mentioned North and Hillard's Greek Prose Composition.

For a more contemporary offering...

C.A.E. Luschnig's An Introduction to Ancient Greek: A Literary Approach
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