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some guidance needed...

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some guidance needed...

Postby tilman » Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:39 pm

Hello all, I'm currently going through the Schoder Homer text in my spare time and have reached a point where I really need a little guidance from those who've already trodden the path. I reached lesson 24 - the review of the present system - without having really memorised much properly, so I went back through all the excercises and vocabulary and forced it all into my head. It took nearly a month, but it felt good to finally have all the vocab at my fingertips without having to look in the back. And then I turned the page, and it introduced the "principle parts"....oh boy...all those verbs I'd stuffed in my head...I'd only learned the first of 6 possible versions. I really struggle with rote learning - no matter how many times I repeat things, they just don't stick - but it must be done, so my first question for you all is did you start by learning all principal parts, or did you wait until a later date and add to your knowledge bank, as it were? With any new vocab from now on, would you recommend trying to learn all the principal parts in one go, or just the first three, or what?

A related question is about pronunciation. I know this has been debated on here before, but I haven't found the right answer yet. I have some experience learning foreign languages, and have found that the only way words stick in my head is when I emphasise correct (even exaggerated) pronunciation. This is obviously difficult with greek, but I need some kind of pronunciation guide that will allow me to memorize the way a word is spelled, including the accents, so I can "see" it in my head. So what pronunciation would you recommend purely to assist memorization? Ideally it wouldn't sound too far off how a modern greek would pronounce it - not too mechanical and constructed - but it's important that it would differentiate between different accents.

Finally, I also have the Mastronarde text, which it seems to me is possibly better for self study, since it's more "honest" about just giving you all the details straight up. I'm enjoying th Schoder Horrigan (sp?) text immensely, but the lack of explanation is frustrating. Clearly it was intended for classroom use. Would anybody recommend ditching it and going for Mastronarde?

Thanks a lot for any help

Tilman
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Re: some guidance needed...

Postby pster » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:00 pm

tilman wrote:did you start by learning all principal parts, or did you wait until a later date and add to your knowledge bank, as it were? With any new vocab from now on, would you recommend trying to learn all the principal parts in one go, or just the first three, or what?


Mastronarde has a dozen or so patters for principal parts in the back of the book. Memorize those with a paradigmatic example for each one. There are subvariations, but don't stress too much about those. Just make sure you have your dozen paradigmatic verbs down. He also gives a table of common contractions. Make sure you have that memorized well and can run it in both directions. That will get you through the majority of Greek verbs, i.e. all the regular ones. Then there are maybe 50 important irregular verbs. Memorize those. Some of them only have two principal parts! So that gets you to about 100 things to memorize. Practice those 100 things drilling yourself silly on the 270 or so verbs in Mastronarde. The rest of the Greek verbs will fall into place if you do that. Greek is freaking hard. But if you are interested in it for the long haul, might as well do it right. Mastronarde has impeccable taste in verbs. All the essentials are there.

tilman wrote:
A related question is about pronunciation. I know this has been debated on here before, but I haven't found the right answer yet. I have some experience learning foreign languages, and have found that the only way words stick in my head is when I emphasise correct (even exaggerated) pronunciation. This is obviously difficult with greek, but I need some kind of pronunciation guide that will allow me to memorize the way a word is spelled, including the accents, so I can "see" it in my head. So what pronunciation would you recommend purely to assist memorization? Ideally it wouldn't sound too far off how a modern greek would pronounce it - not too mechanical and constructed - but it's important that it would differentiate between different accents.



Mastronarde has a web site that gives you the best drills online for Attic and pronunciation examples for the first 8 chapters or so of his book.

http://ucbclassics.dreamhosters.com/ancgreek/

tilman wrote:
Finally, I also have the Mastronarde text, which it seems to me is possibly better for self study, since it's more "honest" about just giving you all the details straight up. I'm enjoying th Schoder Horrigan (sp?) text immensely, but the lack of explanation is frustrating. Clearly it was intended for classroom use. Would anybody recommend ditching it and going for Mastronarde?


I know Mastronarde's text so well and others so little, that I am reluctant to tell anybody what text to use. If Smyth is complete Attic, Mastronarde is essential Attic. He has polished it quite a bit. It has a bit of an identity problem because it while it is a textbook, it is also extremely thorough as though it maybe would have liked to have been more of a reference book (see the rich appendices). It's not much fun really. And the layout is less than logical because it is designed for a thorough course. So for example, indirect discourse gets treated in three different places that aren't near each other. Ditto for nouns. And verbs. And just about everything. It's all there. But any meaty subject is decentralized. And that wears you down. I use it all the time as a reference. Frankly, I'm totally sick of it. It may be better than any other textbook. Probably is. It was exactly what I wanted when I started studying Attic. But we don't always know what we want in life. What the world needs is a nice FUN Attic text that is meant to be read in conjunction with Smyth. Smyth hasn't been challenged seriously since Goodwin and Smyth won. It has dominated as the grammatical reference for 100 years. The text could be lean as all the tables would be left to Smyth and the student would learn where to find things in Smyth which is where she will end up in the end anyway.
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Re: some guidance needed...

Postby pster » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:01 pm

tilman wrote:did you start by learning all principal parts, or did you wait until a later date and add to your knowledge bank, as it were? With any new vocab from now on, would you recommend trying to learn all the principal parts in one go, or just the first three, or what?


Mastronarde has a dozen or so patters for principal parts in the back of the book. Memorize those with a paradigmatic example for each one. There are subvariations, but don't stress too much about those. Just make sure you have your dozen paradigmatic verbs down. He also gives a table of common contractions. Make sure you have that memorized well and can run it in both directions. That will get you through the majority of Greek verbs, i.e. all the regular ones. Then there are maybe 50 important irregular verbs. Memorize those. Some of them only have two principal parts! So that gets you to about 100 things to memorize. Practice those 100 things drilling yourself silly on the 270 or so verbs in Mastronarde. The rest of the Greek verbs will fall into place if you do that. Greek is freaking hard. But if you are interested in it for the long haul, might as well do it right. Mastronarde has impeccable taste in verbs. All the essentials are there.

tilman wrote:
A related question is about pronunciation. I know this has been debated on here before, but I haven't found the right answer yet. I have some experience learning foreign languages, and have found that the only way words stick in my head is when I emphasise correct (even exaggerated) pronunciation. This is obviously difficult with greek, but I need some kind of pronunciation guide that will allow me to memorize the way a word is spelled, including the accents, so I can "see" it in my head. So what pronunciation would you recommend purely to assist memorization? Ideally it wouldn't sound too far off how a modern greek would pronounce it - not too mechanical and constructed - but it's important that it would differentiate between different accents.



Mastronarde has a web site that gives you the best drills online for Attic and pronunciation examples for the first 8 chapters or so of his book.

http://ucbclassics.dreamhosters.com/ancgreek/

tilman wrote:
Finally, I also have the Mastronarde text, which it seems to me is possibly better for self study, since it's more "honest" about just giving you all the details straight up. I'm enjoying th Schoder Horrigan (sp?) text immensely, but the lack of explanation is frustrating. Clearly it was intended for classroom use. Would anybody recommend ditching it and going for Mastronarde?


I know Mastronarde's text so well and others so little, that I am reluctant to tell anybody what text to use. If Smyth is complete Attic, Mastronarde is essential Attic. He has polished it quite a bit. It has a bit of an identity problem because it while it is a textbook, it is also extremely thorough as though it maybe would have liked to have been more of a reference book (see the rich appendices). It's not much fun really. And the layout is less than logical because it is designed for a thorough course. So for example, indirect discourse gets treated in three different places that aren't near each other. Ditto for nouns. And verbs. And just about everything. It's all there. But any meaty subject is decentralized. And that wears you down. I use it all the time as a reference. Frankly, I'm totally sick of it. It may be better than any other textbook. Probably is. It was exactly what I wanted when I started studying Attic. But we don't always know what we want in life. What the world needs is a nice FUN Attic text that is meant to be read in conjunction with Smyth. Smyth hasn't been challenged seriously since Goodwin and Smyth won. It has dominated as the grammatical reference for 100 years. The text could be lean as all the tables would be left to Smyth and the student would learn where to find things in Smyth which is where she will end up in the end anyway.
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Re: some guidance needed...

Postby tilman » Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:07 pm

Thanks, that's some really helpful advice. I did actually begin checking through all the verbs I've learned so far via the rules in Mastronarde appendix two, but I gave up as nearly all of them were irregular, so I figured they'd just have to be learned the hard way. That's what kind of threw me off, but I guess if you say there are only 50 or so important irregulars then I was just unlucky in my choices. Learning the paradigms and a further 50 irregulars is doable. I'm still not sure when the best time to learn them is though...Mastronarde says ask your teacher...I'll probably just learn the paradigms at the same time as moving on in Schroder and Horrigan.

I will check out the smyth book, but to be honest - and with all due respect to the site owners - it's not particularly pleasant trying to read a scan on a computer. Has anyone ever tried getting a project going to OCR and error check the books? I'd gladly assist, if someone did a preliminary OCR, we could set the texts up as a wiki, and make any changes as we spot them. I don't have any OCR software else I'd do it myself just for the convenience of being able to format/search.

i'll check out the Mastronarde site when I get the chance, thanks for that
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Re: some guidance needed...

Postby Ahab » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:56 pm

I don't believe there is any OCR software that would do a good job with a dual language text like Smyth's. If there is any, then it would likely be rather expensive.

Why not just pick up a paper copy of Smyth? It is readily available in either used or new condition.
"In no scholarly discipline is untidiness more out of place than in grammar."
J. Wackernagal
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Re: some guidance needed...

Postby spiphany » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:30 am

Smyth (along with a number of other standard reference works for classical Greek) is available in text form at the Perseus Project, so there's no need to go about attempting to OCR it.

Kaegi's Greek Grammar (far less compendious than Smyth, but useful for a quick reference) has a useful table of important irregular verbs and their principle parts at the back. Some textbooks will also include this in an appendix.
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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