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.
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/
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.