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Here's where you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

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Postby Carola » Sat Nov 29, 2003 12:25 am

I am now about to start my 2nd year of Latin at university and when I have improved a bit more I would like to start on Greek. I'd like to do a bit of preliminary study before getting into the uni course as I found that helped me a lot with Latin - it wasn't such a shock to my system!
We have some great textbooks here at Textkit - is there any other material on the WWW which other students might recommend? I will check out everything on the "links" postings as well. If anyone can recommend a way of starting that would be good - did you spend a while on the alphabet first?
Thanks
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Postby Emma_85 » Sat Nov 29, 2003 9:54 am

Before I started Greek I spent a few weeks in Greece (my mum's best friend lives there), but I suppose that's not an option.
I read everything there I could, even though I often didn't know what it meant, but just to practice the alphabet a bit more. I also practiced a bit of modern Greek with the help of a Greek friend and a teach-yourself-Greek book. So if you just want to get a feel for the alphabet and all that I can really recommend going through a teach yourself modern Greek book (and at least modern Greek is actually useful, unlike ancient Greek :wink: ).
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Postby Carola » Sun Nov 30, 2003 1:19 am

Emma_85 wrote:I also practiced a bit of modern Greek with the help of a Greek friend and a teach-yourself-Greek book. So if you just want to get a feel for the alphabet and all that I can really recommend going through a teach yourself modern Greek book (and at least modern Greek is actually useful, unlike ancient Greek :wink: ).


So all the letters are the same in both ancient and modern Greek?
What is this "useful" thing? My entire education has consisted of learning totally useless things - it's much more fun! :wink:
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Postby annis » Sun Nov 30, 2003 1:50 am

Carola wrote:So all the letters are the same in both ancient and modern Greek?


Oh, gosh, no. Many of the consonants are quite remote from classical pronunciation. And by some mysterious infatuation with iota several vowels are pronounced like iota (eta, upsilon in some situations).

I leared the alphabet doodling in English using the Greek alphabet. It'll help you get over how the nu looks like a V and the rho like a P.
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Postby benissimus » Sun Nov 30, 2003 3:13 am

I think it's very helpful (and impressive to others at times) to be able to recite the entire Greek alphabet. You should also be able to write the entire alphabet in both upper and lower case, and be able to name any letter. You may want to start out by transliterating Greek words into the Latin alphabet, but don't keep doing that when you are reading/translating Greek or it will just be an impediment.

It's very important to be able to use the alphabet well, because most textbooks are going to be telling you all these rules about how accents and endings are applied based on which letters are where, and if you can't comprehend what it is saying with relative ease, then it can be very confusing. I still sometimes forget to put a nu after a lower case eta because the eta looks so much like an N already... :roll:
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Postby Emma_85 » Sun Nov 30, 2003 4:02 pm

I know that the letters are pronounced differently in modern and ancient Greek, but you can still learn the alphabet like this, you'll just have to remember that it's a bit different in ancient Greek.
But the alphabet is pretty easy, after just a week's practice you should be able to do it :) .
Just try and read a lot of Greek text even if you don't understand what it's about.
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Postby Carola » Sun Nov 30, 2003 9:51 pm

annis wrote: [
I leared the alphabet doodling in English using the Greek alphabet. It'll help you get over how the nu looks like a V and the rho like a P.


That sounds like a good idea - and it will make it easier to remember the sounds if I associate them with my name and other familiar words. I only need to be familiar with the alphabet and some very rudimentary grammar when I start the course, otherwise I think you waste a lot of time at the beginning and never really catch up, then suddenly there is an exam looming up....disaster! :shock:
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Postby 1%homeless » Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:00 am

To learn how to properly write the greeek alphabet try this site:

http://www.wesleyan.edu/classics/grk101 ... guide.html

It only shows the animation for the miniscule form. Also, I'm not sure how accurate it is --whether that is the way modern greeks write them or whether the way it was originally written when the miniscule form was created.

This was another fun website, but I don't know why it is down...

http://cc.cumber.edu/acad/biblang/bibgr ... etters.htm
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Postby benissimus » Mon Dec 01, 2003 12:13 pm

I still can't write a lower case gamma :(
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Postby chad » Mon Dec 01, 2003 11:36 pm

i think a quick way to learn the alphabet is to first learn the capitals, since they're the "real" greek letters and are much more similar to our alphabet (e.g. mu and nu).

then for the lower-case letters, "running-write" them out in a row underneath a row of the capitals. you're probably not meant to "running-write" them in class, but for learning purposes you'll instantly see how the lower-case letters are "quick short-hand" for the capitals. the lower-case letters actually aren't "real" greek: they were invented by medieval copyists to copy out greek texts faster, and the font was smoothed out by Richard Porson in the 1700s into a clean running-writing font.

cheers, chad. :)
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Postby Carola » Tue Dec 02, 2003 3:00 am

I didn't realise the lower case letters were not actually used for inscriptions in ancient Greece. Did they use anything like modern lower case when writing on scrolls or don't we have any examples? I would presume there must be some scrolls on papyrus in Egyptian tombs as they were writing in Greek and their own language for quite a long period. I'd love to be able to decipher some of the actual writing from ancient time, not Greek yet as I am just starting, but Latin would be OK.
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Postby chad » Tue Dec 02, 2003 4:59 am

hi carola,

you're right, there are papyri from egypt. the writing is all capitals, no spaces, barely any punctuation. it's the same on inscriptions and vases. they don't even use the latin interpuncts between words/phrases.

there are some fragments of manuscripts here:

http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/papyrus ... ction.html

these texts would have been used for oral recital, not for silent reading (julius caesar was apparently the first person who could silent read, which amazed his subordinates.)

lower-case writing wasn't used by the greeks at all. plato wouldn't be able to read a modern copy of the Republic. (he also wouldn't probably be able to understand someone reciting the Republic using the conventional school/university pronunciation, which uses a stress rather than pitch accent, and uses completely different sounds for the aspirated consonants: e.g. the letter "A" sounded more like "alp-hah" than "alfa" in classical times).

cheers, chad. :)
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Postby Baphomet » Tue Dec 02, 2003 5:50 am

A very efficient method to learn the Greek alphabet is to copy some English known text in Greek characters. In the beginning it is needed a list with the Greek alphabet on it, but soon Greek characters are internalized and the Greek chart is needed no more.
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Postby chad » Tue Dec 02, 2003 6:28 am

that would be good practice for learning diphthongs... eg "today i ride a bicycle", [face=SPIonic]tudei ai raid a baisikul[/face] :)
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Postby Baphomet » Wed Dec 03, 2003 2:06 am

Wrong!

Must be: [face=SPIonic]Toude/i a)i r(a/id e) ba/ikukl[/face]

:wink:
Last edited by Baphomet on Wed Dec 03, 2003 6:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby chad » Wed Dec 03, 2003 2:42 am

hi baphomet, exactly, i was hinting that it'd be hard for a beginner, who just wants to learn the alphabet, to try to work out things like e.g. [face=SPIonic]tudei[/face] or [face=SPIonic]toudei[/face] (they'd have to know quite a bit... whether to use the diphthong ou, preserving the english phonology but giving the first syllable a double length not in english, or using "thin later upsilon" to keep the syllable's short length but using a sound not in english), working out aspirates, correct accents, the etymology of english "cycle"... it'd be easier to just remember the alphabet by mind-numbing rote hehehe :) :)
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Postby mingshey » Wed Dec 03, 2003 4:00 am

chad wrote:http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/papyrus/texts/greek/introduction.html

Chad, you should put that in the Links of Interest board. Or did you?
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Postby Carola » Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:14 am

chad wrote:
.

there are some fragments of manuscripts here:

http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/papyrus ... ction.html



I don't know how I ever missed this site - it is so good! Thanks Chad
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