Greek reader reviews

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jeidsath
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by jeidsath » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:06 pm

@joel: Schliemann was one of the biggest liars of the 19th century, but yes, I don't think he's very wrong.
You can download his diaries here: http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/index.php/archi ... A:_Diaries

I'm looking at one now. It's almost all ancient Greek, not modern or katharevousa, with short sections of other languages.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by marxbert » Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:42 pm

Bart, when you began reading Homer, did you begin using something with a lot of glosses (like Steadman's readers for Homer)? After that 1000 or 1500 line mark, were you still using a "beginner's" text, like the Steadman? Did you make any effort to memorize Homeric vocabulary--outside vocab found in a Greek 101 textbook--before engaging with the text?
daivid, does your reading approach that 30 lines of Homer/hour with an edition like Steadman? also, do you mind me asking what textbook(s) you use/used for Greek?
---
I am big fan of rereading for increasing reading fluency. For Greek, I reread everything the next day that I read for the first time the day before. For Spanish, I reread anything that trips me up--but often, for pleasure as much as language learning, I will reread the same poems multiple days in a row.
Rereading a graded reader would be a chore. This is why I transition as early as possible to reading "worthwhile" works (in Spanish, some simple yet respectable prose like Platero y Yo by Nobel Prize Winner Juan Ramon Jiminez). I am not yet prepared to read Steadman's Plato or Lysias, but once I finish an Attic textbook, I plan on moving to these rather than a graded reader.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Bart » Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:06 am

marxbert wrote:Bart, when you began reading Homer, did you begin using something with a lot of glosses (like Steadman's readers for Homer)?
Yes, for the first book I used Pamela Draper's commentary. It's very similar to Steadman
http://www.amazon.com/Iliad-Book-1-Bk/d ... aper+iliad
marxbert wrote:BartAfter that 1000 or 1500 line mark, were you still using a "beginner's" text, like the Steadman?
After the first book I switched to Ameis-Hentze-Cauer, a German schooledition of the Iliad dating from the second part of the 19th century. It's doesn't have as much glosses as Draper or Steadman, but it contains lots of invaluable help for the intermediate student. https://archive.org/details/h1h4homersiliasfrd02home
marxbert wrote:Bart, Did you make any effort to memorize Homeric vocabulary--outside vocab found in a Greek 101 textbook--before engaging with the text?
Well, before starting on Homer I went through the first part of Schroeder & Horrigan's Reading Course in Homer. Its vocabulary of course is geared towards reading Homer
http://www.amazon.com/Reading-Course-Ho ... eric+greek
marxbert wrote:Bart,I am big fan of rereading for increasing reading fluency. For Greek, I reread everything the next day that I read for the first time the day before.

Yes, I do the same.

One more thing: Daivid writes somewhere about struggling for hours with one particular sentence. I never do that. Of course I make an honest attempt, but then, if I do not understand it I turn to a translation. Then I return to the sentence in Greek and make sure I've understood everything. I don't know whether that's a good thing or not, but it sure speeds things up.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by daivid » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:23 pm

marxbert wrote: daivid, does your reading approach that 30 lines of Homer/hour with an edition like Steadman? also, do you mind me asking what textbook(s) you use/used for Greek?
---.
I started on Reading Greek - hated it. The exercises had far too varied vocab for me to handle them. The grammatical explanations were confused and long winded and worst of all seemed at times to be talking over my head to the a class teacher. The readings had little relation to the grammar lessons not even avoiding grammar that had not yet been taught.
Then moved on to Taylor Greek to GCSE. Loved it. If only all text books were like part 1. The exercises are very focused on grammar there are plenty of them. The readings are its weakest point as they don't really relate to the grammar being taught but do at least avoid grammar not yet taught.
In part 2 he begins to skimp on the exercises but I still found it very useful.
I hit a wall with his "beyond GCSE". He has a section on μι verbs - all of them - and the exercise is a mere 15 lines. I don't see why μι verbs require less practice than ω verbs.
The readings also at this point are so lightly adapted that they are as hard as the texts they are based on - harder in fact as you don't have the help of a commentary or translation.
However, the grammatical explanations in this volume are as excellent as those in his other books hence it is a book I often refer to.
I have also been thru Athenaze. Loved the story. It doesn't really prepare you for real Greek, however, even though it throw some real Greek at you right at the end.
I have Pollis which I love but there really isn't enough of it for the ground it covers (the extended English edition is on order).
I have tried Waite and Pragnell's book but it was too easy - it stops before getting onto the stuff I find difficult.
I then went to the other extreme and got part 2 Keller and Russell's book but that was far too hard. It does have really extensive exercises even on advanced topics which for some reason other textbooks skimp on so probably should shell out the fifty quid for volume 1 but there are things that make me uneasy about it such as phobia about made up Greek so I continue to dither on that.

There are several other textbooks that I have tried but which I didn't get on with at all.

As for Homer, I shall put aside an hour tomorrow with Steadman in front of me and I shall see how far I get.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Qimmik » Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:15 pm

I too use a translation when I encounter a sentence I can't otherwise make out. I could never have made it through Thucydides without resorting to a translation from time to time. You should always try your best to understand a passage before turning to a translation, and after you see the translation you should try to understand how the Greek fits together.

Many modern editions offer a facing-page translation instead of providing extensive grammatical help, and make use of end-notes largely to supply necessary background information. The Aris & Phillips series adopts this approach, and it works well. Daivid, you might be well advised to try one or more volumes of that series to find your way into reading real Greek. Start with something at a relatively low level of difficulty: Plato's Apology, Xenophon or Lysias for prose.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by daivid » Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:32 pm

Qimmik wrote:I too use a translation when I encounter a sentence I can't otherwise make out. I could never have made it through Thucydides without resorting to a translation from time to time. You should always try your best to understand a passage before turning to a translation, and after you see the translation you should try to understand how the Greek fits together.

Many modern editions offer a facing-page translation instead of providing extensive grammatical help, and make use of end-notes largely to supply necessary background information. The Aris & Phillips series adopts this approach, and it works well. Daivid, you might be well advised to try one or more volumes of that series to find your way into reading real Greek. Start with something at a relatively low level of difficulty: Plato's Apology, Xenophon or Lysias for prose.
I pretty much do exactly what you do - it just takes me a lot lot longer than you.

I have tried one Aris & Phillips book Menander: The Shield and The Arbitration . While it does have a nice translation it has little if any help on the grammar as far as I recall. Do they have a special series directed towards intermediate learners?
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Qimmik » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:03 pm

Do they have a special series directed towards intermediate learners?
I don't think so. The notes (with English lemmata) are at a fairly high level and very useful, and the translations tend to be literal enough to help intermediate students.

But sooner or later you need to take the plunge and engage with real Greek. The sooner you do that, and the more you read, the sooner you'll be reading Greek with fluency--not perfect fluency: you'll always have to rely to some extent on annotations and translations, but a reasonable level of fluency that will allow you to read with satisfaction.

Without intending to be condescending or patronizing, I get the impression that you are floundering a bit--readers aren't satisfying you because they're too easy, but real Greek texts are too hard. I think you have to bite the bullet and take the plunge into reading real Greek (to mix metaphors, or rather cliches)--using a translation as a resource of last resort. It's hard going at first--that's to be expected--but once you get going it will become easier and easier. You'll learn more grammar that way than by doing exercises--you'll really assimilate the grammar and it will become second nature to you.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by jeidsath » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:07 pm

One of the things that helped me so much with getting through the Gospels the first time was that I already knew the stories decently in English. It gave me a sort of a mental Rosetta stone in my head.

So I'd go farther than Qimmik: Read through the translation in large chunks, internalize them, and keep the meaning in your head while reading (or listening to!) the Greek. Language learning isn't about applying rules and vocabulary glosses to problem solve. It's about associating meaning in your head with strings of words, until your brain decides to make the connection.

One of my best exercises was to take a (Greek) audio recording of a text that I knew in English. I'd listen slowly, referring back to my translation as necessary. When I hit something that I didn't understand, I would rewind 15 seconds. I re-listened until I found that I could listen or read that text straight through without any aid.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by daivid » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:42 pm

Qimmik wrote:
But sooner or later you need to take the plunge and engage with real Greek. The sooner you do that, and the more you read, the sooner you'll be reading Greek with fluency--not perfect fluency: you'll always have to rely to some extent on annotations and translations, but a reasonable level of fluency that will allow you to read with satisfaction.
What do you mean by take the plunge? I read more real Greek than readers. I think that's my problem and I need to reverse that proportion.
Qimmik wrote: Without intending to be condescending or patronizing, I get the impression that you are floundering a bit
Only an impression? I know I'm floundering so you are not being condescending or patronizing.
Qimmik wrote:--readers aren't satisfying you because they're too easy, but real Greek texts are too hard.
I never said that readers are too easy. If fact I often find them too hard. When you get stuck with a reader you don't usually have the help of a commentary and you don't have the help of a translation. It is at that point I go back to real Greek. Though I do wonder if that's a false impression. That is to say I expect readers to be easy so when I hit a hard bit I then feel that they are harder than they are.
Qimmik wrote:

I think you have to bite the bullet and take the plunge into reading real Greek (to mix metaphors, or rather cliches)--using a translation as a resource of last resort. It's hard going at first--that's to be expected--but once you get going it will become easier and easier. You'll learn more grammar that way than by doing exercises--you'll really assimilate the grammar and it will become second nature to you.
I am unable to read real Greek fast enough for that to work. To learn a language element you need repetition. If I meet a form once, it doesn't stick because the time before I meet it again is so long that it will have faded from my brain.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by marxbert » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:34 am

Bart and daivid-thank you for your replies.
daivid, I am interested if you find yourself reading anything in Steadman editions at a more satisfying pace, not just the Homer. The Homer just serves as a nice comparison for the 30 lines/hr--but by all means, if the Plato or Lysias interests you more, try those. I'd like to know if you think any of these would help increase the quantity of Greek you're reading.
Also, not to be patronizing either, but I encourage you to spend a bit of time rereading--especially anything that's difficult. I wouldn't encourage you to memorize the Greek or the translation (though others surely would). But rereading is so vastly important to my own study I would be remiss not to encourage it. That's why I think it is so important to find readings at one's level that continue to be exciting after multiple reads on consecutive days.
(For -mi verbs, I just had to invent more drills for myself. Using the textbook's practice sentences, I'd change single to plural, present to aorist, active to passive, indicative to subj.--that sort of thing. It is the worst type of language learning for me, but it was a chore I had to create to make up for how quickly the forms were introduced in the textbook)

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by daivid » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:29 pm

marxbert wrote:Bart and daivid-thank you for your replies.
daivid, I am interested if you find yourself reading anything in Steadman editions at a more satisfying pace, not just the Homer. The Homer just serves as a nice comparison for the 30 lines/hr--but by all means, if the Plato or Lysias interests you more, try those. I'd like to know if you think any of these would help increase the quantity of Greek you're reading.
Well I did the experiment. Eight lines took an hour and a half. That is pretty much what I expected from how fast I read Herodotus, Xenophon, Plutarch and Chariton.
marxbert wrote: Also, not to be patronizing either, but I encourage you to spend a bit of time rereading--especially anything that's difficult. I wouldn't encourage you to memorize the Greek or the translation (though others surely would). But rereading is so vastly important to my own study I would be remiss not to encourage it. That's why I think it is so important to find readings at one's level that continue to be exciting after multiple reads on consecutive days.
I do do re-reading but sporadically. After laboring many hours over one author I overdose and have to switch to another. However that usually takes a few weeks so I will make it part of my routine and every day re-read something I read the day before.
marxbert wrote: (For -mi verbs, I just had to invent more drills for myself. Using the textbook's practice sentences, I'd change single to plural, present to aorist, active to passive, indicative to subj.--that sort of thing. It is the worst type of language learning for me, but it was a chore I had to create to make up for how quickly the forms were introduced in the textbook)
I have composed a short text using μι-verbs alone. It requires a lot of effort so I do that sort of thing very often. I have set up my computer to quiz me with verb forms and seems to work well.
jeidsath wrote:One of the things that helped me so much with getting through the Gospels the first time was that I already knew the stories decently in English. It gave me a sort of a mental Rosetta stone in my head..
Knowing the gist doesn't seem to help me a great deal.
jeidsath wrote:So I'd go farther than Qimmik: Read through the translation in large chunks, internalize them, and keep the meaning in your head while reading (or listening to!) the Greek. Language learning isn't about applying rules and vocabulary glosses to problem solve. It's about associating meaning in your head with strings of words, until your brain decides to make the connection.

One of my best exercises was to take a (Greek) audio recording of a text that I knew in English. I'd listen slowly, referring back to my translation as necessary. When I hit something that I didn't understand, I would rewind 15 seconds. I re-listened until I found that I could listen or read that text straight through without any aid.
I certainly think I need to do more audio stuff. I think though I shall set myself the task of simply setting aside some time every day to do at least some of Polis and actually do it. What you propose sounds effective but I'm not so sure I'd keep it up.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Scribo » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:11 pm

What about going through something like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0HwxPK ... e=youtu.be

Ok, my throat is sore forcing me to be quite nasally which eats my vowels but it's reasonably clear. I think it's a failed experiment a) lack of planning means I didn't explain things like bekker numbers b) started on gen absolutes than went onto kata ton platona without going back (lot's of jumping around) c) can't point/highlight/manipulate oh and d) definitely messed up putting it together (phone rec + picture inserts).

I think the text is gone through at a very slow pace though.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by jeidsath » Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:27 am

Wonderful, Scribo! I made a version myself, since I think that there's so much potential here. The main thing I wanted to try was to keep the Greek and the meaning in the listener's mind at the same time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLc43tdCnUc
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Markos » Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:17 pm

Scribo wrote:What about going through something like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0HwxPK ... e=youtu.be
jeidsath wrote:Wonderful, Scribo! I made a version myself...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLc43tdCnUc
I liked both video commentaries. Scribo's point about how the left side does the "semantic heavy lifting" is helpful. I suppose there is some term for this. I think I've heard what is going on in the right side described elsewhere as "gapping."

My favorite part of Joel's was his L2 rephrasing.

There are some other examples of this sort of thing floating around on You Tube, but I agree with both of you that this format has potential for further development, so I would encourge you both to continue. I would look forward to see how you guys would break down more difficult sentences.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Scribo » Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:38 pm

jeidsath wrote:Wonderful, Scribo! I made a version myself, since I think that there's so much potential here. The main thing I wanted to try was to keep the Greek and the meaning in the listener's mind at the same time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLc43tdCnUc
Nice. Yeah trying to keep focus on the Greek is why I put the text up and constantly re-read smaller sections. I'm not sure it quite works though. I might try to fully expand/re-write sentences or something.
Markos wrote:
There are some other examples of this sort of thing floating around on You Tube, but I agree with both of you that this format has potential for further development, so I would encourge you both to continue. I would look forward to see how you guys would break down more difficult sentences.
Yeah that's the problem. I realise in person I can constantly interact and question students, can physically point to which part of the texts I'm currently talking about but here...not so much. I might try a screen capture programme and use my cursor or something.

I'd be curious to know if it helped anybody read through the text if they thought they otherwise couldn't and whether the next segment needs more explication. I also need to append a correction or two.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by mwh » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:40 pm

I think you’ve put your finger on the main difficulty—how to compensate for the absence of interaction. What you did was more or less what I do in class, the crucial difference being that in a class there are students, who can ask questions, have questions asked of them, etc. etc. Not to be a wet blanket, but for something like this to stand a chance of being successful on youtube I think more forethought would be needed, more clarity of exposition, a more sophisticated presentation, and avoidance of mistakes.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by daivid » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:09 pm

I complained below about there being no recently written readers, I had forgotten about John Taylor's books.

Greek Stories: A GCSE Reader ( with Kristian Waite) I was able to go thru with ease right after going thru Taylor's text book.

Greek Unseen Translation (with Stephen Anderson). The first section was nice and easy. After that there is a huge jump in difficulty. To me they were harder than real Greek (as when you are reading a real Greek text you have access to both translations and commentaries).

Both are almost entirely adapted Greek rather than made up Greek. The exceptions are some to fhe stories in Greek Stories which are based on Ovid so must be translations from the Latin. I have no idea as to how free those translations are.

I am nonetheless a little surprised that when so many excellent intermediate level commentaries being produced that these are the only two recent publications of easy Greek.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Markos » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:52 pm

daivid wrote:I am nonetheless a little surprised that when so many excellent intermediate level commentaries being produced that these are the only two recent publications of easy Greek.
I think this points to the fact that Grammar-Translation is indifferent to comprehensible input, an indifference not felt in the 19th century, when Greek was seen more as a living language with which it was okay to tamper.

Note also that many of the intermediate commentaries that you refer to (Steadman, Hayes-Nimis, S. McDonald) have been produced by amateurs, free on line, or via print on demand, outside traditional academic publishing Before that, such resources were disparaged as crutches, but when the need was felt for these, they were produced, and are now being widley used.

Such might (or might not) occur down the road with easy Greek.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Vladimir » Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:16 pm

Are there Greek readers based on Ilya Frank's method for those speaking English? Here's a descrition of the method: http://english.franklang.ru/index.php?o ... &Itemid=13
In Russian, they have published only Aesop's fables. What do you think about it?

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Markos » Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:54 pm

Vladimir wrote:Are there Greek readers based on Ilya Frank's method for those speaking English? Here's a descrition of the method: http://english.franklang.ru/index.php?o ... &Itemid=13
In Russian, they have published only Aesop's fables. What do you think about it?
No, I don't think so. His method is not something I have really seen before. It's not quite an interlinear, not quite a diglot, not quite a reader's edition with glosses at the bottom of the page.

My French is pretty rusty, and his excerpt seemed to work okay.

I think it's worth a try for Greek.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Vladimir » Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:08 pm

Markos wrote:It's not quite an interlinear, not quite a diglot, not quite a reader's edition with glosses at the bottom of the page.
It's just another kind of a reader providing an original method of learning languages.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by jeidsath » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:13 am

I really like Ilya Frank's example texts. It would be worthwhile to create something like it for a Greek text.

EDIT: He has some examples in Russian-Greek. http://www.franklang.ru/index.php/drevn ... ili-franka
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Vladimir » Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:02 am

jeidsath wrote:He has some examples in Russian-Greek. http://www.franklang.ru/index.php/drevn ... ili-franka
Those are Aesop's fables I mentioned above.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by daivid » Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:40 am

Markos wrote: No, I don't think so. His method is not something I have really seen before. It's not quite an interlinear, not quite a diglot, not quite a reader's edition with glosses at the bottom of the page.

My French is pretty rusty, and his excerpt seemed to work okay.

I think it's worth a try for Greek.
I would not rely on something like this alone. I do like to try and and get the meaning without help first and using one these as your prime text is impossible. I would prefer a comprehensive grammatical commentary as with this you get to see the meaning of a specific phase but without any indication as to whether the translated phrase expresses a specific idiom that applies solely to those words or some more general grammatical principle.
Looking at a translation is often a help when all else fails and translating phrase by phrase makes it much closer to the original text is likely to make it more useful.

Overall, this something I find useful as a back up if I also had a grammatical commentary.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by daivid » Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:34 pm

Markos wrote:
daivid wrote:I am nonetheless a little surprised that when so many excellent intermediate level commentaries being produced that these are the only two recent publications of easy Greek.
I think this points to the fact that Grammar-Translation is indifferent to comprehensible input, an indifference not felt in the 19th century, when Greek was seen more as a living language with which it was okay to tamper.

Note also that many of the intermediate commentaries that you refer to (Steadman, Hayes-Nimis, S. McDonald) have been produced by amateurs, free on line, or via print on demand, outside traditional academic publishing Before that, such resources were disparaged as crutches, but when the need was felt for these, they were produced, and are now being widley used.

Such might (or might not) occur down the road with easy Greek.
At the back of the Holden commentary on Themistocles (which dates from the 19th century and is very much aimed at intermediate students) there is a list of their Classical books. It had a large selection of grammar commentaries but only a handful of adapted texts.

As an experiment I had a go to see how quickly I could get to easy German texts from a introductory German text book using a well known booksellers "also bought with" list. As expected it took only a couple of clicks before I found loads of German easy readers. I did notice that the easy reading of Alice (with an easy version of the English along with a translation into German of the easy version) had several complaints about dumbing down.

What I did not get offered me is unadapted editions of Goethe with a grammatical commentary which is the equivalent how Ancient Greek is supposed to be learnt.
λονδον

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by ariphron » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:36 pm

jeidsath wrote: A First Greek Reader by Charles M. Moss
https://archive.org/details/afirstgreekread00mossgoog

I haven't read this one yet. I would love to hear other people's reviews.
I looked at it, and felt that it was very closely modeled on the Morice. Some of the stories are the same as in Morice, but simplified to a somewhat lower level. Ultimately I decided that it would be redundant to read both it and Morice, and Morice was slightly better done.

Incidentally I've made some more audio recordings of items from Morice; most of the items #37 to 55 are in brand-new recordings here. https://archive.org/details/Morice_stories_ariphron

There are also recordings in my other items at Archive.org that I added in January but only got onto the player by doing a manual rederive task today.

I really think that audio is one of the best things to do with these adapted readers. It is realistic for modern learners to understand them by listening, which isn't generally the case with unadapted Greek.

I'm going to look into the Farnell. I wasn't aware of it when I made my recordings of the Phillpotts adapted Herodotus. Farnell's is probably more useful for me, as my goal is to read Herodotus with a pronunciation as similar as possible to Attic dialect forms.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by mwh » Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:18 pm

ariphron wrote:my goal is to read Herodotus with a pronunciation as similar as possible to Attic dialect forms.
But why, when Herodotus does not use Attic dialect forms?

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by ariphron » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:47 am

mwh wrote: But why, when Herodotus does not use Attic dialect forms?
Working out a distinctively Ionic reading style for Herodotus involves adjusting the vowels to something slightly different from Attic, and dropping all h's. I suspect that if I did so, it would be a lot of effort for nothing,resulting in recordings that are less intelligible, not more, and that the process would give me no more insights into Herodotus's style.

The non-Attic vowel forms in Herodotus are orthographical convention probably amplifying a very slight difference between the spoken dialects. This is especially true of uncontracted forms contrasting with Attic contracted forms, as according to Horrocks they, along with forms such as οὔνομα and εἵνεκα, are probably in large part the work of a later editor.

It's almost certainly inauthentic to read Herodotus pronouncing the rough breathings as [h]. However, it does preserve one more distinction that was historically observed in closely related dialects, and it is the way people do pronounce ancient Greek, over quite a large range of pronunciation systems. I think it's helpful to the listener. The downside is that to be consistent, I have to recognize the places where πτκ would be promoted to φθχ in Attic and pronounce them as aspirates.

The main reason why I want to follow a consistent pronunciation scheme through different authors and spelling conventions is that I feel it is a better discipline to make sure I recognize two dialect variants of a word as forms of the same word.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by jeidsath » Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:58 am

I listened to the first story, and I think that it might be useful to give each story a few reads before recording, until you feel that you can really communicate what it's saying. It should sound like a story, and words that fit together in the sense should fit together in the prosody. That's what makes audio useful, you get all sorts of aural clues that aren't present in the written text -- writing is a two-dimensional medium, after all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38SCnqz5NG4
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by ariphron » Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:48 am

jeidsath wrote:I listened to the first story, and I think that it might be useful to give each story a few reads before recording, until you feel that you can really communicate what it's saying.
That's exactly what I did. For the one you're referring to, #17 (which I recorded recently; #11-16 are much older recordings), I read it silently on two consecutive evenings, and then made four takes in quick succession; the one I published is the fourth recording. This is on the low end for the number of repetitions that went into making one of my recordings.

I feel that my recording really does communicate what the story is saying, much as I suppose that you feel yours does. The thing is we're using different sets of prosodic rules, so what sounds like an expressive nuance to me may sound mechanical or uncontrolled to you, and vice versa.

Your recording is generally good. It doesn't sound better than mine to my ears, but I don't have an objective basis for expecting other people to prefer mine over yours. You did pick one of my slower recordings. The pace of yours might be preferable. I can point out details in yours that sounded wrong to me: articles stressed too much and with too long a pause after them, for instance. Both of our readings are fairly dry and matter-of-fact, without the overt expressiveness that you hear in the recordings of Stratakis or the highly distracting attempts at expression that you hear in Daitz.

I've listened to most of the recordings you've put on line; if you've put a lot of thought into storytelling expression, most of it isn't getting through to me. Wish I could help. Ultimately my audio will be useful if people like you, on extensive listening, can get a sense of how I'm trying to express the stories, and use that to help bring your own audio to the next level.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by mwh » Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:18 pm

ariphron, thanks for the good reply. I agree our texts probably exaggerate the difference. And I suppose many Attic speakers read Herodotus too.

You are very kind to Joel’s presumption!

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by jeidsath » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:50 pm

I hope it isn't presumptuous. Ariphron has given me me a deal of good advice over time on my own audio, and I have found it useful. He listens carefully.

That said, I should be clear about what I mean by expressiveness. There is artifice -- preachers often do this so that they don't have to pay attention to what they are reading. Daitz unfortunately falls into the category. Stratakis does slightly, but his overall deliverance is so good that it doesn't matter. For an example in English, listen to the sample audio from Griffin's reading Gibbon: http://www.audible.com/pd/History/The-D ... 00VXXUFYO/

Is Griffin paying attention as he reads? I can't tell. He puts his artifice into individual words, and the phrases don't communicate themselves. Here is Timson, who uses less artifice -- is less "expressive" in that sense -- but is in fact communicating far more expressively: http://www.audible.com/pd/Classics/The- ... B00H58WV6Q

Ariphron, I listen to Greek audio in Modern pronunciations, in Koine, in Erasmusian, and audio in other languages besides. On Friday I listened to 100 Japanese haikus, trying to hear what they do with double consonant pairs and line-end syllables. (The answer is that they avoid double consonant pairs, apparently, though I'd give a lot to hear 夢人の裾を掴めば納豆かな spoken by a native. Line-end syllables are prolonged.) Your criticisms of my own audio are spot on and indeed are all things that I am working on -- and will be for years, no doubt. What I said above is not based on unfamiliarity with other pronunciation schemes or even your own audio, nor is it intended to be anything other than useful.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by calvinist » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:43 am

jeidsath wrote: On Friday I listened to 100 Japanese haikus, trying to hear what they do with double consonant pairs and line-end syllables. (The answer is that they avoid double consonant pairs, apparently, though I'd give a lot to hear 夢人の裾を掴めば納豆かな spoken by a native. Line-end syllables are prolonged.)
Japanese has some very extreme phonotactics. The language does not allow consonant clusters, and I believe it only allows closed syllables in a few situations (with n?). I could look it up but I'm lazy. I just remember that Japanese was the example used when discussing phonotactics in the linguistics class I took years ago. That's why "baseball" is pronounced besuboru in Japanese. Notice the consonant cluster (sb) was broken up and a vowel was added at the end to prevent the closed syllable bor.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by ariphron » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:39 am

jeidsath wrote:For an example in English, listen to the sample audio from Griffin's reading Gibbon: http://www.audible.com/pd/History/The-D ... 00VXXUFYO/

Is Griffin paying attention as he reads? I can't tell. He puts his artifice into individual words, and the phrases don't communicate themselves. Here is Timson, who uses less artifice -- is less "expressive" in that sense -- but is in fact communicating far more expressively: http://www.audible.com/pd/Classics/The- ... B00H58WV6Q
I have to disagree with you there. From the sample, Charlton Griffin uses both pitch and rhythm to bring out parallel phrases and ideas in opposition, and nicely underlines Gibbon's irony. He's declaiming as if he had to fill a large room, for some reason, and so some of the words sound mannered, but it's nothing I can't get used to. I am not aware of any recording of classical Greek that is half as good. The Timson, by contrast, makes it hard to follow the argument in Gibbon's carefully constructed periods: there are pauses in the middle of phrases that imply divisions larger than those between independent clauses, plus incidental phrases that are given undue emphasis, and sentences that sound like they're winding down when they haven't gotten to the point; while individual words are brought out in a way that suggests irony in places where I can't see it.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by ariphron » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:10 am

This discussion deserves an update. I’ve made more recordings over the last month, including Morice (56-74), plus Xenophon’s Anabasis Book 1 Chapter 8, and also some adapted Herodotus: The Battle of Marathon from Phillpotts’s adaptation and the Boyhood of Cyrus (plus some other excerpts) from Farnell’s. All available here:
https://archive.org/details/@ariphron

The newest recordings reflect an attempt to make my readings more expressive and speechlike and less singsongy than before. I’m achieving this by trying to engage my whole body in sound production, so that gestures and posture can have a significant influence on the sound. There’s more attention to maintaining the purity and resonance of my voice, and I’m letting what’s comfortable for my throat and lungs influence pitch and rhythm almost as much as the accentual rules do. Listeners should appreciate the results even though the expression is still a little stiff, as the sound of my voice has become significantly fuller and more pleasing. It feels like there’s a big increase in the range of expressive possibilities due to changes in the tone of my voice, but I am not yet fully in control of the possibilities. Hopefully this goes a long way toward remedying what Joel (along with others no doubt) felt was missing from my recordings.

It’s interesting to contrast the style of the two adaptations of Herodotus. The Greek of Phillpotts is basically ordinary Atticizing Greek, and feels like a good translation: fully idiomatic and enjoyable, but with no strong character to its language, and the general impression is of prose intended to be read silently. Farnell, keeping much closer to the syntax of the original, lets the rhetorical flare of Herodotus shine through.

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by jeidsath » Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:45 pm

Much improved. Some thoughts after listening:
  • (By far the most important.) If you use Audacity for recording, I suggest measuring the length of your syllables. Compare your ratios to that described for Finnish in the Quantity section (pg. 315) of Hirst's Intonation Systems Survey of Twenty Languages. The PDF is online somewhere (or email me if you need a copy). You can find some of the examples from his list of Finnish words on forvo: sika, siika
  • I enjoyed the added expressiveness, but you have also added stress. Listen to this, and note the tone, syllable length, and subordination of stress: Japanese speech contest video
  • See this video on Italian's double consonants: Double consonants in Italian. Similarly, the section on general vowel-consonant relationships here: Vowel-based/Consonant-based languages.
  • Without vowel length and double-consonants, it will sound very flat for all verse reading (and good prose): Nagy's Homer reading
  • Think about oral posture. Right now it's somewhere near the top-middle of your mouth for all of those nasal sounds that you've got. That sounds very un-English and all, but try moving it closer to the point where you're just ready to trill your r's.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Σαῦλος » Tue May 10, 2016 11:36 am

Here is a list of all Reader's I've found.
It's a messy Excel file I just dumped info into. If anyone is inspired to, clean it up and re-post the link here.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/988 ... aders.xlsx
I will babble until I talk. ετι λαλαγω...

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by donhamiltontx » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:16 pm

Σαῦλος wrote:Here is a list of all Reader's I've found.
It's a messy Excel file I just dumped info into. If anyone is inspired to, clean it up and re-post the link here.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/988 ... aders.xlsx
Just a belated (and probably unnecessary) note that your link is now dead.
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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by Σαῦλος » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:03 am

I will babble until I talk. ετι λαλαγω...

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Re: Greek reader reviews

Post by RandyGibbons » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:53 pm

I have been spending some time in the last couple weeks reading through and learning from old Textkit topics I was unfamiliar with. "Greek reader reviews" I found especially interesting and beneficial. I have a suggestion for another reader to throw into the mix, which I will do in a second reply. Here, with apologies to those of you who must be thoroughly exhausted with this topic, I'd like to add my two obols worth to the preceding discussion.

Markos wrote:
Love Greek, and do as thou wilt.
βελτίστη σὴ σοφία, βελτίστε ἀνέρ! If one's goal is to read the unabridged texts of ancient authors (and maybe it isn't), it is abundantly clear there are many paths to get there and no 'one size fits all' solution. Among the population of those who have decided to learn ancient Greek, there's just too huge a difference in age (Bart: "I'm no schoolboy"; calvinist: "I'm teaching my 7-year old daughter"), motivation, temperament, profession, available time, previous L2 experience, etc. The best we who think we found our path can and should do is tell, humbly, what worked for us. Here I know I'm preaching to the choir.

Joel wrote:
Read lots of crap.
Bart wrote:
Why spend time on [fake Greek] when there's Homer to be read (and reread) and Plato, Herodotus, etcetera?
Qimmik wrote:
Take the plunge.
Joel, first, I'll go to my grave remembering that one! My own experience has kind of combined these sentiments. About seven years ago, in preparation for retirement, I decided to dust off my Greek and Latin and tenor saxophone of decades ago. The Greek and Latin went better than the tenor saxophone. My thought was, I'll spend one year patiently working through the best resources I could find in order to bone up on my grammar and vocabulary, without worrying yet about diving into an ancient author. And, having discovered there was a world beyond Crosby & Schaeffer, I also had the explicit goal of making Greek and Latin feel more natural to me than they had (especially in the case of Latin) in graduate school. So for almost exactly a year I did just that, primarily with Adler (Millner's recording), Ørberg, and Wheelock's Latin Reader, for Latin, and Athenaze and Reading Greek for Greek. I stuck to my course, and I benefited from and loved all of these works. Especially satisfying was that, as measured by my internal naturalometer, the languages were feeling right to me. I also dabbled in other "crap." How much I really needed it I don't know, but I was hugely entertained, for example, by Thrasymachus.

My personal likes and dislikes: I love the artfully constructed and graded fictional stories of masters like Ørberg, while I'm learning or re-learning the fundamentals. To stick with Greek, I don't find the stories in Athenaze, Reading Greek, Rouse, etc. "fake" Greek at all. They pass my Turing test. On the other hand, like Manuel in this thread, I have a particular aversion to adapted ancient text. At that point I feel like I should be reading the real thing. And I have almost zero interest in reading a Greek or Latin version of Harry Potter. That's just me. In any case, at year's end, I was anxious to take the plunge.

Joel also wrote:
One way to give up on fluency is to make the texts your goal instead of the language your goal.
calvinist wrote:
I think there is an interesting question that we can ask about graded readers of Ancient Greek and Latin: Is it possible to design a series of graded readers that gradually increase the vocabulary, complexity of syntax, and idiom so that by the time one has finished the series they could jump into an ancient Greek author and read it with comprehension at the first pass without vocab/grammar helps and at normal reading speed? ... Of course historical background and context would still be needed for deep understanding ... It would be difficult, but not impossible.
Kató Lomb once wrote:
Language is present in a piece of work like the sea in a single drop. If you have the patience to turn the text up and down, inside out, break it into pieces and put it together again, shake it up and let it settle again, you can learn remarkably much from it.
Mary Beard wrote in a piece in the TLS called What does the Latin actually say?:
People often imagine that if you 'know Latin' you can read more or less any bit of the language that is put in front of you (much like what you can do if you 'know French'). It isn't really like that at all. OK, there are some easy bits. A basic tombstone doesn't present much of a problem ... Why, I still wonder, are Latin and Greek so hard. I think it is partly that most of us, even if we have done our turn in trying to translate English into Latin, still learn ancient languages largely passively. It is both the plus and the minus of Latin that we never have to ask for a pizza, or the way to the swimming pool, in it. But more to the point is that most of the classics we have to read in Latin, or Greek, are so damn difficult.

To calvinist I would say, based on my experience at least, NO, NOT POSSIBLE. Not really even desirable. To Joel I would say, sounds nice ... but, upon reflection, no, actually, MY goal IS the texts. Let me emphasize and underline and underscore that I'm only conveying my own conclusions based on my own experience. They don't invalidate yours'.

In my experience, first, there's what I call one's "OCT moment." I don't care how you've learned the grammar, the minimally indispensable vocabulary, or whether you've worked your way through one or one thousand pieces of "crap." There is still an inevitable and unavoidable gap between that and what you are going to experience when you finally take the plunge and for the first time turn to page one of an Oxford Classical Text or Teubner, with nothing on the printed page to help you except a critical apparatus. With minor exceptions, ancient Latin and Greek are, as Mary Beard asserts, difficult! What did you expect? But you know what? So what! You set out to learn ancient Greek because you passionately want to read <fill in the blank> in the original. It's going to be difficult at first. If you're fortunate enough to be able to do intensive reading over a protracted period of time, of course it gets better. But I totally reject the comparison between modern and ancient literature. Ancient literature is always going to be difficult. Take the plunge. It's worth it. Language is present in a piece of work like the sea in a single drop.

On the subject of fluency. I think at some point we need to distinguish fluency from comprehension. They overlap but are not the same thing. I took two semesters of introductory Greek my junior year in college. At the same time, I took a lecture class on ancient Greek and Roman civilization and was absolutely astonished, as I still am today, at the "Greek miracle." From that time on, I wanted to learn and understand as much as I could about those civilizations, as much as possible by reading the ancient sources. Of course I wanted my Greek and Latin to be as "good" as possible, but my goal is the texts. More specifically, I wanted my Greek to be good enough to be able to tackle without fear anything in the gamut from Homer to a Byzantine Christian Apologist. Today, I would love to learn to speak and write Greek (and Latin). I would have fun doing it and undoubtedly it would improve my experience in reading (somehow I doubt reading lots of crap would). But, first of all, I just don't have the time or the time left to do that. And second, I don't think this inhibits my comprehension, maybe just my speed. And I'm not into measuring my words per minute or lines per hour, for the same reason I'm not interested in an Apple watch to measure my fitbits - I don't think I want to know!

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