Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Here you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get help with a difficult passage of Greek, and more.

Graded readers in Ancient Greek

would be a harmful distraction from the study of authentic Greek
0
No votes
are not needed
0
No votes
would be helpful but hardly a priority
4
15%
would be very useful and the lack of such is a major barrier to the study of Greek
23
85%
 
Total votes: 27

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:57 pm

The need for comprehensible input is something that has often debated yet I am still unclear as to why people disagree or even if they disagree. If you have time please post your reasons along with your vote.
λονδον

Laurentius Mons
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:28 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Laurentius Mons » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:23 pm

Although my experience learning Greek is very limited, I think more comprehensible reading material would be great!

I'm convinced comprehensible input is necessary in order to truly learn a language partly because my ability to understand Latin really took off after I started reading the language extensively using LLPSI, Harrius Potter, and other easy reading materials. Such easy reading did so much more for me than four years of grammar instruction and translation exercises. My experience learning modern foreign languages (English and Spanish) is also very similar.
I have no reason to believe this would be any different for Greek.

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:23 pm

Because I read the texts of classical authors slowly I forget as quickly as I learn. Graded readers that exist I have either read or are so hard for me to be not really easier than actual authors. I have really given up learning Greek. After a break I have begun again to read a bit of Greek every day but not in the hope of mastering the language but solely not to completely lose what I have learned.

My problem may be my age but if not, I feel that the availability of a good selection of graded readers is the only thing that would enable me to progress.
λονδον

Markos
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2966
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:07 pm
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Markos » Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:15 pm

Good to see you back on the forum, Daivid.
daivid wrote:The need for comprehensible input is something that has often debated yet I am still unclear as to why people disagree or even if they disagree. If you have time please post your reasons along with your vote.
Bedwere's L2 paraphrases and Direct Method illustrations of Aesop's fables

http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... 28&t=64910

are for me a model of how Greek should be learned.
οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.

User avatar
Dante
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:33 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Dante » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:21 am

I didn't use it, but I looked at it in Foyles, and it looked very good: James Morwood (of "Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek" fame) "A Little Greek Reader":

https://global.oup.com/ushe/product/a-l ... b&lang=en&

Laurentius Mons
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 27
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:28 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Laurentius Mons » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:19 am

The problem I see with that reader, Dante, is that it contains original texts, which, although they might be very suitable for translation practice, are surely too hard for fluent extensive reading by any but the most advanced students of Greek.

jondesousa
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:41 pm

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by jondesousa » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:52 pm

I'm working with jaihare on the Athenaze from Accademia Vivarium Novum which is essentially a graded reader of sorts. The original Athenaze was meant to be like a graded reader but the readings for each chapter are extremely short so I don't feel like they cover enough material and repeat words enough to really sink in as best as I would like. The revision from Accademia Vivarium Novum has significantly more dialogues (Chapter 4 has about 20 pages of Greek readings) although the notes pages are in Italian. In addition Luigi Miraglia was kind enough to "Oerberg-ize" the Italian Athenaze so that it contains lots of useful pictures throughout. Much more vocabulary is introduced too compared to the English edition. Most of the key notes are exactly the same as in the English edition of Athenaze so having both copies can be helpful.

I have a long way to go but by my estimate between both books you would have about 300 pages of Ancient Greek materials including some content which is directly from classical authors.

It may not be perfect for everyone and it is a reasonably challenging course (in my opinion) but very worthwhile. I have created flashcards for new vocabulary and have been making my own audio of the dialogues using a pronunciation close to Erasmian (probably not perfect but good enough for me) and am finding it to really help internalize the content well.

User avatar
Dante
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:33 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Dante » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:09 pm

Laurentius Mons wrote:The problem I see with that reader, Dante, is that it contains original texts, which, although they might be very suitable for translation practice, are surely too hard for fluent extensive reading by any but the most advanced students of Greek.
I should think that anyone who has worked through a textbook like Mastronarde's would be able to use this, preferably with a teacher, of course.

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:21 pm

Dante wrote:
Laurentius Mons wrote:The problem I see with that reader, Dante, is that it contains original texts, which, although they might be very suitable for translation practice, are surely too hard for fluent extensive reading by any but the most advanced students of Greek.
I should think that anyone who has worked through a textbook like Mastronarde's would be able to use this, preferably with a teacher, of course.
Graded readers are either for those working without a teacher at all or for those who do have a teacher but want to do some extra study on their own. My own experience of being taught is that when a teacher explains it everything is clear but when I return to the same text later the text has become again opaque.
λονδον

User avatar
jeidsath
Administrator
Posts: 3119
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by jeidsath » Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:34 am

Dante wrote:I didn't use it, but I looked at it in Foyles, and it looked very good: James Morwood (of "Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek" fame) "A Little Greek Reader":

https://global.oup.com/ushe/product/a-l ... b&lang=en&
The price was $20, so upon seeing a reasonably priced text from OUP, I bought it out of principle. I have found Morwood's dictionary useful, though it goes slightly too far in cutting out the cruft. An expanded version with more notes on construction and inline principle parts would be appreciated. His grammar is nearly perfect for review, though I would recommend Kaegi's first. Again, it's a case of cutting out slightly too much. But that's still better than putting too much in.

Morwood's A Little Greek Reader looks very good, and I plan to read through it. It's organized topically around things like Adjectives, Result Clauses, or Indirect Questions, to give some random examples. He has a nice grammatical explanation at the beginning of each section, along with notes, and a vocabulary at the end (given his dictionary, I'm sure it's good). I've posted elsewhere about how useful I find Sidgwick's examples of Greek constructions. Morwood's extracts are less tightly focused than Sidgwick's examples, being longer, and Morwood does not take pains to explain exactly how each extract demonstrates the grammatical principle, but it strikes me as something that would be useful to read through multiple times, until each section is known by heart.

On the other hand, it's certainly not a graded reader, as Daivid says. But if he wants to start a translation thread based on it, I'd certainly do my best to provide what commentary I could.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:56 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Morwood's A Little Greek Reader looks very good, and I plan to read through it. It's organized topically around things like Adjectives, Result Clauses, or Indirect Questions, to give some random examples. He has a nice grammatical explanation at the beginning of each section, along with notes, and a vocabulary at the end (given his dictionary, I'm sure it's good). I've posted elsewhere about how useful I find Sidgwick's examples of Greek constructions.
The topical organization is the best part of it but to get this he has to select odd snippets. Not being able to read the full story or even a whole episode is quite demotivating. This is exacerbated by the very diverse selection of writers.

A specially written piece can focus on one grammatical topic without being so disjointed.
jeidsath wrote: On the other hand, it's certainly not a graded reader, as Daivid says. But if he wants to start a translation thread based on it, I'd certainly do my best to provide what commentary I could.
A good commentary does save me from getting stuck but it is the initial reading that makes it far too hard for me and that part has to be done without help.
λονδον

User avatar
rmedinap
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:57 am
Location: Hamburg

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by rmedinap » Sun Jan 29, 2017 1:45 pm

Sooo, against many reservations I've decided to form part of the debate.

First and foremost, all the following comments and suggestions that I'll make are only valid IF a radical change in the methodology is implemented (it's irrelevant if you are a self-taught learner or a student in a university or high school course).

I strongly believe that the first step into a more effective learning (and teaching) of Greek (or any other language for that matter) is to completely abandon that outdated, boring, unappealing and ineffective methodology of torturing the pupil with "morphological-syntactical analysis" and "translation" of Greek phrases into English, and forcing him to memorize tables upon tables of declensions and looking into the dictionary for every single word he does not understand.

We should under no circumstances present the pupil with intricate "translation methods" that are eerily reminiscent of solving a Sudoku Puzzle. Teaching languages is not teaching math and we should not treat it as such. We should endeavour to teach languages (yes, even dead languages) the natural way (that is the same way we learn our mother tongue). One only need look into how modern languages are taught and imitate it. The best example of this is Ørberg's Lingua Latīna per sē illūstrāta and Arthur M. Jensen's Nature Methods for modern languages (Do read the prefaces of Mr. Jensen's English by the Nature Method or indeed the preface of any of Mr. Jensen's courses, Ørberg's own justification and defence of the method should be enough to convince the sceptics).

If we follow these didactic principles, we'll conclude that there is no need to torture the pupil with "translations exercises" or "morphological analyses" or any such nonsense. If we let the pupil kindly and gradually "discover" the grammatical rules with the aid of images, synonyms or slightly varied sentences in the context of a meaningful and coherent "story" in which he can infer the meaning of the new words, and above all repetition and imitation, then the pupil will have no trouble understanding the systematic and theoretical explanation of a grammar with its tables and its verbose linguistic jumble since he already knows what the text says.

Instead of translating decontextualised and random phrases into English the pupil should UNDERSTAND the meaning of the phrases in a MEANINGFUL context, if necessary, answer questions "Reading Comprehension-style" (Questions in GREEK and answers also in GREEK), then try and use what he already knows to say or write (still in GREEK) that same answer in another way, with synonyms or phraseology or different word order, etc. When the pupil has enough Greek on his back he should try and translate small phrases of English INTO Greek (never the other way around) and eventually try his hand in composition but only after he has had a good taste of real Greek (Plato and Xenophon being the best for starters). Cf. Prof. Thomson's article quoted below.

This method is real, effective and every year dozens and dozens of pupils from around the world archive an active and competent command of Greek and Latin at the Vivarium Novum Academy using it. You can find a lot of testimonies of successfull implementation of the method here, here and here. (More complete bibliographies are available in the Latīnē doceō book, the Spanish version is free online).

Those clarifications aside, I'll make a little list of the good materials that already exists and point out briefly what I think their deficiencies are along and my thoughts and rambles.

1) I've already reviewed Prof. Zuntz's Griechischer Lehrgang, which I consider to be the best method for Greek available and pointed out its flaws in the mentioned review and in other posts where I suggested many other materials. Although it is not stricto sensu a graded reader it can be perfectly used as such, it has the advantage of containing almost only "real Greek" instead of the "home-grown" or "home-made" Greek that Professor Zuntz so despised. Its Grammatical companion and vocabulary are of exceptional help and its proposed exercises do provide the perfect opportunity and encouragement to engage in the reading and comprehension questions I mentioned, as well as composition and review. Its only flaw (in my humble opinion) is that it's still too attached to the old "grammatical-analysis" method or at least it can prove very tempting to fall into that nightmarish methodology or its evil twin the "translation method". That aside the lack of an answers sheet can prove disturbing to the self-taught learners.

2) I've also already praised the Italian version of the Athenaze in the mentioned review and post (The original English version has been so thoroughly surpassed by the Italian version that I cannot conceive of any reason to consult it other than the inability to read Italian, the English Workbooks however do offer some utility). It is by far the best (although still not perfect) implementation of the Nature Method for the teaching of Greek, it's comparable to Ørberg's Lingua Latīna per sē illūstrāta in depth, quality and friendliness to the pupil. Along with its exercise books, it forms a very good learner's package, it includes a summary of the grammar and each chapter has an Enchiridion (or explanation), exercises and a vocabulary. It does lack an answer's sheet, but the only real flaw that it may have is that a great deal of the first volume is not "original Greek", that must be admitted, but in defence of the books I call not only on Prof. Miraglia's thorough knowledge of Greek but on the expertise, experience and unrivalled competence of the people who revised and corrected Miraglia's Greek, among others: Prof. Dr. Herwig Görgemanns and Prof. Enrico Renna. The second volume is practically an anthology of original Greek so Prof. Zuntz's criticisms of "home-grown" Greek do not apply.

3) Peckett & Munday's Thrasymachus: A New Greek Course has already been reviewed by Prof. Zuntz in the articles quoted below, so I omit further comment other than the praise on its (at the time, unequalled) innovatory conception, it has been surpassed by the Athenaze.

4) The celebrated Reading Greek of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers. It was this book's popularity which ultimately defeated Prof. Zuntz's attempts to publish his method in England and forced him to seek better luck elsewhere. Its a very, very good reader and method. It has the unrivalled advantage of being a living and thriving project so its under constant revision and edition. It has a very holistic approach best represented by its Independent Study Guide or its companion volume The World of Athens. It is the only other reader that can compete with Athenaze in its vividness and natural proclivity to be used according to the principles of the Nature Method. More thorough reviews of the method and its parts are available here, here, here, here, and here.

If Athenaze can claim that it passed Prof. Görgemanns' punctilious examination, Reading Greek answers that the legendary Prof. Kenneth J. Dover is responsible for a great deal of the Greek text. So like with Athenaze I believe Prof. Zuntz's reticence of "home-grown" Greek would be uncalled for in this case.


That's it. There are of course other methods and readers (and several anthologies which might be used as readers). But I believe the best materials have already been mentioned, it is in no way little, but sadly none of the mentioned readers and methods its perfect on its own, so curiosity, good sense and discipline should come to rescue when one reader fails to reach someone's expectations.

Buuuuut. I believe that deep down the problem is not so much as the lack of material what's hurting Greek Studies, but the misuse (or incompetent use) of what we have available, specially with that appallingly infective methodology of "grammatical analysis" and "Greek to English translations". (Again, read Prof. Thomson's article)

What I do find lacking is enough reviews, criticism and feedback on the mentioned readers (or indeed any other method) with a "Nature method approach" for Greek. In Latin it would be impossible to numerate the didactic material, the praises, the testimonies, the suggestions that Ørberg's method gets (that fact that I have to quote articles which deal more with Latin teaching than Greek because I could not find equivalents or suitable replacements speaks for itself).

There are also a lot of very good anthologies and selections of authors (for middle to advanced students), some of which I've mentioned before, that are a great help, if I had time (and motivation) I would write a comprehensive list of those I've used... In this department I find that the greatest obstacle is not the lack of good, user-friendly, thorough and competent material but the fact that much of the material available is almost always in German, Italian, Spanish, French or even Dutch and Russian and at times Polish; luckily a lot of it is in English, but sadly not enough.

Lastly I leave a promotional video for the Summer School at the Vivarium Novum and a list of videos of my friends and teachers SPEAKING coherent, elegant Latin as a proof of the enormous success and mastery of a dead language that can be archived if one uses a more human and living approach to teaching and learning the language. I hope that in a few years I might be able to find so many videos of people speaking Ancient Greek.

For further reading.

ZUNTZ, Günther. On Greek primers. Didaskalos 4.2 (1973) pp. 360-374

ZUNTZ, Günther. Griechischer Anfängerunterricht - Gestern, heute und morgen. Der altsprachliche Unterricht. Reihe XVII, Heft 5 (1974) pp. 41-64

ZUNTZ, Günther. Linguistics and the Teaching of Greek. Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, New Series, Vol. 1, No. 2 (1973/1974), pp. 381-400.

ZUNTZ, Günther. On First Looking into Chase and Phillips: Notes on the Teaching of Beginners' Greek. Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, Vol. 6, No. 3 (Autumn, 1967), pp. 362-373.

BROOKS, E. J. Directa methodus. The Classical Review, Vol. 41, No. 6 (Dec., 1927), pp. 209-211

THOMSON, Ian. The Nature Method of Latin Instruction at Indiana University. The Classical World, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Nov., 1972), pp. 148-157

THOMSON, Ian. Further Thoughts on the Nature Method. The Classical World, Vol. 70, No. 1 (Sep., 1976), pp. 9-15

RIMBAULT, Olivier. Au sujet de la méthode de latin du Professeur Ørberg (Remarques sur la didactique des langues anciennes). Réflexion(s), avril 2012 (http://reflexions.univ-perp.fr/). Or here.
Last edited by rmedinap on Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
jeidsath
Administrator
Posts: 3119
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by jeidsath » Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:51 pm

I've been reading through the first chapters of Zuntz, and enjoying it. I've noticed some errors, major and minor, in the English translation, but nothing that ruins the utility.

Yes, please send me the "On Greek primers" article. My email address is jeidsath@gmail.com. I assume this is where he discusses Thrasymachus?
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

User avatar
Σαυλος
Textkit Fan
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:47 pm

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Σαυλος » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:55 pm

daivid wrote:The need for comprehensible input is something that has often debated yet I am still unclear as to why people disagree or even if they disagree. If you have time please post your reasons along with your vote.
The lack of very simple Ancient Greek stories is a problem. All of the graded readers mentioned in this thread are far, far too difficult for a beginner. For normal learners, the best promise for developing a facility in Ancient Greek is to follow a course of study that would a) be based on a graded reader; b) be used together with communicative methods. Those methods for autodidacts would be far different than used in face to face classrooms, but the principles remain the same. A learner must confront the language AS COMMUNICATION, as a true communicating language. He must be communicated to in the language and at some point he must communicate to someone with the language.

It would be wonderful if we had "See Jane run" books in authentic Ancient Greek. We don't. Composed Greek can fill the gap and will not "harm" a learner.

Among adults, explicit grammatical explanations, grammatical labels, comparisons with other languages, memorization of lists, etc. can be useful, but they should always follow confronting the language as communication.

The Natural Method and Direct Method were reactions to the Grammar Translation method and have many good features. However, they are seriously dated. For example, the strict directions of the Direct Method to ONLY use the target language has been shown to be an unnecessary restriction and the requirement to give target language output from day one is suspected to be a hindrance to learning (at the very least, raising the affective filter).

Comprehensible Input and forced output are good theories, but incomplete. The key in instruction or self-teaching is making the language truly serve as a tool for communication.
I will babble until I talk. ετι λαλαγω...

User avatar
rmedinap
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:57 am
Location: Hamburg

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by rmedinap » Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:33 pm

That's actually the kind of criticism that I'll like.
Σαῦλος wrote:The lack of very simple Ancient Greek stories is a problem. All of the graded readers mentioned in this thread are far, far too difficult for a beginner.


Partially agree. I concede that sadly not even the Athenaze completely archives the natural easiness of Ørberg's Lingua Latīna per sē illūstrāta or any of Jensen's Natural Methods (hence the necessary notes). But is there any possible alternative?

Keep in mind that while I wholeheartedly agree with you in that the language's prime objective, environment and method is living communication, Ancient Greek has the unfortunate disadvantage that unlike Latin it was not "revived" as a communicative language until well into the Renaissance, and even after that it never reached even a significant fraction of Latin's wide usefulness and popularity. So while do we have a tradition of "conversational Ancient Greek" (cf. Gretserius' Quattuor dialogi ex Progymnasmatis Jacobi Pontani, Societatis Jesu, Graece redditi, Posselius' Οἰκείων διαλόγων βιβλίον seu familiarium colloquiorum libellus Graece et Latine, or many others), it sadly never archived enough devotees and raw new material with which to establish itself as a revived language on its own legs, thus there is not enough of "real" or "authentic" (or "prestigious" if you like) Greek on which to fall on when trying to made a graded reader in most elemental of beginner's level.

The valiant efforts of a Blackie seem to me (as you said), too complicated for beginners and options like Joannides are I believe too far away from actual written Greek to be of any use. Because IF there is any value in learning Ancient Greek (or Latin) it is to read the ORIGINAL AUTHORS, as Prof. Zuntz repeats over and over, and sadly because those original authors did not left enough "beginners material" (and we have a very small, vague and oft-times questionable if not frankly made up material from our humanist tradition of dialogues) all attempts to reconstruction are doomed to become difficult like Blackie's Dialogues or mere curiosities like Joannides' book. And in both cases the "living" and "communicative" part of the effort is blatantly artificial. Both the Athenaze or the Reading Greek are what I consider to be the most accurate, successful, sensible and useful effort in composing Greek for beginners which can simultaneously be called "living" and "communicative" and accurate and respectful of the ancient Greek Language and Literature.

In summary: The cruel contradiction between the subject's objective (reading ancient authors) and the best and natural method of learning a language (communicating actively) puts even the most competent and well meaning professor in a dilemma. I stand with Zuntz (and Miraglia for that matter) in his belief that writing and speaking Ancient Greek (or Latin) is not and should not be the objective, not even a priority, but a means to optimize the whole teaching-learning process.

Lastly... I know (my students and teachers and friends have proven over and over) that even if Athenaze and Reading Greek are not perfect in terms of simplicity and friendliness for beginners with a little patience and dedication the first obstacles are surpassed without mayor trouble.
Σαῦλος wrote:Composed Greek can fill the gap and will not "harm" a learner.


It does not have to, but depending on the quality of the material, the competence of the teacher or even the gullibility and naiveté of the pupil it can and of-times does (Zuntz has a more pessimistic and rigorous opinion, and I admit that his arguments are compelling). Like I said, both the Athenaze and the Reading Greek can easily pass but the most exaggerated and punctilious of scrutiny thanks to the mastery and competence of the great scholars who diligently worked (and still work) in its composition and improvement.
Σαῦλος wrote:For example, the strict directions of the Direct Method to ONLY use the target language has been shown to be an unnecessary restriction and the requirement to give target language output from day one is suspected to be a hindrance to learning (at the very least, raising the affective filter).
Can you provide evidence for that? I agree that SOME sort of compromise must be made at the very beginning, specially if the pupil has difficulties. But I simply cannot imagine a better way to learn a language, any language, as total immersion.

When a child learns his mother tongue it does so only by observation, repetition and imitation. No matter how ungifted the pupil may be if you point to a red car and say "Das rote Auto" he'll get it, and it will only be a matter of minutes until he somehow gets "Ich habe das rote Auto", with the help of an actual car and patience he'll even get the gist of "Ich sitze in dem roten Auto" in a short time. It falls on the teacher (or the method) to variate that into "Das blaue Auto", "Das große Auto", "Das kleine Auto", and slowly add more words, structures, etc. (It is sadly this kind of easy, elemental language, which we can only replicate in the case of Greek, and even when done successfully and accurately, its usefulness to reading ancient Greek Authors is not always assured). Another good example are the innumerable cases of people who learnt English (and good, understandable, and sometimes elegant English) playing videogames.

If the success of the Vivarium Novum and its friends and followers around the world (like Prof. Tunbergs' and Minkova's institute) is not enough evidence to the effectiveness of the natural method, I'll only point to the thousand year old successful humanistic tradition in Europe and elsewhere which archived such glorious success with its total Latin (and sometimes Greek) immersion that until well into the 20th Century you could find theses, homeworks, discourses and books written in the most elegant Latin, by all sorts of pupils; even when they did not adhere strictly to many of the didactic principles of the nature method other than the total immersion in the language. (Think of Rimbaud's, or Wilde's, or Nietzsche's and Marx's works written in Latin (or in Greek)).

User avatar
Dante
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:33 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Dante » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:59 am

don't forget that something like 60% of English vocab comes from Latin, either directly or through French, whereas only 4% comes from Greek. Thats one of the reason's why an approach like Orberg's works so well for native English speakers. It is doubtful that the same approach would work as well in Greek.

No one ever said learning Greek was easy. JACT's Reading Greek is probably about as close as you're going to get to a "natural" approach.

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:40 am

rmedinap wrote: 1) I've already reviewed Prof. Zuntz's Griechischer Lehrgang, which I consider to be the best method for Greek available and pointed out its flaws in the mentioned review and in other posts where I suggested many other materials. Although it is not stricto sensu a graded reader it can be perfectly used as such, it has the advantage of containing almost only "real Greek" instead of the "home-grown" or "home-made" Greek that Professor Zuntz so despised.
2 questions:
But doesn't avoiding made up group lead to exercises of decontextualised sentences or extracts or texts that are far too difficult for a learner?

Why does Zuntz so despise made up Greek? He his not alone but every time I encounter such contempt it is clear that the writer considers such contempt so axiomatic to require no justification.
λονδον

User avatar
rmedinap
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:57 am
Location: Hamburg

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by rmedinap » Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:01 pm

daivid wrote: But doesn't avoiding made up group lead to exercises of decontextualised sentences or extracts or texts that are far too difficult for a learner?
Yes, Prof. Zuntz is painfully aware of this fact (cf. his articles, specially his On Greek Primers and Griechischer Anfängerunterricht - Gestern, heute und morgen). His "solution" was at the beginning to group those phrases in subjects and to add an anthology (the gradation itself is well done). Take a look at his method and read his Vorwort and judge for yourself if he accomplished what he intended.

I do honestly believe that his method is the best but not the pedagogical ideal (mainly because of this reason), which is why (as I said in the review and elsewhere) I always use his method in combination with a graded reader. And we must also remember he lived in a time where an elite group of people (to which Prof. Zuntz belonged) got an unimaginable amount of classical knowledge at home and very early in school, so its not surprising that he supposed that any teacher (or parent) would be knowledgeable enough to first introduce the learner to the context of the fragments and explain their importance so that they made sense and aroused the interest of an already advanced school boy. (Understanding this privileged position of the greatest scholars of the past century is something that some teachers or scholars today fail to do and end up making impossible demands to a new and totally different generation of students).
daivid wrote:Why does Zuntz so despise made up Greek? He his not alone but every time I encounter such contempt it is clear that the writer considers such contempt so axiomatic to require no justification.
Again, Zuntz himself in his articles answers this precise question better than anyone else, and like I said, his arguments are compelling. We also have to understand that he lived in a time where the good materials I've mentioned were virtually unknown, extremely new or not yet existent, which is why he pronounced his judgements based on his observations of the material he had at hand, which is very, very bad, disastrous and honestly depressing (cf. Zuntz's On First Looking into Chase and Phillips: Notes on the Teaching of Beginners' Greek and Linguistics and the Teaching of Greek). So I can understand why he looked with suspicion those methods that resembled the useless ramble that he knew.

_______
Dante wrote:No one ever said learning Greek was easy. JACT's Reading Greek is probably about as close as you're going to get to a "natural" approach.
I don't disagree, and I confess that I'm quite fond of the Reading Greek, like I said its holistic approach makes it very attractive (the answers sheet alone must be a heavenly deliverance to self-taught learners), the Independent Study Guide or the The World of Athens are irreplaceable enticements to the curiosity of the pupils.

But if push came to pull I'd stick with Athenaze because the JACT is not "ørbergian" enough, proof of this is that I've encountered pupils and teachers who, having such an excellent reader fall on trap of focusing more on the English explanations and the technicalities of the grammar notes rather than on the excellent text itself. Or even worse, they end up doing this whole torture of morphological analysis and translation into English which kills the whole purpose of a graded reader. (Again, read Prof. Thomson's article)

Maybe I'm wrong but I get the feeling that (not only here) there's an "English language bias" were a lot of excellent material is ignored at best or "discriminated" at worse simply because it's written in a language other than English.

User avatar
jeidsath
Administrator
Posts: 3119
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:42 pm
Location: Γαλεήπολις, Οὐισκόνσιν

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by jeidsath » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:44 pm

My own road to Greek was reading the Anabasis, Rouse's Greek Boy, and the book of Mark, aloud a million times until they made sense. I followed it up with 2 years (so far) of grammar studies and a lot of reading.

Having done the same with other languages now, I have to say that the thing that is really missing from Greek studies is good audio recordings. Not every part of a word's sound is set down in any written language. For German, for example, the tone and vocal inflection of a word is every bit as important in signaling the genitive as is the word-form itself. It is impossible for non-fluent readers to make useful audio materials. They just read what is on the page. To get to the level where you can read something aloud usefully, you should be able (at the least) to retell that story in your own words, in the original language. And even to adapt and explain the original as you go. The current creators of Greek audio just aren't at that point yet. But they are getting there.

Once there are such audio materials in quantity, it's going to be much easier to pick up Ancient Greek. Ideally it will exist for all of the major graded readers, and every Greek text.

English/Greek interference or German/Greek interference is something to be avoided, but it's not the end of the world to encounter it every so often in your learning career. There just isn't enough of a bad-Greek speaking community out there for a pidgin to develop like you see with English. (A relative of mine heard a lecture in Tibet on how there are more "new English" speakers in the world than "old English." By new English, he meant non-native English. And this was the reason, so said the lecturer, that he didn't teach his students any grammar. There is no danger of that with ancient Greek.) Reading lots of different graded readers until you don't need them anymore seems like a fine thing to me. The ones mentioned in this thread are all great, JACT, Athenaze, Zuntz, and Thrasymachus. I've mentioned my favorites in other threads.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:05 pm

rmedinap wrote:
daivid wrote:Why does Zuntz so despise made up Greek? He his not alone but every time I encounter such contempt it is clear that the writer considers such contempt so axiomatic to require no justification.
Again, Zuntz himself in his articles answers this precise question better than anyone else, and like I said, his arguments are compelling. We also have to understand that he lived in a time where the good materials I've mentioned were virtually unknown, extremely new or not yet existent, which is why he pronounced his judgements based on his observations of the material he had at hand, which is very, very bad, disastrous and honestly depressing (cf. Zuntz's On First Looking into Chase and Phillips: Notes on the Teaching of Beginners' Greek and Linguistics and the Teaching of Greek). So I can understand why he looked with suspicion those methods that resembled the useless ramble that he knew.
He is very damning on Chase and Phillips but doesn't give any reason as to why writing good simple made up Greek is impossible. It is likely ( as you suggest) that his reasoning is that "because all made up Greek I have encountered so far is bad it is impossible to do better" but he doesn't actually say so.
That certainly does not follow, if that is his reasoning. If it is possible for someone today to detect when a section of made up Greek is bad Greek it is possible for the same person to write good Greek. And if their are aspects of Ancient Greek that are too subtle for most expert scholar to pick up on it will be too subtle for any learner to pick up on when reading real Greek.

It strikes me that reading through his description of what a Ancient Greek textbook should be that Polis is pretty close to his ideal - except that Christophe Rico uses made up Greek.
λονδον

User avatar
rmedinap
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:57 am
Location: Hamburg

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by rmedinap » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:27 pm

Upps... I forgot to mention that the article which would interest you the most is the On Greek Primers. I don't agree ENTIRELY with his reasoning, but I do believe that Zuntz speaks some truth (although I most admit that his biases, that is those of the typical well off German intellectual of the early XX Century, are pretty obvious). To Zuntz's merit I believe that he remained coherent with his choices and pedagogical standards, which are reflected in his Lehrgang.
Page 364 (reviewing the Thrasymachus):

[…] the Greek of those lively and humorous narratives - is not Greek at all; it is basic English written with Greek letters. Take for example the very first stage direction: ὀ Θρασύμαχος παιδίον ἐστὶ καὶ καθεύδει. ἀστραπὴ καὶ βροντή and soon: ἀλλὰ ἀντρώπου φωνὴν οὐκ ἀκούεις (i.e. 'but it is not a human voice you are hearing'). There is much of the kind. The authors may hold that it serves to make the learners feel at home in Greek surroundings and that, moreover, it is balanced by the citation of a fair amount of unaltered Greek (particularly passages from the Odyssey). I for one fear that it may prejudice the appreciation of properly Greek style and of the great works of literature. This leads to my third point; namely, the ruthless reduction of this literature -much of the greatest is reflected in this book- to the mental level of Billy Bunter and his sense of humour. This may amuse and stimulate the fourteen-year-old, but may incidentally prevent him for good from attuning himself to what is-beyond Billy Bunter. Judgement here may be bound up with one's sense of humour, so-called. I confess to being shocked throughout this lively and efficient book by an all- pervading lack of any sense of respect. A touchstone, to my mind, is the 'further contribution to the enjoyment of elementary Greek' consisting in 'four songs (Ὑμνοι!) by the late Dr W. H. D. Rouse'. 'Pop goes the weasel' in would-be Greek and would-be verses: I find it odious and, at any rate, not conducive to the appreciation of, say, Pindar.

In the note 5 of the same page: I have no time for productions which drag their subject down to the level of television commercials […]
Page 367 and 368 (After enumerating the positive aspects of several German "primers"):

In view of the devotion, effort and competence evidenced by these publications (and, nota bene, the idealism of their publishers, who cannot have expected to spin gold by producing them) one is reluctant to voice any adverse criticism. I have, however, to admit a weakness of all of them, and that at a central point; namely, in the quality of the Greek contained in them. It is true that they all quote notable amounts of original Greek. The greater proportion, however, is 'home-grown', and its quality is, rather often, none too good. It would be invidious here to print an anthology of failures; but I have come across some Greek sentences, the meaning of which eluded me; many more whose style was Germanic rather than Greek, and others in which Homeric and other poetic elements were merged into prose. Not rarely the quality of original passages had been debased either by 'alleviation' or by an endeavour to squeeze samples of a particular grammatical topic into them. Sets of model sentences tend to turn out meaningless or, en masse, dizzifying; and free compositions (in which Basis seemed to me more successful than the rest), even when free from actual mistakes, appeared pale when compared, mentally, with authentic treatments of the same subject (say, a speech in the ecclesia or the description of a battle). On the whole, one senses too much of the modern classroom and too little of ancient Greece.

I have written down these criticisms with much reluctance. They tend, however, to confirm a tenet which I have urged before; namely, that nobody today is able to write what could pass for original Greek, or for its equivalent. And why should we trouble to do it? Enough original Greek has been left by the original Greeks-and this is what we want to study.
Page 371 and 372:

Having scanned the world from Munich to Montreal we are now in a position to state what the course ought to be like which could satisfy present-day requirements.

It ought to be interesting in itself (especially also to older learners) and an efficient way to mastery of ancient Greek in its various literary forms. It ought not, under the heading 'Exercise', to contain meaningless assemblages of words, but to present exclusively original, and meaningful, Greek passages sufficient for every form and every rule to be deduced -or, if this be preferred, to be illustrated- from it. It ought to offer every didactic device, ancient and modern, to enable the learner to progress efficiently and quickly, but to leave teacher and learner free to seek their own ways. […]

He that decides to present only original Greek has to accept certain drawbacks (in addition to the endless trouble in seeking suitable quotations). There are no coherent and interesting texts in Greek literature consisting entirely of the singular of the present indicative of regular verbs in -ω and of nouns in -ος; and even when you have advanced, say, to the verbs with stems ending in a labial, no one piece of Greek literature will provide all the required forms of these verbs. In consequence, either one will have to offer coherent texts which unavoidably, while containing a considerable percentage of words and forms which are as yet beyond the horizon of the learner, will nevertheless not contain instances of all the words and forms under discussion -or one renounces the ideal of 'continuous reading' and produces a mosaic which fully exemplifies the linguistic facts which one aims to teach; in which case one would strive and see to it that each part of the mosaic has some interest in itself and is grouped together with some others related in substance and wording. And, of course, as soon as possible one will offer coherent pieces -an anecdote; the description of a historical incident; a self-contained bit of poetry or a simple philosophical argument.

In the interest of solid and substantial teaching I have chosen the latter alternative. An anthology of easy coherent texts at the end of the book provides opportunities for occasional cursory readings, but essentially the work must centre on the larger, first part, which, chapter by chapter, exemplifies the traditional grammatical topics-declensions, conjugations, etc., together with elementary syntax. Since the learner is all the time reading extracts from original literature, from Homer down to the New Testament and Epictetus but mainly Attic, there will be no problem when in the end he faces continuous original texts; [...]
Like I said, a severe and proud and radical opinion is that of Prof. Zuntz, but one could expect nothing less from a man who lived such a life. Even if I disagree with his radicalism in condemning "home-grown" Greek, I do think he has a point (or at least points to the Elephant in the room) and I respect him for staying true to his convictions and producing such an amazing quantity of high quality scholarship, among which, sadly, his less known is precisely his Griechischer Lehrgang.


And in response to:
jeidsath wrote:Having done the same with other languages now, I have to say that the thing that is really missing from Greek studies is good audio recordings
I agree, and I have not had success in locating, for starters, Zuntz's recordings for his Lehrgang, mentioned in page 373-74 of the On Greek Primers.

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:42 pm

If he were talking about adaptions of Greek writers I would have some sympathy. Adaptions are going to suffer by comparison with the real thing and I would far rather get up to speed using original made up Greek until I am able to read the unadapted text. Further, trying to keep close to an actual Greek text does seem to be making the task of producing simple Greek much harder. Zuntz gives the example of a learners text where πολεμεῖν is used where Herodotus used μάχεσθαι because the middle had not at that point been covered. Writing an original piece of made up Greek allows you to steer away from aspects of Greek that you suspect your reader has a weak grasp of. Equally the opposite strategy is open of taking such a weakly grasped aspect of Greek and, by repetition, ensure that by the end of your story your reader has become accustomed to it.
But his venom is directed against Thrasymachus which has retellings of myths which make no pretense being actual Homer. It is using the Classical Greek to tell stories in a way to “amuse and stimulate the fourteen-year-old” which seems to offend him as if Greek is a sacred language that must not be sullied by such things.
I am no judge of what is good Greek and I am sure that all his criticisms of actual “made up Greek” are with foundation but they are clearly exaggerated. It is patently false to state that “ἀλλὰ ἀντρώπου φωνὴν οὐκ ἀκούεις” is basic English written with Greek letters. It is not even English written with Greek words. A literal translation would be “but of man voice not you hear”. I do at least know English and that clearly is not English. Clearly it is a problem that a native speaker of German or English will often not be aware that when writing Ancient Greek their writing suffers from interference from their native tongue. It might be a good idea for easy readers to be produced through collaboration between speakers of different languages who would thus more easily spot each others mistakes.
His final argument is that there is so much authentic Greek that made up Greek is not needed. All of it is, for me, far too difficult for me to have any chance of learning Ancient Greek using such texts.
I do agree that much of his outlook about teaching is attractive but that makes his hostility to made up Greek all the more disappointing. And I am very glad that he put his views down so explicitly – others clearly share his views but take them so much for granted that they do not feel the need to justify them.

[He certainly had a hard life. That Jews fleeing from the Nazis should have been interned as suspected Nazis has always seemed to me so insane to be a little unreal. Sadly no longer.]

I am encouraged that at least here there seems to be much more appreciation of the need for easy readers than I expected. I still however fear that those who are most able to write easy readers are likely to be the more skeptical. The most able are going to be the ones who went straight from their first textbook to actual texts.
λονδον

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:41 pm

With nine out ten voting for "very useful" and the one dissident merely seeing it as not a priority I am very encouraged.
But how can we put the idea that writing an easy reader is a worthwhile task into the minds of those with the command of Ancient Greek?

I wonder if there could be set up something on the lines of the Gaisford Prize. The texts that gain Gaisford Prize are of course not suitable at all for learners as they are as complex and as difficult as the real thing. So maybe at least one beginner could be included in a panel of judges.

The aim would be to have such a prize to have sufficient kudos to be of value for itself but I would certainly contribute towards such a prize.

Any other suggestions?
λονδον

User avatar
Gonzalo
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 504
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:58 am
Location: Τηλόθι πάτρης

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Gonzalo » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:04 pm

I didn't want to start a new thread but I've recently discovered a new reader. Its title is Animal story. You may find it at the end of this page in pdf: https://anderson.modelcrafts.eu/ancient-greek/
In my opinion, it's a good choice for those (real) beginners looking for non demoralizing, yet grammatical acceptable, material. I would have loved to have such a reader, when I began to learn Greek.

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:50 am

daivid wrote: I wonder if there could be set up something on the lines of the Gaisford Prize. The texts that gain Gaisford Prize are of course not suitable at all for learners as they are as complex and as difficult as the real thing. So maybe at least one beginner could be included in a panel of judges.

The aim would be to have such a prize to have sufficient kudos to be of value for itself but I would certainly contribute towards such a prize.

Any other suggestions?
I would like to put a motion at the AGM of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies which will be coming up soon. But I need a seconder. Is there anyone here that would be willing to second such a motion (or any other proposal to help learners of Ancient Greek)?
λονδον

Markos
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2966
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:07 pm
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Markos » Tue May 30, 2017 10:00 pm

Gonzalo wrote:I didn't want to start a new thread but I've recently discovered a new reader. Its title is Animal story. You may find it at the end of this page in pdf: https://anderson.modelcrafts.eu/ancient-greek/
In my opinion, it's a good choice for those (real) beginners looking for non demoralizing, yet grammatical acceptable, material. I would have loved to have such a reader, when I began to learn Greek.
Yes, that Animal story

http://anderson.modelcrafts.eu/pdfs/Gre ... 0story.pdf

strikes me as one of the things there is just too little of. I noticed a few minor mistakes in accents, which don't bother me but might be a deal breaker to purists. David, does that not strike you as the kind of comprehensible input that the world needs now?
daivid wrote:
daivid wrote: I wonder if there could be set up something on the lines of the Gaisford Prize. The texts that gain Gaisford Prize are of course not suitable at all for learners as they are as complex and as difficult as the real thing. So maybe at least one beginner could be included in a panel of judges.

The aim would be to have such a prize to have sufficient kudos to be of value for itself but I would certainly contribute towards such a prize.

Any other suggestions?
I would like to put a motion at the AGM of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies which will be coming up soon. But I need a seconder. Is there anyone here that would be willing to second such a motion (or any other proposal to help learners of Ancient Greek)?
τὸ δεύτερόν μου δίδωμί σοι.
οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.

User avatar
Gonzalo
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 504
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:58 am
Location: Τηλόθι πάτρης

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Gonzalo » Wed May 31, 2017 1:39 pm

Markos wrote:
Gonzalo wrote:I didn't want to start a new thread but I've recently discovered a new reader. Its title is Animal story. You may find it at the end of this page in pdf: https://anderson.modelcrafts.eu/ancient-greek/
In my opinion, it's a good choice for those (real) beginners looking for non demoralizing, yet grammatical acceptable, material. I would have loved to have such a reader, when I began to learn Greek.
Yes, that Animal story

http://anderson.modelcrafts.eu/pdfs/Gre ... 0story.pdf

strikes me as one of the things there is just too little of. I noticed a few minor mistakes in accents, which don't bother me but might be a deal breaker to purists. David, does that not strike you as the kind of comprehensible input that the world needs now?
Καὶ μέντοι καὶ μάλα, ὦ 'γαθέ. τῇ μὲν τῶν τοιούτων βιβλίων σπάνει οἱ μανθάνοντες οἰκτρῶς καὶ πολυχρονίως ταλαιπωρούμεθα. δεῖ δὲ τοὺς πρῶτον Ἑλληνικὰ ἐκμανθάνοντας βιβλία ἀναγιγνώσκειν ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς ὀρθὰ καὶ δὴ ἄνευ τοιούτων σφαλμάτων ὅσαπερ, ἐπὶ παραδείγματι, ἐν τῷ ἱσπανικῷ Ἑλληνικῷ Παιδίῳ ἐστὶν ὁρᾶν. ἔρρωσο, Μᾶρκε, καὶ εὐτύχει!

Markos
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 2966
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:07 pm
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Markos » Wed May 31, 2017 10:47 pm

Gonzalo wrote:δεῖ...Ἑλληνικὰ...βιβλία ἀναγιγνώσκειν ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς...
δεῖ δὲ τὰ ὄνειρα Ἑλληνιστὶ ὁρᾶν. :lol:
Gonzalo wrote:ἔρρωσο, Μᾶρκε, καὶ εὐτύχει!
καὶ σύγε, φέριστε.
οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.

Gergian
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:50 pm

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Gergian » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:22 pm

rmedinap wrote: I strongly believe that the first step into a more effective learning (and teaching) of Greek (or any other language for that matter) is to completely abandon that outdated, boring, unappealing and ineffective methodology of torturing the pupil with "morphological-syntactical analysis" and "translation" of Greek phrases into English, and forcing him to memorize tables upon tables of declensions and looking into the dictionary for every single word he does not understand.

We should under no circumstances present the pupil with intricate "translation methods" that are eerily reminiscent of solving a Sudoku Puzzle. Teaching languages is not teaching math and we should not treat it as such. We should endeavour to teach languages (yes, even dead languages) the natural way.

I think that the problem is just that we do not think critically in what means a language. What is the definition of a language ? No one knows, How a language work? No one knows... So... We have a lot of theories in a area called 'Second Language Acquisition', but all of them use some models in linguistic, but "sell" them as a "ultimate" , "the best of the ways" do learn a language [Ok, they have the empirical (?) data, but if you know something in the area, you will understand what I mean] . We have a lot of ways to learn something, but in my opinion, the biggest mistake, and this became clear and clear when I was teaching, is that we do not explain the things. The language, in the vision of a lot of people, has some divinity, a mysterious land that no one can go. They do not understand (or do not want to understand) that a language is just a description of uses based on corpus ("dead" languages) or 'native' (other problematic concept) judgment. We have a lot of disputes in meaning of words and validity of construction, interpretation of constructions and etc. But we leave all this and try to teach it as mechanical formulas. For this, use subjunctive, here indicative, why? Why not, just use. Here Dative, and here Genitive, why ? Why not, just use. So, why I can not study or understand why some structure or morphological change apply? Why I do not need to understand what the greeks wants with the Moods, Times and etc? That is (in my opinion) a problem with England and US grammar and scholars for teaching Greek, they are only descriptive, and do not analyse the texts. When I was teaching I also made a lot of syntactical analyses, showed for my students in a phrase: What is the function of the words, what is the rule for the employment, why this rule (yes, languages are logical), where this use come: For example, the use of Absolute Accusative come from the Adverbial Accusative that come from the Space/Time use of Accusative, that the greeks felt as a "Adverb" modifying the circumstances of the hole action, the complete phrase, and go on. So, you do the link and really understand the construction and the uses of it. After studying and have practice, all these will come natural. The key here is: Clear and honesty explanation (not a descriptive rule and a sentence from a greek author without analyses) with practice. Anything that you want to learn : Language, Math, Chemistry, Physics, Grammar, History, you need a lot of practice. This point, I think, is the merit of the Athenaze, Orberg, they have a lot of practice. Although I think this method (the called "Natural (?) Method") miss the grammar, so, most of times, complex construction, verbs with a big variety of use, a lot of morphological construction are not completely absorbed by the student. In fact, sometimes a etymological explanations can make everything clear, and the connections of the constructions can be more understandable. For this I use (to prepare classes) the very nice books from the French Philological School (They are the best, by the diachronic analyses and the critical thinking of descriptive), in special :

Phonétique du grec ancien - Maurice Grammont
Syntaxe grecque - Jean Humbert (Wonderful !!!)
Morphologie Historique Du Grec - Chantraine


When I started with some Phonetic changes in ancient greek, and other "technical / boring" facts some of the others teachers accused me to be "excessive boring/ inadequate" method. But, at the end of the year, use examples, clean explanation, practice in reading and writing (of course, beginning with adapted texts, Do someone start learn English by Shakespeare?) and teaching the "engines of languages" my students acquired a very high level of comprehension of greek. To finish, I think that we need to teach a language like a real science, show how and why we do these things, like a Proof in Math, not just "Use it here, it there", repeat 100 times through stories and ok, is much more than this.

User avatar
rmedinap
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:57 am
Location: Hamburg

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by rmedinap » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:30 pm

Gergian wrote:Although I think this method (the called "Natural (?) Method") miss the grammar, so, most of times, complex construction, verbs with a big variety of use, a lot of morphological construction are not completely absorbed by the student.
The method is called the "Nature method" or "inductive contextual method" but takes into account other methodologies like Krashen's comprehensible input theory, TPR, etc. And it doesn't miss the grammar at all, it just teaches it in an inductive manner, that is to say, your brain picks up the grammar unconsciously for you (some linguists will say that your brain "generates" the grammar based on the patterns of the input provided).

Example: Very often Spanish-speaking children (before schooling age of course) make mistakes when conjugating verbs like "saber" (know) or "caber" (fit). They incorrectly say "Yo sabo", or "Yo cabo" instead of the correct "Yo sé" and "Yo quepo", because it doesn't fit with the grammatical pattern of the rest of the conjugation "Tú sabes, el sabe", "Tú cabes, el cabe". Or that of the other verbs "Yo hago", "Yo hablo", "Yo traigo", etc.

Why is that? Because their brain has already "generated" a grammar that follows the pattern of most verbs by listening and imitating what their parents say and they unconsciously apply it to new verbs. When they make these mistakes no one ever takes out their Spanish phonology book or reads them the RAE's Grammar chapter on irregular verbs. They simply correct that one mistake and everybody goes about happily with their business.

The only reason that I have found students do not absorb morphology is because the teacher spends too much time explaining it instead of providing comprehensible, meaningful and appealing/interesting input and "forcing" them to produce output that requires them to use the morphology they just learned. Or even worse, the teacher doesn't actively use the target language (Greek, Latin or whatever) to teach.

It's like trying to learn how to drive by reading all the driving manuals, traffic laws, studying mechanics, physics, but never actually driving the car.
Gergian wrote:But we leave all this and try to teach it as mechanical formulas.
I don't know what you have seen, but teaching formulas goes against the pedagogical model proposed by Ørberg's LLPSI or the Athenaze. And it's precisely what I think is wrong with today's model of teaching.

A good short explanation of the method (in French) you can find in this video, or you can read the article Au sujet de la méthode Ørberg. There's even an example of a beginner's class following the method.

What these methods propose is the result of many years of research into language acquisition.
Gergian wrote:why I can not study or understand why some structure or morphological change apply? Why I do not need to understand what the greeks wants with the Moods, Times and etc?
It's not that you cannot must not understand it, it's that's not necessary for acquisition, specially at an early stage.

Have you ever met a mother that says to her child: "Look now kid, when using the plurals in English, if the noun ends in an unvoiced consonant sound: /f/, /k/, /p/, /t/, /th/-(thin), pronounce "s" as /s/. But if it ends with /s/, /z/, /sh/, /ch/-chair, /zh/-the second "g" in garage, /dz/-(j), pronounce "s" or "-es" as /iz/"?

Or "Listen child, when I say that your father will not bring candy this afternoon, you must understand that father is the subject of that phrase, bring and will are verbs and candy is a direct object"?

It is only AFTER you have acquired "natural/unconscious" fluency that the explanations come in. Exactly like they do in in any other living language. People learn to speak at home with their family and then they go to school to learn WHY do they use the language the way they do.

Using this method you're first introduced to new morphological/grammatical phenomena in a text whose meaning is clear or easy to infer because of the context. Then come some exercises where you put to test how well you acquired that new grammar form unconsciously, a good teacher will naturally come to aid and put other examples to clarify and make you repeat and make variations until your brain "gets it", only after that comes the paradigm or explanation if needed. In my experience this is almost never necessary.
Gergian wrote:That is (in my opinion) a problem with England and US grammar and scholars for teaching Greek, they are only descriptive, and do not analyse the texts.
I disagree, in fact the only thing they do is analyse phrases, over and over. It's precisely what Zuntz advocated against. I myself was tortured to no end with endless analyses. What I advocate for is for leaning (and teaching) the same way anybody learns their mother tongue or any modern living language so that we can read and understand without analysing. Just like you are reading this sentence without analysing its grammatical structure.
Gergian wrote:but in my opinion, the biggest mistake, and this became clear and clear when I was teaching, is that we do not explain the things.
I agree that some explanations are necessary, but I believe it more important to know WHEN and HOW to explain things.
Gergian wrote:To finish, I think that we need to teach a language like a real science, show how and why we do these things, like a Proof in Math, not just "Use it here, it there", repeat 100 times through stories and ok
I disagree entirely if there's one thing that linguistic research has proven is that languages are not Math and they're certainly not science. If they were, then Google translate would make perfect translations and they would not need to invest so much in its development. What you suggest is practically going back to the Grammar-Translation method that has been disproved by modern language acquisition theories and linguistics.

Image
Image
Image

Gergian
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:50 pm

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by Gergian » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:26 pm

Why is that? Because their brain has already "generated" a grammar that follows the pattern of most verbs by listening and imitating what their parents say and they unconsciously apply it to new verbs. When they make these mistakes no one ever takes out their Spanish phonology book or reads them the RAE's Grammar chapter on irregular verbs. They simply correct that one mistake and everybody goes about happily with their business.
I think we are speaking about different things here. Of course the process of a child acquire (first and second) a language is completely different from a adult learn a different language. Mostly because a child do not have completed the physical/mental develop. Of course, we will not teach a language to a child (According Piaget, around 14 years (I do not remember the correct data) a person develop the ability of abstraction and everything else) so, teach abstract rules, try to explain diachronic and etc is a contra-sense. The methods are completely different. You argue in favour of Chomsky Generative Grammar (ok, this is not the point of discussion here, but I remember you that a lot of assumptions of generative grammar are dubious, lack of stimulus, I think, the most problematic (the cognitive school consider a parallel process).

So for the moment, let's leave the linguistic details. My class do not had children, just adult persons. Let's consider this scenario, avoiding significant differences between learners.
Most of the studies in second language acquisition do not have attention in crucial details, like: Time, motivation, environment. For a child, without obligations, without stress (or, with much less), with a lot of time, and, mostly, without shame, they start to speak and speak, make a lot of mistakes, but anyway, they practice a lot, that is the point. You have two active forms (in most) of language: Write and Speak, they are the most difficult, so, the really "learn" occur with these two activities, it is obvious. I used a lot of graded readers (that is because I want to revitalize them) and teach words and composition in context, at this point, no drama.

Have you ever met a mother that says to her child: "Look now kid, when using the plurals in English, if the noun ends in an unvoiced consonant sound: /f/, /k/, /p/, /t/, /th/-(thin), pronounce "s" as /s/. But if it ends with /s/, /z/, /sh/, /ch/-chair, /zh/-the second "g" in garage, /dz/-(j), pronounce "s" or "-es" as /iz/"?

Or "Listen child, when I say that your father will not bring candy this afternoon, you must understand that father is the subject of that phrase, bring and will are verbs and candy is a direct object"?
Here is the mistake, First language acquisition is completely different (even from the second), as I said, we do not know how language work in the brain, and how we learn (as a cognitive process) a language. Just Statistical ? Pre-Biological + Model ? No one knows. As I said, this is not a example of what I was talking about.
What you suggest is practically going back to the Grammar-Translation method that has been disproved by modern language acquisition theories and linguistics
Really not. I did not teach vacuous sentences to illustrated grammar and teach some words to compose 20 phrases (Like Mastronarde Grammar) with each section of 100 new words to learn, these really do not work. I just said that Orberg, Athenaze are very good readers, because they provide a lot of practice and good stories for practice vocabulary, but the grammars explanations become "more of the same", just descriptive analyses of the language. As: Accusative has these endings, and these uses, so, in this story we learn 2 uses, next more 2 uses and next.. You will not find a discussion: What is the origin of the Accusative? What really was the abstraction of the accusative? (The abstraction of completion of a sense of a verb. Some verbs do not express all the sense in the finite form, like "play", if I say "I play" is a incomplete (remove any pragmatic context here), you and I will not process this, so for a complete description and understandable of the sentence, the verb need a concrete meaning, the remainder meaning is the accusative case. Verbs that "governs" genitive and dative have already a "meaning" without complement, they just need to be situated in others contexts. ), this kind of diachronic and linguistic theory I think that is missing in teach languages. For the student really understand what he is doing, and what is description of the Greek language. I had students with no background in Linguistic, was a course open for community, with old, young, man, woman... But when I explained all these characterization of description, not a jargon study, but a semantic approach, they really understand the role of accusative, genitive, dative, and do not be bored with a lot of rules, but put the knowledge in practice, and the syntactical rules became more "logical" or "natural" for the use.

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 3208
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by mwh » Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:53 pm

What a lot of things rmedinap disagrees with. But leaving that aside: he believes dead languages can be acquired the same way that little children acquire their mother tongue. Now and again it needs to be pointed out that this is an impossibility.

For one thing, we are not little children. Certainly adults too can acquire a new living language that way, and many of us have, but less easily, and they may well choose to facilitate the process by conscious study of the language, especially if they don’t have the opportunity of thoroughgoing immersion in the native environment.

For another, and this is the really damning thing, we have no access to native speakers. There are a few people (a very few) who have more or less successfully trained themselves (and think they can train others) to speak a factitious simulacrum of a certain kind of Greek or Latin, but that’s a very different thing. We have no native speakers. What we have is written texts—from a enormously wide variety of native environments—, which we can learn to read, or try. It's hard work.

Another small point. There’s grammar, and there’s translation, and the two don’t necessarily go together.

All this has been said before, but seemingly to little effect. I think that’s regrettable.

User avatar
rmedinap
Textkit Neophyte
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:57 am
Location: Hamburg

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by rmedinap » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:51 am

Gergian wrote:the grammars explanations become "more of the same", just descriptive analyses of the language.
That's because they're not really "grammar explanations", they're comprehensible input, meant to be understood, imitated and repeated and variated so that you unconsciously pick up the grammar and can produce correct meaningful output, with which you'll communicate with the teacher and classmates. And it's that communication what will ensure acquisition.

The whole method is based on the premise that explanations (as the ones you've described) are not necessary for acquisition.
Gergian wrote:You will not find a discussion: What is the origin of the Accusative? What really was the abstraction of the accusative? [...]

this kind of diachronic and linguistic theory I think that is missing in teach languages. [...]
Like I said the method is based on research that suggest that's unnecessary (and experience has proven it).

And yes, these kind of explanations can be helpful, AFTER the students have acquired some proficiency (that is, unconsciously picked up the grammar). That's why they're not included in the method, that's what grammars are for, they give explanations for what you unconsciously already do.
Gergian wrote:they really understand the role of accusative, genitive, dative, and do not be bored with a lot of rules, but put the knowledge in practice, and the syntactical rules became more "logical" or "natural" for the use.
Here I'd have to disagree, research and experience suggest that syntactical rules become "logical" and "natural" upon acquisition, that is unconscious fixation of these "rules". Whether or not you consciously know what the rules are and understand them, plays no significant role in acquiring them.

I have no doubt that your pupils can consciously understand what you explain them. In fact it has been proven that consciously understanding the grammar gives you a "feeling" of having learned something, whereas having unconsciously learned the same thing gives you the sensation of having not really learned.
Even though post-instruction tests showed that the group that received non-explicit grammar training performed as well as the group that had explicit grammar training, in a post-experiment questionnaire the students claimed that no grammar had been learned because no grammar rules had been explicitly taught —i.e., the student assumption was that language learning implies explicit knowledge of rules. Knowing that this may be a possibility, it is important for the instructors undertaking this to let the learners know of the learning process in these courses.

Koutropoulos, Apostolos (2011) "Modernizing Classical Language Education: Communicative Language Teaching & Educational Technology Integration in Classical Greek," Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Vol. 9: Iss. 3, Article 6. Page 66.

Krashen himself acknowledges this possibility:

The study of the structure of the language can have general educational advantages and values that high schools and colleges may want to include in their language programs. It should be clear, however, that examining irregularity, formulating rules and teaching complex facts about the target language is not language teaching, but rather is "language appreciation" or linguistics.

The only instance in which the teaching of grammar can result in language acquisition (and proficiency) is when the students are interested in the subject and the target language is used as a medium of instruction. Very often, when this occurs, both teachers and students are convinced that the study of formal grammar is essential for second language acquisition, and the teacher is skillful enough to present explanations in the target language so that the students understand. In other words, the teacher talk meets the requirements for comprehensible input and perhaps with the students' participation the classroom becomes an environment suitable for acquisition. Also, the filter is low in regard to the language of explanation, as the students' conscious efforts are usually on the subject matter, on what is being talked about, and not the medium.

This is a subtle point. In effect, both teachers and students are deceiving themselves. They believe that it is the subject matter itself, the study of grammar, that is responsible for the students' progress, but in reality their progress is coming from the medium and not the message. Any subject matter that held their interest would do just as well.
I'm perfectly willing to admit that what we do is
mwh wrote:speak a factitious simulacrum of a certain kind of Greek or Latin
As long as we admit that all the people that wrote (and spoke) in Greek on Latin from the Renaissance onwards were also doing just that.

But then again if this allows us to teach a dead language in a very short amount of time with enjoyment and interest from the student, and enables students to accurately read and understand Greek and Latin literature. Is it really so bad?
mwh wrote:Certainly adults too can acquire a new living language that way, and many of us have, but less easily, and they may well choose to facilitate the process by conscious study of the language, especially if they don’t have the opportunity of thoroughgoing immersion in the native environment.
That's up to the student to decide, personality plays a big role in this. I'm not saying that we should forbid conscious grammar teaching, I'm saying the alternative is very possible, and brings results.

Of course if you're Borges and can learn German by memorizing a dictionary it would be foolish of you to waste time and money in classes and travels. But for us lowly humans that do not have neither the skill, patience, desire or discipline to dutifully study our grammar I don't see why shouldn't we look for an alternative that's more comfortable for us and that allows us to do what we all want to do: read and enjoy ancient authors and have fun while learning.

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 3208
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by mwh » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:41 am

rmedinap, I think your response is tendentious at best, mendacious at worst. I dislike having to repeat myself, but I reprise the most salient parts of my post, which you evade. You believe dead languages can be acquired the same way that little children acquire their native tongue. Maybe in the renaissance this was partly true, when Latin could claim to be a living language among the elite who had been brought up on the classic texts. Today it is simply false.

The really damning thing is that we have no access to native speakers. What we have is a large and excitingly expanding corpus of written texts (from a enormously wide variety of environments), which we can learn to read, or try. That requires study.

Another small point. There’s grammar, and there’s translation, and the two don’t necessarily go together. In attacking "grammar-translation" you're attacking a prejudicial misnomer.

All this has been said before, but to regrettably little effect.

Remember, we are all students, and some of us are trying to get better at reading ancient Greek and Latin, be it Homer, or Sappho, or Alcman, or Thucydides, or Callimachus, or prefectural decrees, or laundry lists, or …. (All very different languages.) When it comes to dead languages there is no royal road, and we have no chance of succeeding by the methods you advocate.

As you said in another post, you’ve already made your methodological position and didactic principles clear, at considerable length. Enough already.

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:13 pm

mwh wrote: The really damning thing is that we have no access to native speakers. What we have is a large and excitingly expanding corpus of written texts (from a enormously wide variety of environments), which we can learn to read, or try. That requires study.
Native speakers are not much use to a beginner. When' in the study of a living language' a learner gets to the level that native speakers are useful' it only works because native speakers speak much slower and use simpler constructions than they would to a fellow native speaker. They also throw in lots of redundancy. This is why, in Croatia, I often found it impossible to follow a conversation conducted by two native speakers with each other but had no trouble understanding those same two if they conversed with me directly. In short they switched to a "factitious simulacrum". Frankly factitious simulacrum is golden if it is the stepping stone to the extant texts.

I hear you feel you keep repeating yourself. But I have yet to hear why you have to label easy Greek with terms like "factitious simulacrum".

Why can't good Greek be written using only, say, the 800 most frequent words.
Did the Greeks not use those words?
Why can't good Greek be written using short sentences.
Did not the Greeks now and then use short sentences?

Of course no Ancient Greek would produce a complete work with those and similar restrictions. The reason we use languages with huge vocabularies and a host of constructions and idioms is because it is efficient.
Hence a graded reader that works has to use many more words to tell a story or convey an idea that would be required if the full power of the language was being used. But using the full power the language is simply too much for my brain ( and I suspect most of those who attempt Greek and give up).

If I have misunderstood please clarify but using a term like "factitious simulacrum" does seem to suggest a level of hostility which I find hard to understand and which you really haven't explained to me.

The only hint of it is a remark you made when you corrected the word order of someone's easy Greek and suggested that the very mistake which made me like it.

There is a huge difference between writing anglo-Greek and making as you model those snippits of Greek that are simple. And there is nothing anglo-Greek about ensuring that a story has plenty of redundancy and repetition so that a beginner can understand it.
mwh wrote: Remember, we are all students, and some of us are trying to get better at reading ancient Greek and Latin, be it Homer, or Sappho, or Alcman, or Thucydides, or Callimachus, or prefectural decrees, or laundry lists, or …. (All very different languages.) When it comes to dead languages there is no royal road, and we have no chance of succeeding by the methods you advocate.
I have tried the road of reading the extant texts. That road has been for me a failure. You yourself have told me my attempts in following it are doomed to failure. So forgive me for suggesting that maybe an alternative road might be worth building.
λονδον

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:26 am

To save you repeating yourself I have cut and pasted this from another thread.
(The full post is in this thread: http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... 80&start=0 )
mwh wrote: Now into more dangerous waters, where I risk offending.
People can train themselves, or be trained, to speak, and understand when spoken, a factitious simulacrum of a certain form of Greek, one with very limited vocabulary and even more limited syntax. I don’t myself see any point in that, beyond the satisfaction in the accomplishment. To my mind, it’s a snare and a delusion, founded on the misguided notion that what can be done with a modern language can be done with an ancient one. To adopt jeidsath’s imagery, it can stunt a learner’s growth.
Reading the extant texts has very much stunted my growth and destroyed my confidence to read Greek. It is not merely that I made no progress but the feeling of being overwhelmed means I am less able read Ancient Greek than I was when I still had a naive self confidence that I would somehow get on top of things. I don't see how reading texts that were way too difficult for my ability could have had any other result.
If someone wants to run a marathon they do so by first running short distances and gradually building up. Why should we expect learning a language to be different?
mwh wrote: For what they’re worth, my views on Grammar and Translation, in brief and probably stated too dogmatically:
# Formal knowledge of ancient Greek grammar, whether systematically acquired or not, is a practical necessity. That entails a certain amount of “metalanguage” (subject, subjunctive, passive, genitive, etc. etc.; not necessarily “First Class Conditions,” whatever they are); the essential terms were invented by ancient Greek linguists, analyzing their own language. (There’s now more modern metalanguage too, e.g. topic and focus, more obviously applicable to some languages than to others. These may enhance but do not conflict with the traditional modes of analysis.)
Modern linguistics sees language as structured totally different from traditional theory. If grammar was essential it would have to be based on xbar theory. Grammar instruction helps only to the extent it gets the learn to pay closer attention to the input (written or otherwise) that they get in the target language.
That to me means that if you point out a structure to a learner you have to then give lots of input that they are comfortably able to read or else they will forget it.
mwh wrote: # Translation from Greek is invaluable for purposes of communicating understanding, however approximately, and usually the most economical and precise way of doing so. (Much better than the paraphrasing or mono-lingual glossing favored by Markos.) But the sooner it can be dispensed with, the better. The aim (even for translators) is unmediated comprehension of the Greek.
# Translation into Greek, since it involves active use of the language, can help in consolidating grammatical knowledge and in developing understanding of usage and style, as can free composition (which on the texkit composition boards seems in practice to be attempted translation into Greek)—but only if thoroughly competent critique is available.
# Grammar and translation do not necessarily go together. But grammar is most efficiently learnt if attended by Greek instantiation (translated or not).
<snip>
PS Oh, and on memorizing, we now know how best to get fresh material into long-term memory, by phased repetition. That’s something books can’t do at all, and I’m sure very few teachers do well. So that’s up to the learner.
Yes, exactly. How is someone like me who can get stuck on a single sentence the whole day get sufficient repetition by reading the extant texts?
λονδον

metrodorus
Textkit Fan
Posts: 337
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:19 pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by metrodorus » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:07 pm

This neo- ancient Greek text qualifies as a Greek reader:
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Gf9GAAAAcAAJ

La Charte constitutionelle des Français translated into Ancient Greek.
I run http://latinum.org.uk which provides the Adler Audio Latin Course, other audio materials, and additional free materials on YouTube.

mwh
Textkit Zealot
Posts: 3208
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by mwh » Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:40 pm

I’m sorry daivid, I’m not going to get sucked into this again. My posts here were not directed at you, as I trust you realize, and I couldn’t expect them to make any impression on you, beyond further feeding your frustration. Perhaps I should have just kept quiet, and let the world go on its merry way. But I think I’m entitled to repeat myself once every four years, so long as I think it’s important and I keep it short.

For the record, I have nothing against graded readers. But to be brutally honest, I do not think it’s the lack of what you consider the right kind of graded readers that prevents you from making more progress. I reckon the difficulty you had with learning to drive and the difficulty you have with Greek are somehow related, and I don’t think you should generalize from your own experience. I’ve done my best to help you over the years, and it has not helped you. I’m sorry.

User avatar
daivid
Administrator
Posts: 2741
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe
Contact:

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by daivid » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:34 pm

mwh wrote:I’m sorry daivid, I’m not going to get sucked into this again. My posts here were not directed at you, as I trust you realize, and I couldn’t expect them to make any impression on you, beyond further feeding your frustration. Perhaps I should have just kept quiet, and let the world go on its merry way. But I think I’m entitled to repeat myself once every four years, so long as I think it’s important and I keep it short.
You are. I was responding to your feeling that you were having to repeat yourself. I I was trying to convey that (as is often the case due to the limitations of the internet as a medium) what you have said is not as clear to me reading it as it is to you when you wrote it.
But, you of course every right not to carry the debate forward if you feel it won't lead anywhere useful.
mwh wrote:For the record, I have nothing against graded readers. But to be brutally honest, I do not think it’s the lack of what you consider the right kind of graded readers that prevents you from making more progress. I reckon the difficulty you had with learning to drive and the difficulty you have with Greek are somehow related, and I don’t think you should generalize from your own experience. I’ve done my best to help you over the years, and it has not helped you. I’m sorry .
I managed Serbo-Croat and yes it did take a long time before I was able to converse with native speakers so I'm no great language learner l but I haven't got anywhere close to being able to being able to usefully converse with native speakers of Ancient Greek even were someone to invent a time machine.

And yes you have always been ready to answer questions and always in a way that made the most obscure completely clear.
λονδον

cb
Textkit Enthusiast
Posts: 423
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:52 pm

Re: Graded readers in Ancient Greek -poll

Post by cb » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:43 pm

Hi Daivid, I haven't followed all the threads you allude to above, but it sounds like your confidence in learning Greek is gone. I'll give my recommendation in light of this, and then some thoughts on some of the points in this thread.

Recommendation: Start again. Use the JACT Reading Greek course, but in this way: first, open up on Perseus the sources referred to (e.g. on page 1 for Part 1). Read them in English first - you should have 100% comprehension of course. Have the Greek open on the side and glance at it measuring how much you understand. 0% is fine but based on what you've done so far I'm guessing it will be higher than that but lower than 100%. That's fine. Second, do the JACT reading and lessons. Read the vocab before doing the reading. Third, go back and do step 1 again and see whether you understand any more. Repeat for each chapter.

My thoughts:
1. I agree with mwh and others above that grammar (not grammar + translation) is essential for learning Greek. We do Greek not just to memorise the Greek (like the protagonist in Le Rouge et le Noir who memorised Latin from the Bible) but to understand it. To understand we need to be able to give an account. Grammar is currently the only way in which we can give an account about language where we cannot engage with native speakers. Therefore we currently need grammar for learning Greek.
2. Ancient Greeks who learnt Greek natively without grammar were always being corrected and giving accounts to those around them to demonstrate their understanding of the sense. No resources today can replicate this. Even if you got the comprehensible input you've been asking for (and as I mentioned on another thread, that would optimally require someone writing 10x the amount of the Platonic corpus: http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... =2&t=66901 ) you would still not be able to interrogate the text where your understanding failed. It may not be the solution.
3. You are asking for experts to draft the comprehensible input but find the graduated readers etc. done to date to be too hard. Query the extent to which this reflects the skills of the drafter vs. the inherent difficulty in the language itself. I don't know if this is a fair analogy but I imagine that someone who has practised walking up mild slopes would find Everest about as difficult to climb as the person who hasn't done so. I don't know whether readers that are immediately comprehensible to modern readers would be like that or not. Greek is so different and the steep painful upward slope has to be confronted at some point.
4. I think that ours is the last generation, or perhaps the second-last generation, that has to deal with this inability to engage naturally - future generations may have an adequate simulation. My guess is that once AI is applied to the huge corpus of Greek, a substantial portion of which has been translated, future learners will be able to supplement their grammar-based learning with natural language questions to the corpus, just any immersed language learner does. It will be able to graduate the difficulty for each lender automatically (it will get better and better at it the more you engage). That's in the future though. We need to push on now with what we have.
5. Rather than seeking comprehensible input (for which you can attain 100% confidence through having close to 100% comprehension of the text itself), I've recommended above that you start again by attaining 100% confidence through having 100% comprehension of the English translation and progressively attaching Greek skills onto that, like a blurry image slowly coming into focus.
6. I haven't actually done the JACT course and I haven't followed the method above myself - I'm more the opposite. I really liked Mastronarde and other textbooks I used like Initia Graeca and Pharr, have read Goodwin's Moods and Tenses several times (and am doing it again) and struggle painfully through the texts that I want to read - I want to be able to give an account from model texts and rules in each case. The reason I've recommended this to you is that (a) it sounds that your confidence in Greek has hit a low and so this would be a way to re-enter Greek again, with graduated reading (I heard somewhere that the Greek was drafted by Sir Kenneth Dover - I'm not sure) but where it is nested within 100% confidence readings before and after, and you could then benchmark whether the grammar + graduated reading approach improves your reading after vs. before. Actually measure the difference - how many words and expressions and structures you understood before the JACT vs. the quantity afterwards, and (b) JACT has a complete course of readings - after the initial textbook of graduated readings it has assisted readings from the canon in separate books. If someone mastered over several years only that content, it would be a great achievement. That's why I've recommended JACT based on the content I've seen - basically, it has graduated reading drafted by an excellent drafter, lots of support, it shows its sources which you can use in the way I've suggested to improve your confidence, and a full curriculum of assisted readings.
7. I agree with others above that the grammar approach is not the same thing as the translation approach. I was convinced very early on, perhaps on William Harris' site (too long ago, I can't remember), to split the grammar approach from the translation approach, and so I only did the English-Greek exercises in textbooks (and then would use the English answers in the keys as further English-Greek exercises to check against the original exercises). This then immediately led me to wonder how to order the words properly (because my answers didn't feel like Greek) and so I read Dover on Greek word order (and started learning about basic patterns that I've talked about on this forum before, e.g. the frequent proclitic, connectives (forward-looking then backward-looking), preferred mobile, various enclitics (what I call Wackernagel position), predicate, proper name, etc. pattern). If you are shielded from this structure in comprehensible input (to make it immediately comprehensible) you'll hit the difficulty as soon as you read real texts. The learning resources should instead be mapping this and other common structures into your head in a graduated way so that they are less alien when you read actual texts. This is why the graduated readers and text in current textbooks are so important.
8. I think that any expert you ask to produce comprehensible input is going to produce Greek based on the classical patterns, and so it is likely to resemble other graded readers out there — and so won't be immediately comprehensible in the same way that e.g. Lingua Latina can be.
9. Like you I often think about how much better resources could be. I really do think that in the future AI will be able to produce easily 10x the size of the Platonic corpus based on pattern seeking in the existing corpus and will be able to respond to natural language questions. It will be terrible at first and then will get progressively better.
10. My guess is that most people on this forum think as well about how existing resources could be improved. We've all struggled through the same books. In the meantime, while aiming for the future benefits, I think we should take what's useful from the current resources, particularly the ones that have been through multiple editions, as they have been tested on real students by experts who have seen — both from their own experience and from the experiences of teaching students — what works and what doesn't.

Cheers, Chad

Post Reply