textbook for ancient Greek

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Stoic
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textbook for ancient Greek

Post by Stoic » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:26 pm

I've taught myself Latin in the last 5-6 years, and I want to learn ancient Greek the same way. I've purchase Mastronarde's Attic Greek, which has an excellent website but whose early chapters are a bit of a challenge. I've also heard good things about Athenaze, which has a workbook and and a teacher's guide as well, which might be useful for someone trying to learn on their own.

Any recommendations?

Thanks.

aloimonon
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Post by aloimonon » Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:55 am

Since I've just started my studies on Attic Greek myself, the only thing I can contribute would be to say that Mastronarde's book has an answer key as well, which might be worth acquiring. Good luck.
ἀλλ' ἔγωγε ἐξ αὐτῶν τούτων μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τεθαύμακα, ὅτι ἔν τε ἀλλοκότοις καὶ ἐν ἐξαισίοις πράγμασι αὐτός τε διεγένετο καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν διεσώσατο. Dio LXXII 36.3

megas_yiannakis

Post by megas_yiannakis » Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:49 am

check this out:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltgu ... 61-7792600

it was brought up in a recent forum topic and is a good 'guide' to learning greek. The main word in there is 'guide'... you dont have to follow it exactly but it sets learning greek up in a logical order.

As a beginer myself, i definatelty agree that homeric greek is the best place to start, since youve done latin you should be perfectly comfortable working with 'Homeric Greek: a book for beginners - Clyde Pharr' its the book im curently using and would definately recomend it... it is available free on this site aswell...

hope that helps :D

-Yiannis

aloimonon
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Post by aloimonon » Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:52 pm

In my previous post I had forgotten to mention another book which you may be interested in. You may also want to check out _Greek: An Intensive Course_ by Hansen and Quinn (H&Q). At least from my beginner's perspective, this is even more of a challenge than Mastronarde's book, as all the principle parts and moods are introduced very, very early on. You may want to check it out in a library before considering it for purchase.

From my very limited perspective, it seems to be a great book for those who have some prior knowledge of Attic Greek, rather than pure beginners, as quite a few concepts are introduced to the student quite quickly at the beginning. Mastronarde's book seems, at least to me, to be a happy compromise between Athenaze and H&Q, and it has the additional advantage of having an answer key.

But perhaps people with more experience than I could chime in with a more precise comparison of each book's approach.
ἀλλ' ἔγωγε ἐξ αὐτῶν τούτων μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τεθαύμακα, ὅτι ἔν τε ἀλλοκότοις καὶ ἐν ἐξαισίοις πράγμασι αὐτός τε διεγένετο καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν διεσώσατο. Dio LXXII 36.3

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Post by Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 7:56 pm

plukidis wrote:In my previous post I had forgotten to mention another book which you may be interested in. You may also want to check out _Greek: An Intensive Course_ by Hansen and Quinn (H&Q). At least from my beginner's perspective, this is even more of a challenge than Mastronarde's book, as all the principle parts and moods are introduced very, very early on. You may want to check it out in a library before considering it for purchase.

From my very limited perspective, it seems to be a great book for those who have some prior knowledge of Attic Greek, rather than pure beginners, as quite a few concepts are introduced to the student quite quickly at the beginning. Mastronarde's book seems, at least to me, to be a happy compromise between Athenaze and H&Q, and it has the additional advantage of having an answer key.

But perhaps people with more experience than I could chime in with a more precise comparison of each book's approach.
I would just like to say that if you can, you should stay away from books written by people who don't know the language really well, or who don't have a clue about pedagogy. With me, the first factor weighs more heavily, so I would discard Athenaze out of hand. I know Mastronarde is heavy going in the beginning, but I have seen people work through it with self-study. If you already know Latin, you know the drill: memorize, memorize, memorize these paradigms. First real sentences only show up in 7 (nominal) and 8 (first verbs). If you can stick it out, you'll learn real Greek, though. Use the web tutorials until you can do them in your sleep!

Re: principal parts and their introduction in Mastronarde and Hansen & Quinn: Mastronarde suggests starting the first three as of unit 8 (with the first verbs). That makes by far the most sense (pp-s 4 thru 6 represent less than ten percent of what you'll see in texts, and are much more regular than present and aorist). H&Q introduce principal parts, sure, but only of regular verbs, so you're mostly screwed, because all the important verbs (legw, to say; mi verbs) only show up when you're three quarters of the way through the book. NOT a good idea.

Stoic
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Post by Stoic » Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:26 pm

Thanks for your response, Helma. I've continued to use the Mastronarde website, which is enormously helpful, and I feel like I'm making a bit of progress.

I've also noticed that students here at UIUC are using Groton's From Alpha to Omega, which is a bit more like Wheelock in its structure. I wonder if anyone here has had any experience with this.

But everyone in classics with whom I speak has great things to say about Mastronarde.

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Post by Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:59 pm

Stoic wrote:Thanks for your response, Helma. I've continued to use the Mastronarde website, which is enormously helpful, and I feel like I'm making a bit of progress.

I've also noticed that students here at UIUC are using Groton's From Alpha to Omega, which is a bit more like Wheelock in its structure. I wonder if anyone here has had any experience with this.

But everyone in classics with whom I speak has great things to say about Mastronarde.
Oh dear. On Groton, ask David Sansone at UIUC. Let's just that it's well-meaning. But it cannot hold a candle to Mastronarde. If you pine for stories, then get Reading Greek. It has a chaotic grammar book (here's hoping for that revised edition) but at least the texts are written in idiomatic classical Attic from the outset.

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Post by Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:10 pm

megas_yiannakis wrote:check this out:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltgu ... 61-7792600

it was brought up in a recent forum topic and is a good 'guide' to learning greek. The main word in there is 'guide'... you dont have to follow it exactly but it sets learning greek up in a logical order.

As a beginer myself, i definatelty agree that homeric greek is the best place to start, since youve done latin you should be perfectly comfortable working with 'Homeric Greek: a book for beginners - Clyde Pharr' its the book im curently using and would definately recomend it... it is available free on this site aswell...

hope that helps :D

-Yiannis
Wow -- I just looked at this list and its precepts. I think I disagree almost every single step of the way. The author assumes that the best way to get a handle on Greek is to start at the oldest stage available to us (but not Mycenaean:-)). Just compare this with learning French, English or German. Would you start with Old English for English or Latin for French? You are much better off starting out in the Classical period since there you have the most options in textbooks, and whether you wish to move forward or backward from there, you'll find books that help you do it. I once had an incoming student who had learnt 'Greek through Homer' -- the result was a mess, because no one had ever bothered to explain the syntax of the definite article in classical Greek to her -- there simply aren't textbooks to help you read classical Attic if you are coming from Homer. Ditto for Herodotus -- you won't find help adapting to Attic if you start with Herodotus. This whole idea is a reflection of the folk linguistic attitude that etymology equals meaning. It doesn't. It only tells you something about a word's history, NOT what it means synchronically, which is what the authors you are reading were using. [End of rant:-)]

So I'd select a textbook for classical that fits your learning style (Reading Greek for continuous readings; Mastronarde for grammar centered), then first of all get comfortable with (Xenophon and) Plato. From these, move on to tragedy and any other classical period stuff that appeals. Once you have a solid basis in the classical period and you are comfortable with verbal morphology, Homer is easy to get used to (and lots of books out there will help you with it), and moving forward in time is easy. Fewer principal parts to memorize, fewer optatives..

Stoic
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Post by Stoic » Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:19 pm

By "Reading Greek," I assume you mean the JACT texts...right?

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Post by Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:45 pm

Stoic wrote:By "Reading Greek," I assume you mean the JACT texts...right?
That's right. I do hope (but fear the worst) that a new edition will not mess with the quality of the original Greek texts:-) People like Dover had a hand in those. Not too many people's Greek is at that level.

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