Starting my Greek program

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boomt
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Starting my Greek program

Post by boomt »

I have wanted to acquire enough Latin and Greek proficiency to read Ovid and Plato. (Itʻs good to have a goal.) I started with Latin last year and I have been marching through LLPSI at a rate of about 3 chapters a month since December. This takes about 14 hours a week or 16 hours per chapter including exercises. My plan is to ease back on the throttle when I finish LLPSI in July and consolidate my learning by reading Fabulae Syrae before taking on Roma Aeterna, which will allow me to start working on Greek.

I have found a lot of good suggestions from these forums as well as Luke Ranieriʻs videos to plan my approach to learning Greek. I am also drawing on my own experience learning other languages. My personal approach to language acquisition is a blend of CI, grammar, and flashcards, with a lot of initial focus on getting pronunciation right at the outset. (This helps a lot learning vocabulary "correctly".

Unfortunately, there is nothing as comprehensive as LLPSI for Greek, so this requires some mix and match. The primary resources I plan to use are Athenaze, Mastronardeʻs Introduction to Ancient Greek, and Anki for flashcards. This relies on less CI than Iʻd like, but since I already own the English version of Athenaze, I donʻt want to spend the money to buy the Italian version just for some supplementary text. Should I consider adding Reading Greek Text and Vocabulary for this purpose? If so, at what point in Athenaze would I be ready to start using Reading Greek? (I like the clarity of Mastronadeʻs presentation versus the Reading Greek Grammar book.)

I thought I would share this to get any additional suggestions before I go too far down the road. I would appreciate any input.

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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by ragnar_deerslayer »

If you're interested in learning Greek through CI, your first stop should be the Living Koine Greek program at Biblical Language Center:

https://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/ ... s-ac-beta/

Although it says "Biblical," the actual foundations of the course are Koine Greek-Latin instructional manuals of the first few centuries AD, so the language goes beyond that found in the Bible.

I liked the Reading Greek textbook, but found that the selections advanced too rapidly for me. You may or may not find it more cost effective than buying the Italian Athenaze.
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cb
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by cb »

Hi, my suggestion for Greek would be to finish one of those textbooks completely (rather than mix and match). Any of those textbooks would be fine: choose the one you find most engaging, as the key is to finish it.

Once you've finished a textbook, there are soft introductions to Plato which assume that you haven't quite mastered yet the parts in the latter half of a typical textbook, such as this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Greek-Prose-Cour ... 185399538X

If you mix and match however, crucial parts could fall through the cracks.

Cheers, Chad

hlawson38
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by hlawson38 »

Here is my experience.

I started with Mastronarde, and stuck with it until I got into the middle 30s of this 40-odd chapter textbook. At this point, I started reading unadapted texts, very slowly, found Plato extremely difficult. Then I dropped back to the Greek New Testament, and struggled through the gospel of John and the acts of the apostles.

By this time, I realized that I had forgotten masses of the grammar I studied in Mastronarde. Besides that, the forms were most imperfectly memorized.

Then I went through Plato's Apology of Socrates, twice. Now I'm reading the Euthyphro (getting annoyed with Socrates, and growing more sympathetic with Euthyphro). I study grammar now ad hoc, as necessary to understand what I'm reading. If utterly baffled, I run up the distress signal here, and always get useful help. I review the forms also, also ad hoc.

I refer to Mastronarde now and then, ad hoc. Besides Plato, I'm also reading in the gospel of Mark. I have a paper New Testament lexicon--super helpful. I don't worry about the matter of koine v. Attic. It hasn't been a problem for me.

So I'd suggest, study the grammar as long as you can stand it. If you just can't take it any more, start reading something for which you have a reliable translation in your native tongue.
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boomt
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by boomt »

Thank you all for the suggestions based on your experience. I think I'll start climbing the Mastronarde grammar mountain and see how far I get. I have a pretty high tolerance for grammar, especially when there are good explanations of the "patterns" (stems and endings) which seem to be a big focus of Mastronarde. A few years ago I worked through the excellent Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit and went on to read intermediate texts (with gloss). Perhaps I'm a little sad because I've just been spoiled by the relative ease of learning Latin with LLPSI.

Iacobus525
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by Iacobus525 »

I also plan to start learning Greek in earnest soon with a similar approach. I attempted with Athenaze alone a few months ago but over estimated how much time I could work on it right now while continuing with Latin.

Fun fact: the first six chapters of Athenaze are on Legonium, so Lego pictures of the story for those chapters, its more pictures than Athenaze and feels like read a comic book (http://www.legonium.com/athenaze-1a)

Athenaze.com has an expensive Anki deck of the vocab entirely with pictures and very little English.

The other day I turned all the attic pronunciation guide audio and practice audio on Mastronarde's intro website (http://atticgreek.org/pronunc/alphaU.html) into an Anki deck. If anyone's interested I'll try to share it.

My plan right now is to work through the Greek Ollendorf material others here have created here by reading, listening and and making notes in Anki then creating Anki cards for the exercises as I go through. I just did this for the first lesson with audio from the recordings, the audio is read along with the Greek question or answer. I'll continue to read listen to Athenaze a bit as I go then finish that up afterwards. I was given a copy of Greek: An intensive course I'll use as reference as I go through.

I completed LLPSI last December and I just started working through some Caesar right now. I used a grammar book as reference a lot along the way and A LOT of Anki. I converted the exercises of the last ten chapters into Anki so I could get through them one way or another (I copy and pasted them from a website) I worked through it on there while putting my kids to bed. I wouldn't recommend it but I learned it better than not doing the exercises at all.

If you haven't looked at Lingua Graeca per se illustrata (LGPSI)you'll probably enjoy it as a start. The first 4 chapters are read on youtube. The first half of fabulae syrae is also there scattered between different people. I used Audacity to record them on a computer and create mp3 files for myself.

boomt
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by boomt »

Thank you @lacobus525. I also am a big Anki user and I just posted my vocabulary deck that covers Chapters I-XXX of LLPSI. I have also posted a conjugation trainer. Personally, I find value in creating the deck from scratch because when I create the card, I often consult a dictionary for other meanings and I have to add synonyms as I learn them in order to prevent mistakes going in the English->target language direction. I started using the Windows Greek keyboard but it's a struggle since each combination of markings is assigned to a different key. I'm probably switching to keyman, which uses a more intuitive approach. It was quite easy to use with Sanskrit devanagari characters.

I plan to stay in the Orberg ecosystem for awhile after I finish LLPSI. I am really enjoying Fabulae Syrae and I plan to go straight to Roma Aeterna when I finish part I. Likewise for Greek, I plan to seek critical editions like the one cited by @cb to smooth the transition to reading on my own. The other resources you suggest look interesting too.

As for pronunciation, I find the atticgreek.org site quite useful. As with other languages, I tend to very slightly exaggerate vowel length, aspirated vs unaspirated consonants, and, in the case of Greek, pitch accent, at the beginning of my study to help with memorizing vocabulary. Actually, as a native English speaker, it's more a question of mindfully suppressing my natural tendency to aspirate on k and t.

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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by jeidsath »

I would be very careful of LGPSI. The author doesn't really have a solid grasp of Greek long form.

Here's a chunk I pulled off his webpage:
ἐν δὲ τούτῳ ὁ Δικαιόπολις μετὰ λῃστῶν οἰκεῖ. ἐν γὰρ τοῖς ὄρεσιν οὐ μακρὰν ἀπὸ τῆς πολέως τῆς Ἀντιοχείας οἰκοῦντες οἱ λῃσταὶ πολλάκις ἐκ τούτων τῶν ὀρῶν προσβάλλουσι τοῖς πορευομένοις κατὰ τοὺς ὁδοὺς. ὅταν προσβάλλωσι τούτοις οἳ ἐν ὁδῷ τινι βαίνουσιν, οἱ λῃσταὶ ταχέως προστρέχουσι πρὸς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους. ὁ μὲν τῶν λῃστῶν αἰτεῖ ἀγρίως λέγων «δότε τὸ ἀργύριον ἡμῖν. ἐὰν μὴ δῶτε, ἀποκτενοῦμεν ὑμᾶς.» οὕτως οἱ λῃσταὶ ἀπειλοῦσιν. οἱ δὲ λῃσταὶ ἄλλοι μαχαίρας ἐπισείουσιν.
It just doesn't go right. The flow of topic and subject and emphasis feels sort of schizophrenic compared to real Greek. He could have done a lot better, I think, to have taken some existing Greek as composition models for his sentences.

There is plenty of constructed Greek out there that is pretty good. Sidgwick's, or Rouse's, or Wilson's, and others.
"Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence..."

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cb
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by cb »

Hi, I agree with Joel. I have similar misgivings about LLPSI too, although it seems to have a broad take-up.

The made-up Greek in some other courses (e.g. Reading Greek, Thrasymachus) is better, but the best is to finish one of the main textbooks and get straight into the real stuff, as many others have advocated too. It is a grinding process to finish e.g. Mastronarde, Wheelock etc. (I remember both), but well worth it.

Cheers, Chad

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jeidsath
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by jeidsath »

Mastronarde put Smyth into a blender and carelessly mixed vital information absolutely necessary for every new reader of Greek with heaps of material that would have been *far* better delayed until the student had some real Greek under his belt. Compare how Burnet covers the verbal system in Greek Rudiments for a similarly conjugation-centric "introduction to Attic Greek" that is far more respectful of his pupils. Or just the traditional route with Crosby and Schaeffer. They are far clearer, far more time-efficient, and if you can't read Plato at the end of either of those, I don't see how Mastronarde is going to help you.

EDIT: "Similar misgivings about LLPSI...". Surely, you'd have to trot out some pretty bad Latin to equal the above Greek. Saying that LLPSI offends on that order of magnitude seems extreme. (I haven't personally read much in real Latin except for random translations from Greek, the Vulgate, and some Caesar.)
"Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence..."

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Piekarski
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by Piekarski »

boomt,

Since your goal is to read Plato, I just wanted to mentioned there is a Plato-focused introductory Greek textbook (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1904675565/).

I haven't used it myself, but it has an answer key and is designed for self-study.

big_anemone
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by big_anemone »

While I didn't use Beetham's Plato book, I did own it, and it's much like his Homer book, which I used to learn to read Homer. While it's still grammar-translation, it's a gt book that cuts everything it can to get the student more swiftly to the text that they're reaching for in the first place. Recommended.

Petrarch101
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by Petrarch101 »

Before paying $$ for Beetham's book on Plato, take a look at this: https://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2007/2007.09.50/

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AmyOfRome
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by AmyOfRome »

Thanks for all this info. I would also like to get into Greek, but at this point, I am re-learning the alphabet which I learned 30 years ago and then forgot! I feel like a kindergartner :lol:

I have found that listening to things in Latin has helped me get back into Latin, still have to work on grammar, but it's coming back more easily using books + videos/audio. I used to be pretty good with Latin, never got into Greek because it wasn't offered anywhere I was studying and was afraid, until now, to try it myself.

Good luck though and it's good to have found resources like this place online to help!

boomt
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by boomt »

Thank you for the Beetham suggestion. I have started wading into Mastronarde and I actually feel pretty well prepared to take on the grammar for awhile at least. The declensions are like Sanskrit, but with half the number of cases. Plus, there are enough common roots with English words that the vocabulary is not that much more difficult to pick up than Latin. If I start to burn out, I can try Beetham and approach it with a better grounding.

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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by hlawson38 »

jeidsath wrote: Mon May 30, 2022 10:11 pm Mastronarde put Smyth into a blender and carelessly mixed vital information absolutely necessary for every new reader of Greek with heaps of material that would have been *far* better delayed until the student had some real Greek under his belt.
I agree with Joel's assessment, as it applies to autodidacts. I think Mastronarde would work well in a face-to-face class, with a good teacher to show what passages to ignore for Greek 101.

Nevertheless, I don't think Mastronarde was careless. I think he wanted his textbook accepted by teachers, who (as I have seen them do) may frown on textbooks that omit their hobbyhorse topics. Because the hobbyhorse topics vary from one teacher to another, authors of introductory texts face a hard problem of what to exclude.
Hugh Lawson

cb
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by cb »

Hi, I think all material in Mastronarde is essential (and insufficient) to read Plato properly, which was one of the OP's goals.

Whether one is an autodidact or a student in a classroom, the content to learn is the same.

If people want to start learning or free-reading real Greek before finishing Mastronarde, that's fine of course: some people put in the middle of a forest will be happy forging their own way, others will follow the path, and time will tell who is making progress; both types could be successful or unsuccessful.

I used Mastronarde as an auto-didact, having never been inside a classics classroom, and would recommend finishing the whole thing (and then continuing on) for anyone who wishes to read Plato.

Cheers, Chad

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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by jeidsath »

Sure, anybody who has read Greek for a while will know all this stuff. But Mastronarde did not bother with the hard part of his work: putting the material in an intelligible order. For example, here is his section on imperatives, Unit 40:

Image

What in the world caused Mastronarde to include the information about the perfect forms in his introductory paragraph about the Imperative Mood in a book called "Introduction to Attic Greek". Logorrhea?

Obviously this is all stuff about the Imperative that you'll know once you know Greek...but it's not something that I would ever think appropriate to lead with. His whole book is like this. The man didn't do any of the hard work of creating an introductory textbook: Selecting what comes first.
"Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence..."

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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by hlawson38 »

My hat is off to Chad, and I'm delighted that he made Mastronarde work for him. I meant to follow that path, but I couldn't carry on any longer, after I got into the middle thirties of this forty-two chapter book.

Clearly I was in error to attribute my difficulty to want of classroom and teacher, for Chad's witness shows otherwise. I am sure that had I mastered Mastronarde, I'd be reading better today.
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Re: Starting my Greek program

Post by cb »

Hi all, I agree there is no perfect arrangement of material, and Mastronarde is no exception.

I was making the lesser point that the content in the "back of Mastronarde" is important, I believe, to read Plato properly. It is not however sufficient: extensive reading is essential, as well as (I think) continuing to learn from other materials about Plato's syntax, use of particles, etc. etc. None by itself is sufficient.

Cheers, Chad

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