Strategy to read Pharr

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jk0592
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Strategy to read Pharr

Post by jk0592 » Sat Dec 09, 2006 5:49 am

I read the Iliad 5 years ago in French, and always thought that reading it in the original Greek must be even more enjoyable. My aim is to be reading the Iliad in Greek in a not so distant future. I am aware of the differences between Homeric Greek and classical Greek. So of course I am learning from Pharr’s homeric Greek. It is a very abstract and pedantic book. You can really feel it’s age from the very strict and dogmatic approach he takes to bring you from lesson to lesson. The themes that are treated in the translation exercises are also very abstract. Perhaps this is necessary to grasp the Iliad, and to get you to think with the mentality of the protagonists in the Iliad.
On the other hand, I started using the Athenaze books. I am still early in book 1. It has a very modern approach, and I must say that following the adventures of Decaepolis in his fields with his slave partner is very funny and entertaining. It is an efficient way of learning the basics of ancient Greek. Sometimes the english meanings are problematic to me, as my primary language is french, so using the Bailly Greek to french dictionary is necessary in a few occasions.
Now I was able to translate the Pharr exercise (lesson 5) on a single thirty five min public transport commute to work. Before using the unrelated Athenaze, the previous lessons used to take me much but much more time to do this.
So here is my strategy, to reach lesson 13 and ff in Pharr, which at last bring us the famed and much praised Iliad. Go through two chapters in Athenaze per week, then go through about one chapter in Pharr in the same week. Learn the vocabulary in both books, and learn the declensions of nouns and verbs as required in both books. With english words that are sometimes awkward, obtain the french translation from the “Grand Bailly?.
Learning ancient Greek is now a passion that connects me to my ancestors, and also to the basic roots of modern culture in literature, philosophy and science.

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Re: Strategy to read Pharr

Post by Bert » Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:28 am



swiftnicholas
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Post by swiftnicholas » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:24 pm

If you've already become passionate about Greek, then you will make great progress: once you start reading actual lines from the Iliad it will become an addiction. Personally, I've found that Homer is one of the easier things to read. I think that is partly because it is what I most wanted to read, but also I think that the unity of the hexameter lines makes a convienent chunk of text that doesn't look so daunting as a big paragraph. You will find that many lines have a complete sense to them, and when it does run over, it is usually to the beginning of the next line, and rarely do you have to anticipate grammatical points over several lines. Plus there are the repeated epic formulas, which are sometimes entire lines, and make you feel like you're moving along really fast.

If you find that using two books at once actually makes things easier and speeds your progress, then I suppose you should stick with what works. But I know that William Annis, whose opinion is worth a great deal, recommends that you stick with one introductory book all the way through, rather than switching back and forth between books.

Once you get more advanced, you should see if you can find Chantraine's Homeric Grammar in a library. I think his explanations for the most part are very clear and simple, and I don't even read French very well.

Best of luck, N.

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Post by euphony » Sat Dec 09, 2006 4:12 pm

In addition to swiftnicholas' good advice, I would say that if you can't find Chantraine's Homeric Grammar that perhaps D.B. Monro's Homeric Grammar may be a servicable substitute. I am in Chapters 11 and 12 of Pharr's book, and Monro cleared up some murky points about the dative for me. In leafing through it it seems to be reasonably well written.

I offer this because according to another poster in an earlier thread Chantraine's book is expensive and somewhat hard to obtain. Monro's book will set you back about $25 USD on Amazon.

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Post by Paul » Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:24 pm


euphony
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Post by euphony » Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:22 pm

I stand corrected. Thanks for the link.

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Post by Paul » Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:08 am

euphony wrote:I stand corrected.
I don't know about that; it IS expensive. :)

Dimitri
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Reply to Pharr study

Post by Dimitri » Mon Dec 11, 2006 4:23 pm

I took a Homeric greek class last semester using the Pharr book. The course was somewhat difficult but very rewarding to me! I am presently taking an Attic Greek I class using the Athenaze book. I followed the interesting suggestion of jk0592 and looked back at the Pharr book to see if it made it any easier reading! I looked at Chap. 5 specifically as he mentioned but I did not really find it much easier to read. Perhaps a bit easier! I love the idea of using the two books to study simultaneously but I agree with the others that it can be quite demanding for sure! This great post gave me a good idea to perhaps go back to the Pharr book at the end of this semester and continue studying it!

Dimitri

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Post by thesaurus » Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:31 am

I suppose I'll add my question here:

Is it reasonable to study Homeric and Attic Greek at the same time? I'm planning on joining the new Pharr group, but I also just received an Attic textbook ("From Alpha to Omega," by Anne Groton). I want to do Homeric but I think it would be a shame to neglect my new Attic book. Is it possible to study the two without confusing oneself?

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Post by GlottalGreekGeek » Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:03 am

Possible : yes. Recommended : no.

I recommend you go through Pharr first and then do Alpha-Omega afterward. After all, it'll take about the same amount of time as going through both simoutaneously, but it will be much less confusing for you (which means it's probably *faster* to finish one book before the other).

Edit : Ah. but you're working with the Pharr group. Well, if you really want to go at a faster pace than the group, you could.

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Post by jk0592 » Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:58 am

What I meant is that the approach used in Pharr is very rigorous, but to appreciate it you must digest a lot of preliminary material which is hard to memorize, and which gives rise to translation exercises that are very abstract.
The approach in Athenaze is more easy going. At first, there are restrictions: only masculine nouns and third person singular for verbs, etc. But then you have a lively story using these. It shows a rhythm, it shows relationships between words, it shows how precise the language is, and you get a feeling as to where it can go, and where it can bring you.
The requirements on the reader, the gymnastics of memorizing the cases, etc. and the mental process of dynamically decoding meaning through the declensions were easier (for me) to set in motion in Athenaze. Finding the the role of words in the sentence while reading asks for a skill that I had forgotten and not practiced since my Latin years (a long time ago).
This is what I meant when I said that Athenaze makes reading Pharr’s book easier. Not only is the rigorous approach of Pharr becomes easier to accept, but you can see how tremendous the reward will be. Reading and translating the exercises in Pharr become easier, because the experience gained in the Athenaze book is applicable to Pharr, at least in the first seven chapters.

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Chantraine's Homeric Grammar

Post by Dimitri » Tue Dec 26, 2006 2:14 pm

I am looking to buy Chantraine's Homeric Grammar to aid with my Pharr book. How can this Homeric Grammar be helpful to me if it is written in French? I am also looking at Monro's Homeric Grammar at the same time too.

thanks,
Dimitri

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Post by swiftnicholas » Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:10 pm

Hi Dimitri, if you don't read French, then you'll be better off with Monro's book. I only recommended it for jk0592 because French is his first language. Smyth's grammar usually makes special mention of Homeric usage, and it is available for free on this site, if you don't already have it. Best, N.

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