textbook for ancient Greek

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Stoic
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Post by Stoic » Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:30 pm

This is new information, and very useful. But I gather that you still think Mastronarde is the best introductory text, and that the JACT volumes (not just the Texts, but also the Guide and the Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises) are more problematic.

I'm sorry to keep bothering you with these questions, but I really am a beginner, and groping about a bit at present.

Thanks

Helma
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Post by Helma » Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:49 pm

Stoic wrote:This is new information, and very useful. But I gather that you still think Mastronarde is the best introductory text, and that the JACT volumes (not just the Texts, but also the Guide and the Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises) are more problematic.

I'm sorry to keep bothering you with these questions, but I really am a beginner, and groping about a bit at present.

Thanks
It depends on what kind of learner you are. If you need connected texts, then I recommend Reading Greek. It's no use getting what in my opinion is the best-informed text if you are not going to make it past the fourth chapter or so. But. If you *can* deal with lots of grammar and useful vocabulary up front, which I promise will pay off later, go with Mastronarde. Given that an answer key and web tutorials are available, you'll be able to check yourself as you go along. What you don't get is an instructor pointing out what needs highlighting and what bears giving it no more than a cursory glance -- Mastronarde does not have the best typography, but then neither does any English-language Greek or Latin text I know of. Continental Europeans are more fortunate. In the US we simply don't want to spend on Greek textbooks what we'd spend on math or physics textbooks.

aloimonon
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Post by aloimonon » Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:34 pm

Helma wrote:
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.
Thank you for your reply, Helma, I do appreciate it. Personally, I chose to stick to Mastronarde both because his style appealed to me, and because there was an answer key. I did get up to Unit 16, but other books (Loeb or not) have delayed me somewhat (and that's a pretty charitable way to put it!). Work and later vacation will not leave me with too much time in the very near future, but I shall indeed resume my studies. Thanks again for your guidance.
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

aloimonon
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Post by aloimonon » Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:02 am

Wow Helma, those are a nice series of guides and handouts to Attic Greek grammar in your user information (and my description does not do it justice). They're sure to be useful to me, and I have already bookmarked them. I'm looking forward to your next piece entitled "Coming Soon: Uses of the infinitive and participle, or..-Ing Is For Wimps.". Looks interesting!
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

Helma
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Post by Helma » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:16 pm

plukidis wrote:Wow Helma, those are a nice series of guides and handouts to Attic Greek grammar in your user information (and my description does not do it justice). They're sure to be useful to me, and I have already bookmarked them. I'm looking forward to your next piece entitled "Coming Soon: Uses of the infinitive and participle, or..-Ing Is For Wimps.". Looks interesting!
Hmm, I suppose I should really get down to doing that one :oops:

Didymus
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Post by Didymus » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:49 pm

Helma, I also should like to thank you for making your paper on localization of word shapes in Sophocles' trimeters available online. I have consulted it with interest and profit when writing my own Greek trimeters. Your work is most appreciated. :)

Helma
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Post by Helma » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:51 pm

Didymus wrote:Helma, I also should like to thank you for making your paper on localization of word shapes in Sophocles' trimeters available online. I have consulted it with interest and profit when writing my own Greek trimeters. Your work is most appreciated. :)
The tragedy book comes out in October in the US -- for a mere $100 :-(

Didymus
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Post by Didymus » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:57 pm

Helma wrote:
Didymus wrote:Helma, I also should like to thank you for making your paper on localization of word shapes in Sophocles' trimeters available online. I have consulted it with interest and profit when writing my own Greek trimeters. Your work is most appreciated. :)
The tragedy book comes out in October in the US -- for a mere $100 :-(
Out of my price range, I fear, but with some luck I shall find a copy through interlibrary loan. (Which I suppose profits you rather little financially, but doubtless shall profit me a great deal. And perhaps it may give you some small satisfaction. :))

Helma
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Post by Helma » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:22 pm

Didymus wrote:
Helma wrote:
The tragedy book comes out in October in the US -- for a mere $100 :-(
Out of my price range, I fear, but with some luck I shall find a copy through interlibrary loan. (Which I suppose profits you rather little financially, but doubtless shall profit me a great deal. And perhaps it may give you some small satisfaction. :))
Oxford is supposed to offer an e-edition. Don't know exactly how that's going to work, or how many libraries make those available to their users.

aloimonon
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Post by aloimonon » Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:35 pm

Helma wrote: Hmm, I suppose I should really get down to doing that one :oops:
Since I am a beginner, I will certainly read it. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your making these resources available to people who are not your student, but who nonetheless wish to learn. It's much appreciated!
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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