Tips for Beginners?

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.
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Tips for Beginners?

Post by Finch » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:09 am

I've only just begun to learn Greek (chapters 1&2 of Mastronarde), and I find the concept of the accents a bit overwhelming. I suppose I could just keep at it and hope in time this unfamiliar concept sticks, but I'm reaching out to the Textkit community for advice on this and other matters essential for beginners of ancient Greek. If you had to learn all over again, what do you wish someone told you? What resources have been most helpful? Are there particular points of concern a novice like myself should/shouldn't bother with right away? I know this post is quite open-ended. I appreciate all and any input you kind sages have to offer. Many thanks.

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Re: Tips for Beginners?

Post by Markos » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:39 am

Listen to, write conversationally, and speak as much Ancient Greek as possible. Don't worry about grammar and grammatical terms. Focus on what the Greek means in general and don't worry about the precise form of every construction. Don't treat Greek any differently than you would English.
οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.

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Re: Tips for Beginners?

Post by helios » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:45 am

Finch, I'm in the beginning stages myself, but don't fret too much about accents. Try to familiarize yourself with them and then jump in to the rest of the material. Periodically go back and look at the rules again. I found that having my written work corrected has helped me to see where I am misapplying the accents.

Mastronarde should serve you well in this regard because there's a commercially available answer key for that book.
Keep it rill.

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Re: Tips for Beginners?

Post by NateD26 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:21 am

I wish that when I began my studies of Attic Greek in University, someone would have introduced me to this site,
particularly this section. I, like yourself, have had problems grasping the accentuation rules, specifically since both
our study book and our teacher over-complicated matters and used convoluted language did more to confuse me more than anything else.
It eventually sunk in, but with this tutorial in my hands, it would have been much easier and faster.

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Re: Tips for Beginners?

Post by SeanL » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:53 pm

I have been plunking around with learning Greek for some time, but only recently have gotten really serious. I had been using the 2nd edition of Dobson's book, which does not use accents, and have now switched to White's First Greek Book, which does. The only thing more confusing to me than not having the accents and having to make it up as I go, was having the accents and having to learn the rules! But I have found it is coming much more easily now (I'm only on lesson 10), and when I check my English-to-Greek answers I am almost always right (except sometimes I just forget to write the accents at all).

Doing the English to Greek exercises carefully and deliberately has been very helpful. I wish there were more in White's book.

And it seems that much of the problem went away once I really grasped a few things:
1. Verbs want to accent as far back as possible, and nouns want the accent to stay on the same syllable if possible;
2. There are really only two accents, the circumflex and the acute. The grave is just what happens to the acute on the last syllable.
3. An accented ultima functions almost as if it were two syllables. I know that is not technically correct at all at all, but the wording has been helpful to me.

I would love to hear how it is working out for you after three months, Finch.

Thanks for the links, Nate.

-- Sean+

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