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Amount of time to spend on Ancient Greek

  Tags: Ancient Greek | Greek
 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
17 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
zabanaflawa
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United Kingdom
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 Message 1 of 17
08 October 2013 at 10:52pm | IP Logged 
How much time would it be best to budget on learning Ancient Greek from scratch? I am working alone using the grammar-translation method. I only have one book so far: it's Reading Greek by the Joint Association of Classical Teachers (2007). It looks substantial, and I thought it might be worth trying to commit some parts of the texts to memory?

I have never studied a language that is not actively spoken before.

I would say my objectives are to be able to read texts without using a dictionary all the time, so... are we talking about 1 full hour a day every day, because when I start, 1 hour turns into several? At this stage I am just testing out the water, and I am working on several living languages simultaneously (hence posting this in Prof. Arguelles' subforum) as well as working hard full-time in a completely unrelated job.

Any advice?
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kanewai
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 Message 2 of 17
09 October 2013 at 12:07am | IP Logged 
As much time as you possibly can.

I've been trying to learn Homeric Greek as a side language for the past year. The first
couple months weren't too bad. The grammar is exotic and challenging, but you can learn
the basics in a summer. The alphabet is very cool. The revived pronunciation isn't too
hard for an English speaker.

But after you get the basics down you encounter the details, and the 10,000 various
forms that every noun, verb, and adjective can take. There aren't even many obvious
patterns to it all. It's astounding and intimidating & I don't know how anyone learned
it.

I've switched from "trying to learn Greek" to - like you mentioned - just trying to
learn individual texts, and then hoping that at some point over the years the patterns
will become more obvious.

Edited by kanewai on 09 October 2013 at 2:49am

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zabanaflawa
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 Message 3 of 17
09 October 2013 at 1:04am | IP Logged 
Thank you, I'll bear this all in mind.

As for the pronunciation, I'm saying the words aloud using Modern Greek pronunciation because I learned it years ago and it just simplifies things so much and speeds up reading (even though it must be a world away from how the language would have sounded back then).

Thanks again.
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renaissancemedi
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Greece
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 Message 4 of 17
09 October 2013 at 6:55am | IP Logged 
Don't have regrets about using the modern pronounciation: it's what the Greeks do. It's highly unlikely any of us will run into an ancient Greek any time soon. Besides, the so called modern pronounciation has been around for ages. Literally.

Homeric greek isn't quite the same as classical greek. It depends on what texts you want to read and if you actually want to use the language. If you elaborate a bit I might be able to suggest something.

Don't be ovewhelmed by the many types for each verb etc. Of course there are patterns to the various forms, along with the many exeptions that is :)

My advice: stick to one form of greek, attic greek for example, or bible greek, or homeric, or whatever pleases you, and focus there. Then find recourses for that. And study as much as you can without any stress. Don't go anywhere near poetry at first. Or Plato. Try Lycias,or Isocrates.

I'll post some links for you when I find them.

Good luck!
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renaissancemedi
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Greece
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 Message 5 of 17
09 October 2013 at 7:18am | IP Logged 
This one starts with jokes (ancient jokes, I know...) but it seems easy.

Here is a selection

Free readers

That sort of thing, a reader, is called θεματογραφία in greek, in case you want to google it or something. There are tons of recources for high school students.



Edited by renaissancemedi on 09 October 2013 at 7:37am

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Ogrim
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 Message 6 of 17
09 October 2013 at 10:52am | IP Logged 
I think it makes sense to use modern Greek pronunciation for someone who knows modern Greek.

However, many years ago when I took a university course in Ancient Greek, we were thought the so-called learned pronunciation (or Erasmian pronunciation, after Erasmus of Rotterdam, who tried to restablish the Attic pronunciation in the renaissance). It obviously differs quite a lot from modern pronunciation. Furthermore, scholars today have more or less established the differences between Attic pronunciation and "Historic Biblical pronunciation", i.e. Greek as it was spoken in the first two centuries BC. An interesting overview of the different ways of pronouncing Classical Greek can be found here.

I guess what speaks in favour of learning the Erasmian pronunciation is that you will more easily remember how to differentiate in writing between ι, η, υ and οι, for example.

Edited by Ogrim on 09 October 2013 at 11:06am

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Lykeio
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 Message 7 of 17
09 October 2013 at 11:10am | IP Logged 
The Erasmian pronunciation does not = the modern one unless you're in a very bad
university....its reconstructed classical, which differs from Homeric Greek, from
various classical dialects as well as later Koines.

It's something established by...oh gods why do I even bother any more? Literally
everybody on the internet with some passing acquaintance with ancient Greek seems to
think they know enough to comment on this. just everyone go look up an introduction
like the one in the blackwell companion to ancient Greek before this turns into another
example of the blind leading the blind.

Also it's not the case that everywhere in Greece people use the modern pronunciation,
obviously those that learn a bit of ancient at school do so and it has been the
tendency to do so at university but quite a few modern day professors are rightly
worried about this and the philological incompetence it implies and do try to change
things, though it is very hard.

What Renaissancemedi said about sticking within a dialect is really good advice,
however that doesn't necessarily mean sticking to one author. If you were reading the
Iliad, it would be imperative for you to also have excerpts from the Odyssey, Hesiod
and the Hymns to really get in there. Herodotus works as an admirable bridge between
those and Attic, I've found that teaching Plato and Xenophon or Lysias make Thucydides
much easier and so on. Also sometimes thematic selections are better than
linguistic/stylistic ones, I had a lot of those when I was younger and it helped.
Admittedly these are printed in Greece, I've yet to see anything like them in other
languages.

Don't be too caught up on finishing "whole" texts, sometimes moving around has a
dramatic effect on your Greek.

JACT is a great textbook btw, and does give you a sensibly related variety
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renaissancemedi
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Greece
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 Message 8 of 17
09 October 2013 at 12:12pm | IP Logged 
Lykeio wrote:


Also it's not the case that everywhere in Greece people use the modern pronunciation,
obviously those that learn a bit of ancient at school do so and it has been the
tendency to do so at university but quite a few modern day professors are rightly
worried about this and the philological incompetence it implies and do try to change
things, though it is very hard.





Students learn at school about all the theories and pronounciation variations etc, and I wouldn't call sticking to a modern pronounciation "philological incompetence". The philologues are more than knowledgable, but don't we, as Greeks, have the right to use the current style, for sanity's sake if nothing else? I don't think there is even a definite agreement on how they pronounced things back then. Dear Lykeio, don't be so hard on us :)

I am not sure why you mentioned that modern does not equal Erasmian. Of course it doesn't. If it had, Erasmus wouldn't have bothered at all, would he?

I am not a philologue, but I strongly support the modern pronounciation for non-professors etc, for everyone that wants to use it. Provided one knows all the history of course.

Let's not get into a pronounciation debate. Just have in mind that people know that it used to be different, they are not ignorant of that.


Edited by renaissancemedi on 09 October 2013 at 12:51pm



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