[B-Greek] Teaching languages alive in the classroom
eric.inman at wescorpflex.com
Tue Feb 5 12:00:06 EST 2008
Yes, that is ironic, and partly because it involves a different sense of the
terms artificial and authentic from what I'm trying to use. What you are
describing, i.e. Modern Greek with artifial issues, is what I'm calling
authentic. It's a living language experiencing various pressures and
counter-pressures, including the tensions of holding to some standard from
the past versus going along with some of the changes that have crept in.
This mish-mash is what I call authentic, and what makes it into books is
usually cleaned up quite a bit. These books are read, however, by people
familiar with the street language as well, and to various degrees writers
make allusions to or are influenced by what goes on in that street language.
I'm not trying to suggest that we try to make Koine alive, since I don't see
how that's possible. I do feel, though, that fluency in Modern Greek would
be very useful.
In Indonesia I felt that becoming fluent through immersion even in a very
unrelated language really opened my eyes to a lot of things I hadn't been
aware of before, and my learning of Greek progressed a lot faster after
that. After that experience I've hoped that I'd have the chance to learn
Modern Greek and Hebrew through immersion as well.
From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Hugh Donohoe Jr.
Sent: Tuesday, February 05, 2008 9:59 AM
To: blist greek
Subject: [B-Greek] Teaching languages alive in the classroom
The irony is: Modern Greek has its own artificial
issues because of the Atticizing of the Katharvousa.
Of course Modern Greeks work comfortably between the
Demotic and the Katharevousa. I guess learning a
modern language which is sufficiently artificial will
help you avoid artificiality in making Koine alive?
I'm being a little facetious, but the truth is usually
more peculiar than we realize.
I intended my previous message to go to the list as
I don't think your rephrasing of the question is
equivalent, since I feel that the range of usages and
styles in a translation such as the NIV is much
narrower than that found in the GNT. I think generally
you have a translation from multiple varieties of
Greek into a single variety of English, but of course
some variations do survive the translation process.
I imagine the man in the street typically can read and
understand a very wide range of varieties, but the
range of what he speaks and thinks in would tend to be
very narrow, depending on which communities of
speakers he interacts with and what he happens to be
For these and other reasons I don't see how one could
reestablish the dynamics of any version of first
century Greek to the point where we could think in it
now in a manner at all approximating the way people
thought in it back then. I think it would tend to be
very artificial. What is found in books represents a
very small portion of how a language is actually used
during a given day. I think it might be better to
learn to think in Modern Greek, which we know we can
do authentically, and then do a lot of reading from
the first century literature and other periods as
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