How much daily reading? 3 a bigger question

warren at warren at
Thu Jan 10 15:28:47 EST 2002

c stirling bartholomew wrote:
> on 1/7/02 1:58 PM, jerker karlsson wrote:
> > But I have doubts concerning your method . . .
> Randall, I have some of the same doubts. I don't think that your
> modified ESL methodology is felicitous if the goal of instruction
> is to produce competent exegetes. [...] If your goal is to have
> the student learn how to perform analysis of ancient texts in
> something approximating a professional manner then the high
> volume is going to work against that goal.

Clay, I think you and Randall are talking about different goals. Your goals 
are analytical, producing competent exegetes. Randall is aiming at fluency:

> It is up to teachers to bring students up to a FLUENT "state of the art".

Different goals require different methodologies.

> I think your notion of fluency is more appropriate to modern
> language instruction. Learning to talk German to Berliners in
> 2002 is a completely different kind of goal than learning to
> read and understand ancient texts. How many Semitic philologists
> sit around chatting in Akkadian over lunch? Why should they?

True, if they are hungry philologists, they probably won’t find much 
benefit in Akkadian small talk over lunch. But if they are Semitic 
linguists, fluency in expression is one of their life goals and a little 
light banter should not get in the way of their meal.

To reach fluency in expression it behooves one to skip lunch and instead 
devour great quantities of text. One must also try to acquire an acoustic 
sense of the main words and patterns, so that one becomes a real reader and 
not just a decoder. This requires oral practice with teachers who can 
promote fluency by creating realistic and challenging contexts to interact 
with and who are confident enough themselves to provide consistent 
correction and encouragement. If Greek didn’t take up so much of my time, I 
would take a few months off and study Hebrew with Randall. The methods he 
has described may not make an expert exegete out of me, but they would give 
me a feeling for the sounds and structures of the language that would 
enable me to access the texts in an immediate, natural way. Not via entries 
in a lexicon, but by links to my own experience of using the language.

Warren Fulton
Inlingua School of Languages
Vienna, Austria

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