About learning Greek

Erik Westwig ewestwig at palisade.com
Fri Mar 8 09:33:43 EST 2002


I am a beginner, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

I have many of the same problems you mention with my Greek grammar.  I have
a lot of trouble retaining it.  But I have been far more successful with
vocabulary.  My #1 trick is to substitute Greek words in my English
sentences as I am talking.  It doesn't really take up any more of your study
time because you can do it while you are doing other things.  For example,
when I clean the kitchen, I talk to myself. I say, "POTERIOV" as I pick up a
cup to wash.  Or, "PIVW" as I take a drink of "hUDWR".  If I open a door, I
say "QURA".  And on and on.  I know it sounds a little ridiculous, and I
think it might be driving my wife crazy, but it has worked well for me.  It
is very noun and verb oriented, and it doesn't help as much with the more
abstract words and concepts, but my vocabulary for everyday things and
actions has improved quite a bit since I started doing this.  

Erik Westwig
Software Engineer
Palisade Corporation

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Osborne. [mailto:s351016 at student.uq.edu.au]
Sent: Friday, March 08, 2002 3:37 PM
To: Biblical Greek
Subject: [b-greek] About learning Greek

This is not a technical question about Greek language, but a question about
learning strategies.  I'm an undergraduate Ancient History/ History major
who has a strong interest in Biblical Greek.   I started studying NT Greek
under Dr. Rick Strelan (a subscriber) and I'm indebted to him for a gentle
introduction to the language that did much to build my confidence and
enthusiasm for the language.

I then switched to Classical Greek because it suited my plans for
post-graduate study better.  The transition was not easy because the vocab
was different.  I studied a further two semesters using the JACT "Reading
Greek" course (Cambridge Uni).  I must admit that most of the time while I
was doing this course I felt as if I was barely keeping my head above
water - I certainly did not feel that my learning was secure - even though I
was a diligent student and managed excellent marks.  I then stopped studying
Greek for nine months and this semester have taken it up again.

Much to my dismay, on revising my previous learning, I find that I have
basically forgotten 70% - 80% of the grammar and especially the vocab I have
learned over the three previous semester of study.  Rick will be gratified
to know that his stuff is the most secure of all.

I'm quite discouraged about this because I am genuinely interested in
achieving some proficiency in the language (as opposed to just passing

Have others had similar experiences?

I know everyone's different and for this reason, people are sometimes
reluctant to guide others in these sorts of areas.   But could anyone
suggest a strategy or strategies to make the learning more secure given that
I have about 10 hours per week available, I would like to relearn the stuff
I've forgotten, and I'm faced with a fairly solid regime of new stuff to
learn together with practise translations?

I have been using a card system which means I can do memorising on the bus
and train - but perhaps something more is needed?

I would really appreciate the benefit of others' experience and ideas.


Peter Osborne.

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