[B-Greek] A Greek Pedagogical Question

George F Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Tue Jul 19 08:59:02 EDT 2005

On Mon, 18 Jul 2005 21:32:47 -0700 "Kent Clarke"
<kentdclarke at hotmail.com> writes:
> Friends and Colleagues of B-Greek:
> I was recently asked by a fellow Greek professor to look at an 
> internet site
> that seeks to help Greek students learn the language through a more
> inductive (reader oriented) approach. I have formally taught Greek 
> for five
> years now (but began my own study of the language almost 15 years 
> ago) and
> admittedly use a more deductive (traditional) approach. With lots 
> of
> encouragement and some individual hands on instruction for students 
> having
> difficulty, we seem to have had very good success (putting through 
> close to
> 70 first year Greek students each year, the surprising majority 
> being
> non-Greek/biblical studies majors; and close to 20 second year 
> students, the
> majority being Greek/biblical studies majors).
> After looking at the site for several hours (which can be viewed at
> http://www3.telus.net/norbertre/index.html ) I sent the following 
> response
> to my colleague. I would be very interested in any feedback from the 
> B-Greek
> list (and especially from Greek professors more "seasoned" than I, 
> but also
> from those students of Greek who may have learned the language more
> inductively) regarding the whole pedagogical approach between 
> deductive and
> indicative language approaches. I attach the following:  

I see that Carl has already responded to your query, and I certainly
would not disagree with anything he said there.  I would note that in the
story "Dr. Lazarus" it seems that he has incorrectly used PETROS KAI
PHILIPPOS where a genitive would be expected.  I recall in High School
many years ago when the head of the English department brought up the
subject of textbooks in a senior class.  She noted that one text in
particular had some errors and stated that because of that the school
would not be using that text.  I concur  with this judgment.  It matters
not whether the error was in something which was not a part of the point
being taught.  It would nevertheless inculcate an erroneous view in the
minds of anyone studying the lesson.

As regards the inductive approach, I think one must first learn certain
facts before one can begin to read texts.  I would certainly maintain
that extensive reading MUST be included in the study if a student is to
gain proficiency, but it cannot be done on a purely inductive basis since
this is not an immersion situation such as one encounters in learning his
mother tongue.  

As a further note, I would maintain that any seminary which allows ANY
student. regardless of his couse of study, to be graduated without first
passing proficiency exams in both Hebrew and Greek are failing in its
calling.   I would also recommend that students be required to study both
Homeric and classical Greek as well as Koine.


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