[B-Greek] efficiency in classrooms

Eddie Mishoe edmishoe at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 2 10:35:27 EDT 2006

Dr. Buth:

Thanks for some of your thoughts and clarifications. I
would still hold to the views expressed in my first
posting. I will make a few retorts.

> Does speaking a language in a classroom aid
> learning? Absolutely. That
> is why I cited that 90% quote from a second-language
> acquisition book.

I agree. But I learned Portuguese in a classroom, and
when I went to Brazil, I only then began to understand
the language. In a classroom, it remains abstract.

> Consider "of"-phrases (the book of Job, the town
> square of the
> city",etc). Let's assume that some English grammar
> book lists 47
> meanings of English "of" phrases.
> Guess what, even mother-tongue English professors
> will always struggle
> with labelling in exactly which category particular
> "of" phrases
> belong. That is because you are dealing with an
> abstract analysis of a
> language and not the language itself.

But, the native speakers can evaluate the use of "of"
intuitively. They can consider the meanings and
instantly eliminate almost all usages. They will
reduce it to 2 or 3 almost instantly. Whereas you
could build a case for a particular usage of "of," the
native speaker could instantly tell whether or not
your anaylsis is correct. It all happens due to their
cultural awareness. They learn by constant bombardment
of millions of slight nuances...something not
available to outsiders.

> Yes, Koine has come and gone, but acquisition is not
> limited to
> immersion in a culture. Again, If that were true
> then it would be
> impossible to fluently learn any language in a
> classroom.

And it IS impossible to learn any language in a
classroom. Unless by learn a language you mean learn
the basics of a language's words, grammar, and syntax.
The only way to achieve some level of learning a
language in the sense we are discussing is if the
instructor is a native speaker and can convey the

> However, I do not
> agree that they are no closer than an English
> speaker. They learn at a
> much faster rate and a BA classics graduate of
> Athens can read circles
> around a BA classics graduate of a US school.

True. They will learn to read faster.

Buth...(sorry, some of this I cut off)
The advantage would
> be if professor B
> were fluent in the language. Then he could cover
> more ground in the
> same time, would have developed a wider vocabulary,
> and would have a
> better feel for other options of what was or was not
> expressed. He may
> or may not write better commentaries than Prof A.,
> that is
> unpredictable and not directly related. However,
> Prof B will certainly
> write better commentaries than he himself would have
> written without
> the fluency.

Here again I agree, but disagree with how fluency is
attained. Suppose you and Dr. Wallace pronounce Koine
Greek differently. Suppose you teach your students one
pronunciation; he another. The 'fluency' each group
attains in Koine Greek will come from volumes of
reading, learning usages, etc. 

I suspect we could hypothetically and intentionally
mispronounce Koine Greek and still attain the same
level of fluency that your students attain. 

Enough. I certainly don't want to be viewed as
negative here. Learning to speak Greek is a good
thing. Keep it up.

Eddie Mishoe

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