[B-Greek] [Fwd: Re: To Diagram or not to Diagram]
calcutt at 3web.net
Sat Mar 18 10:57:27 EST 2006
I would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to my
question. Based on the diversity of opinions that I have seen in the
past, I was a little surprised that the responses were quite similar. As
a result of the responses that I received it has become clear that I
need to step up my reading. Once again that you for your response to my
Alan Calcutt - Pastor
Quebec Baptist Church
"Sing to the Lord, bless HIS name;
Proclaim good tidings of HIS salvation from day to day.
Tell of HIS glory among the nations,
HIS wonderful deeds among all the peoples."
(Psalm 96:2, 3)
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] To Diagram or not to Diagram
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 06:50:41 -0500
From: Carl W. Conrad <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
To: calcutt at 3web.net
CC: B Greek <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
References: <44163C5B.4060303 at 3web.net>
On Mar 13, 2006, at 10:45 PM, Alan Calcutt wrote:
> I have just completed my second year of Greek. Most of the grammar was
> self-taught, together with two others who were working through the
> books. We have worked through Machen's _New Testament Greek for
> Beginners_; and Dana and Mantey's _A Manual Grammar of the Greek New
> Testament_. In the near future I will be moving and will be continuing
> my studies on my own.
> I would like to get the opinion of the group regarding my next step.
> Should I continue to work with the grammar that I have and increase my
> vocabulary . . . maybe for another year? Or should I proceed to
> work on
> diagramming? Will diagramming assist me with my understanding of the
> Greek language?
> Thank you in advance for your input.
I've read and agree with all that Randall Buth has said in reply to
this. Let me just reiterate some of it in my own words.
Diagramming belongs most properly, I think, to the "decoding"
approach to reading an alien-language text (if you were not around,
you might look at my message of two weeks ago (February 27) with
subject-header, "Re: [B-Greek] Ancient Greek-Grammar war?" I learned
diagramming and found it most useful in a High School class analyzing
Shakespearean and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's sonnets; if, at first
hearing or first reading, the pieces of the discourse don't
immeditely and naturally fall into place, then it's useful to lay out
those pieces in a "flow-chart" to show how they relate to each other.
I have found it useful occasionally to do that in reading the GNT,
but the times that I've hoped it would be most useful have been most
disappointing: I can't diagram Eph 1:3-13 because I can't be
confident about whether some clauses construe more properly with what
comes before or with what comes after.
I would say: as far as you can, simply read (making generous use of
the lexicon, as Randall says) straight ahead. Read chapters or whole
works at a time as much as possible; don't restrict yourself to
single verses or paragraphs. You need to familiarize yourself with
each author's style and distinctive vocabulary, which is to say: you
need to acquire a familiarity with the way that author "talks," just
as you do when you meet new persons and must familiarize yourself
with their ways. Use the diagramming process when you come to
passages that seem to be tied in knots; it sometimes makes it easier
to untie the knots; but don't bind yourself to diagramming as a
discipline that has some inherent value. You certainly don't use
diagramming if you're learning French and you're trying to understand
what a French-speaker is saying to you; rather you acquire a
readiness to appreciate the cumulative impact of each word or phrase
spoken as it is spoken -- and you should think of written discourse
the same way: try to grasp the sequence of words and phrases from
beginning to end of each sentence; don't go hunting for subject and
verb and rearrange the elements to make them fit your English-
speaking expectations any sooner than you have to.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
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