[B-Greek] 2nd year NTG on my own / followup

Barry nebarry at verizon.net
Sun Oct 28 08:18:37 EDT 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <JMonte2000 at aol.com>
To: <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2007 9:42 PM
Subject: [B-Greek] 2nd year NTG on my own / followup

> While I'm back answering you. What is a realistic goal for word frequency
> memorization? Some mention 20 + Others mention 10 + which is about a 
> thousand
> words. I was amazed the other day I was looking through Trenchard's Vocab
> guide.  I saw as the words get lower they go up in count. a word that is 3 
> x in the
> NT,  I think was 470, 2 x goes up to 600 & something but 1 x (hapax 
> legomena
> words) are over 2100!
> Does many every get to know all the words in the NT?
> What goal is realistic for an average NTG reader, expositor?

Jim, I think you have been given some good advice so far.  I don't know that 
I agree with Elizabeth that memorizing glosses is "useless knowledge," but 
everyone who has been emphasizing reading lots of Greek is certainly right. 
Having a handy-dandy definition of the word in mind is fine, but you really 
have to see it used in a variety of contexts if you wish to really get a 
hold of its semantic range.  You might ask yourself this: what is the goal 
for the average English reader and expositor?  When we are teaching someone 
English, would the ten most frequently used words be sufficient for reading 
and understanding a text?  Would knowing every fifth word?

I suggest this: whatever text you are reading (and you should read texts 
outside of the NT) once you are outside the beginning grammar, make every 
effort to figure it out without recourse to a lexicon, but write down every 
word you do have to look up.  If you have to write it down three times, then 
memorize it.  This discipline got me all the way through my undergraduate 
Classics degree, and it was early in grad school that I gave up making vocab 
lists altogether.  When I hit seminary, not only did I test out of my Greek 
requirement, but they had me teaching as third year M.Div. student...  :)

N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Professor, WRTS
Classics Instructor, TAA

and me:


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