[B-Greek] Teach Nouns or Verbs first?

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Sat May 17 17:31:17 EDT 2008

Just got back from the Kinneret. (lake of Genneseret)
Delightful time listening to folk music and to the Abrams brothers
from Canada doing bluegrass. They sang 'two fishes and five
loaves' situated on the west side just a little south from where the
event took place on the east side. the Abrams Brothers are worth
going out of your way to hear.

my comments below marked **

Susan egrapse

>Randall Buth wrote:
>> Has anyone on the list read the first 50 pages of Asher's book since
>> the comments a week or so ago?

>No.... I ordered a copy, though, and it arrived yesterday :-)

** nice.
let us know what you think after the intro and background pages.

>> "A student can learn APSAI THS TRAPEZHS in day one."

> Shouldn't that be hAPSESQAI? There are evidently only 2 occurrences
of hAPTW infinitives in the NT, both middle deponent; the 3 imperatives I
find in the NT are also middle.... I say that realizing that "middle
deponent" is probably politically incorrect here on b-greek, but I'm
just speaking of the morphology.

** "APSAI" is how to tell someone 'touch!'. It is the imperative. And
yes, it is middle. It's my best guess as to what a person would say
to a two-year-old. You can also say "QIGE THS KEFALHS!" if you
want to. It is a synonym. I've chosen APSASQAI because its more
common in the GNT so I would assume that you will approve this

> I LOVE the idea of starting students, even my online students, with
comprehensible short sentences that they can internalize. But I resist
introducing sentences that don't closely follow biblical usage -- since
reading the Bible in Greek is THE reason my students sign up. Not to
mention the fact that I have to struggle to make up my own Greek
sentences, and following the Bible's usage closely is my safety-net.>

** So now are you happy with APSAI 'touch!' ? It is Greek, yea biblical
Greek, and is one way that a 1st century person would say to a child
'touch ...!' + GENIKH for the thing to touch.


** GRAPSAI is APAREMFATOS infinitive. The imperative is GRAPSON.
Sorry for the switch. Probably from rhyming while writing in English, but
understandable as Greek, too.

> Similarly, I resist using a Greek word (PLAX) that (as far as I can tell
in a quick search) is used in the Bible with only one referent - the
"tablets" on which were written the 10 commandments, and its
metaphorical extension in 2 Cor 3:3 -- for a mundane "tablet" (or
chalkboard?). I suppose PLAX is the best choice if one MUST speak
of a classroom object with no biblical word -- I realize there are no
chalkboards or flipcharts in the Bible -- but my students are keenly
motivated to understand what such words mean in Biblical context -- I
expect making up new meanings for them would be a de-motivator.>

** This illustrates a benefit from using a language. It becomes
recontextualized. You wouldn't want to overspiritualize words and limit
them to the meaning as found in the NT or LXX. We wouldn't do that
for English, just because a particular English word in found in the NT
with a limited usage. For example in first century Greek, with
PLAKS we find Josephus (War 5:239, cf 5:222 for gold plates, too)
describing the Antonia fortress with 'smooth PLAKSI' of stone, smooth
plates of stone. They didn't think that the word was limited to the ten

** It is becomes a 'win-win' situation because they will be able to
remember the Greek word when they encounter descriptions about
ten commandments. And they might even become inquisitive about
archaeology and what we know about ancient technology and
realia of daily life. And there isn't too much worry that people
will think that blackboards or whiteboards were all the rage 2000
or 3000 years ago.

** The question for me is whether a first century Greek would look
at one of our large writing boards and call it a PLAKS or a
PINAKS (or something else). A student needs both words
eventually. I've chosen PLAKS in the past because of wanting to
use PINAKS for platters and for personal writing sized tablets.
This can be a fun game for teachers preparing class materials.
It forces us to pretend that we have been time-transported to
the current world and must start describing what we see
in ancient Greek, first century. The process is the same or at
least similar to how we worked in Bible translation projects
where a language project needed to describe something
that was new in their culture while translating the Bible.
Most of the time there were generic ways of talking about
the new items with the old language.

>Other than these small quibbles,

** And maybe now they aren't even quibbles, but have become
supporting witnesses for the benefit of doing things this way.
After these examples some Greek texts may read a little
more directly and naturally. Hopefully, you will find that
this process might help make the language even more real
and more communicative, communicating as a 'mundane'
language system about both spiritual and mundane matters. In
the process you might feel that the language turns itself right-
side out, or is at least invigorating.

>Randall is preaching to the choir, as
far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately I'm a tone-deaf choir member with
laryngitis. I love the concept, but I've made extremely slow progress

** Well, maybe we can talk about you think a bit about what Asher

>> Why do this when none of the traditional textbooks are
>> designed this way?
>> Because students will learn faster.
>> They will remember and recall it longer. Because its
>> more efficient and its more fun.
>> Because it builds internalization.
>> It produces happier students.
>> And it's real challenging for a teacher, and teachers
>> love challenges.

Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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