[B-Greek] Language learning Methodology (was Translating Participles)

John Sanders john.franklin.sanders at gmail.com
Thu Nov 20 00:01:34 EST 2008


I fear you misunderstand the language learning concept that Dr. Buth is
advocating.  The method he is advocating is in line with current language
learning theory and is not restricted or monopolized by a six week intensive
language camp.  What is missing is adequate learning material (both printed
material and audio or visual texts to work with).  Dr. Buth has some
material available.  I have not yet availed myself of those items (I,
instead, followed the advice of yourself and Dr. Conrad and procured other
items).  But looking at the samples on his web page, I suspect they are very
useful in acquiring the skills aimed for.

Even if you only have 15 or 20 minutes a day, it is a more effective means
of acquiring the language skill than the system usually taught for Greek.  Let
me give you an example, not from Greek, unfortunately.  When my wife was
teaching Japanese for the University of Washington, a student came to her
(he had not was not taking any courses in Japanese) and asked if she would
help tutor him.  He had previously bought a cassette tape edition of, I
suspect, a Berlitz program.  He played the tapes, not just till he
intellectually understood the concept, but played them over and over and
over, till he wore out the tapes themselves.  My wife told me he was already
"fluent", that he only needed to increase his vocabulary (through
conversational settings).  When he went to Japan he was fluent by any usual
understanding of the term.

The six week language camps do not create fluency themselves, but they
accelerate the process.  Let me give you another example, also unfortunately
not from Greek.  My daughter took a six or eight week immersion course in
Japanese.  She was the top of her class, she was confident.  When she
arrived in Japan, she was humbled.  But in less than a year she was fluent.
Do not think that living in a foreign country is immersion.  Most of the
language is just background noise.  It is not till you become fluent enough
to understand that background noise does it start to re-enforce your
language skills.  What the six week camp will do is accelerate your skill
set to about a year and half in a regular school setting.  If you are in the
country where that language is spoken, and you are able to engage in that
language one hour a day, coupled with six week immersion camp, you may gain
fluency within six months to one year.

Concerning the methodology itself:  if x percent gain a certain level of
fluency in the system now generally in place, then using the method Dr. Buth
is advocating will increase that percentage to several multiples of x

original posting:

Randall will, of course, tell you that the object is not translation (and it
isn't the object); but there are relatively few who can take the time off
from other pursuits and spend the money to fly off to attend an immersion
course in the language.? Most of us will be exposed to the language?one hour
per day for a maximum of five days per week (and more likely for?three?days
per week).? Copious reading is the key to gaining a feeling for what is
going on in the language.? In the beginning man created a translation.? And
he?saw the translation and said, "This sucks !"? So he read some more and
tried again.? As he read his facility improved.? This continued for 70 years
(well, perhaps less).??And, at the end of the 70 years, he said "hEURHKA!? I
have begun to understand this."

Thomas is correct.? What the participle posits is a relationship between the
activities mentioned.? What words you use to indicate this relationship may
change depending upon what you consider that relationship to be.? Is it
temporal "he did X then he did Y"?? Is it indicating a concurrent event
"While doing X he did Y"?? You need to develop a feel for this.? Language is
not simply the plugging in of exchangeable parts.? You don't exchange part A
for part X and part B for part Y in each and every case.? A grammar can
provide some guidelines to get you started, but the grammar is not the final



John Sanders
Suzhou, China

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