[B-Greek] Try something (was Is this a good way to give students 'translation' lessons?

Mitch Larramore mitchlarramore at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 7 12:26:28 EDT 2009


The most advanced Greek scholars in the world would be significantly slowed down in their reading of some random, obscure ancient Greek text. I think this method (Decker's) works EQUALLY for beginners as it would for scholars. The difference is that they are applying it to different texts. For example, if a Greek scholar comes across a word/phrase/idiom that he's never seen before, he has to look up the word in a lexicon, which defines words in his native language. Granted, he will be able to see more nuances than a non-scholar, but he is still thinking in English.

Also regarding the use of English when reading or translating Greek, non-native Greek speakers don't "read or think" in Greek; they think in English. They may be able to entertain more thoughts at a faster pace than others, but their thinking in English. Even modern Greek readers of ancient Greek are not thinking in ancient Greek, but in modern Greek. Many people seem to get upset with Dr. Dan Wallace's GGBB because he has so many categories and sub-categories of, for example, Genitives. He is simply presenting in English the thought process that non-native Greek speakers have to go through, even scholars, when thinking through the possible nuances of a Genitive.

That's why the non-native Greek scholars (whose native language is English, of course) on this web page discuss the issues in English, not in Greek. I suspect that the top Greek scholars in the world could write a paragraph in Greek, but it would take about 100 times longer than to write it out in English.

Thanks for interacting with this topic.

Mitch Larramore
Sugar Land, Texas

--- On Sun, 6/7/09, Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek]  Try something (was Is this a good way to give students 'translation' lessons?
> To: "B Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>, "Mitch Larramore" <mitchlarramore at yahoo.com>
> Date: Sunday, June 7, 2009, 10:32 AM
> Mitch wrote:
> <Why couldn't this work for advanced
> Greek??>
> I would not rule out any method.  My attitude
> towards learning
> Greek is similar to FDR's attitude towards
> fighting the Great
> Depression.  "Try something," he
> said.  "Try anything."  But,
> Mitch, you ask this question at a bad time. 
> There has been
> much discussion lately about how important it is to
> English, and any method for advanced students which
> uses
> English will be viewed by some as a step
> backwards,   I 
> understand the  Greek only immersion
> viewpoint, but I think for learning Greek a little
> English is not
> always a dangerous thing.  The question about
> Decker's method
> applied to advanced learners is not whether is uses
> too much English,
> but is whether it works or not.  The only way to
> determine this is to
> try it.  So I give below a few examples of how
> this method might (or might
> not) work.  I chose four passages in the NT which
> gave me problems over
> the years, the first two because of vocab, the second
> two because of
> syntax:
> Acts 27:41:
> And
> falling into a place of two seas,
>  they ἐπέκειλαν the ship.  One the one hand,
>  the bow, ἐρείσασα,  remained unmoved, but
>  on the other hand, the stern was loosed
> by
>  the force of the waves., 
> Mt.
> 21:24: καὶ ὁ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὸν λίθον
> τοῦτον
>  will not be dashed to pieces, and on
> whomever
>  the stone falls, λικμήσει him.]
> 2 Pet 1:3:
> Because
> his divine power has
>  us granted all the things πρὸς ζωὴν
> καὶ 
> εὐσέβειαν 
> through the ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ
> καλέσαντος us through his own glory
> and
>  virtue, 4
> through whom he granted τὰ τίμια
>  καὶ μέγιστα 
> ἐπαγγέλματα to us, so that
> through
>  these things γένησθε θείας
> κοινωνοὶ φύσεως 
> fleeing τῆς ἐν τῷ κόσμω ἐν
> ἐπιθυμίᾳ φθορᾶς 
> Col
> 2:23:  Which things, on the one
> hand,
>  have the semblance of σοφίας ἐν
> ἐθελοθρησκίᾳ
>  καὶ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ [καὶ]
> in the unsparing treatment
>  of the 
> σώματος, but on the other hand have  no
>  value against the πλησμονην of the desires of
> τῆς 
> σαρκός.
> I guarantee that these same passages will cause
> problems maybe
> not for the advanced student, but for the intermediate
> student.  Will
> this method help?  I don't know.  I
> doubt it would hurt.  My sense is
> that for a tricky verb like EREIDW, which occurs only
> once in the NT,
> but for some reason has given me just as much
> trouble in Homer, where
> it is fairly common, reading it embedded in some
> English cannot help but
> fix it more firmly in ones mind.  Don't get
> me wrong, I'm not enthusiastic
> about the method, and I kind of think Decker himself
> might be horrified
> at me (or Mitch) suggesting it could be used for
> anyone other than
> beginners.  PLHN PEIRW TI. πλην πειρω
> τι.  Try anything.
> Mark L. 
> --- On Tue, 6/2/09, Mitch Larramore
> <mitchlarramore at yahoo.com> wrote:
> From: Mitch Larramore <mitchlarramore at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [B-Greek] Is this a good way to give students
> 'translation' lessons?
> To: "B Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 5:45 AM
> Hope this hasn't been discussed recently. If so, please
> forgive me.
> This is an alternative way of teaching Greek that allows
> for actual NT examples and shows how the words function.
> [Taken from Dr. Decker's blog.] Why couldn't this
> work for advanced Greek??
> I think the examples alone are self-explanatory...
> Mark 3:28, Ἀμὴν I say to you ὅτι everything it
> will be forgiven τοῖς υἱοῖς τῶν
> ἀνθρώπων.
> Mark 6:13, He cast out many δαιμόνια καὶ
> anointed many ἀρρώστους ἐλαίῳ.
> John 1:28, Behold ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ who
> takes away τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ
> κόσμου.
> John 1:51, You will see τὸν οὐρανὸν opened
> καὶ τοὺς ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ.
> Rom 1:18, ὀργὴ θεοῦ is revealed.
> Rom 2:13, οἱ ἀκροαταὶ νόμου will not be
> justified, but
>  οἱ ποιηταὶ νόμου.
> Mitch Larramore
> Sugar Land, Texas
> ---
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