[B-Greek] English translation – or what?

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Mon Jun 8 12:34:56 EDT 2009

On Jun 8, 2009, at 12:02 PM, George F Somsel wrote:

> I see that in the Suda we encounter good-ole "George the  
> Sinner."  :-)  I shouldn't think I'd have been known at that time.
> That was simply an aside, now oOn to the next paragraph.
> Conversation is something which requires more than one individual.   
> Somehow a classroom isn't overly conducive to such a practice.  It  
> is difficult enough to get students together outside of a classroom  
> situation on any regular basis to do something such as attempt to  
> converse in Greek.  One therefore ends up with solitary scholars  
> attempting to acquire a skill in a language which they've never  
> heard spoken.

Have you ever observed the Dartmouth-Rassias method at work in the  
modern college classroom? The method was originally developed to help  
kids quickly acquire conversational ability in the language of the  
country they're going to and to acquaint them as thoroughly as  
possible in the culture of the people. Where it's been employed in  
classrooms, it has revolutionized the teaching of modern languages. So  
why not an ancient language?

>   Even worse perhaps is when one is attempting to learn the language  
> on one's own using internet resources.  Then even the very limited  
> classroom experience is absent.  Perhaps that is what was meant when  
> some speak of it as a dead language which one cannot use  
> conversationally.  Of course it is POSSIBLE, but sometimes it simply  
> isn't practical for any particular individual.  Randall's efforts  
> show that it is possible, but not everyone has both the time and the  
> resources to be able to participate in such a program.
>  george
> gfsomsel
> … search for truth, hear truth,
> learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
> defend the truth till death.
> - Jan Hus
> _________
> ________________________________
> From: Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
> To: B-Greek <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Monday, June 8, 2009 5:44:07 AM
> Subject: [B-Greek] English translation – or what?
> One will very likely need to consult a
> lexicon when one encounters words that aren’t clear in their context
> or that one needs to learn more about in order to understand the
> context better. But that’s what we do when we’re reading material in
> our native language that deal with matters that go beyond our
> comfortable range of experience.  For Greek we happen to depend upon
> LSJ and BDAG, both of which offer definitions of Greek words in
> English. But I would call attention to something that surprised me
> when I studied Greek at the University of Munich many years ago: the
> ancient Greek lexicon being used by German students and scholars was
> LSJ! But, of course, educated German students and scholars read
> English as a matter of course. Moreover, we can readily conceive of a
> lexicon for Classical Greek or Koine Greek with definitions in Greek;
> such a lexicon will probably not be produced within my lifetime, but I
> suspect that it will be developed eventually. There’s a vast amount of
> material in the Suda (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suda and http://www.stoa.org/sol/)
> , the great Byzantine 10th-century lexicon and encyclopedia: guess
> what language it’ in! And it’s certainly true that when an advanced
> student or scholar comes to discuss a Greek text with others, either
> conversationally or in an internet forum such as B-Greek, then we
> almost always offer an English version of the text or of the key part
> of the text in order to demonstrate how we understand that text, what
> we believe that it is communicating. If we were conducting the
> discussion among French- or German-speakers, we’d offer a French or a
> German version. That doesn’t mean that the Greek text wasn’t first
> understood on its own terms, as a Greek text.
> Perhaps this message is superfluous, but when I read messages that
> seem to imply that, since Koine Greek is a dead language, it really
> isn’t possible to speak it  conversationally, or write it, or think in
> it, or that when we read an ancient Greek text of any considerable
> length, we must necessarily convert it, while we read, into an English
> equivalent, I can’t help but think that either I haven’t understood
> what others are saying, or they haven’t understood what I’ve been
> saying, or maybe neither of us has understood the other. I would hope
> that’s not really the case.
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
> B-Greek mailing list
> B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
> B-Greek mailing list
> B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek

More information about the B-Greek mailing list