[B-Greek] Polis: Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language PS

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Sun May 31 17:20:13 EDT 2009

besides all of my typos in the email I just sent,
I also found that the skits and dialogues in Christophe's
book have French translations provided
and the exercises have answers provided
between the grammar tables and the lexicon. This
will certainly help the student outside of class.


On Sun, May 31, 2009 at 11:59 PM, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com>wrote:

> shalom XAIROITE
> It is good to see people aware of Polis by Christophe Rico.
> I think that is a book that can encourage many Greek teachers
>  in doing a 'living language' approach to teaching Greek. The
> website has quite a few notes and articles. This is a happy day
> for Greek studies because it is another voice about the direction
> that the future must take.
> Throughout the book there are little skits of daily situations where
> students interact in Greek about their lives, first about Greek
> class and then in the larger world. I think this is especially useful
> for people to see how a language can be used for meaningful
> communication even in early stages. There are some NT texts
> woven into these chapters and some cute little drawings often
> illustrate a feature of the skit or story.
> One feature that I appreciate is that Christophe is not afraid to step
> out of the bounds of antiquity. He has coined τηλεφωνον
> THLEFWNON for telephone and applied Homer's ωκυπορος
> WKYPOROS 'swiftboat'
> to a train, similarly to Wilson's application of ωκυπορος
> υογοητικη WKYPOROS YOGOHTIKH to the Hogwart's Express
> in his ancient greek Harry Potter. Wilson, though used
> αμαξοστοιχεια AMAKSOSTOITEIA 'carriage line' for train. whether
> done in class for fun and comic relief or outside of class, items
> like this are inevitiable when a language is transported into a
> new culture. (It still happens today when an Amazonian or
> Phillipine tribal language 'comes out of the jungle'.
> So how does one use the book? For that I am not the best person
> to ask since I haven't used it or seen it in use. My impression is
> that is is not for self-teaching but is limited for use with a teacher.
> throughout the lessons in the book, the material is listed in Greek
> without translation and much vocabulary is obviously intended to
> be introduced in class by the teacher. there are many written
> exercises that may help a student absorb/practice a grammar
> point introduced in the lesson. A lexicon is given in the back
> of the book with an estimated 600 entries. these are not defined by
> have an example sentence provided in Greek with a French
> translation. A second caveat is that this book is not considered to
> be complete. Christophe intends to produce more materials.
> Of course, it becomes easier and easier to stay in Greek the
> farther along a student gets. while a student will need help getting
> started, by the end of the book a student should have become
> accustomed to working in Greek. The grammar terms are in
> Greek, though these have a lexicon in an appendix with french
> translation. They are mostly identical to what I use and we have
> discussed the advantage of getting together and trying to unify
> usage where we can. E.g., we both have GENIKH DOTIKH and
> AITIATIKH, though Christophe uses EYQEIA where I use ORQH.
> And neither of us chose the other option ONOMASTIKH for
> nominative, even though the last term was chosen by Western
> Europe for the Latin to French/English trajectory. Christophe
> does not have a term for 'aspect', where I stick my neck out and
> Greek values for what was somewhat an underdefined category
> in antiquity.) When we get a chance we can also discuss word
> choices like Rico's SIKERA as 'cidre' (from MHLWN apples).
> SIKERA is a transliteration of Hebrew shexar, which was most
> probably good ol barley juice beverage (beer). SIKERA is in the
> NT (often mistranslated), though the common Greek word for
> beer was ZYQOS ζυθος. These are words students need to know if
> they are going to use the language.
> The book does come with a nice CD and about an hour of
> recordings. These will be very helpful to a student but the
> limited length also shows the need of having a class for
> implementing the book. There are several student voices
> acting out the scripts with engaging voices along with
> Christophe in the role of the teacher's voice. Pronunciation is
> Erasmian. Christophe defends this decision in print as allowing
> the pronunciation to follow a more fully differentiated spelling.
> Historically, it can be justified from the time of Alexander and
> the beginning of the Koine (3cBCE). Privately, he admits that
> 'Living Koine' is a much closer fit to the first century but with so
> many years with one pronunciation he is not considering
> changing. And Christophe cannot use his pronunciation in
> Greece.
> For those interested, we can speak to each other in Greek
> and understand the different pronunciations. Learning to
> speak is more important that dialect. However, one should
> note that the pronunciation chosen will likely end up staying
> with the student if practiced for years. Christophe has also
> acknowledged the 1st century Koine pronunciation by having
> Jordash, one of BLC's Greek teachers read John 1:1-5 for
> a sample on the CD.
> It is wonderful finally seeing this in print and Lord willing it will
> be followed by more volumes.
> I would recommend this book highly for anyone on the list
> teaching Greek.
> And of course, the subliminal message is that we need to
> set the bar where student and teacher and communicate in
> the language. that wasn't very subtle, was it?
> On Sun, May 31, 2009 at 1:09 PM, Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com> wrote:
>> On May 30, 2009, at 9:43 PM, Louis Sorenson wrote:
>>> Does anyone have an in on the forthcoming book (September 2009), Polis,
>>> Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language. ? What language leaning methods
>>> does this book use? (-- I have not had time to fully evaluate the site's
>>> 'THE POLIS METHOD').  The method is described on the web page.  How does
>>> this differ from Dr. Buth's method?  Is this the beginning of more than one
>>> text using living language methods?
>> In fact there's quite a bit of information available at the web-site:
>> http://poliskoine.com/site/
>> Evidently it's a method developed by Christopher Rico at the École
>> Biblique in Jerusalem and being taught at the University of Santa Croce in
>> Rome. Randall must surely know something about this -- and I wonder whether
>> Bill Mounce hasn't had some awareness of it.
>> Carl W. Conrad
>> Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
> --
> Randall Buth, PhD
> www.biblicalulpan.org
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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

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