[B-Greek] Decker on why to learn Greek

Patrick Narkinsky patrick at narkinsky.com
Thu Apr 8 22:36:14 EDT 2010


On Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 6:25 PM, Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>wrote:

> Excellent post, Patrick.
>
> I agree with your points #1 and #5 and everything in between.
>  <I really am much more interested in developing
> fluency than in developing analytic skills.>
>
> What do you think is the best way to develop fluency?
>
> If you are a "little Greek," I say, less is more.
>
> Mark L
>

I can say less about what does work (for me) than what does not work (for
me.)  A few things that I know don't work:

First, focusing on the New Testament to the exclusion of the larger world of
Koine doesn't work for me. I think that to develop fluency you've got to
develop a feel for the contextual meaning of words, and the New Testament
just isn't big enough for that to happen, especially when so many of the
most significant words are of less frequency.

Second, and on a related note, I think that the emphasis on reading the NT
is an obstacle in the materials available.  I learned Koine from Mounce, and
realized sometime thereafter that after thoroughly covering Mounce, I
literally couldn't say "Goodbye" in Koine Greek!  Nor could I count to ten!
 I guess the information was in there, but it wasn't emphasized and I didn't
get it.  When such basic information is missing, (albeit because it's not a
big part of the New Testament) there's never a chance of learning to "think"
in the language, even to a small degree.

Third, I think that memorizing paradigms and "rules" is of ... well, less
value.  So far, I really like the approach taken by Funk, so far as I
understand it.  It makes more sense to me to say that a final ω (W) means "I
do X" than to put it in the context of a paradigm.  I realize this is a fine
distinction, but I think it's a vital one: in paradigm's, the emphasis is on
the paradigm; here, the emphasis is on the words.

Fourth, I think there need to be more examples.  Right now, most workbooks
include only a few examples of a new form or vocabular word.  I think the
number needs to be more like 10. I'm actually working in my "spare" time
(i.e. 5 minutes a week) on some software to ease the generation of examples,
in an automated fashion.

Fifth, I really wonder whether the deemphasizing of composition isn't a big
mistake.  Further deponent sayeth naught, since I've never gotten the
courage to try it.

Sixth, I'm just going to say that ever since I learned the modern
pronunciation, I can't abide the Erasmian pronunciation.  It seems to me to
destroy euphony. If the goal is fluency, why would you use a pronunciation
that is designed for analysis?

Seventh, and finally, read, read, read.  I think that the biggest mistake
most who have studied Greek make (and therefore lose their Greek) is not
using their Greek *every day*.

Thanks for the kind comments Mark, and I hope I rolled sixes again.

Patrick

--
Patrick Narkinsky
patrick at narkinsky.com

"Let things true be preferred to things false, things eternal to things
momentary, things useful to things agreeable."

Lucius Caelius Lactantius



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