[B-Greek] Introductory Grammar Suggestions

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Tue Aug 17 13:47:36 EDT 2010

On Aug 17, 2010, at 9:44 AM, Tony Lester wrote:

> I plan to begin studying ancient Greek in the coming weeks.  Initially it will be a self-study.  However, fall 2011 I hope to begin a formal classroom education.
> So far I've browsed the web in search of a beginning grammar.  Dr. Mounce's text seems quite popular, but I had hoped to begin with classical Attic and move on to koine from there.
> I've found four grammars that I'd like some input on:
> _Athenaze_ by Balme and Lawall
> _Greek: An Intensive Course_ by Hansen & Quinn
> _Introduction to Attic Greek_ by Mastronarde
> _Learning Greek with Plato_ by Frank Beetham?

It should be noted that all of the above are primers of Attic, NOT NT Koine, Greek. But even if NT Koine is what you're interested in, it will not hurt you at all to get a good grounding in Attic Greek first. Other list-members will dispute that, but I firmly believe it. In fact, you may expect to find a wide range of judgment regarding these textbooks among B-Greekers.

I don't know the Frank Beetham book, but I see a description of it at:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1904675565/ref=sc_vs__Learning_2520Greek_2520w (I'm not trying to sell this book; I cite the URL because it gives the publication data as well as some reviews of the work.

Mastronarde's is a standard grammar/translation college-level course and there's a web-site associated with it that has plenty of helpful resources at:

Hansen & Quinn is an intensive course originally intended for the eight-week-5-days-a-week course offered at CUNY and UC-Berkeley. For a traditional course, I've always thought this was excellent and thorough. Hardy Hansen still has up some very fine materials for a Greek prose composition course that was offered several years ago (maybe still is?) at:

Balme and Lawall, _Athenaze_ is a pretty good course aimed at developing reading skills rather than a traditional grammar/translation text. It's always seemed to me aimed at the high-school or prep school level. Similar to it, but, in my opinion, more sophisticated is:

Reading Greek (JACT course)
The basic course has two parts: (1) Text and Vocabulary, (2) Reading and Exercises. There's also available an Independentn Study Guide to Reading Greek, and several other resources are also listed on that same page.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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