I wanted to comment on some great resources for learning more Ancient Greek that I found but never got the change to write about and share as I try to learn some. I thought this would be a good time to share these with those interested in Ancient Greek :)
If you’re really serious about learning Ancient Greek, or Latin for that matter, the Latin/Greek Institute at Brooklyn College in NY offers a 10 week or so intensive course meant to cover two to three years worth of college courses in the language! It runs each summer, and while notorious for being extremely hard and time consuming, many participants felt rewarded by going there. I never went, unfortunately, but it sounds like a great resource for those who live nearby and can jump at the opportunity! I’d love to hear if anyone reading this went or knows someone who did! A description on their website says:
The Latin/Greek Institute offers total-immersion programs in Latin or Ancient Greek that enable students to master the material normally covered in two to three years in a single summer. Founded in 1973 as a collaborative effort between Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, the Institute is the most intensive summer language program of its kind. All programs are team-taught by experienced instructors. Hourly rotation of faculty provides for exposure to a variety of approaches, and faculty closely mentor and advise students. Our graduates typically return to their home institutions prepared to excel in advanced or upper-division reading courses and to pass graduate departmental translation exams.
An article written by someone who did go details his experience of the program- What I Learned About Myself While Learning To Translate Ancient Greek.
For those who don’t have the opportunity to travel all the way to NY and devote the entire summer to that “linguistic boot camp” as I would call it, some helpful videos explain much of Ancient Greek vocabulary, grammar and learning techniques:
This video demonstrates a learning technique called “Where are your keys?”. The object of the game is to learn through relating words to the objects and contexts and slowly working your way up to understanding more complex questions using what you learned before as the foundation. It is also complete immersion in the target language, no native language or other languages allowed. For example, in this video, the teacher introduces what each object is. As the videos progress on his YouTube channel, he asks questions such as if the object is what he says it is, and even negation is taught when the answer is not what he just said. repetition is used frequently so the concept of what he is trying to convey sinks in. This game emphasizes more “natural learning” as children do their first language, rather than memorization of complex grammar rules and tables. It also uniquely, uses some ASL for hand gestures to communicate some rules in the game, as to not break the total immersion bubble. You can learn a lot by following along to the game!
This video shows a different technique called “Total Physical Response”. Like WAYK (Where are your keys?), it emphasizes the more natural, intuitive learning children use to learn their native language versus complex grammar rules. The idea is similar to “Where are your keys?” in that you have to figure out what is being said to you, only this time, it’s much more “physical” hence the name where you move your body around to demonstrate verbs and a sequence of actions. Both can be used to teach many complex grammar concepts, in a more natural way versus a more artificial way like the traditional classroom set up of memorizing grammar rules or translating words using your native language as the middle man, so to speak. This too is also complete immersion in the target language. By watching the video, you can start to learn to associate the verbs used to command with the action, as well as the nouns featured in the commands.
This video shows a similar method to both WAYK (Where are your keys?) and TPR (Total Physical Response) where you answer questions in a story in the language. Same idea about immersion leading the way to language learning. The teacher can circle around by cycling back to details in the story by asking questions about them then asking multiple ways to drill the ideas and details from the story in your head. You can learn new grammar concepts by modifying the details in the simple story, such as making everything in the past tense, or adding plurals, or negating statements, for some examples.
The pros of these methods, are a more natural way to learn a language, cutting out the middle man of one’s own native language and artificial grammar rules to memorize. However, for me at least, using some more traditional methods helps speed things along when there’s confusion in the immersion environments. Sometimes, it’s good to know a general rule, so you can apply it to other situations beyond what is immediately being learned. You can gradually pick up on patterns learned the more “natural” way, but it is nice once in a while to be told straight up what the rule is! More abstract concepts, like the subjunctive for instance, can be harder to convey through acting out alone.
This video is helpful for beginners like me to learn the sounds of the alphabet! I like they give example words to see how the language sounds. Some videos are obvious they have an American or English accent versus a more native sounding one, but this one sounds more authentically Greek!
Sometimes, it’s good just to listen to how the language is supposed to sound like spoken, and not just read about:
This comes from the New Testament, and is read completely in Koine Greek… I love it’s in this cool cartoon form!
I love the way the reader reads it so smoothly! I found out he’s a native speaker of Modern Greek, so that must help a lot. Many videos people make sound very stilted in speaking Ancient Greek, so it’s rare to find it treated more like a living language.
Lastly just for fun :)