While the Sara B. Aleshire Center is focused primarily on encouraging and supporting the research of UC Berkeley faculty and graduate students, it provides resources that are of significant value for anyone studying ancient Greek inscriptions, including images of the inscriptions in their possession.
Once again this November, Jonathan Robie and I will present an update on the work we are doing to create free materials for teaching Hellenistic Greek as a living language.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. There will be plenty to do and a lot of great papers. Our presentation will take place at 1:00 pm. We have the first slot in the session, Innovative Approaches to Teaching Biblical Languages, joint session by Global Education & Research Technology and Academic Teaching & Biblical Studies.
Here is an abstract like the one that will appear in the program book:
Teachers increasingly recognize the importance of teaching biblical Greek using the same kind of effective techniques used to teach modern languages in schools and universities. These techniques focus on carefully designed learning activities that require the student to think in the target language in order to respond appropriately.
There are now several university level courses that take this approach to teaching Greek, but we believe that there is a real need for a course that (1) can be taught by anyone with a solid reading knowledge of Greek (using the teacher’s notes and recordings we provide), (2) concentrates on texts drawn from the New Testament, and (3) is freely available. For those who do not have access to a teacher, we believe that it is also important to be able to learn online.
The course we are developing works through New Testament texts using pictures, TPR, and asking and answering questions in Greek. Each lesson has (1) a content objective focused an authentic Greek text and (2) a language objective expressing the skill to be mastered.
Linguistic terms are taught after students have experienced the construct they describe. Before introducing a term like “1st person singular,” we expose students to the word ἐγώ and verb forms that correspond to it. Before introducing terms like “nominative, genitive, dative, accusative,” we teach how to ask and answer questions using the forms τίς, τίνος, τίνι, τίνα. Before introducing terms like “circumstantial participle,” we act out scenarios that illustrate the relationship between two verbs.
In keeping with the philosophy of this course, our presentation will focus on presenting sample teaching activities live rather than talking about them, followed by discussion of the specific content or language objective and why we teach it the way we do.
Join us for a lively discussion.
In the same session several other topics will be discussed, all related to teaching biblical languages.
I look forward to hearing Mike Aubrey’s SBL paper, “Compounding and Cognitive Processes in Word Formation with ὑδροποτέω and its relatives.”
It is often the case that compound words mean something more than or other than the combined meanings of the two words in the compound. This is apparently the case with ὑδροποτέω. The usage of the word shows that it means something different from simply ὕδωρ plus ποτέω.
You can read the abstract of Dr. Aubrey’s paper here. He will present it in the Cognitive Linguistics and Biblical Interpretation Section at the national meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Denver, Colorado in late November.
Seumas Macdonald has posted a great discussion of a problem facing many who are using communicative methods to teach Ancient Greek in institutions that require students to know the traditional metalanguage for talking about Greek rather than simply speaking Greek. I highly recommend it.
I have added a few lines of behind-the-scenes code to the online grammar (HellenisticGreek.com) to force all pages to load securely (https rather than http). The site has been available on a secure server for some time now, but with these changes it will be impossible to load any pages insecurely.
I have found far more of these for Classical Greek than Hellenistic Greek. If you are aware of any good Hellenistic (Koine) readers that are available for download, please let me know and I will add them. You can contact me through the Contact page.
For a few days, HellenisticGreek.com may show up in your browser as insecure. But that problem will resolve itself in a few days when the domain name registration is finished migrating to a new provider. Since there are no transactions to be completed on the site anyway, it will not be a problem.
What is particularly outstanding about the site is that it is based on the work of many people committed to open resources. For morphological tagging, for example, he uses James Tauber’s MorphGNT. The Greek text is the SBLGNT (not completely open source, but open enough to allow what LaParola is doing with it). And Wilson has also provided access to Westcott and Hort (1881) and Tischendorf (8th edition; 1869-1872) drawing on open source materials, and he has even made it possible to embed these materials in other websites.
In Teaching with Tech 2016: Language Educators Talking Tech, Paul Nitz has recently published an article arguing for using digital flashcards in teaching Ancient Greek even when using a communicative approach. This is something of an unusual proposal, but Dr. Nitz accompanies it with compelling arguments. In particular, he recognizes the differences between modern language teaching where immersion in the language is possible and extremely useful, and ancient language classes where the same level of immersion in the language is simply not a reasonable possibility.
You can read Paul’s article online at SmashWords.com. I’d love to hear what you think.
Thanks to Sententia Antiquae for the snow-related vocabulary. What an appropriate post for our current situation! We don’t have a lot of snow here in Chapel Hill, but it’s enough to make minor roads dangerous, causing local schools to be closed for the day.