SBL 2018 – Popup Greek?

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.

Photo by Steven Gerner, Blue Bear at the Convention Center

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.

While I’m writing about SBL, I might as well make one more plug for Mike Aubrey’s presentation that will take place at 9:00 am on the same day as these: Compounding and Cognitive Processes in Word Formation with ὑδροποτέω and its relatives: Was anyone ever a “water drinker”?  I had a bit to say about this earlier, and Mike has written about it Koine-Greek.com as well.

Recommended Post: What to do when you must teach explicit grammar

The PatrologistSeumas 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.

You can find the post here.

Πόλις, a borrowed book

Polis: Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living LanguageToday I borrowed a copy of Πόλις, Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language from a friend. Obviously I haven’t completed reading it yet, but I’ve read enough to know that I can recommend it. The forward alone is worth the price of the book. It gives the best argument I have seen in print for beginning your study of Ancient Greek with the koine dialect. It also gives a very well written explanation for why learning koine Greek as a spoken language is the correct path to learning to read texts written in that language.

I’m ordering my own copy tonight!

Review of Living Koiné (Part One)

LivingKoineImageKevin Madden has written a helpful review of Randall Buth’s Living KoinéPart One. His review even has a video of the first lesson.

If you are interested in learning Biblical Greek, and you want to know how it sounded at the time of Jesus, you will probably enjoy these materials tremendously. Using drawings and audio, Buth employs a method commonly found in books on modern languages. It’s a great way to internalize the language!

A New Kind of Graded Reader: James Tauber's Work

Take a look at the following nine minute video by James Tauber to see a very innovative use of currently developing technology to support acquiring New Testament Greek. He posted this video to Youtube about two years ago. I hope significant progress has been made on the project since then.