Saturday, May 11, 2013

Appetitive: Greek Paedegogy

The other day, I was at a book shop and I ran into the new edition of Mastronarde's Greek textbook, Introduction to Attic Greek. It's a very pretty book and it made me think about Greek textbooks. I've been reviewing my Greek grammar in preparation for starting grad school in the fall and I've been thinking about what introductory textbook I would use if I were teaching a introductory Greek course.

Although I know that Hansen & Quinn is the standard,I just don't find it particularly user-friendly. In the early chapters, the sentences are insipid and repetitive. Also, it seems severely front-loaded with forms (chapters 1-5 force almost all of the verb forms upon students, while units 6-11 slow down the pace, and then chapter 12 and 13 try to teach all of the irregular verb patterns). While it's a great text for review, I can't imagine it being much fun for someone starting out with Greek. However, I learned with Athenaze, which, while being fun, was a complete disaster for anyone trying to learn the language.

Egnatius learned with Reading Greek, which I've taken a look at a couple of times. While I like the idea of starting students off with large reading passages, there are some serious issues with the book (such as that it teaches only 5 principle parts-- which I think makes life more difficult than it has to be).

Egnatius left a number of books here because he's coming back for graduate school in the fall. One of them of his copy of the Teach Yourself Guides' Complete Ancient Greek. For the last few days I've been looking it over and I've found it really enjoyable. It's nice for a few reasons. First, it seems that it allots the amount of grammar that it teaches in each chapter pretty evenly so it doesn't feel like an overload at any point. The exercises are fun and interesting. Furthermore, the book is half the price or less than any of the other textbooks on the market. However, there are a few strange things. The explanation of contract verbs is too rushed and would be very problematic for anyone who hasn't learned Greek already (Betts 40-41). I think that this is a problem of the Teach Yourself series in general (I found a similar problem with verb explanations in Complete Sanskrit). However, a teacher might be able to remedy this. There are also one or two of the grammatical explanations that bothered me. I will probably be putting those up on the blog over the next few days.

Anyone have a favorite Greek textbook?

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