First Lesson from Πόλις: Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language

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Yesterday I recommended Christophe Rico’s book, Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language. I thought some of you might like to see the method in action. Here’s a video of the first lesson.

γραφὴ ζῶσα Living Language in the Written Word

ΓραφὴΖῶσαICON3x2andahalfI’m looking forward to tomorrow (November 19, 2016)! Jonathan Robie and I will present our ongoing work on the communicative Koine Greek course, γραφὴ ζῶσα. Our presentation will take place at the 1:00 pm session of the Global Education and Research Technology section of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).

We will demonstrate the results of combining technology with best practices in second language instruction, where even an ancient language can become a living language for those acquiring it.

We are in San Antonio, TX with a very large number of Biblical Scholars, but our presentation will attract mainly Linguists, Greek Teachers, Software Engineers, and Open Data Geeks. The American Academy of Religion (AAR) is also meeting here. The SBL and the AAR have jointly coordinated their national meetings for many years.

We would love to see you at 1:00 in room 209 of the Convention Center.

γραφὴ ζῶσα

Γραφὴ Ζῶσα ICON 3 x 2-and-a-half inchesOn November 19 in the 1:00 pm session of the Global Education and Research Technology section of the Society of Biblical Literature meeting in San Antonio, Jonathan Robie and I will present our ongoing work on a communicative Koine Greek course. I would love to see you there.

Here is the abstract of our talk.

Γραφὴ ζῶσα is a freely licensed communicative Koine Greek course centered on the text of the New Testament. It is currently in early stages. In this talk, we will present sample lessons as they would be used in a classroom or online, discussing how they are developed and presented, and the adaptations required for online presentation.

We believe that the main goal of language acquisition should be comprehension rather than translation, and that the main focus for biblical Greek should be the text of the New Testament and the Septuagint. Therefore, we are designing a communicative language course that revolves around biblical texts, asking and answering questions about these texts in Greek both orally and in writing, using approaches commonly used in ESL and SSL classes to make the texts accessible to students.

We believe that there are many people who want to learn Greek but have no teacher, and many people who have learned at least basic Greek but have no experience with communicative approaches and cannot themselves produce the materials they would need to teach a class. Therefore, we focus on producing materials that can be used to teach others communicatively, in the hope that former students will dust off their Greek, teach others, and form small learning communities who can teach and learn from each other. These materials include teacher workbooks and student workbooks, videos for teachers who want to learn how to teach a class, and videos for students who do not have access to a teacher.

We believe that systematic instruction is important, tracking vocabulary and grammatical structures to ensure that we teach the things that a student needs to learn. We also believe that text-based instruction reveals the importance of teaching some things not typically taught in introductory courses, but common in the texts that we read. The ability to generate large numbers of examples that illustrate specific concepts by querying syntactic treebanks and other sources is crucial to our approach, ensuring that we can provide adequate practice using authentic ancient texts.

Join us in San Antonio, TX for a lively discussion of this approach. If you plan on attending, but are not yet registered for the SBL conference, click here.

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!

Καλά Χριστούγεννα 2015

I wish you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas.

Seeing the flow of traffic that comes in to this blog every year on Christmas Eve is a beautiful experience for me. I appreciate your visit, whether you come to learn about Greek or Greek Linguistics, or even if this is the only time you have ever come to the Greek Language and Linguistics Blog and you just wanted to learn how to say Merry Christmas in Greek (You can get that here).

Peace and joy to you all.

Nativity, by Jeff Weese, Creative Commons
Nativity, by Jeff Weese, Attribution 2.0 Generic Liscense


ἡ ἡμέρα τῶν εὐχαριστιῶν καὶ ἡ χριστούγεννα

Merry Christmas in Greek: καλὰ χριστούγεννα

ChristmasTree2015SmallNow that ἡ ἡμέρα τῶν εὐχαριστιῶν has come and gone, it’s time to say καλὰ χριστούγεννα (Merry Christmas).

To see how that phrase would have been pronounced soon after Christians began to celebrate Christmas and how it is pronounced today in Greece, see this earlier post.

May you all find joy and a renewal of hope for bright days ahead. καλὰ χριστούγεννα πᾶσιν ὑμῖν.

SBL Presentation Including a Greek Lesson in Greek: Mark 14:22

SBL Atlanta from the OmniThe presentation that Jonathan Robie and I gave at SBL this past Sunday was well received, and discussion afterward was productive.

Our talk began with a brief discussion of language acquisition theory and it’s practical implementation, then Jonathan gave a brief introduction to the ways we are using queryable databases to support the development of Greek lessons using a communicative approach. In the last ten minutes of our talk I presented a brief Greek lesson taught in Hellenistic Greek.

Here is the plan for that lesson:

Mini-Lesson on Mark 14:22

bread-wholeBuild Background

  • Place a whole loaf of bread in front of the students (not sliced bread).
  • Point to the bread and say: ἄρτος. ἄρτος ἐστίν.
  • Ask, τὶ ἐστιν;
  • Allow two or three students to answer, then say ναί. ἄρτος ἐστίν.
  • Pick up the loaf of bread. Say, κλῶ τὸν ἄρτον and break the bread.
  • Ask, τί ἐποίησα;
  • Allow two or three students to answer, then say ναί. ἔκλασα τὸν ἄρτον.
    As you say ἔκλασα, place your hands against your chest. As you say τὸν ἄρτον point to the bread. Repeat this sequence, but as you say ἔκλασα this time, place your hands against your chest, then mime breaking the bread.
  • Take one half of the bread in each hand as you say, λαμβάνω τὸν ἄρτον.
  • Ask, τί ἐποίησα;
  • Allow one or two students to answer, then say, ναί. ἔλαβον τὸν ἄρτον.
  • Lift the bread high and look toward heaven as you say, εὐλογῶ τὸν θεόν.
  • Ask, τί ἐποίησα;
  • Allow two or three students to answer, then say ναί. εὐλόγησα τὸν θεόν. As you say εὐλόγησα raise your hands toward heaven.
  • Break off a piece of the bread, say ἐσθίω τὸν ἄρτον, then eat it.
  • Ask, τί ἐποίησα;
  • Allow one or two students to answer, then say ναί. ἔφαγον τὸν ἄρτον. νῦν ἐσθίω τὸν ἄρτον. Break off another piece of bread and eat it.
  • Break the bread into enough pieces for your students, hand each one a piece as you say δίδωμί σοι ἄρτον. Retain one piece of bread for yourself.
  • Ask, τί ἐποίησα;
  • Allow one or two to answer, then say, ναί. ἔδωκα ὑμῖν ἄρτον.
  • Say ἐσθίετε τὸν ἄρτον. Eat the piece you reserved for yourself.

It should not be necessary to teach εἶπεν· λάβετε, τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου. It is highly likely that your students will deduce the meaning of this statement from the context of this story plus their own contextual experience in the church. If you have students who lack that experience, however, you may need to add a section dealing with this last sentence.

Read Mark 14:22 

Pick up a copy of the Greek New Testament and say, ἀναγινωσκῶμεν τὸν εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μάρκον.

Read the text slowly, using gestures to reinforce the connection with the background exercise above.

Mark 14:22 Καὶ ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν λαβὼν ἄρτον εὐλογήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς καὶ εἶπεν· λάβετε, τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.

Assess Understanding of the Text (Identify Student Success)

Ask each of the following questions orally. Possible answers are given in parentheses.

  1. τί ἐποίουν οἱ μαθηταὶ ἐν τῷ λάβειν Ἰησοῦν τὸν ἄρτον;
    (ἤσθιον)
  2. τί ἐποίησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ ἄρτῳ;
    (ἔκλασεν τὸν ἄρτον, εὐλόγησεν τὸν θεόν, ἔδωκεν τὸν ἄρτον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ)
  3. τί ἐποίησεν πρῶτον ὁ Ἰησοῦς; Hold up your index finger as you say πρῶτον.
    (ἔκλασεν τὸν ἄρτον)
  4. τί ἐποίησεν δεύτερον; Hold up two fingers as you say δεύτερον.
    (εὐλόγησεν τὸν θεόν)
  5. τί ἐποίησεν ἔσχατον ὁ Ἰησοῦς;
    (ἔδωκεν τὸν ἄρτον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ)
  6. τί εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ;
    (λάβετε, τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.)

Hand out copies of what is printed below the horizontal line below, and say, γράψαντες ἀποκρίθητε ἕκαστον ἐρώτημα.


Comprehension Questions on Mark 14:22

Mark 14:22 Καὶ ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν λαβὼν ἄρτον εὐλογήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς καὶ εἶπεν· λάβετε, τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.

Γράψας ἀποκρίθητι ἕκαστον ἐρώτημα.

  1. τί ἐποίουν τοὺς μαθητὰς ἐν τῷ λάβειν Ἰησοῦν τὸν ἄρτον;
  2. τί ἐποίησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ ἄρτῳ;
  3. τί ἐποίησεν πρῶτον ὁ Ἰησοῦς;
  4. τί ἐποίησεν δεύτερον ὁ Ἰησοῦς;
  5. τί ἐποίησεν ἔσχατον ὁ Ἰησοῦς;
  6. τί εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ;

 

As the students write answers to these questions, circulate among them offering support. This exercise should NOT be used as a test. It is a learning exercise. Give students advice on how to improve their responses. Make sure your comments do not sound judgmental, but also do not offer false praise when students’ writing is poor. Your comments should be supportive while pushing students to do better.


If you have any comments on this lesson, feel free to post them. If you were at SBL in the session where this was presented, I’d love to hear your feedback on that as well.

Teaching Ancient Greek in Ancient Greek (SBL 2015)

Almost a year ago Jonathan Robie and I did a presentation at SBL on the use of XML for structuring databases for the Greek text of the New Testament. Since that time we have been discussing the ways our work can support the creation of materials for teaching Ancient Greek using what has come to be called the Communicative Method.

We will be presenting again this year, but this time in a session dedicated to computer assisted language acquisition. Our talk will be on Sunday afternoon (11/22/2015) in Atlanta in session S22-206, Applied Linguistics for Biblical Languages; Global Education and Research Technology. The theme of that session will be Computer-Aided Language Acquisition for Greek and Hebrew

A part of what we will do is present a brief lesson snippet illustrating the method we recommend. In preparation for this I recently wrote a lesson using the Greek text of Matthew 2:12-13 based on methods that I regularly use for teaching both English and Spanish.

I have decided to post that lesson both here and on the b-Greek forum.

I would love to hear suggestions for improvement. As I receive suggestions either here or on b-Greek, I am making the necessary changes in the text below. Notations about these changes are entered in gray text.

THE LESSON PLAN:

Objective: Students will demonstrate comprehension of a short text with multiple participles responding orally and in writing to comprehension questions.

I. Build Background Knowledge/Access Prior Knowledge:

Use this section to prepare the students for reading Matthew 2:12-13.

A. Teach χρηματίζω

Preparation: Place a cardboard box labeled “ἐπικίνδυνος/dangerous/peligroso” in front of the students.  BoxSmallImage

Stand near the box.

  • If you only have one student, say:

Μὴ ἅψαι τοῦ κιβωτίου. Χρηματίζω σοι, μὴ ἅψασθαι ἐκείνου. Ἐπικίνδυνος ἐστίν.

For multiple students, say:

Μὴ ἅψασθε τοῦ κιβωτίου. Χρηματίζω αὐτοῖς, μὴ ἅψασθαι ἐκείνου. Ἐπικίνδυνος ἐστίν.

Thank you, Stephen Hughes and Carl Conrad, for suggesting significant improvements to the Greek statements above on the b-Greek forum.

  • As you say Χρηματίζω, extend your hands (palms forward) toward the audience as if to prevent anyone from approaching.
  • As you say σοι or αὐτοῖς, open your hands toward the student(s).
    • If necessary, repeat the phrase Χρηματίζω σοι or Χρηματίζω αὐτοῖς before proceeding.
  • For μὴ ἅψασθαι, shake your index finger back and forth and sign “touch” (http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-signs/t/touch.htm).
  • When you say ἐκείνου, point to the box.
  • As you say Ἐπικίνδυνος ἐστίν, move your finger from left to right under the word ἐπικίνδυνον on the box as if underlining it, but don’t touch the box.
    • Repeat this procedure if necessary.

B. Teach ἀναχωρῶ (ἀναχωρέω) and ἀνακάμπτω

Preparation: Before class, label two locations as ὁ οἴκος μου and ὁ οἴκος τοῦ θεοῦ with pictures.ὁ-οἴκός-μου

  • Standing next to the sign, ὁ οἴκος μου, gesture toward the other sign as you say, Ἔρχομαι εἰς τὸν οἴκον τοῦ θεοῦ. As you say this, start walking to the sign, ὁ οἴκος τοῦ θεοῦ. When you arrive, look back at the first sign a
    nd say, ἀναχωρῶ εἰς τὸν οἴκον μου. Walk back to the first sign.
  • ὁ οἴκος τοῦ θεοῦRepeat this sequence substituting ἀνακάμπτω for ἀναχωρῶ. Repeat the entire sequence (using ἀναχωρῶ and ἀνακάμπτω) as  necessary.
  • On the last repetition, say ἀναχωρῶ, ἀνακάμπτω εἰς τὸν οἴκον μου as you begin to return.
  • Summarize: Gesturing to indicate the direction of each trip, say, “πρώτον, ἔρχομαι.
    ὕστερον, ἀναχωρῶ.
    πρώτον, ἔρχομαι.
    ὕστερον, ἀνακάμπτω.
    ἀναχωρεῖν καὶ ἀνακάμπτειν ἴσα εἰσίν.”
    Repeat as needed.

C. Teach ἴσθι ἐκεῖ

Lead a student to the sign ὁ οἴκός μου. Step a few feet away from the student, point to the spot where the student is standing, and raising both palms toward the student, say, ἴσθι ἐκεῖ.  Walk away. If the student moves, lead him or her back to the sign and repeat.

Repeat as needed until the student realizes that you want him or her to stay. When the student successfully follows the direction, say καλόν (the adverb related to καλός).

D. Teach ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι

Stephen Hughes made the following suggestion on the b-Greek forum regarding teaching this phrase:

This could be used for a game. Students could repeat an action till you tell them to stop. Useful vocab. might be; Κροῦε (Κρούετε) τὰς χεῖρας ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι (ἡμῖν), Ἀνάσειε (Ἀνασείετε) τὴν χεῖρα ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι (ἡμῖν). “Clap your hands”, “Wave your hand in the air”. μὴ παῦσον / παύσατε, οὔπω εἶπον. παῦσον κρούων / ἀνασείων (παύσατε κρούοντες / ἀνασείοντες).

ΙI. Reading: Matthew 2:12—13.

Many class members will have heard the story of the flight to Egypt in their native language. This context will help them comprehend the meaning of several words in their Greek context. Read the passage aloud slowly without translation.

A. Scaffolded Reading

  • Picking up a Greek New Testament, say: ἀναγινωσκῶμεν τὸν εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Ματθέου.
  • Read Matthew 2:12—13 using the text and illustrations provided online (http://slides.com/mwpalmer/fleetoegypt), but without translation.
    [The last page of the online representation of the text contains a set of comprehension questions. Leave that page displayed throughout the remainder of the lesson, but don’t attempt to answer the questions yet. Just move on to the re-reading below.]

B. Re-reading

Read the text a second time as printed below without the online support. You can use your own Greek New Testament if you wish, just make sure to stop at the appropriate place (with the words ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι).

As you read, point to places in the classroom where you illustrated relevant vocabulary. Repeat key phrases from the lesson as needed to prompt memory.

Matthew 2:12-13

Matt. 2:12 καὶ χρηματισθέντες κατ᾿ ὄναρ μὴ ἀνακάμψαι πρὸς Ἡρῴδην, δι᾿ ἄλλης ὁδοῦ ἀνεχώρησαν εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτῶν.

13 Ἀναχωρησάντων δὲ αὐτῶν ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου φαίνεται κατ᾿ ὄναρ τῷ Ἰωσὴφ λέγων· ἐγερθεὶς παράλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ φεῦγε εἰς Αἴγυπτον καὶ ἴσθι ἐκεῖ ἕως ἂν εἴπω σοι·

III. Identify Student Success (Formative Assessment of Comprehension).

After the re-reading, distribute the student page (see χαρτηρία τοῦ μαθητοῦ below). Use this as an informal assessment of how well your lesson has gone. Can the students answer the questions effectively?

A. Oral Assessment

Ask the following questions to eliciting oral responses. Possible answers are given here in parentheses.  The questions are displayed on the last page of the online presentation as well.  Keep that version displayed as you ask these questions.

    1. τίς ἐχρηματίσθη;
      (οἱ μάγοι, ὁ Ἰωσήφ, οἱ μάγοι καὶ ὁ Ἰωσήφ)
    2. πῶς ἐχρηματίσθη ὁ Ἰωσήφ;  (κατ᾽ ὄναρ)
    3. πῶς ἐχρηματίσθησαν οἱ μάγοι;  (κατ᾽ ὄναρ)
    4. τὶς πρῶτον ἐχρηματίσθη, ὁ Ἰωσήφ, ἤ οἰ μάγοι;
      (οἰ μάγοι)
    5. Ἀνεχώρησαν οἱ μάγοι πρὶν χρηματίσθηναι ὁ Ἰωσήφ ἢ ὕστερον;  (πρίν) [Note: The adverbs πρὶν and ὕστερον may be unfamiliar, but should be easy to illustrate.]
    6. τὶς ἀνήκαμψε / τίνες ἀνηκάμψαν εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτοῦ / αὐτῶν;

B. Written Assessment

Distribute copies of the student page show below. Have the students write their answers on the student page. These are the same questions they just answered orally. You can either read them aloud a second time and ask for written responses or allow the students to work in pairs reading the questions to each other and negotiating answers.

___________________________________________________________________________

χάρτης τῶν μαθητῶν

Γράψον τὸ ὄνομά σου· ____________________

Ἀποκρίνου ἕκαστον ἐρώτημα

  1. τίς ἐχρηματίσθη;
  2. πῶς ἐχρηματίσθη ὁ Ἰωσήφ;
  3. πῶς ἐχρηματίσθησαν οἱ μάγοι;
  4. τὶς πρῶτον ἐχρηματίσθη;
  5. Ἀνεχώρησαν οἱ μάγοι εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτῶν πρὶν χρηματίσθηναι ὁ Ἰωσήφ ἢ ὕστερον;
  6. τὶς ἀνήκαμψε / τίνες ἀνηκάμψαν εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτοῦ / αὐτῶν;

I would like to offer sincere thanks to Stephen Hughes who took the time to read through this lesson on the b-Greek forum, catching several careless mistakes and offering significant advice for improvement.

Exercise for Lesson 23: Imperfect Middle and Passive

I have added two interactive exercises for lesson 23: Imperfect Middle and Passive.

You can try them out here:

Lesson 23 Vocabulary Flashcards

I have uploaded a flash card exercise for the vocabulary in Lesson 23: “Imperfect Middle and Passive. The card set includes review vocabulary from earlier lessons as well. when a review word is given, the earlier lesson or lessons in which it appeared are noted.