Translating Greek

You're not wrong in thinking that definite articles can make some of Greek easier than Latin, but not all the time.
Greek (at leaſt the Koine Greek that once demanded my attention) uſes articles in many places where they would not be found in even the moſt article enamored forms of Engliſh. They can sometimes be annoying, but even where otherwiſe superfluous, they often help identify noun caſes.


.
 

alexios

New Member
Greek (at leaſt the Koine Greek that once demanded my attention) uſes articles in many places where they would not be found in even the moſt article enamored forms of Engliſh. They can sometimes be annoying, but even where otherwiſe superfluous, they often help identify noun caſes.


.
Indeed. The good thing about having them is that they are consistent across declensions, so you can sometimes use them to tell a Nominative from an Accusative, for instance.
 
I can actually understand how the grammar of Attic Greek works but remembering all the endings, suffixes and so on are difficult.
Please give some of your wisdom!!!
 

CogAlex

Member
Learning the declensions and conjugations really isn't that difficult. You just have to write them out, preferably while saying them aloud, several times. It's simple memorization. If you do this every day, after a certain period of time you will remember them. Try writing them out at least 100 times, and maybe even 200 times.
Actually understanding how the grammar works in authentic texts is cognitively much more demanding.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Actually understanding how the grammar works in authentic texts is cognitively much more demanding.
Funnily enough, I think it's the contrary for me...
 

CogAlex

Member
Funnily enough, I think it's the contrary for me...

That's actually interesting. Learning the declensions and conjugations (out of context) is an example of simple declarative memory, akin to memorizing a password, or some of the digits of the pi. Actually using a language, by speaking, writing, or reading, is a neurologically more complex task. We can teach a chimp to memorize words (and have) but haven't (and won't) succeed in teaching one a complete human grammar.

Also how can you even understand how the grammar works in the language without being confident in the declensions and conjugations? I imagine they would trip you up constantly.

If you mean that you can read texts fluently, but can't effortlessly parse any word at random, then I understand what you mean. But that's an ability that I find absolutely useless once you are fluent in the language. I can't even do that in some of the languages that I speak fluently and learned as a child. Similar to how I can pronounce dogs with [z] at the end instead of without knowing the technical phonology of the language.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I'm not yet at the point of being able to read Greek fluently. What I mean is that learning grammatical constructions and memorizing them, as well guessing what a new construction I've met means and how it works, is taking me much less effort than memorizing all the conjugation tables. I can recognize Greek forms more easily than I can form them myself on demand; but if I don't recognize one then I use Perseus, and once I know what the form is, then I'll usually be able to guess how the sentence works - or at any rate it's easier for me than memorizing hundreds of tables at a time...
 

Ealdboc Aethelheall

Civis Illustris
That's very recognisable. I think it also becomes easier as you learn new languages - you gain a better sense of the various modes of expression humans use, allowing you to appreciate and understand various features of a new language faster.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
That's very recognisable. I think it also becomes easier as you learn new languages - you gain a better sense of the various modes of expression humans use, allowing you to appreciate and understand various features of a new language faster.
True, I also think that the more languages you know, the easier it is to learn new ones exactly for the reasons you say (barring perhaps what concerns pure memory for memorizing conjugations etc, even if sometimes there are resemblances there too between languages that can help... :( Though I think that even if you don't memorize all tables at once it will eventually "memorize itself" if you practice enough, hopefully. :)).
 

CogAlex

Member
You don't have to memorize 100s of tables. That is completely unnecessary. The textbooks that I use present a series of tables in sequential order. Trust me, I haven't learned any polysynthetic languages, but I've never had to memorize 100s of tables. I basically adapted the Dowling method https://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~wcd/Latin.htm for other heavily inflected languages besides Latin.

Trust me haha, you really don't need to memorize 100s of tables for a single language. I've been heavily influenced by Dr. Alexander Arguelles, probably the greatest polyglot of all time, who uses primarily the assimil and linguaphone methods of learning language. These methods involve gradual assimilation of vocabulary and grammar. But memorizing declensions and conjugations is indespendible as a foundation, and increasing confidence in your reading/speaking/writing skills.

100-200 tables of a single form, sure. But 100s of tables of seperate forms no. I believe that I misread your post at first.

100-200 tables of a particular form is actually very easy and not that time consuming.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
"Hundreds of tables" was so to speak... though all there is to memorize in Greek seems barely less to me, lol.
 

Kuba26

non sum dignus
That's very recognisable. I think it also becomes easier as you learn new languages - you gain a better sense of the various modes of expression humans use, allowing you to appreciate and understand various features of a new language faster.
“With each newly learned language you acquire a new soul.” – Slovakian Proverb
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
“With each newly learned language you acquire a new soul.” – Slovakian Proverb
Quintus Ennius tria corda habere sese dicebat, quod loqui Graece et Osce et Latine sciret. - Aulus Gellius.

"Quintus Ennius used to say that he had three hearts because he could speak Greek, Oscan and Latin."
 

alexios

New Member
One of Athenaze's advantages is that it teaches almost entirely through passage readings, making students learn the importance of context in translation. When I first started using this book I wasn't fond of its approach, but three months into it I see it to be a big help, especially when compared to how I learned Latin (i.e. memorizing forms until I was blue in the face). The 3rd Edition of Athenaze is actually coming out this month.
 

Matthaeus

Vemortuicida strenuus
I have that textbook, but didn't get very far. Greek takes lots and lots of patience...
 

LVXORD

Civis Illustris
I've also tried Athenaze but like Matthaeus above me, I didn't have the patience. For me, I found that reading a lot of passages and not learning much grammar was quite boring but I still open up the textbook to read some of its passages.
 

alexios

New Member
I've also tried Athenaze but like Matthaeus above me, I didn't have the patience. For me, I found that reading a lot of passages and not learning much grammar was quite boring but I still open up the textbook to read some of its passages.
What chapter have you reached? It gets noticeably more complex the further you get into the book.
 

Kapooky

Member
Is everything in Greek a poem? Just wondering because I want to study Ancient Greek mythology but I'm wondering if it's presented in a story book format and not a poem..
 
Top