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My son has chosen to study Greek next year. Languages are not my strongest subject, so I am hoping some of you other fabulous homeschooling parents out there can help me a bit.

 

Is Ancient Greek a foundational language for any other foreign languages? I understand it's foundation in English, but the language goes through the transformations of Latin first. Is it the direct predecessor of any other languages?

 

Does learning modern Greek lend itself to learning any other languages (in the same way Spanish helps learn Italian, Chinese and Japanese lend themselves to learning each other)?

 

Lastly, any good curriculums out there for modern or ancient? I have heard Athenaze is very comprehensive, but then also heard it is difficult because the curriculum jumps and is muddled.

 

This is not his first language, and he prefers a grammar based approach over narratives.

 

Any thoughts, whether I have asked the right questions or not, would be very helpful. Thanks!

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Greek is not foundational to other languages in the way that Latin is foundational to the Romance languages, but since Greek literature is foundational to much of Western literature, there is value in learning to read those works in the original. My DS studies both Greek and Latin and much prefers Greek; he finds it more difficult (in the sense that it's less logical and more irregular) but also richer and more beautiful. 

 

Athenaze is an excellent text. It is grammar-based but also includes extensive passages of adapted Greek (which become less adapted and more authentic as the course progresses), so the student gets to dive into translation from day 1.  DS found that translating long passages each week  really made the grammar and vocabulary "stick," which is especially helpful with a language that has a lot of quirks. I'm not sure about the criticism that it "jumps and is muddled," I haven't seen that myself. It's the text that Lukeion uses, and also the only Greek text that was recommended by Ester Maria, who is a big fan of Wheelock's and a grammar-first approach. DS got "gold" on the National Greek Exam last year using Athenaze, so I'd say it's pretty thorough.

 

I wouldn't recommend modern Greek as a language unless you have family there, or your son plans to visit or study there; learning modern Greek really won't help much with reading Ancient Greek literature, and the body of modern Greek literature is comparatively small (compared to French, Spanish, Italian, etc.).

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My 9th grader has been studying Biblical Greek since 4th grade.  He uses Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek.  I don't think it's very popular here on TWTM boards but he loves it and has made great progress with it.  He likes that it is easy for him to use without waiting on me to help him as it is written to the student.  It includes a lot of repetition in the early books and delays grammar until book 4.  I think he will be well prepared for his college Greek classes.  He will be attending a Christian college, so the Biblical Greek was an appropriate choice for him and he was especially interested in it since it's the Greek of the Bible.  He has been almost completely independent with it. 

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As far as modern goes...My ds has been working on modern Greek as his choice for the last two years using 

 

http://www.greek123.com/about/greek-language-learning

 

and really loves it ...he does it all independently

 

it has online components with pronunciation and visual and audio translations translation components as well as a  cd and reader and a work book to practice writing 

 

I wish I could find a Spanish program for dd just like it..i have to combine 2-3 programs for her!

 

It is used by many Greek schools about the country including the one that is just to far for us to drive too.

 

Also it is brand new but I know Memoria press has a brand new Biblical greek coming out next month with several levels. It won't work for us as ds is only interested in modern.

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As far as modern goes...My ds has been working on modern Greek as his choice for the last two years using

 

http://www.greek123.com/about/greek-language-learning

 

and really loves it ...he does it all independently

 

it has online components with pronunciation and visual and audio translations translation components as well as a cd and reader and a work book to practice writing

 

I wish I could find a Spanish program for dd just like it..i have to combine 2-3 programs for her!

 

It is used by many Greek schools about the country including the one that is just to far for us to drive too.

 

Also it is brand new but I know Memoria press has a brand new Biblical greek coming out next month with several levels. It won't work for us as ds is only interested in modern.

My son originally wanted to do modern, because he wanted to visit Greece. But then he thought about Percy Jackson, and Percy Jackson is hard to say no to. Google recommended learning Ancient before modern, as it was much easier to transition to less complexity than to add the complexity in and "unlearn."

 

After looking at both languages, Ancient also looks more "Tolkien-ish" than modern, apparently. That was another big complication for him, because anything Tolkienish is by definition cool. As you can see, my son's criteria for which languages to learn (Percy Jackson and Tolkien) are slightly different than mine.

 

We have had trouble finding a good fit for Spanish as well. Lots of piecing together sources. It has been rather annoying for me because we found an awesome fit for Latin right away. It spoiled me.

 

 

ETA: The 123 Greek looks Awesome! and is really well priced. I'm going to have to remember it for the future. Thanks!

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My 9th grader has been studying Biblical Greek since 4th grade. He uses Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek. I don't think it's very popular here on TWTM boards but he loves it and has made great progress with it. He likes that it is easy for him to use without waiting on me to help him as it is written to the student. It includes a lot of repetition in the early books and delays grammar until book 4. I think he will be well prepared for his college Greek classes. He will be attending a Christian college, so the Biblical Greek was an appropriate choice for him and he was especially interested in it since it's the Greek of the Bible. He has been almost completely independent with it.

Biblical Greek is a sell I just can't make. My son wants to major in either Classics or Linguistics. He has Biblical schoolwork he does, but has always framed it as a current set of cultural beliefs which have molded Western Civilization. I can't tell if it is a place of rebellion (since there are very few things in our family that aren't optional) or if it is him forming his own belief systems. At this point, I don't push it. Either way, I don't want to create a power struggle.

 

Which is a bummer because I have heard good things about Andrew.

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Greek is not foundational to other languages in the way that Latin is foundational to the Romance languages, but since Greek literature is foundational to much of Western literature, there is value in learning to read those works in the original. My DS studies both Greek and Latin and much prefers Greek; he finds it more difficult (in the sense that it's less logical and more irregular) but also richer and more beautiful.

 

Athenaze is an excellent text. It is grammar-based but also includes extensive passages of adapted Greek (which become less adapted and more authentic as the course progresses), so the student gets to dive into translation from day 1. DS found that translating long passages each week really made the grammar and vocabulary "stick," which is especially helpful with a language that has a lot of quirks. I'm not sure about the criticism that it "jumps and is muddled," I haven't seen that myself. It's the text that Lukeion uses, and also the only Greek text that was recommended by Ester Maria, who is a big fan of Wheelock's and a grammar-first approach. DS got "gold" on the National Greek Exam last year using Athenaze, so I'd say it's pretty thorough.

 

I wouldn't recommend modern Greek as a language unless you have family there, or your son plans to visit or study there; learning modern Greek really won't help much with reading Ancient Greek literature, and the body of modern Greek literature is comparatively small (compared to French, Spanish, Italian, etc.).

This is where I have been leaning as well. My son does not know about the National Exams, and he is not ready for them yet, but he loves that sort of thing. The third party recognition he just thrives on. Secondly, I don't think he realizes how little he can actually do with modern Greek. He does want to visit Greece, but he's 9. It isn't like that is going to happen in the next the next 4 years. Thanks for the info about Athenaze. I think it would be a good fit. It sounds a lot like our Latin curriculum.

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When he's ready for a class, I highly recommend Lukeion's Greek & Latin classes, as well as their mythology & literature classes. Regan and Amy Barr are awesome teachers, plus they lead an annual tour of the Classical world, alternating Greece, Turkey, and Italy (next trip to Greece is May 2015). The minimum ages are 8 for kids accompanied by a parent and 16 for kids traveling alone, so that's something to keep in mind for the future! We have traveled with them to Greece and Turkey, and absolutely loved both tours. Standing in the shadow of the Parthenon; seeing the helmet Miltiades wore at Marathon; seeing the ostraca, scratched with Themistocles name, with which the Athenians voted to exile him; climbing the walls of Troy... those things really bring history alive, and they have been the absolute high points of DS's life!

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Biblical Greek is a sell I just can't make. My son wants to major in either Classics or Linguistics. He has Biblical schoolwork he does, but has always framed it as a current set of cultural beliefs which have molded Western Civilization. I can't tell if it is a place of rebellion (since there are very few things in our family that aren't optional) or if it is him forming his own belief systems. At this point, I don't push it. Either way, I don't want to create a power struggle.

 

Which is a bummer because I have heard good things about Andrew.

 

my dd is a classics major. she spent three years in college studying attic/classical greek. (and four of latin.)

 

there is a difference between koine/biblical/hellenistic and attic/classical greek which will become an issue if he wants to major in classics.  classical greek is more complex in grammar and vocab.

 

linguistics usually requires two living languages.   iow: classical/koine greek and latin don't count.  (dd was looking into linguistics for a grad program.)

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We are using Athenaze.  I don't know about it being difficult because it jumps and is muddled.  It is just plain difficult because of the subject matter ;p  We used Hey Andrew, but jumped ship in book 3.  It taught forms through memorization and repetition which did not work well for my kid.  The reading approach of Athenaze is a better fit even though it is difficult.

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my dd is a classics major. she spent three years in college studying attic/classical greek. (and four of latin.)

 

there is a difference between koine/biblical/hellenistic and attic/classical greek which will become an issue if he wants to major in classics. classical greek is more complex in grammar and vocab.

 

linguistics usually requires two living languages. iow: classical/koine greek and latin don't count. (dd was looking into linguistics for a grad program.)

This is great info! We haven't heard many positive things about Koine unless it is for personal faith. More power to anyone trying to better their faith by learning its heritage!

 

 

The current rule is that he can add a new language every two years, as long as he still reads the older ones. Currently we study Spanish and Latin, because I could initially help in those when he was younger. He has Japanese, Arabic, and modern Greek In his sights. Occasionally, there is talk about Russian. I don't know if he will ever get there, but I have learned not to under estimate him.

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Hi there!
Kudos to your son for wanting to study Greek. Yesterday I was talking with Dale Grote, who is a professor of Greek at UNCC and also speaks modern Greek. I showed him your question, because we were talking about the differences between modern and ancient Greek.... Here is what he answered:


Ancient Greek isn't foundational of any language other than Modern Greek, and English is best thought of as a remote relative to Ancient Greek. Both come from the same stock of one aboriginal language, called Proto-Indo-European, but they're on branches that are very far apart. English and Greek are as distant from one another grammatically as English is from Persian (another Indo-European language).

Modern Greek has indeed strayed from Ancient Greek in many ways -- phonetically, syntactically, and morphologically -- but there is nevertheless an astonishing resemblance if one knows how to look for it.

A well-educated native Greek speaker can spot a few familiar words in an Ancient Greek text, and even make a run at putting together a translation for an entire sentence. But he won't be able to read a classical author of even elementary difficulty without a couple of years of formal training. And it's not easy for them. In my 30 years of teaching Ancient Greek, I have had about a dozen Greek speakers in my classes, and not one of them could get beyond the first semester. In other words, Modern Greek is a circuitous way of getting to the ancient authors if that's the ultimate objective.

An impediment studying Modern Greek is that there aren't any really excellent textbooks out there. These days modern languages are taught using the "intuitive" approach to grammar, which assumes, I guess, that the formal structure of the language will come along mostly on its own as a by-product of enthusiasm and enough real-world applications. That may work for languages whose syntax and word forms are relatively simple, but not Greek. Most books and programs are designed and intended for second-generation ex-pats, who will already have heard Greek around the house or in church, where such a method may be more successful. The few that aren't probably will teach purist Greek, a form of Modern Greek that was officially done away with in 1976. Another problem is it's hard to find instruction, since it's a lesser taught language.

If it is his wish to learn Modern Greek for its own sake, and if he can find an instructor who can teach it, the best book out there I can think of, and have used myself, is Papaloizos:

http://www.greek123.com/learn-greek/package/advanced-one-package

 

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Do you know what Tolstoy said about Greek?
"I have become convinced that of all that human language has produced truly and simply beautiful, I knew nothing before I learned Greek...Without a knowledge of Greek there is no education."
~Leo Tolstoy

As an encouragement to anyone (including myself!) who wishes to learn Greek -- he didn't begin to study it until he was in his 40s! Here is a fascinating bit from a biography of Tolstoy (by Troyat):



....the forty-two-year-old pupil threw himself into Greek grammar with a passion, pored over dictionaries, drew up vocabularies, tackled the great authors. In spite of his headaches, he learned quickly. In a few weeks he had outdistanced his teacher. He sight-translated Xenophon, reveled in Homer, discovered Plato and said the originals were like “spring-water that sets the teeth on edge, full of sunlight and impurities and dust-motes that make it seem even more pure and fresh,†while translations of the same texts were as tasteless as “boiled, distilled water.†Sometimes he dreamed in Greek at night. He imagined himself living in Athens; as he tramped through the snow of Yasnaya Polyana, sinking in up to his calves, his head was filled with sun, marble and geometry. Watching him changing overnight into a Greek, his wife was torn between admiration and alarm. “There is clearly nothing in the world that interests him more or gives him greater pleasure than to learn a new Greek word or puzzle out some expression he has not met before,†she complained...

 

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Beth, I know this is the high school board, but what would you say about a younger student learning Greek?  I was looking on the Lukeion site, and they said that the Greek programs designed for younger students are basically just a waste of time, and one should wait till the student is mature enough to handle Athenaze.  Do you agree?

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Beth, I know this is the high school board, but what would you say about a younger student learning Greek?  I was looking on the Lukeion site, and they said that the Greek programs designed for younger students are basically just a waste of time, and one should wait till the student is mature enough to handle Athenaze.  Do you agree?

I personally don't have much experience to go by there, but I have heard of many homeschoolers whose kids started with Attic Greek in elementary school or in middle school!  Of course, it all depends on the child and the tutor! 

 

It seems to me that at the very least we should teach the Greek alphabet early. That way it isn't a stumbling block when they start a serious course. 

 

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Beth, I know this is the high school board, but what would you say about a younger student learning Greek?  I was looking on the Lukeion site, and they said that the Greek programs designed for younger students are basically just a waste of time, and one should wait till the student is mature enough to handle Athenaze.  Do you agree?

 

I know I am not Beth, but FWIW we were told that about our Latin book (Jenney's Latin).  The grammatical approach was supposedly not suitable for younger students who were supposed to need narrative and a much slower pace.  While this might be many younger kids, it isn't mine.  He hated a whole stack of Latin programs because he found them patronizing.

 

I think it might depend on the student.  My son is quite excited about the Athenaze book, because it is aimed at really learning the language and not an exposure.  However, he is personally motivated so entertainment isn't necessary.  I don't know how many younger kids are interested in languages personally, and how many study because their parents or their SAT scores are the reason.  Lukeion has also had kids as young as 9 and 10 in their classes.  I asked because we were considering enrolling my son next year.

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  • 3 weeks later...
This online discussion is happening today! And it was inspired by this thread! So, I thought, "You know--I really should put a little announcement right here. Especially since I know how much you here on this board especially, would appreciate something like this. :)
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Round Table Discussion on the Study of Greek & Latin 
Friday, March 7, 2014  
3:00 - 4:30 pm EST
 
Presented by Dale Grote, Ph.D.
(author of A Comprehensive Guide to Wheelock's Latin)
He is best know for this book that has been such a help to students of Wheelock's, but his main love is the Greek language. In this online discussion he will give a brief presentation on the origins of Greek and Latin. Then he will answer questions about studying ancient languages. For instance,
What are the differences between ancient, medieval, and modern Greek?
When should we begin to study these languages? Which one first? Etc.
 
Don't miss this fabulous opportunity to ask questions of a very experienced teacher of Greek and Latin!
To reserve one of the 25 seats, simply send an email to me at: 
info@harveycenter.org 
(There are still 5 seats left!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is a Free Webinar hosted by The Harvey Center

 

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We happily used materials from Greek 123 for over a year. Excellent customer service! DS decided to shelve Greek for now so he could concentrate on Latin and Danish.

 

You could look at greek-lol.com

They provide online courses using Greek 123 materials. I have not used them. On my phone so I can't link!

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Beth, I know this is the high school board, but what would you say about a younger student learning Greek?  I was looking on the Lukeion site, and they said that the Greek programs designed for younger students are basically just a waste of time, and one should wait till the student is mature enough to handle Athenaze.  Do you agree?

 

All three of my children started Greek with Lukeion at age 11.  It is absolutely not a waste of time.  My oldest daughter is completing her fourth year of Greek studies with Regan and has excelled. My twins are enrolled in Greek 1 this year and have excelled as well.   They are certainly open to younger students.

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