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forty-two

Comparison of the U.S. and Italian editions of Athenaze

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Now that all the books from my massive shopping spree have come in, I thought that I'd write up reviews of the more obscure, in case anyone else is interested. Certainly there was very little about the Italian edition of Athenaze (in English, anyway), and since that was one of the books I had been looking forward to the most, I figured I'd start there.

 

(For those who are wondering why anyone would go to the trouble of ordering from Italy when there is a perfectly good U.S. edition available - especially when you don't even know Italian :tongue_smilie:- the Italian Athenaze is more than just the U.S. edition with Italian explanations instead of English. It was redesigned to be more like Orberg's Lingua Latina, and is, as far as I know, the only LL-esque Ancient Greek text available.)

 

The U.S. edition has two main stories in each chapter, each with a vocab list, and has some additional words/phrases glossed. There is another Greek passage at the end of each chapter that has comprehension questions (in English) to answer. Following each story is a grammar section, with exercises sprinkled in. Each chapter has an essay (in English) on Greek history after the first grammar section, as well as sections on derivatives and Greek word building (after stories one and two, respectively). There is also a bit of unaltered (and heavily glossed) classical and NT Greek text included in each chapter.

 

The Italian edition is organized a bit differently. Each chapter opens with all the Greek text: both the original stories found in the U.S. edition, plus additional stories written by the Italian adapter (1-2 new stories per chapter). It is organized much like Lingua Latina, with margin notes in Greek along with line illustrations with Greek captions. However, some words are still glossed at the bottom of the page (in Italian), though not nearly as many as in the U.S. edition. Then there is the grammar for the chapter, explained in Italian, followed by all the exercises (which seem to be the same as in the U.S. edition), including the reading comprehension passage and the sections on derivatives and word building. Then there is the essay on Greek history/culture (in Italian; it seems to be on the same topic, as far as I can tell), and the chapter closes with a listing of all the vocabulary introduced in the chapter, but with no defintions given.

 

The additional stories more than double the amount of Greek text in the book. The U.S. edition of Volume 1 has 1494 lines of Greek while the Italian edition has all of those plus another 2346 lines, for 3840 lines total (the reading comprehension passages aren't included in this count for either edition). In Volume 2, the U.S. edition has 1380 lines of Greek text while the Italian edition has 3984 lines, 2604 lines more. Also, the layout of the Italian edition, allows for more words to be figured out in context, especially once past the first few chapters. For example, in chapter 1, the U.S. edition has 35 vocab words and 22 words glossed (57 English definitions total) while 39 words glossed. But in chapter 6, the Italian edition has 27 words glossed (to the U.S. edition's 47 vocab, 45 glossed, 92 total), and by chapter 14, there are just 14 words glossed, while the U.S. edition still gives 79 definitions (47 vocab, 32 glossed).

 

However, I don't think you could use the Italian Athenaze by itself without a working knowledge of Italian. I think you'd need comprehensible grammar explanations, more than what you could pick up from the margin notes. I haven't started yet, though, so I could be wrong. At any rate, I picked up an English copy of Athenaze to use for grammar and vocab (as needed).

 

I ordered my Italian Athenaze from AbeBooks, and it was very easy (though the seller's emails were in Italian :tongue_smilie:; Google translate gave me the basic idea). The site automatically converted the price to dollars, and the cost was just a few dollars more than the equivalent U.S. editions. Shipping was almost another book, but the whole order was still less than any one college textbook I had to get, so it is all relative. Getting the closest thing there is to an LL experience in Ancient Greek is worth it - I'm glad to have them.

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Where did you even hear about the Italian version?

I think I first read about it on the Oerberg list. Textkit.com also has some posts about it; a few people there are using it. I really' date=' really like LL, so I was intrigued, and researched it on and off. Not much info out there. A few weeks ago I went on a book-buying spree, looked at samples at the publisher's site, Vivarium Novum, and decided to go for it.

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