For example, consider the following comment:
(Rod) ... the liability of the current fad of trying to teach oral competency. (I'm sure advocates will surely disagree with that assessment; I merely note it as part of my assessment of the approach, not to stir a hornet's nest! )
Someone else responded correctly
(Mark) What is wrong with speaking artificial Greek? How would that harm one's reading fluency in real Greek.? Is it really better to speak no Greek at all than Greek that is less than perfect? I know most people feel this to be true, but why?
...I can't speak the real thing yet, so I speak the best I can to internalize the forms. What's wrong with that? Isn't that HOW I will learn to speak the real thing? What's the alternative?
(Daniel) Looks like ἡ σφηκιά might have already been stirred! And BTW, how many Greek profs would know how to say 'wasp's/hornet's nest' in Koine? I had to look it up, but that's something every 7-year old Alexandrian would have known (and a Biblical word--LXX Ex 23:28). Is it really too much to ask that Greek profs strive for the vocab of a 7-year old? But I digress . . .
I really have two points I wanted to contribute:
1) On the issue of artificial Greek, perhaps, Mark L., you might want to say "imperfect" rather than "artificial" Greek? "Artificial" seems to me a pejorative term that one who opposes natural language learning methods might use to denigrate a beginning speaker's output. Second Language Acquisition theorists might instead speak of imperfect or nonstandard usage resulting from interference from the first language. Of course, the solution is more oral/aural Greek, not less! To correct nonstandard Greek, we need more authentic comprehensible input (written or spoken), and more practice with output (writing or speaking), not less.
2) On the dismissal of communicative approaches to Koine Greek as a "fad," I would like to point out that this is a "fad" with a long pedigree. Erasmus, e.g., participated in a conversational Greek group in Venice. The methodology was nothing new for Erasmus, though, since he taught all his language courses using the colloquium, i.e. conversational, method. See here: http://tinyurl.com/68hkd56 .
ὁμολογῶ καὶ συμφωνῶ.
In fact, the only known, guaranteed way to fully learn any language is to use the language. Such is the history of the human race. And the fastest way to use a language is oral/audio.
Why do I advocate speaking and using ancient Greek, when French or English would do just fine? Because I can compare my Greek to other languages that I speak. I speak Hebrew, both modern and biblical dialects. I can feel and perceive what this does for me in reading old texts. I can affirm the comment above "Is it really better to speak no Greek at all than Greek that is less than perfect?" οὐ κρεῖσσόν ἐστιν τὸ ἡμιλαλοῦν ἢ τὸ κωφοῦσθαι; πῶς γὰρ οὔ! To speak ZERO ancient Greek is to guarantee that the language will never be internalized and it may even guarantee that it will be filtered through an artificial, analytical, non-Greek grid, forever. It will never get 'reality testing', i.e., seeing what the non-Greek grid would produce will never happen, so some of the necessary self-correction that takes place in language learning will never happen. But they will filter their exegesis through that "pure filter". And as long as the lack of true competency is not pointed out, such a practioner may assume that a non-Greek filter is the 'real language' or the best obtainable. φευ!
Half-a-fluency will develop more language reading sensitivity than zero fluency.
Anyway, for me, I don't really have a choice.
εἰδότι οὖν καλὸν ποιεῖν καὶ μὴ ποιοῦντι, ἁμαρτία αὐτῷ ἐστιν.
If one has tasted and knows something, they cannot pretend it doesn't exist. I cannot accept grammar-translation as an adequate approach for any language that I love and want to know. I believe that the heads of of most literature departments would concur and would not allow a student to ignore oral-audio work on the grounds that they will only be imperfect, adult second-language users. That is why students several hundred years ago could ALSO read Latin literature very very very well. They were adult, second-language users, capable of rapid language communication, and that allowed them to read much more 'from inside'.
Now, if I don't care about a language, that is another thing. Let it have grammar-translation and a little dabbling or a lot of dabbling. I know the structure of quite a few languages. But to truly peruse a literature, daily and from inside, linking things within the language ... for that I will dvelop an ability to think and rapidly communicate in the language. And that, in turn, will contribute to more effective pedagogy, which in turn will raise the bar for the next generation of Greek students, who will become Greek scholars, which in turn will raise the linguistic sensitivity of those writing grammar studies or commentaries. It is an upward spiral as long as fluency is being built.
But avoiding oral competency is a guaranteed way to kill a language. Is that the goal? If so, success is flowering all around.