Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

How can I learn to express my ideas in clear and intelligible Greek?
Wes Wood
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Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Wes Wood » May 22nd, 2015, 5:28 pm

Does the level of activity in the threads "Greek Writing Practice: Hold Your Nose and Jump" and "Word Order in Koine: Freedoms, Constraints, and Best Practices" illustrate a sincere interest in Greek composition? I know that many have asked about the subject in the last few years, but would others be willing to dedicate some time each week to developing basic compositional skill and/or mentoring others who are undertaking such a task? I have had no shame in displaying my ignorance up to this point, but I suspect that starting at a much more foundational level than that in the other Greek Writing Practice thread and building on the teaching experiences of others would be more beneficial for me and might help others feel comfortable enough to join in. If there is anyone who is interested in participating in such an endeavor in any way, please make it known. Please understand it is not my intent to take away from forums like sxole, but I hope the members here will help to produce learners who are confident enough with their Greek to participate in those forums.
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 23rd, 2015, 2:25 pm

I some people would be interested if we could find a way to do this without making people look stupid in public.

Would it be helpful to have a private sub-forum for this, so people don't have to display their mistakes in public? Would it be helpful to allow threads in that forum to be erased at user request as people learn, or to erase them periodically?

Or perhaps to start a "class of 2015" thread for a group of people to learn together and start a new thread next year?

I would be particularly interested in (1) learning how to write questions and answers surrounding a biblical text, especially the kinds of questions I typically ask in a Bible study, or (2) writing about a biblical text in biblical Greek.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Devenios Doulenios
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Devenios Doulenios » May 23rd, 2015, 4:35 pm

Jonathan, I would be very interested in such a thread/subforum. As my Greek writing skills are in the very basic stage, such practice and corrective feedback would be very helpful to me. I also would like to be able to ask and answer questions about a Bible text in simple but acceptable Greek. This is preferable to translation in checking comprehension.
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"τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὸν θάνατον δέδωκα πρὸ προσώπου ὑμῶν τὴν εὐλογίαν καὶ τὴν κατάραν ἔκλεξαι τὴν ζωήν ἵνα ζῇς σὺ καὶ τὸ σπέρμα σου"-Δευτερονόμιον 30:19

"Ὁδοὶ δύο εἰσί, μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανάτου."--Διδαχή Α, α'

Devenios Doulenios
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Devenios Doulenios » May 23rd, 2015, 10:24 pm

And writing about a Greek text in Greek would be ideal, even if very simple Greek at first.
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"τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὸν θάνατον δέδωκα πρὸ προσώπου ὑμῶν τὴν εὐλογίαν καὶ τὴν κατάραν ἔκλεξαι τὴν ζωήν ἵνα ζῇς σὺ καὶ τὸ σπέρμα σου"-Δευτερονόμιον 30:19

"Ὁδοὶ δύο εἰσί, μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανάτου."--Διδαχή Α, α'

Wes Wood
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Wes Wood » May 23rd, 2015, 11:58 pm

I believe a private forum is a great idea. I also really like the suggestion of making questions about Greek texts. Perhaps we could set progressive goals and limit our vocabulary and verb tense usages for defined periods of time to allow us to practice, improve, and build up to more varied forms. There are others who are more qualified than I am who could suggest what vocabulary, verbal forms, or time limits we should use. This is something I have been strongly interested in for some time. Thank you both for your input and interest. I hope it's not too soon for me to begin to become excited.
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 24th, 2015, 11:34 am

I will set that up. I hope we can get some volunteers who have written enough Greek to help us, I have not done much Greek composition at all beyond rewriting texts to simplify them.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 24th, 2015, 6:21 pm

OK, I set this up so that people who indicated interest here and global moderators can see the new forum. If anyone else wants to participate, let me know.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Stephen Hughes » May 25th, 2015, 12:33 am

Devenios Doulenios wrote:And writing about a Greek text in Greek would be ideal, even if very simple Greek at first.
Writing about a text that you would have been unable to compose yourself is a little different to writing about a text that you have the skills to have been able to compose. Descriptions and story telling maybe a logical first step towards an ultimate goal.

It would also be logical to stick with one type of text for a while - story of travel, story of interpersonal interaction, description of an action in a number of steps, a list of rules or pieces of advice, etc. There is no one single type of "composition" that can fit all of those. To be proficient is to be proficient in a number of text-types. Do them one-by-one, rather than all together.
Wes Wood wrote: Perhaps we could set progressive goals and limit our vocabulary and verb tense usages for defined periods of time to allow us to practice, improve, and build up to more varied forms.
The simplest type of composition is one-word substitution - δός μοι πίειν could become δός μοι φάγειν / εἴδειν / γράφειν etc. Next try changing the μοι to other persons and numbers. Basically decide what group of things a word belongs to them substitute others functionally similar to it. Don't cross word categorisation boundaries. That is to say, don't change so freely from pronoun to noun, from imperative to other moods, or from infinitive to another seemingly equivalent construction, such as the ἵνα + subj. or the ὥστε + inf.

Then if you would like to find and compare similar phrases, some thing like δότε αὐτοῖς ὑμεῖς φαγεῖν (Matthew 14:16, Mark 6:37, Luke 9:3) tells us that the emphatic personal pronoun comes where it does in that phrase. Adding that to the original model is a means of growth. We can make phrases like δός μοι συ πίειν, with some degree of confidence.

Another step might be to find a nominal phrase rather than the infinitive. Considering δός μοι τὸ ἐπιβάλλον μέρος τῆς οὐσίας (Luke 15:12), the possibilities for sentence construction multiple manifold. A possible composition could be δός μοι τὸ πρέπον μέρος τῆς οὐσίας, or with other simpler nominal phrases.

So far as when the pronoun is expressed out as a noun, the change in word order needs to be followed; Δὸς δόξαν τῷ θεῷ (John 9:24) for the nominal phrase (as opposed to δότε αὐτῷ δόξαν Revelations 14:7), and δὸς τοῖς δούλοις σου μετὰ παρρησίας πάσης λαλεῖν τὸν λόγον σου (Acts 4:29) for the infinitive.

So far as when the dative pronoun is dropped (avoidance), look at this δότε δακτύλιον εἰς τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὑποδήματα εἰς τοὺς πόδας (Luke 15:22) where the prepositional phrases do not break the verbal unit.

Not withstanding the fact that there may be different categories of usage with this verb, I gave this example with the intent that we could see that there are some fixities in word order, as well as the freedoms.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » May 25th, 2015, 3:24 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:If anyone else wants to participate, let me know.
I might be interested. No promises about activity, however.
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Measuring Interest in Basic Greek Composition

Post by Paul-Nitz » May 25th, 2015, 11:04 am

Stephen makes some very good points. The topic matter needs to be limited. Simple structures can be worked and reworked profitably. A couple of us did this verbally and extensively on the Voice Thread site. It was a very useful practice. Something similar could be done on a forum like this (or, even better, on http://sxole.com/ ).
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

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