Major's Core 80% Vocabulary

How can I best learn new vocabulary items? What aids are there and what pitfalls should be avoided? How does a beginner learn to use a lexicon?
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Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am
Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Major's Core 80% Vocabulary

Post by Paul-Nitz » December 19th, 2012, 10:59 am

Major's paper and list is a wonderful gift. He collected a batch of words which he calls the 80% list.

If you know this batch of 1000+ words, you will know 80% of the words used in any average Ancient Greek text.

I have a low opinion of vocable cards. I don't think that kind of study leads to real learning. A person needs to meet words in contexts and take them as real communication. Flashing a word and giving me a gloss does very little for creating a meaningful or accurate picture of a word.

But in the case of the 80% list, I have different opinion. If we had a set of vocable cards with those words listed, we could become very familiar (not really learn, but recognize) the 1000+ core words. Then, when reading a Greek text, we would have a familiarity with which words are high frequency or not. Whenever we came upon a familiar core word, we'd spend time with it knowing that we'll meet it again soon. Other low frequency words, we gloss over. Maybe someday, we'll get faster at reading and see that rarer word more often. For now, let's concentrate on the core.

I was delighted to find that Anki (free flashcard software) has a deck already set up with Major's 80% core list loaded.
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Barry Hofstetter
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Major's Core 80% Vocabulary

Post by Barry Hofstetter » December 20th, 2012, 2:32 am

Actually, I found my Viz-Ed Greek vocabulary cards extremely helpful, and very glad I used them. Now, for me, it worked like this: the first time I saw in context a word I learned from the vocabulary cards, I didn't always recognize it, but then, after looking it up, I would slap myself on the head at my stupidity for not remembering it and then would never forget it again (and sometimes I would recognize it immediately). In other words, it functioned as a very helpful supplement to seeing the words in context the way all the current pundits say we should learn it.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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