Re: Little Greek Guide to Learning New Testament Greek

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Oct 30 1997 - 06:45:23 EST

At 10:08 AM 10/30/97 GMT, Mark Goodacre wrote:
>I am copying this note to
>the list because I would really like to recommend this to others. It
>is very user-friendly and intuitive.


>Minor comments on the first parts:

Some of these suggestions are very helpful, others I'm not as sure of. I'm
going to respond to each of these, since the people who hang out here can
give me great guidance on these issues.

>1. I don't think you cover iota subscripts anywhere. In my
>experience of teaching elementary Greek, iota subscripts can be a
>casualty and it is worth stressing them at this stage -- I like
>students to become almost neurotic about them! For example in the
>transliterations, the iota subscript (e.g. of SKOTIAi) does not

My original plan was to wait until the third chapter, in which I discuss
nouns, and introduce the iota subscript together with the dative. I could
easily add the iota subscript to the "tables and such" section; adding it to
the transcription would be harder, since I could no longer use lower case
letters...unless I used an underline for that, e.g. "skotia_" or something
like that.

What do all y'all think: is it helpful to introduce the iota subscript
before introducing the dative?

>2. If the student does go to the 'exploring' part first (as I did),
>they will not be aware how to pronounce diphthongs and etas etc.
>Perhaps it is worth adding a note on the pronunciation of these on
>the 'exploring' section.

Right - each dipthong, etc. should be introduced when it first occurs.

>3. I have tended to use x for Xi, not ks. 'ks' looks a bit odd to
>me, not very Greek.

I'm trying to avoid the confusion between chi and xi in transcriptions. The
transcription is, like all transcriptions, a little odd, and not very Greek.
For the most part, it follows the transcription used by A.T.Robertson in
Word Pictures.

>4. (A Wenham point) Is it worth having the section on accents at
>this stage? Why not introduce them later? I notice that the attempt
>to put the transliterations partly in bold often ends up with the
>text looking a little odd.

I am trying to encourage people to read out loud, and I am also trying to
use good prosody in the readings, even at the beginning. Good prosody
requires accents. I don't think it is hard to learn the bit about accents
that I teach in the first lesson; I basically say that there are three ways
to write an accent, and it tells you which syllable to stress. The rules for
when to write accents, etc., are very complex, and the discussion of accent
in Machen almost killed me when I was first starting out, so I intend to
postpone this for quite a while.

Currently, I think that I will probably discuss accents separately together
with (1) noun declension and (2) verb declension.

>But just to re-iterate, I think that this is really well thought out
>and beautifully produced, and most intuitive. If everyone on the
>list supports Jonathan in this, and adds feedback and comment, we
>could have a superb resource here.
Thanks! And feedback is MOST helpful!


Jonathan Robie

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