From: KAREN PITTS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Apr 09 1999 - 15:46:02 EDT
Some thoughts from someone who has had a lot of formal education, but
virtually none of it in Greek.
I majored in math. Most people find calculus, abstract algebra, real
analysis, partial differential equations, . . . difficult, if not
impossible. I don't think the alternate is to water them down so that
everyone can take them. Learning is frequently difficult; you can't learn
languages without a fair amount of effort, although each additional one
probably comes easier (from one who has studied Latin, German, Norwegian,
Spanish and Greek -- the last two mostly on my own).
So, I think a lot should be expected of the students of languages. There
is no easy way to learn a language without covering all the basics of
memorizing vocab and syntax -- and then reading a lot. I would never
expect someone to learn calculus without understand limits, derivatives and
integrals and how to apply them. So I vote with keeping expectations as
high as possible.
That said, when the students reach the fourth semester, find that they
haven't really put in the necessary effort, but would like to learn now,
let them know it is NEVER too late to learn. I learned my Greek through my
church and a group of us (now down to 2) get together on a regular basis
and work through texts. We keep each other accountable and we catch things
we otherwise would not in working on our own -- working with others is a
great way to learn. And b-greek is a great resource for those who don't
have a local Greek buddy. I will also say that by plodding at Greek over
many years, we have a facility with Greek that few seminarians get in their
exposure of a year or so. (It's also great fun to intimidate the pastor or
the leader of the class by bringing your Greek NT and following along.)
I would also advise your students that they will find their languages
useful in the most surprising ways. I took 4 years of Latin in high school
and then stopped, never really anticipating using it. I have since
translated medieval Latin for history and English classes and translated
several texts which I have sung (and realized that the translation provided
had very little to do with the text). All that Latin made both Spanish and
Greek much easier.
Another suggestion would be to get the advanced students to tutor the
beginning classes. There's nothing like teaching something to get you to
learn it yourself.
Anyway, there's my two cents.
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