[b-greek] Re: Great Divide

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Thu Sep 21 2000 - 09:45:17 EDT

What a cheerful little memo; this sort of thing can make my day!

At 2:07 AM -0400 9/21/00, yochanan bitan wrote:

Yeah, Clayo really brewed up a neat little squall, didn't he; cute little
things, those Molotov cocktails of his!

>Your 'great divide was interesting. SPA and FLFA will have a bright even if
>short life.

I was reminded of the FIFO and LIFO radio commercials of half a dozen or
more years ago.

>I do feel schizo, though, since I am FLFA when doing SPA.

And I think that even Clay suggested that, as the old popular song (40
years or so old now?) put it, "You can't do one without the other!" I've
occasionally seen some elaborate analyses of sizable chunks of Greek that
would have been pretty persuasive but for failure to discern and realize
the importance of a not very uncommon syntactic structure within the chunk.
My own take on the whole issue is that the natural unit in Greek is what we
would call a paragraph (I guess computer lingo (Mac at least) does too,
insofar as it terms a paragraph a consecutive sequence of words without a
line-break; Greeks came to term it a PERIODOS, from which we got the term
for our sentence-closure punctuation; and Latin translated PERIODOS into
SENTENTIA, which is quite right, except that when we see Latin SENTENTIA we
think English "sentence"--but an English "sentence" is generally a much
smaller unit than the Latin SENTENTIA or the rhetorical Greek PERIODOS.

>Yet I am always interested when someone raises the language learning

And yes, it IS the pedagogical question that is foremost for B-Greek
purposes here, and I think that it's been an interesting discussion in
pedagogical terms. I was glad to see our friend Warren Fulton chiming in on
this "aus Wien" with experience in his language school there. I can
remember how disgusted I became back in the 60's with Greek (e.g. Chase &
Phillips, Crosby & Sheaffer) and Latin (Wheelock, even the otherwise
excellent Morland & Fleischer) primers that use single, contextless
sentences (and pretty short ones at that) as illustrative reading material
for way down deep into the instructional year before ever getting into
connected paragraphs of narrative prose. I remember how delighted I was to
see Ruck's _Ancient Greek: A New Approach_ and the JACT _Reading Greek_ and
_Reading Latin_ series and Oxford's _Athenaze_; the problem is that they
relied so much on connected narrative prose paragraphs and didn't seem to
think there was any need to deal at a deeper analytic level with morphology
and syntax, and I found I had to make up a lot of supplemental material to
accompany them.

>"If it's not broke don't fix it." seems good advice,
>but with Greek I feel that the status quo is closer to:
>If it's not fixed, don't break it

I really agree; I don't know whether Randall intended to be that serious
about it, but I really don't think we can throw traditional instruction out
"with the bathwater"; I also don't think we ought to be inventing a lot of
new categories unless we can prove that they're useful; I do think we can
make some piecemeal improvements in parts of the whole (that's what I'd
really like to do with the teaching of voice); on a larger level that's
what the "aspect geeks" are up to; it's just that I don't think that the
whole business of aspect has yet been reduced to manageable and readily
teachable status yet. Other may disagree, I know.

>The beginning of learning Greek is realizing that you don't know it.
This is probably a far better way of saying what is meant by "A little
Greek is a dangerous thing." I'd probably expand the dictum, however, and
say "the beginning of learning is realizing you don't know." Edgar Krentz
may have retired, but he was still using, last I heard from him, Solon's
dictum in its Greek phrasing: GHRASKW AEI POLLA DIDASKOMENOS.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:36 EDT