[b-greek] re: Greek 101 drop outs - Follow up(christiansen)

From: yochanan bitan-buth (ButhFam@compuserve.com)
Date: Fri Nov 24 2000 - 00:29:39 EST

>... We use "Greek to Me" by Lyle Story for our first-year Greek course,
>here at Multnomah. If the mnemonic system therein employed works for a
>great...if not, we have them chuck it. There are many kinds of memory,
and many systems
>or methods to make use of these kinds. If you haven't seen this book, and
>accompanying vocabulary cards, it would be well worth your while to get
>. . .
>Yes, I am aware of some of the techniques; however, it is also clear that
they are not
>usable by all persons. Even though there are memory "gurus" out there in
the market
>place, who insist that anyone can be so taught, I have not seen convincing
>. . .
>Of course, this sounds as though there are only two methods: rote and
>mnemonics. However, neither is the primary method by which one learns a
>language. That is done by a combination of rote and usage. As far as I
am aware,
>children do not obtain language fluency through the visual/analogical
method, but
>through memorizing sounds and constant exposure to those sounds in the
context of
>. . .
>Of course, yes, I am familiar with the discipline. And, I think that you
will find this
>is true of most language teachers. Some of us choose not to use the
methods, because we
>see inherent difficulties in the later progress of students attempting to
achieve a
>degree of fluency and style in the language. Although, as I have said, it
does work for
>some students, and it works sometimes for some others. I am not opposed
to the method
>per se, but have never found it to be extremely helpful in any subject
with a group of
>students. But, no, I do not think that Greek is a matter of
memorization...that is
>simply a portion of it: if one does not go beyond memorization (by rote,
by analogy, or
>by visualization) to comprehension of form and style, he is spending a lot
of time for
>very little gain other than curiosity.

A couple of points:
1. this is getting to the heart of pedagogy questions.
It is very important to consider what you are trying to do.
Do you want to learn a language?
To think in it?
To process communication fluently in it?
If so, then some of the memory techniques mentioned above are probably
off-target and not recommended, for example, when learning modern
languages. You want words 'wired' to other words within the target
language, not to another language and trick phrases.

2. There is something of an internal contradiction in Daniel's methods. The
Lyle Storey approach is a 'memory trick technique' that would fit those
kinds that tend to be neglected by modern language teachers, by choice.
a bottom line would be to ask oneself,
does the technique feel natural,
does it lead you inside the language or is it something designed to allow
you to stay outside, in another language?

Randall buth

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