Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Living Koine Greek: a course report

Living Koine Greek
A course report

I'm attending a one-of-a-kind four-week immersion course in Koine Greek, conducted in the Judean hills. This blog post is my trip report. I plan to add to this post from time to time throughout the course.

The content will be organized from most recent day down to the first day. So you'll eventually see "day 20" at the top and "day 1" way down at the bottom.

Peter Coad


Some useful links
- About the course
- About the hotel at the kibbut
- The 10-day weather forecas
- What the kibbutz looks like: a satellite view
- Photos of Galilee (field trip, day 2), Caesarea (field trip, day 1), and Tzuba (an afternoon walk)

- About the system of sounds used in the course (pdf)


Slow-paced readings plus a rapid-paced reading
Jordash Kiffiak, one of our two teachers, very kindly offered to allow me to record his reading of 1 Thes 1 at a rapid pace. And I recorded all of the major readings of the course, plus 1 Thes 1, at a much slower pace. download


Tech note
If your browser displays Greek words with some letters looking like little boxes, please update your browser to the newest version (details here).


days 19-20 (the end of the course)

1 Thes 1:9b-10
9 ...δουλεύειν θεῷ ζῶντι καὶ ἀληθινῷ,

10 καὶ ἀναμένειν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν, ὃν ἤγειρεν ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, Ἰησοῦν τὸν ῥυόμενον ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ἐρχομένης.

Jesus, the rescuing one of us, from the wrath, the coming one

Yes, He is: Ἰησοῦs ο ῥυόμενοs.


We continue to read and grow together.

On day 20, Jordash Kiffiak, one of our two teachers, very kindly offered to allow me to record his reading of 1 Thes 1 at a rapid pace. It's delightful.

On day 19, I recorded the major readings of the course. I also recorded 1 Thes 1, much improved from halfway through the course (when I previously recorded that chapter).



days 17-18

about aspect

Aspect is the perspective from which an action is viewed:
- Outside: the action is viewed as a whole, beginning to end, capturing the big picture.
- Inside: the action is viewed as steps, in process, open ended, with no end in sight.

One way to express this graphically is whether or not the end is in sight:
- Open ended: |➞
- End in sight: |➞|

English expresses aspect with added words:
He was walking.|➞
- It's an action viewed as open-ended.
- No end is in sight.
He walked.|➞|
- It's an action viewed as a whole.
- An endpoint is in view.

Greek, Russian, and other languages express aspect within the language itself.

In Greek, each verb can be described with a pair of infinitives. For example:

to be hearing, listening

to hear, listen

So what is the impact?

After class, I considered the following record, which is the central reading in this final week of the course (there are other readings, yet this is the central reading).

As I read, I added little "open ended" and "end in view" markings.

Here is an initial looks at how considering aspect proves helpful when reading the Scriptures (with thanks to Randall Buth, who reviewed and corrected my first draft):

Luke 8:5-9, 11-15
 [with "open ended"|➞ and "end in view"|➞| markers]

5 ἐξῆλθεν|➞| ὁ σπείρων|➞ τοῦ σπεῖραι|➞| τὸν σπόρον αὐτοῦ. καὶ ἐν τῷ σπείρειν|➞ αὐτὸν ὃ μὲν ἔπεσεν|➞| παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν, καὶ κατεπατήθη|➞| καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατέφαγεν|➞| αὐτό·

6 καὶ ἕτερον κατέπεσεν|➞| ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν, καὶ φυὲν|➞| ἐξηράνθη|➞| διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν|➞ ἰκμάδα·

7 καὶ ἕτερον ἔπεσεν|➞| ἐν μέσῳ τῶν ἀκανθῶν, καὶ συμφυεῖσαι|➞| αἱ ἄκανθαι ἀπέπνιξαν|➞| αὐτό·

8 καὶ ἕτερον ἔπεσεν|➞| εἰς τὴν γῆν τὴν ἀγαθήν, καὶ φυὲν ἐποίησεν|➞| καρπὸν ἑκατονταπλασίονα. ταῦτα λέγων|➞ ἐφώνει|➞ · ὁ ἔχων|➞ ὦτα ἀκούειν|➞ ἀκουέτω|➞.

9 Ἐπηρώτων|➞ δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ τίς αὕτη εἴη ἡ παραβολή.

[verse 10 not included in our reading, in this course]

11 ἔστιν δὲ αὕτη ἡ παραβολή. ὁ σπόρος ἐστὶν ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ.

12 οἱ δὲ παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν εἰσίν οἱ ἀκούσαντες|➞|, εἶτα ἔρχεται|➞ ὁ διάβολος καὶ αἴρει|➞ τὸν λόγον ἀπὸ τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν, ἵνα μὴ πιστεύσαντες|➞| σωθῶσιν|➞|.

13 οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν οἳ ὅταν ἀκούσωσιν|➞| μετὰ χαρᾶς δέχονται|➞ τὸν λόγον, καὶ οὗτοι ῥίζαν οὐκ ἔχουσιν, οἳ πρὸς καιρὸν πιστεύουσιν|➞ καὶ ἐν καιρῷ πειρασμοῦ ἀφίστανται|➞.

14 τὸ δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας πεσόν|➞|, οὗτοί εἰσίν οἱ ἀκούσαντες|➞|, καὶ ὑπὸ μεριμνῶν καὶ πλούτου καὶ ἡδονῶν τοῦ βίου πορευόμενοι|➞ συνπνίγονται|➞ καὶ οὐ τελεσφοροῦσιν|➞.

15 τὸ δὲ ἐν τῇ καλῇ γῇ, οὗτοί εἰσίν οἵτινες ἐν καρδίᾳ καλῇ καὶ ἀγαθῇ ἀκούσαντες|➞| τὸν λόγον κατέχουσιν|➞ καὶ καρποφοροῦσιν|➞ ἐν ὑπομονῇ.


day 16 of 20

Our goal is to begin to internalize the language, so that we might read with understanding.

- Teacher-led interactions: how many hours did you sleep; where did you go; what did you buy?
- Two dialogs, with participant adding and changing lines at will
- A couple skits by our teachers, acting out and illustrating new words in the second half of Matt 21:33-41, the record I posted yesterday, in my weekend update
- Examples of present and future
- Examples of accents shifting from the 3rd to the 2nd syllable from the end, when the final syllable is long

- For each sentence, fill in the blank with an article and noun, genitive case.
- For each sentence, fill in the blank with a past-tense form of the supplied infinitive (ε augment, plus the correct set of endings for infinitives ending in -ειν or in -αι).
- For each sentence, fill in the blank with a "mi" verb.

The field trip photos are now online!


weekend update (weekend 3 of 3)

I'm very close now to reading the following in Greek and understanding it as I read, without translating into my native tongue. This is a very moving passage, especially so when reading and thinking in Greek. Here is the record:

Matt 21:33-41
33 Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἀκούσατε. ἄνθρωπος ἦν οἰκοδεσπότης ὅστις ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα καὶ φραγμὸν αὐτῷ περιέθηκεν καὶ ὤρυξεν ἐν αὐτῷ ληνὸν καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον, καὶ ἐξέδετο αὐτὸν γεωργοῖς, καὶ ἀπεδήμησεν.

34 ὅτε δὲ ἤγγισεν ὁ καιρὸς τῶν καρπῶν, ἀπέστειλεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ πρὸς τοὺς γεωργοὺς λαβεῖν τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτοῦ.

35 καὶ οἱ γεωργοὶ τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ ὃν μὲν ἔδειραν, ὃν δὲ ἀπέκτειναν, ὃν δὲ ἐλιθοβόλησαν.

36 πάλιν ἀπέστειλεν ἄλλους δούλους πλείονας τῶν πρώτων, καὶ ἐποίησαν αὐτοῖς ὡσαύτως.

37 ὕστερον δὲ ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ, · ἐντραπήσονται τὸν υἱόν μου.

38 οἱ δὲ γεωργοὶ τὸν υἱὸν εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ κληρονόμος· δεῦτε ἀποκτείνωμεν αὐτὸν καὶ σχῶμεν τὴν κληρονομίαν αὐτοῦ.

39 καὶ αὐτὸν ἐξέβαλον ἔξω τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος καὶ ἀπέκτειναν.

40 ὅταν οὖν ἔλθῃ ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος, τί ποιήσει τοῖς γεωργοῖς ἐκείνοις;

41 λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· κακοὺς κακῶς ἀπολέσει αὐτούς, καὶ τὸν ἀμπελῶνα ἐκδώσεται ἄλλοις γεωργοῖς, οἵτινες ἀποδώσουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς καρποὺς ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν.

We've also memorized the model prayer from Matthew. It has so many truths and lessons it in. Here it is:

Matt 6:9-13
9 ...πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου,

10 ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς.

11 τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·

12 καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·

13 καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.


day 15 of 20

- Our first exposure to "process" and "in process" aspect
- How? By example.
- The whole verb system is built upon these two.
- And then: we considered "give [process]" in the model prayer in Matthew; and we considered "give [in process]" in the model prayer in Luke.

- With a map and some Biblical characters: Where is ___ from? He/she is from ____.
- Q&A about what we are reading (some Qs taken directly from the reading; other Qs asking one to recognize the gist of what is happening in some part of the record)
- Abundant examples of genitive forms


day 14 of 20

Second day of our overnight field trip: Galilee (photos)

Our teachers continued to read the Scriptures to us. We understood quite a bit and could infer even more, all of which is part of the process of immersion language learning.

Gen 22:11-12
11 καὶ ἐκάλεσεν αὐτὸν ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ αβρααμ αβρααμ δὲ εἶπεν ἰδοὺ ἐγώ

12 καὶ εἶπεν μὴ ἐπιβάλῃς τὴν χεῖρά σου ἐπὶ τὸ παιδάριον μηδὲ ποιήσῃς αὐτῷ μηδέν νῦν γὰρ ἔγνων ὅτι φοβῇ τὸν θεὸν σὺ καὶ οὐκ ἐφείσω τοῦ υἱοῦ σου τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ δι' ἐμέ

Matt 8:9-10 (8:5 while entering Capernaum)
9 καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπός εἰμι ὑπὸ ἐξουσίαν, ἔχων ὑπ' ἐμαυτὸν στρατιώτας, καὶ λέγω τούτῳ, πορεύθητι, καὶ πορεύεται, καὶ ἄλλῳ, ἔρχου, καὶ ἔρχεται, καὶ τῷ δούλῳ μου, ποίησον τοῦτο, καὶ ποιεῖ.

10 ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐθαύμασεν καὶ εἶπεν τοῖς ἀκολουθοῦσιν, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐδὲ ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ τοσαύτην πίστιν εὗρον.

Matt 13:3, 8, 9

3 καὶ ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς πολλὰ ἐν παραβολαῖς λέγων· ἰδοὺ ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπείρειν.

8 ἄλλα δὲ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν καλὴν καὶ ἐδίδου καρπόν, ὃ μὲν ἑκατόν, ὃ δὲ ἑξήκοντα, ὃ δὲ τριάκοντα.

9 ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω.

Matt 14:27-29

27 εὐθὺς δὲ ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων· θαρσεῖτε, ἐγώ εἰμι· μὴ φοβεῖσθε.

28 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν· κύριε, εἰ σὺ εἶ, κέλευσόν με ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα·

29 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· ἐλθέ. καὶ καταβὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ πλοίου Πέτρος περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα καὶ ἦλθεν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν.

John 6:31-35
31 οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν τὸ μάννα ἔφαγον ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, καθώς ἐστιν γεγραμμένον· ἄρτον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς φαγεῖν.

32 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐ Μωϋσῆς δέδωκεν ὑμῖν τὸν ἄρτον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, ἀλλ' ὁ πατήρ μου δίδωσιν ὑμῖν τὸν ἄρτον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὸν ἀληθινόν.

33 ὁ γὰρ ἄρτος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν ὁ καταβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ζωὴν διδοὺς τῷ κόσμῳ.

34 εἶπον οὖν πρὸς αὐτόν· κύριε, πάντοτε δὸς ἡμῖν τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον.

35 εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς· ὁ ἐρχόμενος πρός ἐμὲ οὐ μὴ πεινάσῃ, καὶ ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμὲ οὐ μὴ διψήσει πώποτε.

Our field trip

We continued with a full day in Galilee. It was warm and sunny. We had a grand time!

We visited:
- ἡ Χοραζίν (Chorazin)
- ἡ Καφαρναούμ (Capernaum)
- ὁ Κολπος (Kolpos)
- αἱ ἐπτά Πηγαί (Seven Towers)
- ἡ Σέπφορις (Sepforis)

We visited Corazim National Park (for info, click here) and Zippori National Park (for info, click here).

An example of a basis for historically-adjusted pronunciation
We found, read, and then photographed a very interesting inscription. Here is the part of the inscription that caught our attention:
- κὲ ἡμῶν τέκηοη, that is to say:
- καί ἡμῶν τέκηοη
...giving evidence that ε = αι (same sound) at the time the inscription was made.

Common conversational verbs
Our teachers presented us with a booklet of conjugations of common conversational verbs, for use in class and long after class is over. It's for speaking practice.

Irregular verbs are abundant--and why
All of the common words in Greek are irregular. Why? Older forms in common use continued to be used and did not evolve with some of the rest of the language. Words used most often resist change.

From dialog to "vocab and verb drills" to the actual text: an observation
An observation about this approach, made by our teachers: It's always nice to meet a friend when reading something new.

Verb drills
"I, you, he, we, you all, they ____


day 13 of 20
First day of our overnight field trip (photos)

Today, we traveled by chartered mid-size Mercedes bus from Tzuba to Caesarea, then to the Golan Heights, and finally to Galilee.

Our teachers led us in discussions in Greek as we traveled; we students made baby steps at reasponding to questions about what we see and then later about what we saw.

ἡ Καισάρια (Caesarea)
Caesarea was a port city on the Mediterranean. We visited the reconstructed ruins of the ancient city, an area in which Paul once was. So our teachers read to us:

Acts 23:33
33 οἵτινες εἰσελθόντες εἰς τὴν Καισάριαν καὶ ἀναδόντες τὴν ἐπιστολὴν τῷ ἡγεμόνι παρέστησαν καὶ τὸν Παῦλον αὐτῷ.

After Caesarea, en route to our next stop, our teachers continued to read the Scriptures to us.

Matthew 6:24b, 33
24b ...οὐ δύνασθε θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ.

33 ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν.

Golan Heights
We traveled to the middle of the Golan Heights, to visit wine and olive oil producers.

After that, we descended to the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Kinneret) and made our way around to the west side of the lake.

ἡ Τιβερίας (Tiberias)
We dined in Tiberius. After dinner, we walked along the boardwalk and could hear small waves gently lapping up on the shore. It was a beautiful evening!

ἡ Μαγδαλά (Migdal)
We backtracked several miles to a bed-and-breakfast in (no TV, no internet, and like nearly everywhere: a bomb shelter, just in case).

It was a beautiful evening.


day 12 of 20
Constructing aloud and reading aloud
- Language construction is hard, even for our teachers; even they continually help one another on how to say things correctly.
- Constructing aloud appears to complement reading aloud. It may be that both parts are needed--constructing aloud and reading aloudt--to stretch and grow into thinking in the language.
- So it takes patience to work with one another and a willingness to make lots of mistakes to incorporate this into the learning process.

Building a language-learning fabric
- Entirely with Greek, props, acting, an repetition...
- The teachers act out a dialog, with key players and actions.
- The teachers hand out exercises that use dialog fragments to build additional vocabulary around each element.
- The students study the dialog and exercises, preparing to act out the dialog with understanding as well as to toss in some worked-out ad libs
- The students act out the dialog multiple times
- The teachers read the record upon which the dialog is based.
- The students read again and again the record.
- The teacher and students read the dialog, each reading a line at a time, followed by a short question and answer session afterwards, regarding who did what when.
- Reading capital letters: practice reading the three records we've gone into deeply, this time presented in ancient Greek capital letters, to prepare for reading inscriptions during our field trip (days 13 and 14)

- Acting (teacher and students): describe a present action; describe what just occurred (now in the past)
- Worksheet: sentences, with a blank for a singular past-tense verb form, plus at the end of the sentence an infinitive in brackets; from that worksheet, inferred ending pattern for ειν (ον ες ε) and αιν (α ας ε); also inferred that neuter plurals take singular verbs; also inferred how an augment works when a verb body begins with a prepositional suffix
- Worksheet: geography
- Acting out ἐκ ἀπό εἰς
- Nominative/accusative practice: Do you see ___? Yes, I see ___.


day 11 of 20

Here is what we read over the weekend, again today, and again tomorrow, with added understanding with each pass.

Luke 14:16-24
16 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, ἄνθρωπός τις ἐποίει δεῖπνον μέγα, καὶ ἐκάλεσεν πολλούς,

17 καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ τῇ ὥρᾳ τοῦ δείπνου εἰπεῖν τοῖς · ἔρχεσθε, ὅτι ἤδη ἕτοιμά εἰσιν.

18 καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι. ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα καὶ ἔχω
ἀνάγκην ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με.

19 καὶ ἕτερος εἶπεν· ζεύγη βοῶν ἠγόρασα πέντε καὶ πορεύομαι δοκιμάσαι αὐτά· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με.

20 καὶ ἕτερος εἶπεν· γυναῖκα ἔγημα καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὐ δύναμαι ἐλθεῖν.

21 καὶ ὁ δοῦλος ἀπήγγειλεν τῷ κυρίῳ αὐτοῦ ταῦτα. τότε ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης εἶπεν τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ· ἔξελθε ταχέως εἰς τὰς πλατείας καὶ ῥύμας τῆς πόλεως, καὶ τοὺς πτωχοὺς καὶ ἀναπήρους καὶ
τυφλοὺς καὶ χωλοὺς εἰσάγαγε ὧδε.

22 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ δοῦλος· κύριε, γέγονεν ὃ ἐπέταξας, καὶ ἔτι τόπος ἐστίν.

23 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ κύριος πρὸς τὸν δοῦλον· ἔξελθε εἰς τὰς ὁδοὺς καὶ φραγμοὺς καὶ ἀνάγκασον
εἰσελθεῖν, ἵνα γεμισθῇ μου ὁ οἶκος·

24 λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδεὶς τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκείνων τῶν γεύσεταί μου τοῦ δείπνου.

We're making progress with reading, understanding, and remembering the model prayer. Here's our progress to date:

Matt 6:9b-12
9b πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου,

10 ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς.

11 τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·

12 καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·

Picturing pictures
When you read, if you picture pictures more than words, you are beginning to think in the language; the language is beginning to take shape in your mind. Listen to the record and focus on the pictures, the events you see happening as you hear the passage.

Developing dialogs
In this course, dialogs are now coming from whatever section of Scripture we read later in the day (actually, we read and hear this material during the preceding afternoon; then we work out those examples and many others in class). The way to develop such a dialog appears to be:
- 1. Select a section of Scripture
- 2. Isolate the core actions and core statements into a shorter introductory dialog
- 3. Run through a series of replacement drills for word groups in that dialog, using the dialog as a context for learning new vocabulary
- 4. Present new forms, for example verb endings, as an aside
- 5. Read the section of Scripture: by word, by word group, and then as a whole

- What did you do this weekend? (a good exercise in past tense)
- Praying the model prayer (the Lord's prayer) together, from memory
- Toys: it is; they are; this is; what is? what are?
- Moving nouns around (given one, what's the other): singular, plural, nominative, accusative
- Accents moving from 3 from end to 2 from end
- Dialog
- Practice with many examples to internalize the sounds of "-omai" verbs
- Worksheets: nominative and accusative (one sheet on singular forms, the other on plural forms)


weekend update (weekend 2 of 3)

A very slow reading of a chapter
The sounds in this course are those of a real language (Greek), modestly adjusted based upon historical evidence (spelling variations) as to what sounded like what (ι = ει | υ = οι | ε = αι).

Today, I produced a very slow reading of 1 Thessalonians 1. I found that I was reading and thinking in Greek, expressing word groups at a time, reflecting what I was thinking as I read aloud.

Here is an "adjusted Greek" rendition of 1 Thes 1, read very slowly. download

If you wish to compare, here is an "Erasmus'" rendition of 1 Thes 1 that I did about a year ago, read very slowly: download.

It may be that the sounds of real language are vital to immersion learning and thinking the language itself. If so, then the "adjusted Greek" version will be especially helpful.

If musical intelligence (ref: Howard Gardner, "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences") is a strength for you, then the sounds of real language will strike a chord inside you which will likely be so very satisfying; and i may be key to your connecting with the Scriptures, word group by word group, thinking in the language as you read, understand, study, and grow.


day 10 of 20

Take. Eat.
During one segment today, our teachers spread out a sheet on the floor and placed on it fresh bread, pitas, a bottle of wine, olives, hummus, and goat cheese. They invited us to join them to eat and drink. We joined them and enjoyed a late morning meal together. Then we read Matthew 26: 26b-28a with understanding. I could read it entirely in Greek, hearing the Greek words in my mind and directly picturing that which was occurring! What a moment. A very promising close to a very demanding week of growth.

It's so beautiful to read and understand:

Matthew 26:26b-28a
...λαβὼν Ἰησοῦς ἄρτον καὶ εὐλογήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ δοὺς τοῖς μαθηταῖς εἶπεν· λάβετε φάγετε· τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.

27 καὶ λαβὼν ποτήριον καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς λέγων· πίετε ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες·

28a τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης...


Sketch+audio for initial vocabulary building
Before the course began, each of us prepared by working through 500 sketches with corresponding Greek-only audio. Then during the first week, we continued with another 500 sketches with corresponding Greek-only audio.

Dialogs for subsequent vocabulary building
Starting this week, the primary vehicle for communicating new vocabulary is the dialog. Every day begins or ends with a dialog.

We first see our teachers act out a new dialog for the first time. Nearly everything in it is new. So at first, the best we can do is follow along with the story and connect the sounds with generally what we see and sense is going on. This seems to be important, establishing a link between what we hear and what we see directly, at least in general terms, so that when we read the dialog more carefully at home, we can fine-tune those pictures in our minds with what we read in our workbook.

The next day, the students take turns in different groups, acting out the dialog, listening, speaking, ad libbing, and adapting to changes in the script as they go.

Little topics along the way
- The four seasons, with a discussion about what seasons each student likes, then endeavoring to recall what was shared (encouraging both speaking and listening that way).
- Acute and grave accents with an example of how they work
- Yesterday, today, and tomorrow--as a framework for presenting examples of past, present, and future verb forms


day 9 of 20

I can now read Luke 14:16-19 (four verses) in Greek--reading Greek, picturing what it says, without stepping out of the language. It took some time to "get" this over the past couple days. It's worth it.

Luke 14:16-19
16 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ, ἄνθρωπός τις ἐποίει δεῖπνον μέγα, καὶ ἐκάλεσεν πολλούς,

17 καὶ ἀπέστειλεν τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ τῇ ὥρᾳ τοῦ δείπνου εἰπεῖν τοῖς · ἔρχεσθε, ὅτι ἤδη ἕτοιμά εἰσιν.

18 καὶ ἤρξαντο ἀπὸ μιᾶς πάντες παραιτεῖσθαι. ὁ πρῶτος εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀγρὸν ἠγόρασα καὶ ἔχω
ἀνάγκην ἰδεῖν αὐτόν· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.

19 καὶ ἕτερος εἶπεν· ζεύγη βοῶν ἠγόρασα πέντε καὶ πορεύομαι δοκιμάσαι αὐτά· ἐρωτῶ σε, ἔχε με παρῃτημένον.


Today's class included:
- Reciting with understanding the first half of the model prayer (a.k.a. the Lord's prayer)
- An open-book dialog, with playful ad libbing
- Another singing of the alphabet song (it's fun)
- Lots and lots of examples, and some worksheets: present, past; nominative, accusative

Open-book dialog, with playful ad libbing
Our teachers tried something new. They asked us to read and understand a dialog. And they also asked us to come prepared to do some ad libbing (come ready with some additions or changes).

Instead of memorizing a dialog, we read it for understanding. We looked for how the dialog flowed. And we looked for those places where we could (1) substitute a word group with another word group or (2) add an additional sentence at the end of one of our lines.

This approach focused on our understanding, construction (of some ad libs), and our ability to listen and respond during the reading of a dialog, so that we could respond to others' ad libs.

It was fun and effective. And it overcame a classic problem with dialogs: if students memorize their lines, they'll deliver just those lines, without listening to or considering what the others are actually saying.

Kudos to our teachers!


day 8 of 20

We continue to ramp up.
It was another good, and at times very challenging, class today.

I would not have thought that one could--by multiple examples and acting things out and engaging in dialog--communicate the "relative to the main verb" nature of time for a present participle and a past participle. Yet it happened in about 30 minutes today, totally by example.

I focused my mind and followed the example and getting the point from what I heard and saw, and interacted with our teachers about what was going on, without resorting to working from analytical mindset (which is a fine mindset, just not the one to have when learning to think in a language and stay in that language). That was quite an experience!

It was only after class that I shifted to analytical mode, to validate what I had seen and heard and constructed during those examples.

Teaching tactics
I jotted down some teaching tactics from today's experience:

- Set the scene. In immersion learning, if a lot is going to be going on, or if you're getting ready to present a large amount of new information (more than anyone would absorb in one pass) by acting something out for them, give your students some listening and watching cues, for example: in this first pass, pay close attention what the common relationship is between pairs of actions.

- Set the verbal pace. Intentionally slow down your speaking speed when presenting or practicing something new, then gradually pick up the pace after that. When you feel all students are staring at your lips, slow down.

- Crisp first examples. When presenting a new concept, provide crisp examples with minimal clutter. Team teachers can provide the first examples and counter examples. A single teacher could work with a student in advance, so that the two of them can provide the first examples and counter examples.

- Incremental vocabulary. The course uses the whole language, rather than incrementally deliver it (for example, it does not hide verbs until the end of the first quarter, as is often done). Yet not everything comes at once. One important incremental thing about this approach is incremental vocabulary. Presenting small chunks of related vocabulary in the context of acting out the story, followed by discussing who did what, what occurred, when, and so on, helps the student relate words to meaning within the context of acting out a story.

- Start and finish. Each day, start with something new and challenging (while everyone is fresh); then finish with something the students are familiar with, ending on a high note.


day 7 of 20

Matt 6:9-10
9 ...πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου,

10 ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς.

The model prayer
We are memorizing the model prayer (also known as the Lord's prayer) from Matthew 6. Yesterday we learned the first two lines; today we learned two more lines.

Running lesson
This place is a runner's delight. I've been running 40-45 minutes daily. I've done this for 10 days in a row. Every time it's a different path of dirt roads and trails. Quite amazing. Today, I ran along a road. The road ran through a vineyard. The road became a hiking trail. The trail narrowed down to a single path. I began climbing upwards. Up smaller boulders. The up over larger bounders. Sometimes I had the trail. Other times I was looking for how I might get higher without a trail. I could see a ridge at the top. Finally, one large boulder to climb and I would reach the top. I climbed that boulder. I reached the summit. It was a wire fence with two rows of barb wire on top! And a vineyard on the other side. I really didn't want to go down the way I came. So I walked along the fence several steps, found a fence pole that was a good size and nearly 2 feet taller than the top barb wire. So using that pole, I climbed up the fence, over it without touching the barb wire, put my feet on the other side, unstuck one of my two feet from the other side, stepped down, and continued running.

The lesson? That run was a lot like language learning.

I look forward to the day when I reach the top and climb over the fence.

Today was a good day!
Today we:
- Acted out the two dialogs we've memorized
- Wrote out the first dialog
- Played "Σίμων λέγει"
- Did some "how many brothers, how many sisters; how many sons, how many daughters" drills (something we started yesterday and continued today)
- Did some "you, we, they" drills
- Worked verbally and in writing: ὀρθή (nominative) and γενική (genitive) forms
- Worked with present active indicative, present active imperative, present active subjunctive, and future active indicative. We hear, do, speak, and understand a wide variety of forms each day.
- Worked on worksheets: opposites, time, singular/plural. The opposites sheet was especially interesting, because it included several words we did not yet know, and the teachers looked to see if we were willing to take a risk and guess at those, which is what the were wanting to see from us.

Today in class, I got lost just once, when I could not keep up with a teacher's pace at the start of a new section. I caught on. Other than that five minutes or so, I was in the game. Afterwards, one of our teachers said to me that I was nailing the course. If he keeps telling me this, maybe at some point I'll accept such a thing. Meanwhile, yes, I choose to be here another day!

A new alphabet song
Today, we sang a new alphabet song, using the "Living Koine Greek" pronunciation system. download

What a newbie sounds like
Yesterday, I wrote about reading and understanding Luke 15:8-10 in Greek. Here is a newbie recording, my just beginning to "get" the "Living Koine Greek" pronunciation system. Update: better yet, here is what I sounded like on day 19; it's much better! download

Hand gestures for acting out person and number forms
Both in class and when doing directed assignments, we act things out to help us internalize what we are learning.

During my directed assignment this afternoon (it was long one today), I made up a series of hand gestures for acting out a verb example:
- I: point to myself, with my left hand
- You (sing.): point in front of me, with left hand
- He, she, it: point to the left, with left hand
- We: point around including me, with both hands
- You (plural):" point in front of me, with two hands
- They: point to the left with the left hand, to the right with the right hand



Working with real language
It's funny. Learning language by immersion seems as if it's stimulating a different region of my mind, the place where this kind of (childhood-like) language learning occurs.

What other classes avoid, we are doing from the start. For example, referring to Christ as τὸ ἐχόμεθα is something we did by the end of our first week. Most classes avoid this common way of expressing things in Greek until the middle of the second quarter, and even then, with fear and trembling! By the end of the first week, we were also using both regular and contracted verb forms--again, second quarter topics, usually. Why do it all from the start--all forms, irregular forms too--and use it all from the start? Because it's language--and in this approach, it's the language we are learning to think in (otherwise, having large gaps in what one knows blocks being able to think in that language for way too long in the learning process).

A fellow student took the Hebrew immersion course several years ago and has since read the Hebrew OT four times; for me, he's living proof to me that this approach really works well. He shared that other approaches are fruitful; this approach produces results other approaches cannot: reading, thinking, and understanding in the language itself.


day 6 of 20

One day at a time

I struggled today. It was work, hard work, not fun work. It was difficult. This is a 20-day challenge. We have 14 days to go. I can get there if I choose each day to continue for another day.

And then a breakthrough! In our directed studies this afternoon, I read the following in Greek, and understood it directly in Greek as I read it:

Luke 15:8-10
8 τίς γυνὴ δραχμὰς ἔχουσα δέκα, ἐὰν ἀπολέσῃ δραχμὴν μίαν, οὐχὶ ἅπτει λύχνον καὶ σαροῖ τὴν οἰκίαν καὶ ζητεῖ ἐπιμελῶς ἕως ὅτου εὕρῃ;

9 καὶ εὑροῦσα συνκαλεῖ τὰς φίλας καὶ γείτονας λέγουσα· συνχάρητέ μοι, ὅτι εὗρον τὴν δραχμὴν ἣν ἀπώλεσα.

10 οὕτως, λέγω ὑμῖν, γίνεται χαρὰ ἐνώπιον τῶν ἀγγέλων τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ ἑνὶ ἁμαρτωλῷ μετανοοῦντι.

Especially I noticed: συνκαλεῖ τὰς φίλας καὶ γείτονας

...which could be understood as: she called together her girl friends and girl neighbors.

How about that.

And so yes, I choose this day to continue for another day.

Over the weekend, we memorized our first dialog. Today we performed our first dialog from memory and participated in a Q&A session about it, Tonight we will memorize a second dialog. And in the morning, we will write out the first dialog from memory; perform our second dialog from memory; and participate in a Q&A session about our second dialog.

So this is how dialogs are coming into play in our class:
- Read and understand a dialog in class.
- Memorize it that evening.
- Act it out the next morning in class.
- Participate in a Q&A session on "who is doing what."
- And the next day in class, write it out from memory.

We heard, saw acted out, and followed a story about a shepherd and his sheep.

We also heard, saw acted out, and followed a joke about a rich man taking a bag of gold to heaven. It was a funny joke (although one spends so much focus in language learning that it takes even more focus to actually get the joke)!

Abundant examples
Today's examples illustrated:
- Personal pronouns
- Nouns: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative
- Verbs: present active indicative (regular and contract forms); plus some initial exposure to future active indicative and present active imperative.


weekend update (weekend 1 of 3)

Teach by abundant examples
At the start of the second week, I realize that, the course itself is a calling out to teachers, to teach by abundant examples.

One can teach by construct or teach by abundant example.

Teach by construct? Your students do the following:
- Read and hear about a grammatical form.
- Read and hear about some examples of that form.
- Read and hear something from the Word.
- The result: students decode and translate forms with ease.

Teach by abundant examples? You students do the following:
- Read, hear, and act out a large number of examples
- Read and hear about the grammatical form that one has observed while working with those many examples.
- Read, hear, and act out something from the Word.
- The result: students read, think, and understand in Greek itself (rather than switching back to their native tongue, word by word).

In this course, I'm learning by abundant examples; and I'm looking forward to teaching by abundant examples.


day 5 of 20

Why do we "track and follow" the abundant examples and stories?
When a student tracks and follows an example or a story, he strives to get the general sense and get some of the pieces. Some pieces stick. Piece by piece, his ability to understand the language grows. Each day, more pieces; some stick; his ability grows.

Playing with toy animals
Before class began, all of us sat on the floor in a circle, with one of our teachers. Students picked up animals, said what kind it was, and formed some simple sentences about what it does.

Subject--direct object
Our teachers interactively took us through a large number of examples of nouns used as subjects and as direct objects--totally by example. At times one of our teachers repeated pairs of words that he wanted to bring to our attention, so we could hear the similarities and make those connections. Students focused on hearing, seeing, doing, and constructing.

Our teachers continued to give examples of present and past. How they do this is by telling a story (in the present) and then retelling the story (which at that point is all in the past). Today's story was a made-up one about a fox---a present version, then a past version.

I, You, He, Command
We stood in a circle and constructed "I __, you ___, he ____, and a corresponding command--again and again. Again, at times one of our teachers repeated pairs of words that he wanted to bring to our attention, so we could hear the similarities and make those connections.

Books of the New Testament
We went around the circle, reading from a list of names of the books of the New Testament.

We went around the circle, counting from 1 to 100.

It's almost the weekend
Lots of studying to do, as our teachers expect that students will put 6-8 hours of study time each weekend during the course!

A very memorable run
This afternoon marked my sixth run through the Judean Hills; I'm running about 40 minutes per day; the hills, vineyards, olive trees, and orchards provide a visual feast. While running on a trail, I saw three young boys ahead, holding sticks, standing near three goats (a male, a female, and a young one). I approached the boys and goats tentatively; were the goats pets? Or simply wandering animals? The boys did not know English and I do not know Hebrew. Yet I soon got my answer: then boys began walking along with the goats, waving their sticks, saying commands, and succeeding in getting the goats to go where the boys wanted them to go. The male goat moved quickly to the edge of the area were in; a boy ran over, waved his stick, said something in Hebrew, and the goat moved back. About this time, their dad came up the trail, with even younger children. The dad and I both regretted not speaking the other's language, yet we communicated somehow, and quietly shook hands when it was time to go. I ran down the trail, made a turn, looked back, and saw all three goats running as fast as they could; the three older boys were running after them, as fast as they could; what a sight!. Perhaps they were all heading home for the day. About five minutes later, as I ran, I began constructing sentences in Greek, about that very experience. It was a very memorable run.


day 4 of 20

Building the core. Core language learning comes first. After that, structure

How does one build the core?

By teaching with hundreds of progressive examples: seeing, hearing, doing--and after some initial exposure, speaking. And by reading and understanding in the language itself (rather than decoding, translating, and understanding in some other language).

The progressive examples provide the core.

The reward is being able to hear and see and understand in Greek, with no "decode and translate" steps. Such as hearing and understanding:

1 John 1:5
...ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν καὶ σκοτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδεμία.

Eventually, structure describes the core one already has in place, rather than act as the overall organizing force of how one approaches the language.

Structure should be descriptive, rather than prescriptive.

"Action, I, He, You". The teacher asked an actor (a student) to do an action. The actor did it. At the same time, the actor stated what he was doing (I ___). Another student stated what the actor was doing (He ___s). The teacher summed it up, addressing the actor (You ___).

A short walk. We went outdoors so we could play with objects and actions.

Opposites. We began producing! Given a tangible object or action, the student expressed the opposite. (We had learned them separately, so this brought together what we were learning in a way we could produce new sentences.

Perhaps it would be even better to learn opposites in pairs, from the start; then construct sentences that interrelate those pairs. For example, we heard this verse today; it would be a great verse to act out and connect with, these three pairs:

Rev 22:13
ἐγὼ τὸ ἄλφα καὶ τὸ ω, ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, ἡ ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ τέλος.

Noun forms; verb forms; present and past -- expressed by seeing, hearing, and understanding example after example, without anything other than the examples themselves (not as endings or tenses; it was not taught that way and I kept my mind on a short leash, so as not to use such things just to get a so-called right answer out of my mouth).

So how was past and present conveyed? By example. A teacher would tell a story in the present. And then repeat that same story again, describing what occurred as something in the past.

The example teaches.

Counting. We counted from 1 to 60, flashing hands and fingers!

Five colors, using a handful of colors pens (I'd like crayons for each participant :-), our second pass in hearing and seeing colors. For this part, crayons might be fun!

A guided acting out a record. We also enjoyed an acted-out telling of the record of Gen 22:8-13, in which Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son. The teacher provided the lines. Each actor repeated his line from the teacher.


day 3 of 20

Playful singing by our teachers
I enjoyed my 34-hour birthday celebration (24 hours plus 10 time zones). This morning (while it was still my birthday back in California), our two teachers sang a song to me. Such a joyful, playful recording; their love for teaching rings true. download

Learn actions together: opposites; steps in a process
Every moment in the classroom is in Koine Greek--that's what we hear, that's what we see acted out, that's what we speak a very little bit (a few words along the way, still just a small part of our day). So what I describe here is something I abstracted out from what we did.

Look for contexts in which you can learn more than one action at a time. Here's how we did it today. We learned: (1) opposites together and (2) steps in a process together.

I struggled today, for 10 minutes in the middle and 3 minutes at the end. I shook my head, so a teacher knew I was not getting it. A teacher noticed. He talked with me afterwords. What follows is what I came away with, in my own words. I call it "grasp and guess."

Grasp and guess
As you see and hear:
- Grasp what is generally going on, such as "something good is going on." Get the general sense of the nature of an action. Also get the general sense of the progression of what we are doing in the classroom, as this can also provide clues.
- Guess what might be being conveyed--sometimes you'll know right away, sometimes you'll know in the hours or days that follow.

And in fact, this is how I understood what we acted out what one of our teachers read from Luke 8: 5-8 (actually, he read the section with present actions, as it was not till this afternoon that we began working with past actions). And I understood from what I was doing, what others were doing, and what I heard, especially the impact of these words:

Luke 8:5
ἐξῆλθεν ὁ σπείρων τοῦ σπεῖραι τὸν σπόρον αὐτοῦ...

day 2 of 20

Today is my birthday!

This morning we heard, saw, and did more things even more things relating to tangible objects. A room and its parts. A toy animal collection and its members (pairs of both large and small animals). A nature walk and its parts (olive trees, birds, more). The human body and its parts. And then a teacher read and acted it out while he read aloud--and I heard it, pictured it, and related to it--directly from Greek:

Matt 26:26-27
26 ...ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἄρτον...δοὺς τοῖς μαθηταῖς εἶπεν· λάβετε φάγετε· τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.

27 καὶ λαβὼν ποτήριον καὶ...λέγων· πίετε ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες·

Wow! That was the highlight of the training day for me.

About this beautiful setting
I ran alongside olive trees and wine grape vines today. Workers were preparing a hillside for planting additional grape vines. Such a beautiful place, the Judean Hills.

About language learning
At the start of a break, I shared with the teachers that it's a discipline, a focus, to associate sounds with that which we are seeing and doing, directly, without any form decoding, translating, or connecting in some way with English words. Randall said that part of language learning is not seeing things clearly, not fully understanding; most adult learners try to focus that which is unfocused by relating new words back to another language; such relating is helpful, yet not for language learning.

About learning by hearing, seeing, and taking physical action
We counted to ten and kind of stumbled around. After class, I suggested to one of our teachers that it might be helpful to see and move around groupings of 1-10 objects, then introduce the numbers that way, so that we could related an amount with something we hear, see, and interact with, just as we are with the other things we are learning. Follow up: the next day, we counted out loud, holding up the corresponding number of fingers. Perfect.

About the letters and the sounds
Here are the letters and an approximation of the sounds we are using in this course--in chunks, as in the alphabet song. Vowel sounds in bold. Here we go:

α: ah
- au: ahv, ahf
β: v
γ: gh (y, ng)
δ: dh
ε (αι): eh
ζ: z
η: ey
θ: th

ι (ει): ee
κ: k
λ: l
μ: m
ν: n
ξ: ks
ο: oh

π: p
ρ: rolled r
σ ς: s
τ: t
υ (οι): ue (see the "how to make the ue sound" below)
- υι: ue.ee (two syllables)
- ου: oo
- ευ: ehf, ehv
- ηυ: eyv, eyf
φ: f

χ: ch
ψ: ps
ω: oh


How to make the "ue" sound
ue: The sound occurs in other languages yet not in English. So some how-to instructions might prove helpful! Here's how to make the sound. Place your tongue as if you are ready to say "ee." Relax your cheeks. Move your lips closer and closer together. You'll find the if you pucker your lips, the sound will change from "ee" to "oo." Now back off on that pucker a bit, and you'll hear both "ee" and "oo" at the same time. Fun! That is how to make the "ue" sound.


day 1 of 20

Each class day consists of:
- 4 hours of class time (with 3 breaks: 10 min, 20 min, 10 min), entirely in Koine Greek
- 4 hours of audio-and-workbook time, entirely in Koine Greek

Today we participated in Greek in action:
- Hearing and acting out action verbs
- Incorporating tangible objects in the room, plus some toy animals.

Today we were hearing, seeing, and doing--relating the sounds conveying what we were hearing, seeing, and doing. Rather than dissect forms or remember by relating to a translation, we held our minds relating the sounds to what we were hearing, seeing, and doing.

And we the students did not speak out loud and focused on not speaking inside our heads. This allowed us to hear very clear examples from our teachers (rather than our own early attempts), leading to better sound setting. And it allowed us to begin the same way we did as very young children: hear, see, do--and in due course, speak.

Several hours later, I was jogging on a trail. I saw a stone and without thinking English I directly thought in Greek lee.thohs.

A good beginning.


1 day before the start
7 pm Orientation meeting
Met Randall Buth, his instructors, and some classmates

About Randall Buth
- Spent 20 years translating in Africa, yet found that as a consultant, those who worked with Hebrew and Greek could not actually read Hebrew or Greek
- Then moved to Jerusalem 12 years ago, to address this very problem
- Developed an immersion course for Biblical Hebrew
- 2 1/2 years ago, developed an immersion course for Koine Greek (the Greek of the New Testament)

About this special time
- It's the first time that Randall is offering a four-week version of the course, with the option of an additional two weeks as a follow up (in the Summer '07 and Summer '08 sessions, the course was six weeks long)
- It's a small class: 6 in Greek, 6 in Hebrew (normally 10-20, with a firm cutoff at 20)
- Each class has two instructors. So this time, it's an incredible 3:1 student teacher ratio!
- The instructors for the Greek class will be Randall Buth himself and Jordash Kiffiak (a doctoral candidate at Hebrew University and, from what I inferred, has been instructor of this Greek course since its inception)

About how we will learn
- Enjoy! This is the fun way of learning.
- You learn a language by using a language. It's the best and fastest way possible.
- Listen the first two days; don't construct; you're pronunciation will be better that way.
- Stay in the language, to get the language (don't seek an answer in English from a classmate).
- You can't understand 100%. It's okay to make mistakes; all of us, including instructors, will make them. You get a credit account of 30,000 mistakes. Use them.
- Sleep at least 8 hours per night. If you can choose between study or sleeping a full 8 hours, sleep and let your instructor know you did that part of the homework.
- If you don't understand, signal with your hands, so the instructors can help.

About the class hours, what to wear, what to bring
- Class hours are Monday through Friday, 830 to 1230.
- Wear comfortable clothing you can play in.
- Don't bring pen or pencil during the first week.

About the big field trip
- Both classes will be taking two-day overnight field trip to Galilee, Wed-Thurs Jan 14-15 (one of our visits will be to a winery there)

About the kibbutz
- It's a commune, supported by running a hotel, restaurant, glass factory, orchards, wheat fields, winery
- The dining room is the highest point on the kibbutz, as the gathering place in the community
- They use different utensils for meals with meat. Don't bring food or utensils into the restaurant.
- The food is awesome! Mediterranean fare. Excellent!
- It's polite not to clear your dishes. Kibbutz members have that responsibility. We are guests and should not do that.
- The guest suites are simple, comfortable, clean, and have a good view of the green hills in this area (that is what is fitting and proper).


2 days before the start
- Arrive in Tel Aviv in the evening (after flying 5 hrs SFO to Atlanta, nearly 12 hours Atlanta to Tel Aviv)
- Taxi to the Tsuba Kibbutz (a mile off highway 1, the main road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem)


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