Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Grammar 8: Next Steps

What's next?

Here are some possible next steps in your study of NT Greek:

1. Build your vocabulary. This is the most important step in building your feeling of being at home with the Greek text.

- Best recommendation: use a vocabulary app, just before bed and soon after you wake up each day. Learn the most frequent words first, then gradually add more and more. An app that works really well for this is called Shinun. Try it!

- Buy flashcards for the words occurring 50 or more times in the Greek NT. By learning about 320 words, you'll be equipped to recognize core word meaning for about 80% of the Greek NT. Learn new words at a steady pace, for example, 10 per week, and you'll be done in less than a year.

- Or download and use the memory-building illustrations at Visual Greek.

2. Read Greek in parallel with other versions, at Bible GT.

- Read simple sentences. In the beginner section, click "versions" and add the Greek Septuagint and Westcott-Hort with Parts of Speech. When you read a short, simple verse in your native tongue, read the same verse in Greek. Over time, this little bit of added practice bears fruit.

- Pick up high-frequency words. In the beginner section, click "versions' and add the "Greek Westcott-Hort Graded Reader." Then you can select words you'd like to learn (for example, all words that occur 50 or more times in the Greek NT) and see them in whatever chapter you are considering. When you read chapter in your native tongue, look over and learn one of the high frequency words that are in the corresponding Greek. Over time, this little bit of added practice bears fruit.

- Be on the lookout for short statements that you can use in everyday thinking and speaking. Here's one:

Εὐχαριστοῦμεν  τῷ  θεῷ πάντοτε  περὶ  πάντων  ὑμῶν...1 Thes 1:2

Say it out loud. Look for occasions to say it aloud. Now take the expression and adapt it in small ways, so you can use what you've learned in more contexts. For example, when speaking as an individual to another individual:

Εὐχαριστῶ  τῷ  θεῷ  περὶ  σού.

Or put together a short saying for daily speaking, such as:

Ἀγαπῶ  σε.

Then search in Google to see what you can find (you might even find a song).

3. Read (yes, read!) a grammar book, a chapter a week.

- Read a grammar book at a modest pace, for example one chapter per week. An effective beginning is Basics of Biblical Greek by Bill Mounce. You may opt to skip the "exegetical insights" sections and focus your study time on grammar and vocabulary. With 35 chapters, you'll done in less than a year. If you would like a set of lectures to go along with the book, you'll find them here.

- An excellent follow-on is Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics by Daniel Wallace. It's rich with Scripture references with minimal commentary; you'll find yourself spending good time in the Scriptures, even while learning some Greek grammar along the way.

4. Enroll and actively participate in a two-quarter or two-semester course in Biblical Greek, at a Bible college in the community in which you live.

5. Enroll and immerse yourself in a Living Koine Greek immersion course. This is especially helpful if your goal is to think in the language itself when reading the Scriptures. More, here.


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