updated 18 April 2013
Why learn Greek?
Learning Ancient Greek is a fun ordeal. Fun ordeal? Why,
thats an oxymoron or or paradox (oops, those are both words
derived from Ancient Greek! And what DO those words mean, anyway?)
Why should YOU learn Ancient Greek (other than fear of Zeus)? If youve ever enjoyed reading Sophocles or Plato in English, youd be amazed to realize how much more fascinating they are in the original Greek, and by the end of your first year of Greek you start to study these authors in their own words. Free yourself from the tyranny of translators and talk to the authors themselves!
Greek not only provides enjoyment and intellectual stimulation, but it is also very practical. Consider:
1) It sharpens analytical language skills and improves knowledge
of English; introduces Greek words that have been borrowed by
English, e.g. architect, athlete, Catholic, Christ, dyslexia,
fancy, holistic, pedagogy, psychiatry, and sophomore. 2) Many
English technical vocabularies, from philosophy to geology, since
the time of the Renaissance are based on Greek. Almost all terms
in biology, medicine and other hard sciences are derived from
Greek. If you learn Ancient Greek, you are several steps ahead
of your peers in in understanding scientific concepts.
3) Greek is often required or recommended for students who plan to enter seminary, or pursue graduate studies in Western theater, history, literature, political science, or philosophy.
4) Because of the advantages listed above students of Greek tend to do very well indeed on such pre-graduate and professional exams as the GRE (grad school), MCAT (med school), and LSAT (law school).
Ancient Greek 1-2 is offered every year, and Intensive Greek is offered often in the summer or the spring. If you are interested or have questions, please contact Robin Mitchell-Boyask, Chair of GHR Classics (and Greek teacher), firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-3672. By the end it's not just Greek that you've learned. You discover that with steady effort and patience you can learn to read the actual words of the founders of the Western intellectual tradition. You come to know yourself not just as kids from Cherry Hill or Philadelphia who hope to find a job someday, but as someone who has engaged Herodotus, Plato and St John in conversation.
Our program in ancient Greek has students learn the language by reading and speaking it with a textbook that starts simply, with dialogue scripts, and then translated folktales. Starting in the second week, students read authentic passages from the philosopher Heraclitus and the New Testament. Soon Sappho arrives. The year climaxes with authentic, unadapted readings, including Lysias’ On the Murder of Eratosthenes, a trial speech involving murder and adultery.
The third semester (2001) typically concentrates on Homer (specific books TBA), and the fourth on authors such as Plato, Herodotus and Demosethenes. The third year class (3096, 3002) reads Greek tragedy in the fall.
Some of these sites include sound files so you can hear the results of current scholarship on how ancient Greek sounded. If you listen to more than one site you will notice that nobody pronounces Greek the same! We strongly encourage you to listen to these files.
The Open University's introduction to the Greek alphabet. Terrific interactive exercises to get you started.
Athenaze Exercises from the University of Victoria. Start here!
Drills for Athenaze by Jean Alvarez
Supplementary Exercises for Athenaze created by James F. Johnson (Austin College)
Ancient Greek Tutorials has on-line drills for Greek forms, and a very handy accentuation drill. You must have a particular configuration of browser and font. The macs in the student room in the Classics module are thus correctly configured.
Helma Dik (University of Chicago) has an index page of very helpful handouts (pdf files) on various aspects of the Greek language, suitable for Greek 51-2.
New!Classical Language Instruction Project is designed to function as a resource for college undergraduates hoping to gain some insight into the pronunciation and elocution of ancient Greek and Latin. As the rationale for the Project states on the site: "There may be considerable debate among scholars about the most 'authentic' way to pronounce Greek or Latin; yet it is certain that the texts from the ancient world reflect a vivid and complex spoken language, not a lifeless code." With that in mind, the site features different classical scholars reading passages by a number of writers, including Homer, Plato, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Seneca. As the scholars read, students can follow along, view the passage in English, and pause the recording in order to develop an understanding of the text and its pronunciation. Finally, the site also includes a brief essay on rhythm and meter in Greek and Latin.
Society for the Oral Reading of Greek and Latin Literature has information on the "restored pronunciation" of ancient Greek, and sound files, including a reading of the Greek alphabet and simple Greek words
The Sound of Ancient Greek - Classical Pronunciation. Excerpts from Aeschylus, Plato and Homer, using classical phonemes as well as a reconstruction of the classical pitch accent, applied to the domain of the word and appositive group as well as of the phrase.
Gregory Nagy's Homer in Performance Web Page Sound files of Homer recitations in Greek
The Codex Sinaiticus (one of the oldest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament)