https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kitty_O

Advice on learning Ancient Greek?

Hi!

I'm just wondering if anybody had any advice on learning Ancient Greek? I've only just started the duolingo Greek but am aware they are different. Does anyone have advice on whether I should do modern Greek too, or whether I should focus on Ancient Greek - basically the best way to do it?

Thanks :-)

March 4, 2018

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga
Mod
  • 199

It all depends on what you are learning for.

Here we teach Modern Greek. And by knowing Modern Greek, you get to converse with people who speak Greek today. And thus, you have a great body of knowledge and resources you can tap into to enhance and engage you with your language learning.

If you already know Modern Greek, you will find reading the different varieties of Ancient Greek, as the written language of modern Greek has been around for since about the 3rd millennium BC, or possibly earlier. And currently the earliest written works date back to between 1340 and 1350BC, making Greek the world's oldest recorded and LIVING language.

However if you decide to focus on Ancient Greek - you will need to decide which period you may wish to focus on. Which is yet another point to consider. For as with any living language, there are constantly changes.

Perhaps check out Wikipedia for more information.
This article on quora may also interest you.

However for my resources, I would prefer to learn the living language. I also love history, though for me, I would prefer to be able to really communicate with people, in a two way conversation. Not just study the works of history. Though I also love delving into history, and find this also assist my learning of Modern Greek.

Wishing you all the best with your decision.

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TikaShier

I love ancient Greek myths because they are enhancing and will make you want to know more about it, thus causing you to like history and geography.(at least, my friends and I do and we LOVE ancient Greek mythology)

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TikaShier

(that's because of the Percy Jackson series!!!! (; )

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga
Mod
  • 199

And that is also a great reason.

For our stories, and also our music, is fundamental for the formation of human society. Also to know of the stories of the past. For "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana and "If I have seen further ... it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - Isaac Newton.

And yet, for myself, I still have a preference for learning the living language, and especially at first.

The first challenge one has, is the variance in the Latin script of English. Even though the Latin script was significantly inspired by that of the much older Greek script, through the passage of time and travel, there is a lot to learn to conquer the Greek script. However the Greek script does not suffer the enormous variations of different pronunciations for the same and collection of letters and spelling rules that gives English both a richness and also an unnecessary complication.

Greek script is much more phonetic and standard, even though it is a much older and more consistent script, from what I know about. Yes, it does have a few quirks to learn, yet they are fewer than that for English.

The other advantage of learning the Greek script, is that you will see resonances in other languages that it has also inspired, such as Russian. Which is also a great and fun language to learn, not to speak of its history and culture as well.

By learning initially Modern Greek, you also have the opportunity to delve into being inspired by resources such as Music, Movie and other entertainment such as Sport, reading current cookery books, listening to podcasts of current events and yes - also stories. Stories from the past, and engaging stories that are being created today, such as Percy Jackson.

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coolazice

"the world's oldest recorded and LIVING language" - doubtful. Arguably Sanskrit has evidence of earlier texts, the Rig Veda might be as old as 1500-1700 BC. And yes, there are still active speakers.

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga
Mod
  • 199

OOOhhhh this is interesting.

Do you know much about how the Sanskrit script has changed over time ?
Do you know of resources that also assist in the learning of modern day Sanskrit ?

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daKanga
Mod
  • 199

ohhh - here is a discussion in Duolingo where people recommend some other resources for Sanskrit:
Basic Sanskrit terminology

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aris.S

Actually you are wrong, there are no evidence, nor proof for that matter, of ancient Sanskrit texts written back then (the works of course exist but re-written centuries later). The reason is quite simple, the script used for Sanskrit is the Devanagari, which was created around the 10th century CE, which truth be told, is (very loosely) based on an ancient Brahmi script dated roughly at 10th century BCE. Actually the problem scholars face in dating the Sanskrit epics (the Mahābhārata & the Ramayana), as well as the Rig Veda, is the fact the the Indians of times past were relying almost exclusively on oral tradition. I suggest you'd read Jawaharlal Nehru's book "The Discovery of India" as it contains a very informative chapter on the dating problem of the ancient Indian literature.

As considering Sanskrit a living language, I don't think so, with 15000 speakers I wouldn't say it's a living one, no more than Latin at least.

March 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coolazice

If you want to learn Homeric Greek, the reading course by Schoder is fantastic. For Attic Greek, I've seen people recommend the Athenaze texts.

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JulesF.

I don't really have tips... Make sure you learn your cases and translate as much as possible! When you arrive at a word that you don't know, look it up and make flashcards.

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaye16
Mod
  • 17

Please see the comment above by Lindakanga which explains it all.

Let me emphasize that Duolingo teaches Modern Greek, not Ancient Greek.
I do agree that cases are very important and your flashcard suggestion is really helpful.

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TikaShier

i say u should do both

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3
March 6, 2018
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