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Learning to read/think like an ancient


caldwell614
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I am currently taking some New Testament Greek in school and self-teaching Latin. Since I am at a seminary, we went through Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek. The book is great for learning shortcuts to translating, but not for really getting a grasp on the Greek language. I really want to learn to read and figure out how the authors think, not simply translate into a simplified English.

 

The lexical range or some words is really quite different than the English lexical range, which leads me to believe that speakers of Classical and Koine Greek had different understandings of the mechanics of language as well as a different mindset and philosophy than an English speaker today. 

 

I have just begun to study Wheelock's Latin and find it much better but still not as immersive as I would like. At least Wheelock has composition and questions about sample texts. 

 

Are there any resources that teach Greek and Latin by helping a reader get into the mind of an ancient? Perhaps less translating and more throwing you into a language? Or is this a skill I should develop once my basic grasp of these languages has been strengthened?

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The trick is finding large quantities of Greek and Latin texts that are actually comprehensible.  And by that I mean texts that you can just sit down and read without extensive notes and without looking up more than a few words per page.  Mounce and Wheelock, at least for their target audience, don't cut it.  For Latin, the best thing in existence is Oerberg's Lingua Latina.  It starts with very simple Latin and gradually teaches grammar and new vocabulary in Latin.  For Greek, there isn't anything quite like Lingua Latina.  But there's the JACT Reading Greek course, which begins with simple Greek stories and gradually increases in difficulty.  The vocabulary and notes are in English, though.  For something more immersive, though, you could have a look at Polis.  Though there isn't yet an English translation, most of the book is in Greek anyway.  

 

But I wouldn't stop with just reading.  Writing (not translating from English) and speaking Greek and Latin would be beneficial as well.  Check out Schola and Σχολή.

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I really like the Learn to Read Latin/Greek texts by Keller (Yale University Press).  The workbook exercises are outstanding.  To gain fluency, I think it is important both to read and to compose.  Also, it is beneficial to read texts aloud, and to aim for understanding the text before translating it.  Building up a strong vocabulary is invaluable.  I personally use FlashCard Machine (http://www.flashcardmachine.com) to keep track of important vocabulary for various authors.  To gain fluency, I also recommend Hoyos' Latin: How to Read It Fluently.  Also, be sure to check out the news broadcast, Nuntii Latini; It's free on iTunes. (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radio-bremen-nuntii-latini/id155728473).  If you can afford it, I'd recommend doing an immersion program, such as The Paideia Institute (http://paideia-institute.org).  Bonam fortunam!

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Thank you so much! The Lingua Latina sounds great for teaching vocabulary in Latin. That is sort of what I am doing with Spanish. I plateaued after a few years of Spanish, not being able to memorize any more Spanish-English vocabulary. So I started looking up words in a Spanish dictionary and that has helped me a lot more. But I will take a look at all of the resources both of you mentioned! 

 

Also is there a classical Greek Dictionary that defines words in Classical Greek? Or am I stuck with Greek - English?

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