Modern Greek/Legacy Restructuring
Learning from the Book
- Well done for creating the book. But unfortunately it is difficult to learn from. I would prefer you to make the lessons shorter. I feel like I have been on lesson one for a week and lesson two gives me quite a mental block. Especially when you show me a vocabulary list as long as the one showing more first conjugation verbs. Long vocab lists are demoralising. I have to resolve to learn the words in threes or fours over quite a period.
- Secondly, I would prefer you to introduced the whole declension at once. I feel like I'm learning it twice when it is split. But this may be because I've studied Latin.
- Is it possible to structure the book in a way that allows the student to pick up useful phrases and sentences. The dog bites the man, is an amusing sentence but not entirely useful. Further on in the book is more useful. But I think it would be better to learn how to say hello, how are you? I'm pleased to meet you formally and less formally.
- Finally a question. Is there a subjunctive mood? I ask this because to me Θέλω να γράφω looks merely like two indicatives separated by να.
Once again thanks for the good work.--IKnowNothing 12:50, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
- Hi -- The idea of breaking the lessons up into shorter ones seems reasonable to me. I disagree that it's a good idea to learn all the cases at once; this is likely to be way too intimidating for English speakers who have never learned a language with a case system before. Although you have a background in Latin, most people don't, and you also have to remember that since Greek uses articles, the number of inflections to be memorized is roughly tripled compared to Latin, e.g., they not only have to learn the -ας in πατερας, they also have to learn that the articles to be used with this form are ο and ενας. Regarding the length of the vocabulary lists, I think breaking up the lessons into smaller ones will probably allow them to be broken up into shorter ones; but in any case please do be careful not to delete words from the lists without checking whether they're there because they're used later on in readings, dialog, or grammatical examples. In any case, people who really want to use a language need a lot of vocabulary; it doesn't do you any good to know how to conjugate a verb in many different tenses if you don't know the verb in the first place.
- BTW, I'm going to remove the note that says "Note: There is also another wikibook on Modern Greek (see Contents) that is in the process of being merged with this book." I had already merged the content from that one long before the note was added.--Bcrowell 18:41, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
- Hey I have done a start at restructuring that can be found Modern_Greek/Restructuring. The preliminary work is just an attempt to split up the existing lessons into smaller pieces. The content has not been fundamentally changed. I need comments on my suggested order of the chapters. So that the restructuring actually creates an improvement rather than just a re-presentation.--IKnowNothing 20:16, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
- Breaking the lessons up into smaller ones isn't a problem for me, although I don't think it would be an improvement. I really don't think it's a good idea to do all the declensions at once, though.--Bcrowell 22:36, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
- Introducing all the declensions and groups at once would be silly. Look at  for instance. There are several groups for each gender. But I suspect you mean all of the genders and cases at once.
- To do with grouping all the cases together. I do not think that learning eight words at a time is a stretch. You have to learn six at a time to learn a conjugation. Introducing all of them at once has its merits. One of these is being able to explain how all the case relate to English in one go. But this strength can also be seen as a weakness. The explanation lesson becomes more daunting. Declensions are normally tabulated and represented together. But this merely allows for easy comparison. When the other groups for the declension are introduced, all of the cases will be brought in together. So is it necessary to split them up at the beginning?
- Would you prefer it if articles and nouns were presented separately? It would make it much lighter. I'm happy to do this as it will make the chapter more focussed and less confusing.--IKnowNothing 00:04, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
- Right, I should have referred to introducing all the cases and genders at once.
- Would you prefer it if articles and nouns were presented separately? It would make it much lighter. I don't think that would work. You'd hardly be able to form a sentence.
- I do not think that learning eight words at a time is a stretch. It's actually more like 24 words at once, since for the very first declension you learn, you'd have to learn 8 noun forms, 8 definite articles, and 8 indefinite articles. And then you still wouldn't be able to say much, because you'd only be able to use nouns from that declension. On the other hand, you can say a heck of a lot without using the vocative and genitive cases.
- When the other groups for the declension are introduced, all of the cases will be brought in together. So is it necessary to split them up at the beginning? It's perfectly natural that you learn one thing at a time, and make running summaries as you go along. People can't learn everything at once. This isn't supposed to be a reference work, it's supposed to be a practical book that people could actually learn the language from. --Bcrowell 00:31, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
- Fair enough but the appendix needs to have all of that information. But I think this books is meant to be more than just a phrase book after all. A phrase book does not necessarily even have to use the greek alphabet. A list of phrases is available at Wikipedia at  or . If it is meant to be practical then that is another reason that some the content needs to ne improved.--IKnowNothing 13:02, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
- It's not supposed to be a reference book or a phrase book. It's supposed to be a textbook. Fair enough but the appendix needs to have all of that information. The book already does present running summaries. For instance, lesson 2 presents the nominative and accusative. Lesson 3 presents the genitive, and gives a summary of all three cases learned so far. Lesson 4 presents the fourth and final case, the vocative, and gives a summary of all four cases.--Bcrowell 22:02, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
I simply do not like the structure of the book. It is confusing and demoralising. So this is what I am going to do.
- Make the lessons shorter
- Put all the cases together. I think it is easier learn that way.
- Create a lesson plan.
- Approximately one concept per lesson.
- The restructuring will fall on different pages for the time being. This is because the old lessons are the basis for the new ones.
- IKnowNothing doesn't seem to have done any more on the reorganization, and hasn't responded here to my comments on his plan. (Sorry if I'm assuming the wrong sex.) I've posted on his talk page to ask what his plans are.--Bcrowell 20:51, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
- Alphabet, Reading and Pronounciation
- Genders of nouns and cases
- Basic verbs and First Conjugation
- Numbers and Time
- Days of the week
- Buying Something
- The subjunctive and the Aorist and Progressive
- Second Conjugation
- And so on...
moving reorganization here
It's been a while now, and IKnowNothing hasn't posted in response to my discussion or my message on his talk page. I'm getting the impression that he got enthusiastic about reorganizing the book, worked on it for a day, and then didn't follow through. I'm moving the table of contents of the reorganized version here. If nothing further happens with the reorganization, then these pages should all eventually be marked for deletion.--Bcrowell 15:56, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
- Lesson 1: Alphabet, Reading and Pronunciation
- Lesson 2: Gender of nouns and cases
- Lesson 3: Pronouns
- Lesson 4: Basic Verbs and the First Conjugation
- Lesson 5: Dialog
- Lesson 6: Numbers and Time
- Lesson 7: Days of the week
- Lesson 8: Buying Something
- Lesson 9: The Subjunctive, the Aorist and Progressive
- Lesson 10: The Second Conjugation
- Lesson 11: Transportation
- I also believe that a restructuring is necessary, though I think that the way the lessons look right now, they still do not meet the criticism of introducing useful words and phrases. Also the plan for lesson 9 makes it look like it will introduce lots of grammar at once again. Maybe this article on a learner-friendly course format will be helpful: Bite-sized language lessons . There is also a Wikibook on creating language courses, which gives some basic didactic hints.
- My level of Modern Greek is just basic, but I have experience teaching languages, developing curricula and lessons and learning languages myself. I'd be glad to help with the development of Greek lessons if they will be in a better format.
- Junesun 13:23, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
- Hi Junesun -- It seems like, in a way, you, Iknownothing, and I are on the same base. We all want to avoid introducing too much grammar all at once. This is why I strongly object to the idea of, e.g., introducing all four cases at the same time. I have no objection to breaking up the lessons into smaller ones; but in order to do that, it would be necessary to write a lot of new dialogs and readings, to give the reader something to sink his teeth into at the end of each lesson. With nothing to practice on, a short lesson isn't any easier to digest. Here we seem to be running into the problem of needing someone who's a fluent Greek speaker, which you, Inknownothing, and I are not. We would need a fluent speaker who can write some good dialogs and select or write some good simple readings. One problem I've been running into as I search for sources of exercises and things to read on the web is that when I look for texts on the web, almost everything that's public domain is ancient Greek, and almost everything that's modern Greek is post-1923, so it's not public domain. My family and I are going to Greece next week, and maybe while I'm there I'll be able to find collect some materials that are public domain, e.g., children's books from before 1923 that could be reworked into dhimotiki.--Bcrowell 22:13, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Hi to everyone! I am a native Greek speaker and I would like to contribute to this wikibook. I could help with a possible reorganization, in creating new dialogs, correcting errors, etc. I've set this discussion page in my watchlist.--Christos 16:12, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
New reorganised lesson plan proposal (bite-sized)
Ok, if you two are in, here's the beginning of a lesson plan that could work and would be very easy to digest for learners:
At the beginning: propadeutic lessons on reading Greek letters, introducing a maximum of 3 letters at a time and relying mostly on recognisable words (see  for example) and, when that isn't enough, common Greek vocabulary / phrases.
- Greetings and "How are you?" conversation. Grammar: είμαι, είσαι and/or είστε; forming questions: yes/no questions and question-word (πως) questions.
- Introducing yourself: name, nationality, profession... Grammar: the definite article (Nominative only). -ος and -α or -η (not both, to avoid confusion), possibly also -ο, as endings of names, nouns and adjectives.
- Introducing others / talking about others' situation. Maybe add sentence structure like "Είμαι απο την..." or "Είναι στο ...". the word μου to allow for a more interesting conversation. Grammar: the remaining forms of είμαι. δεν if it hasn't been introduced so far. Plural Nominative of adjectives if unavoidable.
- Talking about your hobbies or the languages you can speak. Grammar: a maximum of 3 forms of regular present tense, 1st or 2nd conjugation regular active, no Aorist.
- Talking about the weather. Grammar: the rest of regular present tense
- Asking for the way. Grammar: υπαρχει, indefinite articles
- In a cafe. Grammar: Accusative singular, maybe low numbers
- Shopping for fruit or the like. Grammar: Accusative plural, numbers
- Asking for / Telling the time. Grammar: numbers to 12 or 30.
- Regular activities. Days of the week, more about the time, κάθε
- A day in the life of ... . Grammar: regular reflexive / "mediopassive" verbs
- Asking somebody out. Grammar: Aorist
- Writing a post card or a letter home. Grammar: past tense.
This is not 100% definite yet, the order may have to be changed or new lessons inserted if there is too much of a jump in vocabulary / grammar from one lesson to the next. Particularly the later lessons are more of a rough estimate of how to use an aspect of grammar in a practical situation than. However, the content of the first few lessons is fairly confirmed and the others can only be confirmed once the previous ones have been written. Junesun 11:18, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
What do you think of this? Comments? Suggestions for improvement? If it's ok, Christos could already write some of the dialogues and I'll write vocabulary, grammar explanations etc. based on that. Junesun 09:48, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
I think the steps are quite good and have a touristic approach. Someone who wants just to learn some phrases for his days in Greece could use the first steps and if he is more interested he might continue with the next ones. About the first propadeutic lessons should we use IPA or sound files? Christos 12:04, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
- I believe that a touristic approach can't be wrong for Greek because the vast majority of students in my Greek class are learning Greek because they regularly go to Greece on holidays. Just two are learning Greek because they have Greek boyfriends and one is learning Greek with the explicit goal of acquiring fluency and reading Greek literature. So while people will probably become fascinated with Greek culture once they know some Greek, tourism is the initial motivation and that's why the first lessons target this audience - with the goal of convincing them that Greek is a beautiful language worth continuing learning even when they know enough Greek to get by as a tourist.
- Regarding the propadeutic lessons, I created a plan at Modern Greek/Writing lessons plan, where I'm currently thinking about the order in which letters should be introduced in order to enable the student to read lots of familiar words as soon as possible - that being a sign of success for him. I'm also trying to think of words to use for this purpose. Input is very welcome.
- As for IPA vs. sound files I believe sound files are very important if the student is to acquire a native-like accent. IPA can be very helpful in describing sounds, but it is not very well-known outside universities. So I'd like a three-part description of every sound:
- English equivalent. French, Spanish or German equivalent (-> commonly studied second languages) if there is no English equivalent.
- IPA symbol, for those who know IPA.
- At least one example sound file for each sound. Ideally all words would be linked to sound files: the more examples to imitate, the better. Are there any Greek sound files available through Wikicommons? If not, we'll need to find someone to make new recordings.
- Thank you so much for your help!
- Junesun 09:48, 29 June 2006 (UTC)
Hi Junesun and Christos,
Thanks, Junesun, for e-mailing to let me know about this discussion. I'm actually in Greece right now, and logging in frmo an internet cafe on Santorini. I think the combination of an English speaker with language teaching experience and a native Greek speaker sounds very powerful, and you two should be encouraged to take the ball and run with it. Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to get here in Greece for use in lessons, e.g., business cards that could be scanned, photos of signs, etc.
I don't think it's necessary to go quite that slow with learning the alphabet. Many of the letters are exactly the same as in English, so the beginner starts off already knowing quite a few letters. Many are also fairly easy to learn because of the similar shapes, e.g., lowercase gamma looks a lot like a lowercase g. I've only spent a few minutes every day familiarizing my kids with the alphabet. My six-year-old can read easy words now, and my nine-year-old can sound out anything, given a little time.
It sounds like you want to add quite a bit of easy material onto the front, which is fine, but I hope the more difficult material won't go away, but just be shifted to later on. Please also keep in mind that many words are introduced early on so that when the student comes to some of the later readings, they'll know the words (or at least they'll ring a bell rather than benig totally unfamiliar). One thing I think we're erally missing is exercises. Here are some ideas for some exercises that have come to mind in the last couple of days:
- given a cue like "1 kafe," produce "enan kafe," and similarly for the other numbers that change form
- given a verb form in the imperfect, say, "ε'χανα," produce the corresponding aorist form "ε'χασα," and vice versa
I just had to make a phone call, and it occurred to me that it would help to have some information on how to speak on the phone, like the use of words such as εμπρο'ς. Another useful topic for later would be how to phrase requests politely, e.g., me sigxoreite kurie, mhpos xerete pou einai o stathmos leoforiou;, or tha hthela na xrisimopiousa to thlefono, parakalo.
I would also like to suggest retaining the current use of the terms "subject" and "object," rather than nominative and accusative. Since modern Greek has almost completely lost the dative, there's really very little point IMO in introducing grammatical terms that will be unfamiliar to most English speakers.--Bcrowell 10:16, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for your input, Bcrowell. As I understood you did quite a lot of work on the Greek lessons already and of course that won't be lost. I'm just thinking of a way to get more complete beginners to stick with the lessons. Learning a foreign language in self-study is challenging even for people who already know a few foreign languages, mainly because it's easy to lose motivation. For somebody who has little experience learning languages, such as the average English speaker, it's even worse. So I'm looking for a painless way to start learning Greek that will be easy enough not to discourage anybody, with everything introduced slowly, few grammar terms and lots of opportunities for practise. You made a very good point about the use of the terms "subject" and "object" rather than Nominative and Accusative. I have studied Latin, so grammar terms like that are no problem for me, but I also know that for a lot of people already these words are enough to send them running, particularly if they had bad experiences learning German or Latin. Ideally they will be conversational in Greek before they even become aware that Greek grammar is rather complex.
The lack of exercises is also a good point. The more exercises, the better, for people who don't grasp concepts quickly or who need to see themselves scoring 100% in order to believe that they have understood things correctly. Unlike in class, a lot of exercises in this course will not cause better students to be bored, since they can just skip the exercises and move on to the next lesson as soon as they feel ready. I would like to see a broad array of exercise types. I will probably create crosswords for the vocabulary for example. Also, being able to express yourself in Greek is more motivating than knowing a part of grammar, so instead of just asking people form "enan kafe" etc. I'd invent a situation where they have to do that: "Imagine you are at a Greek café with your friends and you're the only one who can speak Greek, so you have been elected to order for all of them. Here's what they want: 1 kafe, 1 ouzo, ... Make the order."
Of course practical vocabulary like εμπρώς will be introduced and I do plan to introduce all important words eventually, just not so many at a time. Long lists of vocabulary are scary, particularly if they aren't used practically anywhere. Students who really like learning lots of vocabulary very early can always use the "Optional vocabulary" section for that.
As for learning the alphabet I changed the Writing lesson plan so that letters that are almost identical to English letters are introduced all at once at the beginning and the rest of the letters are introduced one at a time following that. This works much better. You're right that the Greek alphabet is relatively easy to learn because of these letters, but if you're confronted with e. g. ψ, ζ, ξ ω etc. all at the same time you will still not learn them easily. With plenty of opportunities to practise after every letter, learning them goes so much more smoothly. I can read the Greek, Arabic and Korean alphabets (and a few hundred Chinese characters, but these are a different story) and I know that it's possible to learn them in one day of dedicated study with a divide-and-conquer method like this, whereas if you're given a full list of letters it takes much longer until you can recognise them all - and it's less fun, too.
Taking a couple of pictures to use in the lessons is really a good idea. I'm thinking along the lines of: simple signs like "Athens 4 km" for practising to read, a person's card (to be edited) for a lesson on introductions, a plan of arriving trains or flights for a lesson on time, a TV program for the same purpose, price signs of a grocery store for a lesson on shopping, pictures e. g. of a café or a hospital or a famous sight or the like as situational images for other lessons (not that important).
Thank you for your help!
Junesun 14:29, 4 July 2006 (UTC)
P.S.: Even if you don't have the time to contribute a lot to the new lessons, I'd greatly appreciate you checking them to spot mistakes and the like. English isn't my native language and I have studied Greek for less than 2 years, so I do make mistakes.
Bcrowell, have you been able to take pictures in Greece? How do you like the writing lessons now? Any new ideas on the actual lessons? Junesun 17:40, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
It's been a couple of years now, and nobody seems to have followed through on the proposed new version. All that exists is six one-page lessons on the alphabet. I'm going to merge the two versions together.--Bcrowell (talk) 16:03, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
- Do you see alphabet lessons mixed in with the actual course in any other Wikibook? They are separate from the proposed new A1-level curriculum and can be used with any course.
- Hi -- I'm not clear on what you mean here. Could you explain more? I was referring to the fact that user IKnowNothing proposed at one time to rewrite the whole course, but never accomplished much, and left the book for two years in a muddled state, with a small amount of new material labeled "new course," while the main body of the book was labeled "original course."--Bcrowell (talk) 05:34, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
- What I'm saying is that the alphabet lessons should not be confused with the language lessons. The language lessons need to be re-done because they are too difficult, but the alphabet lessons are stand-alone and can be used with any course, just like the script lessons in the Korean or Arabic Wikibook. No other Wikibook tries to merge script lessons into language lessons. Btw the latest re-write effort was initiated by me (see the discussion point "New reorganised lesson plan proposal" on this very page). The reason we don't have a good course yet is that the other contributors, who said they would help, disappeared and I can't do it all alone. However, IKnowNothing came back to this project a few weeks ago and created the first two lessons according to the plan, and I was hoping that this re-writing project might finally go somewhere. Junesun (talk)
- All I can say to this is: what a disaster. If you didn't notice. I wrote the two lessons that you've plonked in the middle of the book this year. The course you've created by merging them is useless. It is incoherent and directionless. You can't just merge without consulting. The book has to be structured and aimed at a purpose. The new book, which was slowly being written would've been useful. It would've allowed some to reach A1 proficiency. You must see that a language course without direction is not useful. How can someone talk about more complicated things without first being able to greet someone, introduce themself and so on. Language levels are targeted at allowing someone to function in that particular language environment. If someone has A1 proficiency they are able to at least be able to fill in a mini form to get a hotel room. The levels after this build on this proficiency. The internet is a good place to learn anything. But if there is one thing it lacks it is structure. Have you ever trying to level a language by yourself with no book and limited often mismatch material from the internet? It can often feel like you're going nowhere. This is because it is difficult to know what is important and what you need to learn next. This is something that a good book can offer.--IKnowNothing (talk) 13:21, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
- Bcrowell, please undo the merge. As a major goal of this re-write effort is to make the lessons more structured and standards-compliant, we can't develop better structure while everything is meshed together. We will be sure to include the material from your initial course at the appropriate times. User IKnowNothing and I would like to focus on the A1 proficiency level first though and flesh out the lessons described in the lesson plan. We will both continue to work on this, hoping for Christos to continue to correct any mistakes, and you should feel free to join in as well. I don't think that any other Wikibook has a group of four currently active contributors, we're in a unique position and should take advantage of that to make the Modern Greek Wikibook an exemplary Wikibook in language-teaching. Junesun (talk) 06:43, 22 May 2008 (UTC)
- Bcrowell, I suppose we're in a stand off on a some sort of philosophical point. But now I don't really have a place to put the two new lessons that I've written for the 'A1' course, in my opinion. When I began writing the lessons, the book had been rearranged to its current form. So I thought it best to write them in word until it was in some sort of form where they would have a place. But unfortunately, nothing has changed and I find that there is no place for the lessons to fall. Would you be kind enough to give us an indication as to whether you would consider changing the book back. I apologise for my tone in my previous comments here, I was just frustrated because I felt that the approach that we were taking was the correct way to proceed with the development of this book and that it was progressing slowly. --IKnowNothing (talk) 09:02, 3 June 2008 (UTC)