How I started learning Greek

I began learning Koine Greek from a book when I was 16 or so (2004-2005).

I made little progress.

Then, I audited in a seminary class, that used that same book. I was homeschooled and had the freedom to do stuff like that. Don't judge.

It was a traditional grammar/translation class with lots of memorization and decoding.

Not what I'd recommend today.

I think I got around a 90 for my grade and liked it a lot better than the Spanish I'd had in elementary school.

I took another semester.

These classes gave me an overview of Greek and some common vocab.

But, they didn't give me a language learning strategy or tools besides flashcards.

After that I didn't take another Greek class until college when I took Greek 1 distance ed to knock out a requirement so I could graduate sooner. I had taken some general linguistics, which I applied to my studies, but really didn't learn much.

After that I focused on modern languages and linguistics research, so Greek sat on the shelf until 2016 when it became part of my work life.

Then I got serious.

I had learned about memory palaces and so I applied them to Metzger's Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek and tried to memorize vocab.

It helped somewhat, but I still forget the distinction between prefixed verbs like πρόσεχω and σύνεχω. I think this was mostly a waste of time, but at least I was doing something.

The big thing is that I read a fair bit of Greek and looked up grammar as needed so I was getting comprehensible input (CI) during this time.

The grammar I read helped make things more comprehensible.

Other things that happened during this period:

(I bought the JACT book on Kindle. Not a good format for it.)

More CI.

I took a few classes with Seumas and even taught a Greek class for free to acquaintances interested in studying using comprehension focused methods.

More CI.

I tried to read texts outside the GNT, like the church fathers, and got involved in digitizing Greek texts with the Greek Leaner Texts Project.

Kind of funny that I was trying to lemmatize texts that I couldn't read, but I have some programming skills and wanted to make these texts more comprehensible so I could eventually read them.

What about now?

Now, I focus on reading.

I read GNT and LXX. Sometimes I listen to audio while I read, sometimes not. I want to read Homer and other classical texts.

I also write and try to figure out how to say things for classes I'm teaching.

My Greek journey started in the traditional way, but it was the CI bits that built confidence and skill. The most useful grammar studies happened along the way as I worked with texts or tried to figure out how to say (or write) something.


See Also