Getting started on ancient Greek
Getting started on ancient Greek

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Getting started on ancient Greek

2 Reading skills

A central aim of learning Greek is to be able to read Greek texts with accuracy, fluency, understanding and enjoyment. This involves bringing together skills across a range of different areas of language. An experienced reader will apply these skills intuitively, without thinking much about them. You might like to compare your own experiences of reading in your native language. Explicit thoughts about grammar and vocabulary tend to arise only in case of problems – an unfamiliar word, for instance, or a mistake in a text.

A learner, on the other hand, needs to take a slower, step-by-step approach, mixing reading with the study of grammar and vocabulary. The areas of language most relevant to the study of Greek are laid out below:

  • the alphabet
  • sounds
  • word shape
  • syntax
  • meaning
  • context.

Further study of the first two will mostly be a matter of consolidation and refining details. It is the other four areas that tend to occupy students of Greek. A good course will help you to broaden and deepen your understanding of all of them, helping you to read independently and to make your own explorations within the vast world of Greek writing. This course had discussed these areas briefly and separately, but the key is to bring them all together. It is only through reading (and rereading) Greek that you can really begin to absorb everything.

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