Saturday, May 31, 2014

Greek Ollendorff Podcast Information

If you're coming here directly from the podcast, you have found the right place. If not, you can subscribe to the Greek Ollendorff Podcast through iTunes or through its RSS feed.

Introduction: Learning Greek

If you truly want to learn Koine Greek or Ancient Greek, Greek Ollendorff is a great (and free!) way to continue learning. I have already recorded a number of the exercises in Greek Ollenforff and am continuing to do so. In my recordings I have done my best to follow the Imperial Koine Greek pronunciation, as described by Randall Buth. Below you will find a variety of information about Greek Ollendorff. If you're brand new to Greek, I highly recommend going through Randall Buth's introductory Greek picture book (click here for a review) prior to Greek Ollendorff.

What is Greek Ollendorff?

Greek Ollendorff, by Asahel Kendrick, is in the public domain, and you can access it here and here for free. The book has 96 lessons; each lesson has a number of simple Greek sentences as exercises. In the beginning lessons, the "sentences" are simple phrases. As the lessons progress, the sentences become more complex, but not overly complex. The beauty of Greek Ollendorff is that it gives you quality practice with relatively simple sentences.

Many books that introduce Greek (especially Koine Greek) make the mistake of teaching a lot of abstract vocabulary. For the most part, the vocabulary in Greek Ollendorff consists of concrete objects and actions that you can visualize. This makes it easier to link a given Greek word directly to physical reality and bypass the need to find a corresponding word in your native tongue that approximates the meaning of the Greek word.

Greek Ollendorff slowly introduces new vocabulary; it focuses on a select number of words so that you can learn all their forms. Common irregular verbs are included from the beginning.

One of the greatest parts about Greek Ollendorff is that it makes good listening material. If you cannot understand a language at its spoken rate, you don't truly know the language. Greek Ollendorff will help you a lot in this regard if you listen to the recordings.

Instructions for Greek Ollendorff

Before you listen to a lesson, I recommend reading through that same lesson and its exercises. I have found it helpful to listen through each lesson several times. The better you absorb the material and understand it as Greek (without needing to translate it into your native language to understand), the better you will get at reading and thinking in Greek. When you find yourself thinking random Greek words and phrases throughout the day, you will know you are making good progress and truly absorbing the material!

Since Greek Ollendorff is an older book, you may find the grammatical explanations (which are in older English) hard to understand. In that case, I recommend supplementing your reading of Greek Ollendorff with a more modern grammar. You are also free to use the Word document below, which contains translations of the exercises. You should not spend very long looking at the English translations, but should only use them as a reference when you come across a sentence that you don't understand. Your ultimate goal should be to avoid referencing your native language when you are reading Koine/Ancient Greek.

Click here for the Word document containing the translations.

The translations in these documents were done by Randy Gibbons, who has given me permission to share his work; he has a great blog post here containing information both about Greek Ollendorff as well as his own recordings using the restored classical Attic pronunciation.

If you have any questions, be sure to post them below. I hope you find the recordings useful to your studies. Happy listening!

UPDATE (5/22/2016): I have recently decided to switch back to something similar to the Erasmian pronunciation. I decided to do this because it is what is commonly used and agreed upon, and I don't see a reason to advocate for a change. We will never have any way of knowing exactly what Koine Greek sounded like because we do not have any recordings. I have recorded up through lesson 60 using Buth's Imperial Greek pronunciation, but I will not be posting these to the podcast. However, if you email me, I can send the rest of these lessons along to you.

All that being said, I highly recommend sticking to the Erasmian pronunciation. You can find recordings of all 96 lessons of Greek Ollendorff in the Erasimian pronunciation here. They were recorded by Bedwere.