Survival Tips For Learning Greek
By Eric B. Sowell
There are several things that the student of Greek can do to enhance his/her ability tolearn and retain Greek. Some of these tips are more important for some people thanothers because we all have different learning styles. However, most will find all of thesetips generally useful.
#1 Study Greek consistently – do not cram.
Before we take a test, we will often cram as much information as we can in our headsbefore we take our tests. The benefit of this study method is that it generally helps ourgrades when we take tests. Unfortunately, this is a horrible method for learning Greek (or any other language). Generally, our minds grasp something much better if we see itmore often for shorter periods of time than only once for an extended period of time. Of course, we all know this from our previous experience. It is rare for us to remembermaterial from a cramming session more than a couple of days after.
#2 Review consistently.
Language learning requires cumulative knowledge. You cannot study a couple of chapters on nouns and then move on to other subjects and expect to remember muchabout nouns unless you review. In first year Greek specifically, there are three mainthings you must review consistently: noun forms, verb forms, and vocabulary. Thoughthe homework you do in later chapters will give you some review of the material youlearned before, it will not be enough review to keep the information readily recallable inyour mind. You might want to set aside 15-30 minutes every day just to review earliermaterial. This is crucial!
#3 Language Learning Takes Time.
The more time you can spend learning a language the better. And, of course, this onlymakes sense. If you spend a total of 7 hours a week, you may do well. However, if youspend 12 hours a week, you will do better. The more you put into learning Greek, themore it will benefit you later. I think that there are two main reasons for why you shoulddo this. First, when you get to the end of the Mounce book and you have only a hazyknowledge of the material at the beginning, you will have significant problems trying tocement the previous material in your mind. At that point there is too much material tolearn for you to effectively (in any reasonable amount of time) move on in your studies.However, if you start reviewing earlier, you will find the past material gets everincreasingly cemented into your memory, making a great deal of review in the later statesof the game not necessary. Second, the study you do at the beginning has a cumulativeeffect on how well you learn the material later. If you do not have chapter 10 learnedwell, when you get to chapter 11 (or any subsequent chapter), you are then dealing withtwo unknowns – the current chapter that you are working on and the material from theprevious chapters. This makes learning the new material more difficult.