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4.3 out of 5 stars33
4.3 out of 5 stars
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114 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2004
This is an excellent coursebook, no question about it. Less used than JACT's other Greek publication 'Reading Greek', but I cannot understand why! I previosuly used the 'Reading Greek' Series, but often found myself confused by the new vocab thrown at you, and verbs learnt at random. It also assumes that you already understand concepts such as cases and declensions, the exercises seem unrealted to the text, and numerous other problems.
Greek to GCSE has none of these problems!
It is such a clear helpful book. It introduces new concepts and points of grammer clearly and helpfully. Then gives short exercises to practice on. Unlike Reading Greek you start off translating short simple sentences and build up to more complex sentences and then translating whole passages inspired by myths and tales of the Greek world such as Aesop's fables and Odysseus adventures with the Cyclops.
If you are looking for a book for independently studying Ancient Greek this is an excellent choice. There has never been a point at which I have needed a teacher's clarification on a concept outlined in the book. It also has a clear contents page so if you are confused about something and have to go back and review it, its very simple to find.
Another thing which is good about this book is that it is all-in-one, no need for separate grammar, text and study guide, it is all together in one handy place!
At the back it even has a separate grammer section as well as English-to-Greek and Greek-to-English of all the vocabulary introduced in the book, along with chapter numbers, it even lists the aorist twice, with the present form of the verb and on its own which is SO helpful.
If you had a limited amount of time, this book gives you confidence and clarity to move onto reading and translating pieces of original Greek. As a student of Classics and with no previous knowledge of other languages, it has been immensely helpful. I thoroughly recommend this book!
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2006
I used this book when I learnt Greek for GCSE (from chapter 5 onwards I worked independently). The result: I finished the two hour language exam in 45 minutes. Therefore I would recommend this book to anyone thinking about learning Greek, and any teacher looking for a textbook from which to teach. Every single thing that could possibly come up in the language paper is covered in detail by Greek to GCSE. With full English-Greek and Greek-English vocabularies, grammar, and exercises, it works for both those learning independently and those in a classroom. The layout is clear, grammar is well explained, and new aspects of the language are introduced at appropriate points. Having finished chapter 12, the student will encounter no difficulties in the exam and should be well on his/her way to A-level or University standard Greek. Having used Peter Jones' learn Greek, and the dreaded Reading Greek, I, and some of my classmates, can say that Greek to GCSE is more straightforward, enjoyable, and effective than either of them. Even if you are not taking a GCSE, it is still the best general introduction to the language. This book does what it promises, and then some...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2007
Amazon has made something of a mess with this book: Greek to GCSE is divided in two parts which can be bought but not reviewed separately.

This review is based on the first part only and will be edited as soon as I have finished the second part.

In Italy there are no tools for the self study of Latin and Greek: the many traditional handbooks, some good, some better, require a very competent teacher and much determination because of the very sound, comprehensive but oh-so-dull approach and exercises.

This book, as stated in its introduction by the author (and by its title which refers to the British syllabus), is meant for classroom use and has no answer key so be warned in advance.

An answer key is available on request from the author himself

Nonetheless the author is clearly an extremely experienced didactitian:
his approach -traditional as it may appear- is sensible, matter of fact. Mr Taylor knows EXACTLY were pupils are likely to have troubles and concentrates on those points: his explanations are neat and easy to understand; his excercises are short and to the point with a clever use of a limited vocabulary.

This approach suited my needs of adult trying to learn ancient Greek on his own: there were sentences, especially the English to Greek translations, where I would have welcomed an answer key, but they were not many. All in all I was able to finish Part 1 of the course under the impression of having retained most of it.

All the above does not mean you will learn with no effort: learning any language is a difficult task, even for those like me who are strongly motivated: you will need time and concentration and some optimism to overcome frustration at hard to understand grammatical items.

A criticism I could make is that I would have liked MORE excercises but this is my own thing. Mr Taylor in his introduction is very clear: this book is NOT meant for full courses in grammar schools but for those schools where Greek has to be fitted somewhere in the timetable.

Another criticism is that accents are only introduced in the sixth chapter, but then again this is very common in Anglo-American textbooks: I cannot understand why it must be so but you cannot complain too loudly if Mr Taylor simply follows suit, not to mention that he, at least, introduces them.

This book being a textbook could explain the bad quality of the book itself.

The binding is solid enough, but a sewn spine would have guaranteed more comfort of reading.
The paper is of poor quality, blinding white in colour, the inking is no more than mediocre and the font just tolerable: you can imagine the fun of reading under artificial light!

The layout of the pages is utterly unappealing, different paragraphs and or sections ill distinguishable. Texts are not even justified on the right margin!

Books like these need to catch and keep the eye of the reader who is supposedly going to refer to them for many years: beauty and clarity of typesetting are NOT an optional feature, not if they are expensive as is the case here.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2010
I purchased all three of Taylor's Books and am slowly burrowing away on Book 1. Excellent! I am only writing this review because some of your respondents lament the fact that they do not include answers. No problem!! Write to Mr.Taylor via his publisher requesting the newly printed answers ( this also applies to his GCSE Latin Book)to the books, and he'll either send them direct to you or ask for your e-mail address.
He even offers to help if you have any problems with any part of the course! Above all, he wants you to enjoy his course and give him feedback. He is clearly a kind man. Highly recommended.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2007
Greek was the preserve of the grammar school boys in my youth and although I took Latin at O level, I nursed a sense of grievance at the lack of opportunity to learn this historic language. Finally, forty five years after leaving school and now in retirement, I decided to embark on this GCSE course. I have found John Taylor's book to be inspirational. He has a keen sense of the pace required of a student and one experiences a real sense of progress. I have thoroughly enjoyed this first volume which I completed in just five months. I attribute this entirely to Mr Taylor. If our schools were sprinkled with teachers of his intuitive instructive ability there would be abundant rewards for our community. At a time when the Classics seem to be in marked decline , this series is a brave and valuable attempt at their reinstatement.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2006
This is the start of a systematic coverage of the basic grammar which will be needed by the propective reader of classical Greek.The aspiring adult learner might be put off by this text at first glance .This would be a pity. Despite the clearly formal approach,and the absence of " an answer key", Part 1 is a great deal more 'user-friendly' than might a appear at first sight. The user I have in mind is the adult beginner working without a tutor/teacher. The author refers in Part 2 to the "typical economy of Greek grammar". This economy will probably not be obvious to the complete beginner starting Part 1.For instance , the noun declensions look like a high hurdle and the beginner working alone might be put off by what appear to be lots of variants to some simple rules.The adult beginner should persevere. The author's explanations of rules are invariably clear; the attendant exercises are closely bound to the explanations. By omitting contract verbs and middle verbs from Part 1 the author is able to cover the active present,future,imperfect .first and second aorist indicative forms in enough depth to allow the learner to read sets of linked narratives. These narratives provide a sense of progress, and as each has at least one central "point", the learner should feel assured that the lesson has been learned. The adult beginner who has already learned the definite article endings and met the use of participles in Peter Jone's "Learn Ancient GreeK " will find Part 1 a thoroughly rewarding second step and might even be impatient to get on to Part 2.

Part 1 of JT's course has 163 pages. Part 2 has 356 of which 239 are taken up by new material. Can you get through this without a tutor ? My bet would be yes if you felt that you had got through part 1 reasonably comfortably and within a 'reasonable' time ,say 4 to 6 months. If you have a moment of doubt in part 2 it may come,like mine,during chapter 8 ( the second chapter in Part 2). There is a relatively heavy weighting of verb forms and participle forms in chapter 8. At the time the information load seem to augur an end to the enterprise of working without a tutor. The solution lay in patience and index cards.After chapter 8 there was no more doubt- the information load did not increase to the point expected and no conceptual difficulties arose in the course. Certainly,if you are clear about the distinction between tense and aspect ,conceptual difficulties will not stop you completing the course on your own.
The "lightly adapted" tales from Herodotus are a pleasure to read. From the purely didactic consideration these adaptations reward very close attention . Each tale incorporates the grammar from earlier in the chapter/course. It probably goes without saying that generally you will have to be prepared to give every page of the new material very close attention. At the very least this will heighten your chances of springing some of the grammatical traps set in the short English to Greek exercises.At best you will have worked on the course in a way that prepares you well for the "real Greek" of the JACT's 'Greek Anthology' (ISBN 0-521-0026-2). With a bit of luck ,and a fair bit of hard work you could have 'cracked' 85 lines of Sophocles(Antigone) and 50 of Plato( Apologia) even before completing JT's Part 2.
Test your knowledge of the vocabulary,declensions and conjugations covered in JT's course. Go to Eton's on-line self assessment tool for GCSE and AS levels.This is a first rate teaching aid for the independent learner.It is flexible , comprehensive, free of charge and directly relevant to JT's course. Navigate to ><->Eton in Action<- >Greek project< .(Thanks to the Open University site for information on the Eton facility).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2013
I'm a private tutor in Philosophy and Ancient Greek I did Greek for two years whilst I was doing my Ma but did not study it for over a year before beginning to tutor in it privately. I bought this book because I'm preparing a student to take GCSE ancient Greek I originally used another book to learn Greek which was also good (Athenaze) but what I liked about this one was that it was clearly written by people who took into account the experiences of people (particularly young people) coming to Greek for the first time. Because of this i found it answered many questions I had which other books had not answered for me. It is also therefore tailored to the amateur or newcomer.
I also really like the general pedagogic approach, it simplifies the material, makes it easier to understand thereby imparting confidence to the student in their ability to understand and wield the language, these things are all important for success in teaching someone (anything).
Having said this the other book I've studied dealt with Greek with a slightly different but also good approach and it also covered some things which this book leaves out so I would recommend using more than one source to learn Greek but would definitely count Taylor's book amongst those sources, either for someone who is coming to Greek for the first time or for someone who has already studied Greek but wants to refresh their memory!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 2008
This is an excellent, clear introduction to Greek. I have found it much more enjoyable than other books (notably Reading Greek) where the texts for translation are very heavily glossed. It is wonderful to be able to read the passages without having to look up too many words. Also, despite what other reviews say, Part 1 does have an answer key which you can get free by approaching the publisher (instructions are in the introduction). This is the best Ancient Greek book for beginners that I have seen. If you really want to learn, this book won't let you down!
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 10 May 2006
I bought this book to help in my study of Greek on a distance learning basis. Unfortunately, it doesn't have any answers to the exercises so it is pretty much useless to me.

This, of course, is my fault in not realizing that it is intended as a school text. I'm writing this review just to caution other people who may want to buy it with distance-learning in mind.

Having said that, the book is quite superb [for schools or those with a tutor]. The layout is excellent, the use of historical events to put the language in context is great and the difficult grammatical issues are explained clearly.

If only it could be produced in the same format and with answers to the exercises (but, obviously with different texts to the school version)- I'd buy it like a shot. And give it 6 stars!

It would certainly be far better than either Teach Yourself Ancient Greek or Peter Jones' Learn Greek.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2013
I said in my review that maybe I was missing something as what is the use of a self learning textbook with no answers to the exercises? How do you know if you have got the exercise right?
The author contacted me and said he would send me the missing answers personally. I have rerated the book and will do so again when I have worked through it.
Still surprised the publishers did not think to include this material though
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