78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AT LAST A TEACHER OF GREEK WHO REALLY CAN
My motivation for learning Greek is to be able to read Plato and the New Testament. Not being a very talented linguist, I have in the course of five years accumulated an expensive pile of well known Greek courses, texts, and tapes. Only two have done me much good. This book is one of them; the other is 'Learn Ancient Greek' by Peter Jones. The contrast between the two...
Published on 12 July 2005
50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No use as a 'distance-learning' tool
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...
Published on 10 May 2006 by J Grainger
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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AT LAST A TEACHER OF GREEK WHO REALLY CAN,
By A Customer
This review is from: Greek to GCSE: Part 1 (Paperback)My motivation for learning Greek is to be able to read Plato and the New Testament. Not being a very talented linguist, I have in the course of five years accumulated an expensive pile of well known Greek courses, texts, and tapes. Only two have done me much good. This book is one of them; the other is 'Learn Ancient Greek' by Peter Jones. The contrast between the two could not be greater, although they do both have the overwhelming common advantage of having been written by expert teachers with a sense of humour (Peter Jones is wacky, sardonic, and Pythonesque; John Taylor is dry and subtle.) While LAG is very dynamic and gets into idiomatic Greek very quickly (eg, possessive dative very early on) by finding a very tight critical path through the material, G2GCSE takes the expected slow systematic approach with a shrewd eye as to what will trip up someone like me. LAG on the one hand gives answers to the exercises, but on the other hand the other not. Consequently, I found these two a very good informal partnership--well, at least I can say 'Hello' in Greek and read some Socrates and gospels now. I can also read the menu in the restaurants in Cyprus which impresses the waitresses no end but I don't know what they really think of my 2000-year old antique pronunciation.
Book One of this series took me 18 months of self-teaching to complete and covers the following: the verb 'to be'; present tense verbs (not contract); all three noun declensions; definite article; future tense; imperfect tense; aorist 1 and 2; present participle; aorist participle; numerals; expressing time; possessive dative; future participle; and tis/ti, autos, pas, and oudeis. Vocab totals 275 words. The Greek to English sentences are cunningly chosen to exercise the full range of variants, and the English to Greek are designed to push the brain into the next gear but you don't have to do them--but I did and I am a better man for it. The Greek translation passages are well known fables and fascinating slices of less well known history. Try telling the fable of the king of the frogs to a child, and you will suddenly feel the mind of the ancient Greek formed in you coming alive! Quite a shock really.
100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clear way to learn Ancient Greek,
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!
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Greek for the Everyman,
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are reading this review, this is the book for you,
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Key Answers for John Taylor's Ancient Greek, GCSE Course Books.,
This review is from: Greek to GCSE: Part 1 (Paperback)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.
50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No use as a 'distance-learning' tool,
This review is from: Greek to GCSE: Part 1 (Paperback)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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars bad editorial object,
This review is from: Greek to GCSE: Part 1 (Paperback)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.
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.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the right track,
This review is from: Greek to GCSE: Part 1 (Paperback)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 >Etoncollege.com<->Eton in Action<- >Greek project< .(Thanks to the Open University site for information on the Eton facility).
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Classical Greek,
This review is from: Greek to GCSE: Part 1 (Paperback)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!
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - will reward your efforts magnificently,
The Greek to GCSE books are both accessible and user-friendly. They contain the main parts necessary for an appreciation of Classical Athenian or Attic Greek, the language of Plato, Aristotle and Euripides, amongst a gorgeous treasury of others. Given the wealth of Attic literature (history, philosophy, religion, poetry and drama) a reasonable linguistic investment and decent dictionary will open up the doorway into the most fascinating world. Even the best annotated translation cannot do justice to the original version.
Classical Greek is one of the most elegant languages it has been my pleasure to study. At the time of writing, I am left only with the final practice passages and sentences in Part 2, and am eagerly awaiting the availability of Part 3.
Parts 1 & 2 survey the Attic tongue to the extent of the majority of the inflections, regular and irregular. They do not emphasise the vocative case conspicuously, and I imagine that the dual is left until Part 3. However, the optative and subjunctive are given good coverage, as well as the middle voice. I confess I was a little perplexed by the middle - the passive and active are pretty straightforward, but the middle seemed vague and nonsensical before reading these books.
It must be stressed that the student should practice and practice any language as regularly and frequently as possible. I've made a point of doing some Greek every day without fail, and this has been most worthwhile.
I have given 4 stars only because, as mentioned elsewhere by other reviewers, there is no answer key for the exercises. Occasionally I was left in limbo, having an understanding, but unable to explain exactly why my translations were as I had rendered them. However, upon revisiting the offending sentence later on, things usually clicked.
For those wishing to take things further, I would recommend the following:
Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon - the abridged version will suffice for undergraduate level.
Smyth's Greek Grammar - not for reading cover to cover, and slightly stilted English language, but really in depth explanations. Beware, the cases are not in the same order as most grammars.
Marinone's All The Greek Verbs. This is an alphabetical (Greek) listing of conjugated verbs. If you get stuck on an aorist or imperfect verb, this book has many of the more common verbs. With a bit of logic, you can work out the dictionary form and then look this up to find the meaning.
As many of the green Loeb books as possible. These are very portable, and contain the original Greek text on one page, with an English translation opposite. They are excellent starting places to practice your reading skills once you've got the basics under your belt.
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Greek to GCSE: Part 1 by John Taylor (Paperback - 27 Jun 2003)