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on 12 January 2004
A handful of the reviews written before this one said what an awful book Athenaze is, however those reviews were written by GCSE students.
If you're a younger student, studying for GCSE or A Level Greek, this is most probably not the book for you, unless you have a good grasp of most languages. Of course, what your teachers set the course texts as you have little control over, but it seems fairly evident to me, as a university student looking at going in to lecturing (and hopefully teaching Ancient Greek) that it is not suitable for anyone lower than university level.
That said, I feel this course book is an excellent aid for those at university wishing to study Ancient Greek. It starts with the very basics, but seeming quite advanced to the student, the first few pages including half a page of continuous (simple) Greek text. The course matter is, until around unit 5 or so, terribly dull (trust me in that you will get bored of Dikaiopolis and his plough), but you have to start somewhere, and I don't know of any course books with better material!
The flow of the book is sometimes slightly strange, in that e- and a- contracted verbs are introduced very early on, while participles are introduced later, however the coverage of all subjects (in whatever order they're in) is always good.
In summary, I feel this course (both books I & II) to be ideal for undergraduates & postgradutes to get a fairly firm understanding of Ancient Greek, however I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone studying Greek at secondary school.
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on 29 November 1997
I started to learn Greek about thirty years ago. I have never taken a course, but have tried learning from a number of textbooks. I have always given up in frustration, until now. Some of the other books were excellent in terms of clarity and thoroughness. From them I had learned to slowly _decode_ Greek, but never to _read_ it. This book, together with the second volume, are really teaching me to read with fluency. (I've finished 21 of the 32 chapters contained in the two books, 16 chapters per book.) The feature of this set of books, missing in all the other books I have tried (five different books, if I recall correctly), is a great deal of _easy_ reading material to develop fluency in reading. The other books I have tried all had less reading material, and that material got hard quickly. In this book there is a really fine gradual introduction of grammar and vocabulary, with so much practice reading material, that I found myself reading with understanding without the word-by-word decoding I had to go through in all the other books I tried. By the time I finish the second book, I will be ready, I think, to read real Greek, not just slowly and painfully decode it. What I have found in the book so far is a drastically simplified language that is pretty far from any real Greek that I have struggled with in the past. But with each chapter the language gets closer to real Greek. I am quite hopeful that by the time I finish the books--they will be (with one exception) the first Greek books I have ever worked through to the end--I will be ready for real Greek. After thirty years! I am so grateful to the authors.
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on 16 March 2017
It's good to have, but if I'd suggest you invest instead in the Athenaze Workbook. The latest edition is much easier to read as regard, in particular the breathings, especially under a circumflex, though the book itself is slightly wider. If you work on the Student Book and Workbook, you won't really need the Teacher's Book, which Oxford makes hard to get, especially Teacher's Book II, and thus expensive, though you may be lucky and be able to get it shipped from America.
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on 7 July 2014
Of coutse I have to love this book and be glad to have it as I am a member of a U3A group using this series of books to study ancient |Greek together. I like the way the coutse is structured, slowly with a liot of repetition and enough story to keep us going. I haven't yet bought the Teacher's Book, mainly because it is, naturally, expensive, but I am well on my way to doing so.
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on 23 July 2017
Good accompany to the Student's Book for self-study
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on 3 December 1998
I hated taking foreign lanaguages in middle and high school, but decided to give Greek a try this year in college. Greek is now probably my favorite class, and this book is one of the reasons.
The continuing storyline throughout the readings made the work more interesting--I wanted to read on to see what happened next. Reading the passages was fun instead of drudgery. If our textbook had been something different, I might have dropped the course early on.
We'll be using the second Athenaze book next semester, and I'm really looking forward to it.
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on 11 February 2004
Ok, so I'm still learning from the second of the books in this series, but my class seems to have no complaints about the text, except that those of us who have already learnt Latin from Mr Balme were disappointed at the lack of pretty colour pictures (and the wasting of class time when a debate ensured about the gender of various figures...)
True, you do spend an awful lot of time in the present tense, but it makes sense to get that firmly stuck in your head before learning all the others (especially the aorist...) and the author obviously considers this a good tactic since his Latin text does the same.
I suppose it may be a little difficult to understand in some parts if you've never learnt a language before, but if you've studied grammar before it's fine... and if you aren't teaching yourself it shouldn't be a problem at all (I am so glad I've had such great teachers...)
And if all else fails you could always do what we do in class and MAKE it fun... even if that is to the detriment of the book (and Mr Balme... sorry... but honestly... Dikaeopolis and his stupid rock were just the beginning of our descent into madness...)
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on 5 December 2009
This is a great book that quickly builds up vocabulary and grammar. Greek has a lot of grammar to it, so a gentle introduction is needed and it's what is delivered. The text provides historical background information and the Greek text content is interesting; so many books have such dry texts but this breaks the mould. One issue is that it presents the declension of nouns in the order Nom, Voc, Gen, Dat, Acc. While this is the historical approach to grammar, it is a change from the first edition, which orders the declension as Nom, Acc, Gen, Dat, and the change is unwelcome. The Nominative and Accusative, when paired together, render the declension easier to remember given the similarity in case ending (sometimes being exactly the same). Otherwise, I do recommend this book to learners.
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on 30 October 1998
Athenaze I and II are disappointing. The books' single greatest weakness is that it simply takes too long to teach them. Teaching with the book 4 days per week, and omitting portions of the exercizes, no one in my department has ever succeeded in getting a class even close to all the way through the text. In some cases not even a THIRD semester sufficed.
There are some errors in the Greek and even in the morphological tables -- I'm talking howlers. The Greek also sometimes exhibits solecisms, but I doubt they do much harm to the students' learning process. They might hurt the teacher's delicate sensibilities, but that's all.
It has been my experience (I have taught with the books three times) that the one marked virtue of the series is that students who get close to the end of the book can read Herodotus with some proficiency, and have developed a pretty good working vocabulary for him. On the other hand, the inclusion of selections from the Acharnians is of little value. It was recently derided by my present class, who put it thus: "We're not reading or translating Aristophanes. We're reading the GLOSSES to Aristophanes."
Some students like the ongoing story of Dikaiopolis and his family that the reading centers upon. Others find it infantile and condescending.
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on 25 July 1998
This book helped me more than I ever expected. I couldn't have gotten through my Greek class without it. The use of short reading passages are extremely helpful, since our purpose in learning Attic Greek is to read it rather than to speak it. It definitely is one of the best texts I have seen.
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