HIGH SCHOOL: Learn to Read Greek: Part 1, Textbook and Workbook Set
HIGH SCHOOL: Learn to Read Greek: Part 1, Textbook and Workbook Set
Price: $79.95

Learn to Read Greek is a text and workbook for students beginning the study of Ancient Greek. It is the companion volume to the authors’ Learn to Read Latin, published in 2004. Like its Latin predecessor, it has a grammar-based approach and is intended for students who have a serious interest in learning the language. The text and workbook include carefully chosen vocabularies and extensive vocabulary notes; clear and complete presentations of all necessary morphology and syntax; large numbers of drills and drill sentences; and abundant unabridged passages from a variety of Greek authors and texts. Prospective students of Greek could not do better than to use this textbook.

They will find it a trustworthy guide to the intricacies of both grammar and style, thorough enough to answer all questions and organized in such a way as to provide the satisfaction of encountering selections of Greek literature from the earliest possible moment. The accompanying workbook is a tour de force in its own right. Practice makes perfect in Greek as in everything else, and with more than a thousand pages of drills and exercises (far more than are offered by any other introductory text), there's enough practice offered here to enable mastery over even the most difficult elements of the language. Each of the sixteen chapters follows the same pattern. First, a one-page list of vocabulary to be memorized. In welcome contrast to the situation in some other textbooks, the words here are all ones commonly used by the ancient authors that students are likely to read. Then several pages of "Vocabulary Notes" that give detailed insight on usage. These notes are one of the book's best features, providing essential information about idiom that learners would otherwise have to glean laboriously from a dictionary.

The grammatical material comes next, with related concepts grouped in manageable segments that are helpfully keyed to workbook drills. Finally, there are (beginning from Chapter 3) the Short and Longer Readings--passages of prose and poetry excerpted unaltered from a range of more than four dozen different authors. By the later chapters this section can occupy 35 pages or more, and the individual passages can be of quite substantial length. The readings constitute an education in themselves, providing crucial exposure to the varieties of Greek thought and style from Homer to Plutarch. Comprising a total of four volumes, Learn to Read Greek does require a certain level of commitment. What it delivers in return, however, is a real knowledge of Greek, which is a reward well worth the effort.

As a student of ancient Greek, I learned on a grammar-based textbook which was adequate but did not offer enough exercises. As a lecturer of ancient Greek at a university, I have used two different reading-based textbooks because students enjoy being able to read stories early in the journey; both textbooks were fine and got the job done. But I never have been impressed with the workbooks, with the exercises, nor completely satisfied with the presentation of grammar. "Learn to Read Greek, Part 1 and Part 2," which is a grammar-based approach, is superb in every respect. The vocabulary notes at the beginning of each chapter are interesting, useful, and assist students in remembering them; the list of derivatives and cognates demonstrate the influence of ancient Greek on our own vocabulary while offering new English words to learn. The grammar information is more detailed from the beginning than what is found in many other textbooks which alleviates confusion.

The workbook exercises are graduated and begin with simple items and build to more lengthy ones with lots of reinforcement along the way. The exercises for chapter 1 offer students a brilliant way to begin learning composition as they determine the functions of the words in English sentences with large spaces between the words and phrases to assist them as they translate it into Greek and must decide whether a prepositional phrase is required or whether the case alone conveys the meaning, and whether an article is necessary or not. Currently, my informal summertime ancient Greek students and I are very impressed with "Learn to Read Greek, Part 1." They enjoy the exercises so much, recognizing the benefits, they want to do every single one of them. The large workbook has perforated pages so students can tear them out and not haul the extra weight to class.