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Introduction to Attic Greek Paperback – Mar 19 1993

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 435 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (March 19 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520078446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520078444
  • Product Dimensions: 25.5 x 17.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #284,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"This is a remarkably thorough textbook, offering a full presentation of the basics, and then some"--"Bryn Mawr Classical Review

About the Author

Donald J. Mastronarde is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the editor of Euripides. Phoenissae (Teubner 1988) and author of The Textual Tradition of Euripides' Phoinissai (with Jan Maarten Bremer) (California 1983), and Contact and Discontinuity: Some Conventions of Speech and Action on the Greek Tragic Stage (California 1979).

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Format: Paperback
If there was ever one book that I would recommend without equivocation or doubt, it would be _Introduction to Attic Greek_ by Donald J. Mastronarde (University of California Press: Los Angeles and Berkeley, 1993). This book is 425 pp. in length and worth every bit of the price.
Out of all the introductory grammars and workbooks on either Koine or Attic Greek that I've ever read or perused, Mastronarde's book seems to be the most practical one for those who desire to be either tutored or self-taught Attic Greek.
For starters, _Introduction to Attic Greek_ has the common fare. It covers the standard nominal declensions; the present active indicative endings; the present/middle passive verbs; information about conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs, pronouns as well as tense, aspect and athematic aorists. What makes this
book different, however, is its approach to and organization of the aforesaid material. In each section of the book, helpful exercises are given to assist the student in his or her endeavors to grasp Attic Greek. The lessons are also relatively short, so most pupils should not feel overwhelmed. Many helpful paradigms are included in this publication, and can be consulted with regularity in case one is inclined to forget declensions and conjugations. Rich vocabulary lists and
English associated words are also listed so that the student progressively builds a rich vocabulary and increases the pace and accuracy of his or her reading.
But Mastronarde is not content to simply include "artificial" Greek in his publication. He includes actual texts from real-life Greek sources like Aristophanes, Xenophon, and Simonides. In this way, one gets a feel for and learns directly how the Greek language functions and expresses key concepts.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very good book for learning Attic Greek (ie, the dialect of Greek spoken in Attica, a part of Greece, focusing on the classical period, although other periods are also covered), the language of Aristotle, Plato and others. It gives one an extensive vocabulary, and gives a good break-down of grammatical concepts (although that may just be for me, since I had previously learned classical Latin, thus learning the basic concepts and terms, like nominative, indicative, etc.) I highly recommend it, and it keeps its promise: to allow one to read most Greek texts with commentary and dictionary.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not sure how to answer the chap who thinks learning a language ought to be a distractingly entertaining experience. But let me try. Language learning can indeed be accompanied by merriment at times, usually during the immersion phase and often at the expense of the learner. I'm afraid we've missed that boat by a couple millennia. If the pure cerebral rush that comes with the gradual mastery of the inner logic and outer mechanics of your target language is not sufficient stimulation in itself, then the learner might be better advised to stick to Spanish, where he can start pretending to make sentences almost from the outset.
Mastronarde's presentation of Greek grammar offers a welcome alternative to the disorganized "here a bit of noun, there a bit of adverb" approach of Crosby and Schaeffer and to Hansen and Quinn's agonizingly slow paced "Intensive Course."
Mastronarde's Introduction to Greek is well organized and to the point, but asks the learner to bring either the background or the interest required to appreciate the point. After working through Mastronarde's grammar, which can be accomplished with industry in a few weeks but should at any rate be done quickly rather than slowly, the student is much better prepared for subsequent study of Attic Greek than are others who, perhaps, spent their initial efforts trying to write (or utter!) original sentences in Ancient Greek.
A word of criticism is in order, however. Mastronarde has chosen not to mark long vowels either in text or in vocabulary lists. The justification he gives is that accentuation will indicate vowel length, which in most cases it will. But in doing so, Mastronarde denies those students fortunate enough to have good visual memory retention the advantage of that gift.
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Format: Paperback
I have excelled at Greek with this book, and have successfully read Aeschylus, Herodotus, Lysias, Plato, Homer and Euripides. I have found that my memory of forms is quite good due to the rigorousness of this book.
But this is a hard book. True, Greek is a hard language: but this book is quite dry and has a dearth of sentences and a plethora of forms. I appreciate the book now because it has served me quite well (I didn't like it at all at first), but I must confess that learning Greek with this book was a huge chore and not a lot of fun.
So this is the deal. If you are like me, and hated algebra, you might not like this book, because its exercises are algebra-like; but if you stick with it, it will do you good. If you are the sort of strange person that thinks algebra is fun, you will absolutely love this book.
When it all boils down to it, I admire any author who is willing to be as structurally attentive as this one, and who admits that the learning won't be fun, but that you simply have to grind through it. The fun comes later, when you can read Herodotus and Homer with ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM if you just have the patience to get through this book. Your knowledge of Greek will probably be better than your classmates who used a less rigorous introductory textbook. This, I think, is a great compliment to Mastronarde.
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