This purchase includes:
• 8 hours 20 minutes of audio files teaching all the regular and most important irregular grammatical paradigms of:
- cardinal, ordinal, adverbial, and distributive numbers
- and more!
• An Excel spreadsheet document with 30 sub-sheets treating these paradigms, used for tracking your progress to total memorization!
Professor William C. Dowling of Rutgers University publicized his method to learning Latin at this webpage two decades ago:
And I have adapted his method to Ancient Greek, with a strong emphasis on auditory and spoken input to increase the speed and permanence of memorization.
INTRODUCTION TO THE METHOD
“The problem with Latin is that you can study it for six years and still not be able to read a Latin sentence,” writes Professor Dowling, who published his Method nearly two decades ago on his webpage.
While William Dowling applied his technique to Latin, and I followed it achieving great success, I have adapted it for Ancient Greek.
The original Dowling Method is as simple as it is effective:
Stage 1) Understand the general idea of the grammatical cases and tenses of Ancient Greek.
Stage 2) Memorize all the regular and most important irregular grammatical paradigms of inflected nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
Stage 3) Immerse yourself in a graduated reader text such as the Athenaze series.
Compared to other Ancient Greek language pedagogical techniques explored in the 21st century, which predominantly (and, I would like to affirm, correctly emphasize the need to treat the teaching of Ancient Greek like any other modern language), Stage 2 of the Dowling Method seems to be the most out-of-step with those more modern practices. I can understand the hesitation. Teachers around the world have embraced the speaking of Ancient Greek in the classroom, along with the extensive reading of texts, as the best way to attain literate fluency, and have eschewed unnecessary emphasis on grammar-translation. Indeed, the ability to speak Ancient Greek is necessary to true reading fluency, as documented by Dr. Randall Buth.
So why would I advocate a method that requires the memorization of grammatical paradigms? Because it works.
The central stage of the Dowling Method is the memorization of the paradigms, but how is this accomplished? Professor Dowling says that you should transcribe each of them, by hand — 100-200 times. And while this is an important goal to reach to attain fluent understanding of Latin, it is even more critical for Ancient Greek, since Ancient Greek has four times the number of grammatical paradigms to be learned.
In my application of the Dowling Method to Ancient Greek, I have augmented the process with force-multiplying steps, adapting the Dowling Method into a doctrine of my own that I have used with great success both autodidactically and with students over many years.
Here are the stages I recommend:
Stage 1) Understand the general idea of the grammatical cases and tenses of Ancient Greek. (This is the same as the standard Dowling Method.)
Stage 2) Memorize all the regular and most important irregular grammatical paradigms of inflected nouns, adjectives, and verbs in the following manner:
a. Write out a given paradigm by hand while pronouncing the words aloud, so that you can look away from the page and recite the whole paradigm from memory (the paradigm is now in short-term memory); then:
b. Repeat the paradigm aloud to yourself, marking each correct repetition on a scorecard to keep track, at least 100 times.
c. Utilize the attached audio recordings to teach and prompt you to recall the inflected forms.
Stage 3) Utilize a graduated reader such as the Athenaze series, but while reading, listen to each chapter with the audio recordings I made at this playlist on YouTube, which emphasize historically accurate pronunciation, particularly long/short vowel contrasts and syllable quantity and pitch accent; being able to recite Ancient Greek in this manner is a necessary skill to appreciate poetic meter and ancient song, as well as prose rhythm. (At the time of this writing, these videos are not yet complete for the entire book; but please subscribe to the channel and be on the look out for new videos in the series!) You should also use the Alexander Arguelles “Shadowing” technique:
a. Listen to a chapter (or indeed the entire book!) while “Blind Shadowing” the audio: repeating every word you hear as you hear it without pausing the recording, mimicking intonation and pronunciation as precisely as you can.
b. Then later, shadow the text as you hear and read it at the same time in my YouTube videos — read aloud along with me at my pace without pausing the recording.
Stage 4) Transcribe each chapter of Athenaze as you work through it, whether by hand or by typing. While transcribing, the auditory and spoken component is essential:
a. As you listen to my recording of a given chapter, hold as long a phrase as you can in your short-term memory; then pause the audio playback; say that phrase aloud to confirm you remember it; finally, write that phrase down. You may write by hand or by typing.
b. Accomplish the exercises that accompany each chapter.
And this is what I call the Ranieri-Dowling Method. It could be employed in part or in toto, and it may work for some people and not for others. I personally vouch for its effectiveness, and I hope you can soon boast the same.
HOW TO USE THE ACCOMPANYING MATERIALS
Your purchase includes an Excel spreadsheet of all the regular and a few important irregular grammatical paradigms, as well a comprehensive overview of all these forms through eight hours of audio recordings covering every one of these tables.
These are your Stage 2 (see above) training materials and scorecard. As this is the most difficult and perhaps most critical stage, I have endeavored to make this part of the process as easy as possible for you, and conceive that you might best proceed in this fashion:
1) Listen to the accompanying audio for a given paradigm while reading it on the spreadsheet. (I recommend you memorize first the article, then nouns, then adjectives, then pronouns, and finally verbs, but you may prefer a different order.)
2) Transcribe the paradigm at least once. Get the paradigm into your short-term memory so that you can recite it aloud without looking at the page.
a. For more complex systems like verbs, I call a “paradigm” just the Present Active Indicative or Aorist Passive Subjunctive, for example, not the full conjugation of the verb in all tenses, voices, and moods — eventually you do want to be able to recall the entire table of a single verb from memory, but start out in smaller chunks and work your way through the verb gradually.
3) Count this as your first sucessful repetition (repetitions do not count until the whole paradigm is in short-term memory, as I explain in my book Ranieri Reverse Recall). Use the side column in the corresponding sheet of the Excel document to track your repetitions. I recommend 100 times for each paradigm.
4) Listen to the audio for the paradigm, and repeat each inflected form aloud (this does not count as a repetition on your scorecard yet); you may do this while reading the table. When you listen to the paradigm again, do not look at the table, and try to say each inflected form before you hear it. If you do so correctly, you can count that as a successful repetition.
a. Audio listening programs like Apple’s Music application (formally called iTunes) track how many times you have listened to a certain audio file on the computer and also tied with those files synchronized to your phone. Take advantage of this automatic tracking to help you fill out your scorecard spreadsheet when you’re away from your computer, such as if you do your memorization training while commuting or while walking/jogging/biking etc.
b. While auditory input is strongly emphasized in the Ranieri-Dowling Method, you may of course write the paradigms by hand or by typing (if you can do so from memory) to count additional repetitions. Just be sure to say the words aloud as you are writing them.
NOTE ON PRONUNCIATION HEARD IN THE AUDIO RECORDINGS
The phonetic system used in the audio recordings is known as the Lucian Pronunciation of Ancient Greek (for which see this video) which I developed in collaboration with Raphael Turrigiano. Lucian Pronunciation is a highly advantageous system to learn because it is historically accurate, aesthetically pleasing, pedagogically useful, and unifying among the other existing standards of pronouncing Ancient Greek. That is, if you use Lucian Pronunciation, you’ll be easily understood by other Ancient Greek speakers who do not, and you’ll be able to understand them as well.
The Lucian Pronunciation heard in these recordings places great emphasis on consistency in phonemic vowel length and syllable quantity, as well as pitch accent, so that you can see every letter in your head and spell it perfectly from your auditory memory. To that end, two modifications were made to Lucian Pronunciation for the sake of these audio files:
1) The iota-subscript long dipthongs ᾳ ῃ ῳ are pronounced as /aːi̯/ /e̞ːi̯ /o̞ːi̯/ (or occasionally as a deliberately exaggerated separate vowel-syllable) instead of the historically correct /aː/ /e̞ː /o̞ː/ — that is, as the monophthongs they became after the 2nd century BC. Although no sentence should be recited in this manner if one’s pronunciation is to be historically consistent with the rest of Lucian Pronunciation (which is centered on the 2nd century AD), this occasional spelling-pronunciation of the iota-subscript appears to have been an ancient practice for the sake of sounding out words to attain the correct spelling in specific situations, just as an English speaker might say aloud “hand, ker, chief” to produce the written “handkerchief” which sounds quite different from those three syllables in isolation.
2) Movable -ν, which is suffixed to many words before vowels, has been pronounced as a separate sound from the word in a distinct way to teach you that this is a letter that may or may not be appended to the word depending on its environment.
It is of course possible to use the Lucian Pronunciation with Ancient Greek of any time period, from Classical Attic to Late Koine. Pronunciation conventions are just that — matters of convenience. See the video on Lucian Pronunciation for more. And because Lucian Pronunciation stands in the middle of other standards both historically and phonetically, it is easy as you listen to the attached audio files to convert to your preferred sound system.
This is an intense way to learn Ancient Greek, and you will discover it to be very effective. I hope you find the spreadsheet and audio files I prepared for you useful in your journey to mastering the Ancient Greek language. Thank you again for your purchase, and if you like this program, tell your friends and please share the link to my audiobooks store. Ὑγίαινε!