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Author Topic: need help Learning Greek and Russian  (Read 3220 times) Average Rating: 0
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sohma_hatori
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« on: September 07, 2007, 10:26:34 PM »

Hello Everyone...

Can you recommend websites were at least basic Greek or Russian is taught?
Ive been wanting to learn these languages since the start of my study with the Orthodox Faith...
Please help

Respectfully,
Wilbur
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 10:34:08 PM »

There is an excellent interactive, introductory, online video to the Greek Alphabet and pronounciation here: http://www.biblicalgreek.org/grammar/alphabet/greek_alphabet.html

Another good source for learning Greek is here: http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/lessons/lesson1.asp
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 10:47:08 PM »

For Russian, maybe this will help you get started:

http://learnrussian.elanguageschool.net/

Please feel free to ask me any questions regarding the Russian language. I grew up in Kyiv, Ukraine; Ukrainian and Russian are the two languages that are "equally first" to me.
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2007, 01:59:07 PM »

I come at this from a different perspective than George and Heorhij, since I'm a native speaker of American English and made no attempt to learn either Greek or Russian until I was about 16.

Assuming your goal is to be able to do research in Greek and Russian, your biggest problem with both of these is going to be learning ecclesiastical vocabulary.  Most bilingual dictionaries don't include it and if they do it can often be a bit inaccurate.  Otherwise learning the essential grammar and picking up a working vocabulary of 1,000-5,000 words isn't that difficult in either language. 

For Greek:
You'll want a book geared towards New Testament Greek, since that is the Greek of the New Testament and more or less so of the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) and Church liturgical texts.  For this you really just need a passive knowledge - with a bit of effort you will be able to plow through the New Testament and eventually have a fairly good understanding of the liturgical services in a Greek Church.  The caution to throw out there: entirely ignore anything about pronunciation in such a book - in Greece (and by extension, Greek Churches everywhere) older Greek is pronounced with the modern pronunciation system, not a reconstructed system. 
The book I used for this purpose: Essentials of New Testament Greek by Ray Summers.  It works, but really was not that great of a textbook.  Maybe some of the Holy Cross students/graduates can offer some better help here.

For modern Greek: 
I worked my way through Routledge's Colloquial Greek in order to have a lot of the basics down.  What was lucky for me is that I then was able to spend two months in Greece and was able to use what I had already learned and pick up a great deal more.  The problem with the Colloquial Greek book is that solid grammatical explanations are often lacking, so if you want to go beyond the basics you will need another book - wherein lies a huge problem.  There are some books around, but they are old.  Hence they use the old orthography and have other things to date them.  I think there is a new textbook out by Yale, that Anastasios (our admin here) is using.  Otherwise once you have the grammar down, just pick up a book of your interests and start reading with a dictionary and working on learning vocabulary.  Of course in the meantime it will really help to find someone with whom you can practice conversing.

Russian:
After how easy Greek pronunciation is and in general how easy it is to remember Greek words, Russian will be a bit of an uphill battle. 

A great book for starting out is Penguin's Russian Course.  The huge drawback is that you will not at all learn how to pronounce Russian nor be ready to really understand spoken Russian at normal speed.  But you will have a good grasp on the needed grammar to communicate and an adequate vocabulary.  It isn't hard to find Russians around, so if you make a few friends they'll set you straight on pronunciation and speaking.  For increasing your reading ability, a good dictionary like Katzner's and finding some books you are interested in is your best bet. 

Your options for learning Church Slavonic are a bit limited in English (or German or French for that matter).  Basically you can get a grammar and work from that.  But you best bet is really just to master a modern Slavic language and work on Church Slavonic through that route. 

Which leads me to another point - you may want to consider a South Slavic language over Russian.  Serbian is much easier to learn and speak - not to mention the Former Yugoslavia is a lot more fun... think warm beaches vs. tundra....borsh vs. cevapi.  The grammar of Bulgarian or Macedonian is VERY easy relative to the other Slavic languages.  Church Slavonic is basically the old South Slavic dialect (I'd call it old Macedonian, but that'd cause a row here...) - so in many ways if your research interests are simply to do some reading in a modern language used by Slavic Orthodox, Serbian or Bulgarian would satisfy this need and leave you a bit closer to being able to handle Church Slavonic.  If you are interested in Serbian, I can also give you some recommendations for that - just in the last two years some great resources for Serbian have come out. 
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2007, 06:40:23 PM »

If you are interested in Serbian, I can also give you some recommendations for that - just in the last two years some great resources for Serbian have come out. 

I'd like to see those recommendations if you have the chance.  My attempts to learn Serbian are going a lot slower than I had hoped.  Tongue
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2007, 07:12:15 PM »

Quote
I'd like to see those recommendations if you have the chance.  My attempts to learn Serbian are going a lot slower than I had hoped.

This newer textbook is great, but alas pricey:
http://www.amazon.com/Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian-Textbook-Exercises/dp/0299212041/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/103-6924980-6054210?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189292238&sr=8-2

The grammar that goes along with it is also very good:
http://www.amazon.com/Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian-Grammar-Sociolinguistic/dp/0299211940/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/103-6924980-6054210?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189292238&sr=8-3

The only main complaint that I have seen against this is how it overplays the differences in the three standards.  But, that is such a dicey issue that no matter how it is handled somebody will still complain.

This is still the best everyday usage dictionary:
http://www.amazon.com/Standard-English-SerboCroatian-SerboCroatian-English-Dictionary-Standards/dp/0521645530/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-6924980-6054210?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189292902&sr=1-1

Another good reference grammar out there is this:
http://www.amazon.com/Serbian-Essential-Grammar-Routledge/dp/0415286417/ref=sr_1_1/103-6924980-6054210?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189293082&sr=8-1

Prijatno! 
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2007, 08:08:40 PM »

Gosh.... Pronouncing Russian is a bit toungue tying..
Guess a little more practice should be alloted..

Any more sites everyone?
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« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2007, 09:33:18 PM »

http://www.textkit.com

I use this often - many free downloads of learning texts - Ancient Greek, Koine, and Latin. It's heavy on the Erasmusian artifical scheme but the discussions linked there are finally admitting modern Greek pronunciation is the way to go.

I've got about 100 other sites - need to figure how to cull them and quick-link them here (even some Russian)
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2007, 12:24:58 AM »


Hvala lepo!
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2007, 12:24:22 PM »

Dear Sohma_Hatori,

You don't have to be perfect in the Russian pronounciation as you begin to learn. Even within those who claim Russian as their first language, there are huge differences in pronounciation. Mikhail Gorbachev, who was born in the southwestern part of the Russian federation (Stavropol region), often triggered roars of laughter among those who were used to the Moscow and St. Petersburg pronounciation of Russian words.

I laughed when I read one remark of Fr. Alexander Schmemann, a true-blue Russian who was born and raised in emigration, outside of the increasingly "Sovietized" Russia of the 1920-s-1930's. In his Journals (dated by the late 1970's), he wrote about his impressions from an audiotape of Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), a famous Russian poet and Nobel Prize winner: "yes, great poet, very emotional, wonderful poetry, great, charming, mesmerizing, but, but... this HORRIBLE SOVIET ACCENT!!!"  Grin Grin Grin
« Last Edit: September 09, 2007, 12:25:31 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2007, 06:44:02 PM »

here is a good site for learning greek:
http://www.kypros.org/LearnGreek/

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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2007, 12:08:38 AM »

Can anyone help me find some good sites to look for Serbian Orthodox Chants?
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2007, 12:56:51 AM »

Can anyone help me find some good sites to look for Serbian Orthodox Chants?

http://www.sv-luka.org/chants/index.html
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2007, 03:53:20 AM »

What is a good site for both liturgies and chants in English and Greek (not together)? For both written and audio.
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2007, 10:07:34 PM »

What is a good site for both liturgies and chants in English and Greek (not together)? For both written and audio.

Have you tried www.goarch.org?
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2007, 07:01:57 PM »

After using many different books, I pretty much only teach beginners with Bill Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek. My students have been very pleased with it. It doesn't assume anything, covers the important elements of the language, and explains morphology and grammar in clear terms that language-challenged Americans can understand. The included CD-ROM will be very useful, especially if you are trying to learn without an actual teacher who knows what he is talking about.

Here's the basic blurb:

You can learn to read biblical Greek with Bill Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek textbook. This book is widely used around the world in high schools, colleges, and graduate schools. BBG includes a computer CD-ROM that has software to help you learn Greek as well as 6-8 minute "summary" lectures, hitting the high points of each chapter.

http://www.teknia.com/index.php?page=bbgtextbook
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« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2007, 08:58:59 AM »

Can anyone help me with Serbian this time?
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