Reasons for Including Greek Audio in your Learning Routine

As given by Dr. Randall Buth of on the B-Greek Email list dated May 16, 2009

1. Listening to a reading is a relaxing and fast way of reviewing material.

2. Listening to the text should allow one to concentrate on visualizing the meaning rather focusing on the spelling.

3. Listening can be done while one's hands are occupied or in low light conditions.

4. Listening encourages one to process the material at a natural speed of communication.

5. Listening allows one to recreate the original communicative setting where these writings were expected to be read aloud. If one listens in a koine? dialect, the listening also reproduces some of the sound allusions and ambiguities or avoidance of other possible ambiguities that were in the original text. See 7c, too, where 'the ability to understand different dialects' may benefit Erasmians.

6. Listening helps to keep a language 'current'.

7. Listening is very beneficial for language learning at all stages.

a. Listening allows a beginner to cover more material with faster input than would be done through the medium of a new orthography and a strange script.

b. For beginners, good readings provide help with accurate pronunciation and should help with remembering correctly accented syllables.

c. At another stage, readings may provide access to different dialects. For example, it is a good thing to be able to recognize Greek when read in a modern accent. This enables better communication between Greeks and non-Greeks.? "Erasmians", in particular, can benefit by learning to listen and understand either koin? or modern, or both. This will help them better appreciate documents and texts from the New Testament period and later, even if they themselves read in another style at other times.

d. Listening also helps someone internalize a language, if they are understanding most of what they are hearing. Listening forces the development of rapid and unconscious processing skills.

e. Besides help in internalization, listening also provides a measurement of how far the language has been internalized. A students' goal should be to understand texts when read clearly at a normal speed. Less than that skill means that the language has not been learned to a sufficient level. Even in modern languages such skill may often lacking in training programs where there is little or no contact with speakers.

f. Listening also helps a student distinguish language skills that are natural from skills that are artificial, analytical and secondary. There is no time in real language communication to do many of the things that students are asked to do with a language ("What kind of genitive was that?"). This does not mean that a student should not learn how to analyze a language, but that analytical skills are another kind of skill from language fluency. Both are good, but they shouldn't be confused.

8. Developing a skill for listening to long stretches of text helps in being able to read long stretches of text and to process higher level reading skills within the language itself.

9. Many have commented that a text may relate to itself in a different manner when it is processed through listening than when processed through reading. With modern languages this is skewed somewhat, because readers of texts are capable of processing the sound virtually simultaneously. This is not usually true of readers of ancient texts if they have not had extensive listening practice.


PS: Our Johannine CD finally started shipping and has extra features like ASKHSEIS 'drills' where some chapters are provided listening drills with everything broken down into 2-3 second snips with space for either thinking or repetition. After working through the ASKHSIS of a chapter several times a student can find themselves capable of listening to the whole chapter without a written text. Written notes in PDF files are also in the CD. As mentioned in 5 and 7c above, understanding a spoken koine is a valuable skill to develop even for Erasmians.

More content can be found on Dr. Buth's Biblical Language Center.