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"How Good Is Your Classical Greek?" Topic

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14 Nov 2019 7:43 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to Ancients Discussion boardCrossposted to Medieval Discussion board

14 Nov 2019 7:43 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "How Good Is Your Latin?" to "How Good Is Your Classical Greek?"

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Puzzling About the Battle of Delium: Part 1

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian considers the Battle of Delium, 424 B.C.

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian14 Nov 2019 7:37 p.m. PST

On a scale of zero (none) to 10 (like a Roman).

dilettante Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2019 7:41 p.m. PST

0 except a few expressions ex. pro bono

bsrlee14 Nov 2019 8:06 p.m. PST

Katatrekete tuos nothos! err….Baklava, Gyros…err….

I remember once in History class, the teacher asked one of the students who was a 1st generation immigrant from Greece how a particular work should be pronounced – it sounded like she was gargling a mouth full of marbles, I was so glad I had taken Latin to study.

Pro Bono is actually Latin

Soaring Soren14 Nov 2019 8:45 p.m. PST

I'm pro Bono as well, since U2 is my favorite band.
Whenever my math teacher in high school would have difficulty explaining calculus to us students, he would give up and always say, "It's Greek to me."

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2019 9:03 p.m. PST

Attic = 2; Koine = 6

Coelacanth Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2019 9:22 p.m. PST

I recognize most of the letters from math classes. Otherwise, c'est du chinois.


Dn Jackson14 Nov 2019 11:04 p.m. PST


GurKhan15 Nov 2019 2:09 a.m. PST

About 3, I suppose.

I have an O level in it (that's what we used to have before GCSEs, youngsters), I can spot when the Loeb translators of Polybios render "thorakitai" as "cuirassed infantry" in one paragraph and "heavy cavalry" in the next, I can argue the meaning of technical terms with the aid of a decent lexicon, but I couldn't compose a sentence or ask the way to the symposion.

Vintage Wargaming15 Nov 2019 2:54 a.m. PST

Good enough to know pro bono is Latin

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Nov 2019 3:00 a.m. PST

zero here too.

When I was reading a lot of stuff on ancient galleys I could remember the letters and pronounce the Greek spellings better but that has mostly been forgotten.

advocate15 Nov 2019 4:56 a.m. PST


kodiakblair15 Nov 2019 5:15 a.m. PST

Zero. I have a vague memory of "Classical Studies" being taught for 40 minutes each week.

Pointless exercise in a school churning out Scottish factory workers.It must have been soul destroying for the teacher,could explain his frequent use of "the Belt" :-)

Patrick R15 Nov 2019 6:21 a.m. PST


Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Nov 2019 6:42 a.m. PST

Koine, not as good as it should be.
Attic, not good enough to read any more.
Mycean and Pontic, fuggedaboudit.
Which ones did I skip?


ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα
(n oda hti oudn oda)

If I know one thing, it is that I know nothing. – attributed to Socrates by Plato

I assume that many people are better than I am. I see lots of "μολὼν λαβέ" bumperstickers.

Roderick Robertson Fezian15 Nov 2019 8:59 a.m. PST

Not as good as my Anglo-Saxon.

Maxshadow15 Nov 2019 9:21 a.m. PST

Its all double Dutch to me

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2019 9:31 a.m. PST

I was ready to say 2 when I read the question, but if I use GurKhan's scale, II'm a 3. (Thanks, GurKhan!)

I was better in college when I majored in Latin and Greek for undergraduate studies. I dreamt in Attic on more than one occasion as a senior. I found that weird.

Curiously enough, the first students to drop the Classical Greek class were the modern Greeks. The language has had twice as long to evolve from Attic to modern Greek as English has had from Old English to modern English. The pronunciation is quite different, and the language evidently has changed much more than they realized. I wouldn't have signed up for a course in Old Engiish thinking it was easy!


ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2019 10:13 a.m. PST


The Last Conformist15 Nov 2019 10:40 a.m. PST

What GurKhan describes sounds roughly like my level, so I guess I'm about a 3 too.

Marcus Brutus15 Nov 2019 11:10 a.m. PST

Attic Greek probably about a 3.

Koine Greek probably an 8. I was halfway through my Ph.D in New Testament studies and did a lot of extra courses in Greek literature of the period. It has rusted a bit though!

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2019 12:29 p.m. PST

About a 1

Latin would be more like 5

EvilBen Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2019 1:57 p.m. PST

7ish? 8 on a good day? Good enough to teach prose composition in a language-heavy graduate program, anyway. But plenty of room for improvement!

evilgong15 Nov 2019 2:34 p.m. PST

1, a few years back when I was binge reading academic articles I found I was starting to understand the technical stuff in untranslated excerpts, so closer to Duncan's 3 back then – but I've forgotten much since.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2019 4:05 a.m. PST

I speak Attic with a Welsh accent, thanks to the Professor who taught me. Otherwise, not too bad.

Legion 416 Nov 2019 7:35 a.m. PST

I do like Gyros and Stuffed Grape Leaves plus a bunch of other Greek dishes I can't spell !

So … Does that count ?

Martian Root Canal16 Nov 2019 9:00 a.m. PST


JJartist16 Nov 2019 12:12 p.m. PST

I'm with GurKhan a 3. I had two semesters of ancient Greek in college, that and bronchitis ruined my post graduate fantasies.

I'm good enough with a lexicon. I was good enough in college to prove to my professor that some of the LOEB Asclepiodotus was mistranslated by somebody without a military history angle- and the dismissal of that work back then eons ago in the 1970's was unwarranted. Luckily over the years that bias has been corrected.

I guess what I'm saying is that I can read the Greek words, with some understanding, and can understand the confusion about Socrates vs. his evil twin Sokrates. How the Phokians moved to England to become the Phocians.

Χαῖρε πολλά!

von Schwartz17 Nov 2019 7:29 a.m. PST

I'd say it's on a par with my ancient Sandskrit.

Dynaman878918 Nov 2019 11:55 a.m. PST

Just as good as my modern Greek. 0

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