C. W. Shelmerdine, Introduction to Greek. Second edition. Newburyport, MA: Focus Publishing, Pp. xiv, ISBN Introduction to Greek by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. Introduction to Greek has 20 ratings and 2 reviews. Introduction to Greek, Second Edition is an introductory text to Classical Greek. It is designed for.

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These two second edition textbooks have the same basic aim, which is to teach the fundamentals of ancient Greek to college level students in such a way that they are able to confront real Greek texts after one year’s teaching or, in the case of Luschnig, within one year. This is a comparative review of the two presentations. Both texts have previously received individual attention on BMCR: Neither text is designed to be used by a student studying alone, but rather for use in a classroom situation under the guidance of an experienced teacher.

Shelmerdine’s text consists of 34 short introductoon designed to be covered in three meetings a week over the course of one college year. Luschnig’s text, on the other hand, consists of 14 much longer lessons. The amount of material covered in each book requires that the teacher and students move at a fairly rapid pace, but the workload is coverable in the time allotted. In addition, the Luschnig text has a website which provides supplementary readings and introductino forum for discussion about learning Greek.

Both texts also aim to keep the student motivated by providing examples of real Greek for the student to study. In the case of Shelmerdine this consists of slightly adapted readings from Xenophon, Herodotus, Thucydides and in one case Plato, although the majority of readings are taken from Herodotus.

These readings are highly enjoyable and useful as an introduction to Greek authors, and their length means that students very quickly become used to reading extended passages of text rather than sehlmerdine sentences.

These readings are in the original Greek, and a gredk to unfamiliar words and phrases is provided after each reading to help the student with translation. The fact that the student is reading actual Greek is sehlmerdine course an impetus to continue. Nevertheless some of these readings are very difficult, especially in cases where crasis and ellipsis occur, and sometimes the key is not very helpful.

Both books cover all the grammar usually associated with classical Greek, although Shelmerdine does not cover the future perfect tense and neither author covers the dual forms.

In both books the grammar is covered first shelmeddine then reinforced by exercises, with the readings coming after this. In Shelmerdine the chapter vocabulary is given at the end of the lesson after the reading, but in Luschnig the vocabulary comes at the end of each section and before the readings.

Shelmerdine’s book is extremely well laid-out with clear tables and large, easy-to-read text. Her table of contents is incredibly detailed, making it very easy to find each topic. Her chapter vocabularies are very helpfully divided into two parts: In contrast, the text in Luschnig is small and appears rather crowded.

The vocabularies too are rather long 3 and I fear that coupled with the grammar to be learnt in each section this will prove off-putting and overwhelming to most students. However, Luschnig’s vocabulary lists shine in respect to their attention to breek.


Where applicable, English translations of Greek words are followed by examples of how the particular word passed into English or in some cases into Latin. The grammatical explanations in both texts are syelmerdine clear and easy to follow, although Shelmerdine tends to explain technical terms such as athematic once, and then to assume that you shelmerdinee remember their meanings when you come across them again several chapters later.

For a beginning student who has perhaps never studied grammar before, this may be a little confusing and at times exasperating. Also, Shelmerdine shelmerrdine to assume that the student is familiar with basic grammatical terms such as noun and adjective.

Unfortunately, I have found with my own teaching of undergraduates that this is often not the case, and that students benefit from a intrroduction review of basic terminology. Luschnig on the other hand makes no such assumption. She provides a handy grammatical outline pp.

Introduction to Greek by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine

She even gives the parts of speech in their Greek terms as well as their English ones. This attention to detail is seen throughout the book, with plenty of hints for learning, supplementary information, such as a discussion about the three obsolete Greek consonants, and mini lectures at the end of each chapter covering themes as diverse as Greek colours, street signs, and Socrates.

Even the pithy Greek proverbs and sayings which are scattered throughout the chapters are translated. While some students and teachers myself included will find this to be one of the charms of the book, others will no doubt feel discouraged by the sheer amount of inessential information the author provides.

The first edition of Shelmerdine’s book was based on L. Wilding’s Greek For Beginners 5 and this clearly shows in the flow of the grammatical instruction, which is on the whole highly logical and traditional, with opening chapters covering high frequency forms such as the present indicative active of thematic verbs and first declension nouns, and with concluding chapters covering the lesser-used forms such as the perfect. The presentation distinguishes clearly between the forms of middle and active verbs.

However, she splits grrek the definite article by introducing the feminine form of the definite article only, followed by feminine nouns of the first declension in Chapter 3, and then introducing jntroduction whole of the definite article shlemerdine the beginning of Chapter 4, followed by the masculine nouns of the first declension, which seems a little strange to me.

Where possible she continues to introduce middle or middle – passive forms with active ones. What is not quite so understandable is the fact that she introduces the perfect and future perfect before the subjunctive and optative, even though the latter are far more frequently encountered in Greek than the former.

Cynthia W. Shelmerdine

When it comes to exercises Shelmerdine by her own admission concentrates on translation, both from Greek – English and from English – Greek. But only having a few exercises per chapter is also a potential drawback, since it means that there is no room for the teacher to pick and choose between exercises, and there is no scope for students who might wish to do extra work on their own outside the class.


Also, the concentration on translating whole sentences means that on occasion the opportunity to reinforce forms is lost. Luschnig’s text contains an extraordinarily huge number of exercises of all varieties, including sentences to translate, exercises in conjugating and declining and exercises in parsing forms, which is extremely useful to students. Unlike in Shelmerdine’s book there is no possibility that all of the exercises can be covered in class or for homework, so picking and choosing the most relevant exercises is of extreme importance.

Both books contain a number of errors, but these are mainly minor typographical errors and can easily be spotted by an experienced teacher. In the case of Shelmerdine a complete list of errata is given on her publisher’s website and I feel that it is necessary to mention only one error, which is quite serious and likely to be a source of confusion to students.

This error occurs in Chapter 14 on p. Both of these books are extremely useful guides to learning or teaching Greek, and I would have no hesitation in recommending either of them or in using either one myself.

They can quite easily compete with existing Greek textbooks such as Athenaze and Reading Greek8 and choosing between them will no doubt come down to personal preference rather than any real problem with either text. The website connected with the Luschnig text is a nice bonus and will doubtless be invaluable to many students and teachers.

My personal favourite is the Luschnig text, simply because of the sheer wealth of supplementary information it contains, which provides a respite from the hard slog of learning by rote which successful acquisition of any language requires. These readings are not introduced until Chapter 8, in order to allow students to build up their grammatical knowledge to the point where they are capable of reading extended texts, after which there is one reading per lesson.

This pattern continues throughout the book. The readings, of course, have their own key. In Lesson I a total of 69 words are presented for learning, a pattern which continues throughout shelmerdins book. Faber and Faber Limited, It would make more sense to provide either the whole of the definite article before introducing nouns or to give masculine and feminine nouns together with their corresponding forms of the definite article and subsequently to introduce the article altogether.

However, the book provides a shelmerdie of exercises geeek as translating only the underlined part of a sentence, and identifying and translating forms of verbs and nouns. Maurice Balme and Gilbert Lawall, Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek 2 vols. Cambridge University Press, Bryn Mawr Classical Review Shelmerdine, Introduction syelmerdine Greek. Luschnig, An Introduction to Ancient Greek: Second shelmedine, revised by C.

Luschnig and Deborah Mitchell. Reviewed by Kirsty Jenkins, University of Manchester kirsty.

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