Thursday, July 01, 2010

An Oerberg in Greek?

A lot of us would like to see a Greek version of Oerberg's Lingua Latina. Today I started doing a bit of work on something that would help us get there. I started translating Familia Romana into Greek.

Of course, simply translating LL is not a perfect solution. My text is not truly adapted to a Direct Method teaching of Greek per Greek. I've kept the story located in its Roman Empire setting, with names intact. I have not tried to balance out the vocabulary to systematically introduce endings and declensions. Greek has an aorist and perfect to match the Latin perfect. The optative needs its own treatment. Participles do a lot more in Greek. It's also hard to know how to introduce the variety and complexity of Greek particles (I don't even have a good instinct for using them myself). And so on.

At this stage though, my main aim is simply to provide a translation of LL as is, into the Greek language. At a later stage we might think about adapting the text itself or writing a new one.

One of the other problems is that a translation runs into copyright issues, even though LL's content is not actually the point, since it's trying to teach Latin; nonetheless I think I'll try and get in touch with the rights holders'. Hopefully they've no objection to a straight translation of LL into Greek.

I make no promises about progress! I had thought about starting this long ago, but never got around to it. I can at least tell you that I've made a start, and some of it will appear over at cotidie, and maybe some files will get posted somewhere too.

If you'd like to more formally collaborate on this, let me know. Maybe we could set up a wiki or something.


Craig said...

A lot of us would like to see a Greek version of Oerberg's Lingua Latina.

This would be awesome, especially for laymen like myself who have tooled around with greek over the years, but never had the discipline to get serious.

I hope you'll post up some little snippets every now and again as you make progress.

Daniel Streett said...

Seumas, I bet if you set up a wiki you would get quite a bit of input and work from the folks at Schole. I would drop by every once in a while to do a little bit.

I thought about doing Oerberg a couple years ago, but I figured copyright issues would be an issue with posting it online or publishing it, and I decided that if I ever do a "textbook" it would be more like a teacher's guide or student guide to accompany a classroom experience based on communicative tasks (e.g. introducing yourself, buying a bull in the agora, eating a meal, etc.).

It would certainly be great, though, to have an Oerberg-type narrative for students to read for homework. I have done short stories based out of NT and LXX in an Oerberg-type simplified narrative ("Saul was a king of Israel. He was very tall . . .).

It might be fun to do something like that (i.e. a graded reader, starting very simple and increasing vocab and difficulty slowly) for the LXX, starting in Genesis and covering the basic Biblical narrative.

Craig said...

Hi Daniel, have you posted your short stories up anywhere?

Seumas Macdonald said...


Yes, a wiki would certainly work I imagine. I'll look into the technical aspects of it. Not too hard, from previous experience.

I've sent off an email to make some inquiries about copyright. I'm hopeful that they might agree to a translation based on the fact that Lingua Latina is about the teaching of Latin, not primarily about the content of the story. But, copyright could stifle this from the start.

If it doesn't pan out, there are plenty of other good materials to be working on providing, such as you mention.

Daniel Streett said...

Craig, no I haven't--they were specifically designed for my Greek I/II classes, where we worked through them using TPRS (see

Here's a sample: Ιωνάς προφήτης ήν. καί Ιουδαίος ήν. ο κύριος είπεν· πορεύθητι εις Νινευή (τήν πόλιν τήν μεγάλην) καί κήρυξον εν αυτή, πόλις γάρ πονηρά εστιν. Αλλ’ ουκ ηθέλησεν Ιωνάς πορεύσαι εις Νινευή. έφυγεν ούν καί εύρεν πλοίον.

καί εγένετο κλύδων μέγας εν τή θαλάσση. καί πάντες εφοβήθησαν. Ιωνάς δέ είπεν· ο κλύδων δι’ εμέ γίνεται. βάλετέ με είς τήν θάλασσαν καί ο κλύδων παύσεται. καί εξέβαλον οι άνθρωποι τόν Ιωνάν εκ τού πλοίου εις τήν θάλασσαν. καί ο κλύδων επαύσετο.

καί εγένετο κήτος μέγα. καί κατέπιεν τόν Ιωνάν. καί ήν Ιωνάς εν τή κοιλία τού κήτους τρείς ημέρας καί τρείς νύκτας. καί Ιωνάς προσηύξατο πρός τόν κύριον· σώσόν με, ω κύριε! καί ο κύριος ήκουσεν. καί τό κήτος εξέβαλεν Ιωνάν. καί Ιωνάς επορεύετο εις Νινευή καί εκεί εκήρυξεν τόν λόγον τού κυρίου.

This is probably around the 7th or 8th week of class in the first semester. We act the story out, I'll tell the story and ask questions about and have them fill in the blanks, and then someone will try to tell the story.

Esteban said...

If you want to learn Greek by the same method used in Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, there are a series of two books called Athenaze, but only the Italian edition has this method by Luigi Miraglia. Here is the website:

But this project is of course great. Keep doing it and don't forget to make audio available!