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Greek Language I

    Greek Language 1 – CX120-15/CX220-15


    Moodle link: Greek Language 1Link opens in a new window

    Induction slides:


    This intensive module offers you the opportunity to learn the basics of the classical Greek language in a very short period of time. The fast pace of the module will require commitment and consistency on the part of students. A substantial amount of independent study will be required for familiarising yourself with and memorising linguistic forms, patterns and vocabulary (details below). During classes, I will provide guidance on some tricks and 'hacks' to help you make sense of the patterns and memorise forms more easily. This may all sound demanding – But the 'gains' will overcome the challenges when, after only one term, you will be able to read your first Greek texts in the original!

    The module is addressed to:

    • 1st Year Q800 students who have no qualification in Greek.
    • 2nd year students who want to add to try Greek after a year of Latin, or begin Greek alongside further study of Latin. Students will need to have completed the Latin Language module in a satisfactory manner with a minimum of 70% overall.

    Taking Greek 1+Greek 2 is a core requirement for first years of degree courses for which language is core (Classics Q800 and variants; Classics and English) and who are not taking Greek Greek Literary Texts (GLT).

    The department welcomes enquiries from students outside the Classics Department. Potential non-classicists should email the module convener to signify their interest. Because Classical Greek is a demanding language, we will need to see evidence that you will be able to meet the demands of the course so we will discuss your previous language learning experience.

    Before the start of term, all students proposing to take this course should start learning the alphabet (Wilding' Greek for Beginners, p. 15) and ideally practice some simple reading exercises (pp. 17–18). This will make it easy to start learning the fundamentals of the language.

    Aims and objectives

    This intensive module aims to introduce a complete beginner to the main elements of the structure of Classical Greek in a logical and systematic way and so enable them to read and translate passages of adapted Greek with accuracy and confidence.

    By the end of the module, all students should expect to:

    • know fundamental Greek forms, patterns (nouns, verbs), some syntax and essential vocabulary
    • have developed good translation skills
    • have cultivated their capacity for analytical and logical analysis
    • most importantly, have reached a level of linguistic knowledge which will allow them to read original texts in Greek.

    Students are encouraged to use the help that is always available to sort out any points of difficulty that arise and not get behind. Please, do ask for help is you feel lost, the pace of the module will not allow for long discussion on single topics in class, but I remain available for any question/issue during Catch-up/Consolidation and Office hours.

    You may feel that the fast pace of the module is very challenging, but the objective is to give you all the skills you need to start reading exciting ancient Greek texts, and this after just one term!


    Assessment is organised as follows:

    • two 30-minute tests taking place in Week 4 and 7 weighted respectively at 20% (Week 4) and 30% (Week 7)
    • Week 10: 50% final exam

    In addition to formal assessment, we will have frequent (weekly or by-weekly) 5/10-minute tests on reference grammar and vocabulary. These will not count towards your mark, they are meant to be diagnostic to make sure that you are on-track, and that you are consolidating the material covered in a timely way. These will also allow us to identify revision/consolidation topics for our weekly catch-up/consolidation hour, which you will be required to attend (see also below).


    Course Books

    You will need copies of the following items:

    • L.A. Wilding, Greek for Beginners, London/Boston 1973 (and following reprints);
    • Abbott and Mansfield, A Primer of Greek Grammar, Bristol 1977 (and following reprints);
    • James Morwood, Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek, OUP 2001.

    Wilding is meant to be used together with Abbott and Mansfield, but for some topics (like the forms of participles) you may find Morwood clearer (Abbott and Mansfield is very good but also very old and outdated in terms of visual design!).

    The following will also be used as reference grammar for further explanations and (especially good) grammar tables:

    • John Taylor, Greek to GCSE Part 1 and 2, second edn. Bristol 2003–2008.

    When needed, work with these items in class will be supplemented by material from further readings. Supplementary materials will be distributed in class and uploaded onto Moodle.

    Independent Study and Attendance

    The course uses a traditional approach to the language with translation from Greek into English and viceversa. Teaching hours are organised as such: 3 hours/week for explanation and in-class exercise; plus a fourth hour for catch-up/consolidation (not optional!). You need to develop strategies to memorise new vocabulary and a significant number of patterns and endings. The classes need to be backed up by a significant amount of independent study; 3/4 hours a week of in-person teaching are only a minimal part of the study time required to successfully complete the module and master the fundamentals of Greek language.

    You should expect to:

    • work on the materials at the fast pace of this intensive module;
    • spend at least 4-5 hours between each class on independent study;
    • revise (not study from scratch!) over vacations,
    • set aside time for 150 hours of study over the term in total.

    Attendance is required at all classes, unless there is a very good reason you cannot attend. If you have an appointment you cannot miss, please discuss this in advance. If you are ill, you should email as soon as possible (on the day) giving a brief explanation of why you could not attend. In the absence of any such email, attendance will be noted as unauthorised in the register. Our experience is that regular attendance is one of most important factors for success on this module (the other one being independent study, memorisation and exercise).

    In the event that you have to miss classes for more than one week due to illness, university regulations usually require you to submit a medical certificate from your GP or similar healthcare professional to the departmental office. You will be informed if there are different arrangements for 2023/24.

    More importantly, you should be in email contact with the module tutor and your personal tutor since it is easy to fall behind in such a situation and catching up becomes progressively harder.

    Office Hours and Catch-up/Consolidation

    Office/Consolidation hours are an important part of the module, offering students the opportunity to sort out areas of uncertainty as the module progresses. Often a quick, well-directed question can sort things out quickly and put your mind at rest. Office hours are particularly important where you have missed a class. I will be available for a two-hour slot/week for office hours.

    As explained above, besides my office hours, there is going to be a fourth teaching hour/week referred to as Catch-up/Consolidation: during these, I will be leading revision/reinforcement sessions.

    Preparatory Materials

    Before the module starts: familiarise yourself with the Greek alphabet (letter shapes and corresponding sounds in English); you can find a breakdown of the alphabet on p. 15 of Wilding's coursebook. Once you are familiar with the alphabet try these reading/transcription exercises.

    Reading/transcription exercises.

    Try a taster of the language here.

    Module convenor: Dr Francesca ModiniLink opens in a new window