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Greek Language (Beginners')

Thinking about classical Greek?

Be assured "that the Latin once obtained, the Greek may be gotten with farre less labour, and every thing as certainly." Brinsley (1627) Ludus Literarius

It's not necessary to have learnt Latin, but it is certainly helpful, and some acquaintance with another inflected language is very helpful indeed. The course goes quickly, so we look for evidence that you are confident in learning a new language. This will typically be studying Latin, perhaps for a year at Warwick or to GCSE, or taking a modern language at A level.

Try a taster here.



    Moodle link: 


    This module offers the opportunity to learn the basics of the classical Greek language and is designed for students who have little or no previous experience of the language.

    This module will be taken by:

    • 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.
    • First year students who can demonstrate that they are likely to be able to learn Greek successfully or Latin . Evidence might be an A level in a classical or modern language or Latin GCSE.
    • Third (or fourth) year students who have been studying Latin for two years and who have done well in both years.

    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 arriving at Warwick, all students proposing to take this course should start learning the alphabet (Taylor’s Greek to GCSE vol. 1 p. 1) and ideally practice some simple reading exercises, available on the module website (Moodle). This will make it easy to start learning the fundamentals of the language.

    Aims and objectives

    This 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 this module, all students should expect to:

    · know the designated vocabulary, accidence and syntax

    · have developed considerable translation skills, involving an appreciation of the different linguistic structure of this inflected language

    · have cultivated their capacity for analytical and logical analysis

    · have improved their understanding of English grammar

    · appreciate the continuing influence of Greek on the English language

    Students are encouraged to use the help that is always available to sort out any points of difficulty that arise and not get behind.

    This module provides the necessary basis for those who continue their study of the language. Many students go on to the module Greek Language and Literature and read classical authors such as Xenophon, Euripides and Homer.


    This is a core module for first years of degree courses for which language is core (Classics Q800 and variants; Classics and English) and who are not taking Greek Language & Literature (GLL) or Greek Literary Texts (GLT).

    There are two formal exams during the course:

    · January 30% (1-hour paper)

    · Summer – main exam period 70% (2-hour paper)


    In addition, you will sit interim exams (30-minute paper) in Week 6 of term 1 and term 2: these will be diagnostic to make sure that you are on-track, and that you are consolidating the material covered in a timely way.

    Main points

    Course books

    You will need copies of the following three items:

    John Taylor, Greek to GCSE, books 1 and 2 [second edition];

    James Morwood, Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek, OUP 2001.

    When needed, work with these items in class will be supplemented by material from Taylor, Greek Beyond GCSE; Mastronarde, Introduction to Attic Greek; and The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek.

    Independent Study and Attendance

    The course uses a traditional approach to the language with translation both ways. You need to develop strategies to memorise new vocabulary and a significant number of endings. The classes need to be backed up by a significant amount of independent study, for which extensive materials are available on-line.

    You should expect to:

    • spend at least 2-3 hours between each class on independent study
    • revise for exams over the Christmas and Easter vacations,
    • set aside time for 300 hours of study over the year in total

    Attendance is required at all classes, unless there is a very good reason you cannot attend. If you have 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 the single most important factor for success on this module.

    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 2021/22.

    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

    Office 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. You are expected to do the work which is always set out on-line, but you should use office hours to check on anything you have not understood.

    Wednesdays 1-2 pm (H239), Fridays 11-12 (online)

    Preparatory Reading

    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. 1 of Taylor's Greek to GCSE vol. 1. Once you are familiar with the alphabet try these reading/transcription exercises.

    Reading/transcription exercises.

    Module convenor: Dr Francesca Modini