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    Hello,

    I'm from Russia and would like to apply for Christ Church, Oxford to read classics. To apply I'm required to have A Levels in Greek or(and) Latin. I would kindly ask whose who have done it before to know how hard it is to learn from scratch and how much time do I need to prepare. The first line assumes me to study it on my own)

    My Q now about A2 Greek. (not AS)

    thanks!
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    (Original post by Scholar1996)
    Hello,

    I'm from Russia and would like to apply for Christ Church, Oxford to read classics. To apply I'm required to have A Levels in Greek or(and) Latin. I would kindly ask whose who have done it before to know how hard it is to learn from scratch and how much time do I need to prepare. The first line assumes me to study it on my own)

    My Q now about A2 Greek. (not AS)
    How long have you got? What may be nearly impossible in 1 year may be far more feasible in 2 or 3.

    Also, you can't do A2 without taking AS first. I presume you mean that you are aiming at doing the whole A level?
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    Actually I've been studying greek on my own for about 3 years now and have read entire New Testament, some of the yearly christian writings, Longus, a volume of Aesop, parts of Euclid's Geometry. In total I read about one thousand pages of greek but mostly Koine Greek which is a lot easier that Classical. I haven't read any poesy and Homer which is difficult for me. Also I don't know much if any of the Greek culture and all this stuff...

    Yes, I'm thinking to take both AS and A2 Levels.
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    (Original post by Scholar1996)
    Actually I've been studying greek on my own for about 3 years now and have read entire New Testament, some of the yearly christian writings, Longus, a volume of Aesop, parts of Euclid's Geometry. In total I read about one thousand pages of greek but mostly Koine Greek which is a lot easier that Classical. I haven't read any poesy and Homer which is difficult for me. Also I don't know much if any of the Greek culture and all this stuff...

    Yes, I'm thinking to take both AS and A2 Levels.
    Do you think knowing Koine Greek would be helpful in getting into Oxford for Classics? Im going to learn Koine/Biblical Greek in a year and I also want to study Classics
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    (Original post by Scholar1996)
    Actually I've been studying greek on my own for about 3 years now and have read entire New Testament, some of the yearly christian writings, Longus, a volume of Aesop, parts of Euclid's Geometry. In total I read about one thousand pages of greek but mostly Koine Greek which is a lot easier that Classical. I haven't read any poesy and Homer which is difficult for me. Also I don't know much if any of the Greek culture and all this stuff...

    Yes, I'm thinking to take both AS and A2 Levels.
    You could try some Xenophon - classical Greek but without the difficulty of poetry. From memory, it gets a bit repetitive - 'the next day we marched 20 stades and were attacked by the Kurds from the rear, the following day we crossed a bridge, marched 10 stades and were attacked by the Kurds from all sides, the following day the kurds attacked us from the left...' but that could be my faulty memory.
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    (Original post by Scholar1996)
    Actually I've been studying greek on my own for about 3 years now and have read entire New Testament, some of the yearly christian writings, Longus, a volume of Aesop, parts of Euclid's Geometry. In total I read about one thousand pages of greek but mostly Koine Greek which is a lot easier that Classical. I haven't read any poesy and Homer which is difficult for me. Also I don't know much if any of the Greek culture and all this stuff...

    Yes, I'm thinking to take both AS and A2 Levels.
    You will need to be able to translate unseen verse from tragedy for the A2 verse exam. You should look at the syllabus and see who the set author (i.e. who they take passages from) is for the year you want to sit the exam.

    If you sit the whole A level at once you will take four papers, and be required to study four texts from classical authors, including Homer. For my A level I did Lysias, Against Eratosthenes, Iliad 16, Thucydides 8 and Euripides' Hippolytus. You will need to be able to write essays about each of the four texts you have been set (nothing too difficult however).

    If you want to apply to Oxford to read classics you are going to need to start reading lots and lots of classical stuff asap so you have something to talk about in your interview. They will assess your language ability via two entrance exams (Latin and Greek), you interview will generally focus on philosophy and whatever you've been reading.
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    (Original post by lancesephyr)
    Do you think knowing Koine Greek would be helpful in getting into Oxford for Classics? Im going to learn Koine/Biblical Greek in a year and I also want to study Classics

    I think Koine is pretty close to Classical. By Classical Greek people mean Greek spoken in Athens about 4-5 century BC. I could easily read Aesop which is 6-7 century BC. But it could be better to learn Classical and then to read New Tesatment. Transition from Biblical to Classical could be harder.
    As for me I would like to apply for "Classics and Oriental Studies". I love Hebrew too.
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    (Original post by Scholar1996)
    I think Koine is pretty close to Classical.
    No it isn't.

    By Classical Greek people mean Greek spoken in Athens about 4-5 century BC. I could easily read Aesop which is 6-7 century BC.
    There are no extant writings by Aesop from that era. The Greek version which we do have was compiled in the 1st century AD...making it pretty close to koine.

    If you have only studied koine Greek, you are going to have to do significant extra study in order to be able to read Classical and Homeric Greek. If you go into the exam with no extra preparation, you are not going to do well. It's as simple as that.
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    (Original post by medbh4805)
    You will need to be able to translate unseen verse from tragedy for the A2 verse exam. You should look at the syllabus and see who the set author (i.e. who they take passages from) is for the year you want to sit the exam.

    If you sit the whole A level at once you will take four papers, and be required to study four texts from classical authors, including Homer. For my A level I did Lysias, Against Eratosthenes, Iliad 16, Thucydides 8 and Euripides' Hippolytus. You will need to be able to write essays about each of the four texts you have been set (nothing too difficult however).

    If you want to apply to Oxford to read classics you are going to need to start reading lots and lots of classical stuff asap so you have something to talk about in your interview. They will assess your language ability via two entrance exams (Latin and Greek), you interview will generally focus on philosophy and whatever you've been reading.

    I've seen syllabus. I'll have to read Homer, Lysias, Herodotus, Euripides, Thucydides
    You re right about Classical Greek. By close I mean it's the same language but very different though. As for Homer -it's like complete different language whatsoever. For me it is very difficult to read Classical Greek. I'll probably start with Herodotus( apart from Ionic dialect it's more straightforward and and it has interesting account of the battle of Thermopile )or Xenophon (so boring...). But it's gotta be hard. Can I ask you several Qs:

    1) Should I read whole the author prescribed for unseen translation. I mean -in order to translate well it's very helpful to know the text.

    2) What part of the exam did you find more challenging?

    3) which books ( besides the texts themselves) have you used to prepare. I think there should be some kind of the list at OCR web-page.

    4) Were Qs in an interview based on that you have studied or they can be about anything related to Classical world?

    I'll probably apply for "Classics and Oriental Studies" since I'm very interesting in Biblical Hebrew. Another reason-I don't know Latin but study Hebrew instead.

    Thanks.
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    (Original post by Data)
    You could try some Xenophon - classical Greek but without the difficulty of poetry. From memory, it gets a bit repetitive - 'the next day we marched 20 stades and were attacked by the Kurds from the rear, the following day we crossed a bridge, marched 10 stades and were attacked by the Kurds from all sides, the following day the kurds attacked us from the left...' but that could be my faulty memory.
    Yes, I have his Anabasis. It is good text to start but so boring)). I think about Herodotus. Some professor told me Herodotus is great for beginner. His greek is straightforward but Ionic though. But again koine has some traces of Ionic in it. Herodotus is really interesting. It's account of battle of Thermopile alone is a motivation. In 300 movie they took some speeches directly from him.
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    (Original post by Scholar1996)
    I've seen syllabus. I'll have to read Homer, Lysias, Herodotus, Euripides, Thucydides
    You re right about Classical Greek. By close I mean it's the same language but very different though. As for Homer -it's like complete different language whatsoever. For me it is very difficult to read Classical Greek. I'll probably start with Herodotus( apart from Ionic dialect it's more straightforward and and it has interesting account of the battle of Thermopile )or Xenophon (so boring...). But it's gotta be hard. Can I ask you several Qs:

    1) Should I read whole the author prescribed for unseen translation. I mean -in order to translate well it's very helpful to know the text.
    It's worth having a look at it but I wouldn't say you need to read everything they've ever written. To prepare for the A2 unseen translations I read Sophocles' Antigone and Xenophon's Hellenica in Greek.

    2) What part of the exam did you find more challenging?
    I personally found the A2 Prose exam the most difficult, although most people will tell you they found the verse exam the hardest.

    3) which books ( besides the texts themselves) have you used to prepare. I think there should be some kind of the list at OCR web-page.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Greek-Beyond...4835166&sr=8-1
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Greek-Unseen...4835195&sr=1-1
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Greek-Ve...4835211&sr=1-1
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Liddell-Scot...4835227&sr=1-1

    I also bought a commentary on Hippolytus. I would recommend maybe getting commentaries for your A2 set texts; it will help you both with understanding the text and with essays.

    EDIT: you can also find a copy here of HW Smyth's Greek grammar (which you will definitely need if you get to Oxford anyway): http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/142/author_id/63/ - useful as a reference and also contains a lot of information about the Greek dialects which will help you when you're reading Homer
    Also perseus: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/ - will help you a lot if you get stuck

    4) Were Qs in an interview based on that you have studied or they can be about anything related to Classical world?
    Depends on the college, but they tend to be very open ended. Mine was based on texts I had talked about in my personal statement. There were three interviewers - tutors in Classical literature, Ancient history and classical archaeology - I know some people who mentioned visiting classical sites were asked some archaeology questions too. Some tutors will ask you to look at a text in Latin or Greek and then ask you to comment on it. I also had a philosophy interview where I was given a set of syllogisms and asked to find the logical fallacies. It varies a lot over colleges.

    Here is an example interview:


    The best thing you can do is just to read as much as you can, and be prepared to talk about anything you are studying for your A level or have mentioned in your personal statement. As for anything else, as long as you make logical arguments you should be fine - they don't expect you to know everything. :yes:

    I'll probably apply for "Classics and Oriental Studies" since I'm very interesting in Biblical Hebrew. Another reason-I don't know Latin but study Hebrew instead.

    Thanks.
    Hebrew is very interesting, good luck with studying it. I always found the different binyamim extremely confusing so I admire anyone who gets a decent standard in it. I also thought about applying for Classics with Oriental Studies as well but chickened out and went for straight Classics. Good luck.
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    medbh4805,


    Thanks for an informative answer!

    I definitely should get "Greek unseen translation". I use Smyth and think it is the best grammar available. It is very informative. As for LSJ I have a program called Accordance which though being designed to work with biblical texts has LSJ lexicon as a separate module. It's much more faster to look up words in e-version just by taping them.

    I saw this interview before. Are they real tutors?

    [/QUOTE] Hebrew is very interesting, good luck with studying it. I always found the different binyamim extremely confusing so I admire anyone who gets a decent standard in it. I also thought about applying for Classics with Oriental Studies as well but chickened out and went for straight Classics. Good luck. [/QUOTE]

    Before I started to learn Hebrew some people were saying that it is irregular and has a lot of exceptions and I got scared. I e-mailed one professor of Hebrew and he told me that it's grammar (morphology part) is fairy regular but complex. But even after studying it for a few weeks I can say it's pretty logical language. It has some inner logic in it which many don't see. Read this article:

    http://www.sbl-site.org/publications...?articleId=771

    It is worth to study it's phonology. Verbal system confusing because it's completely different from that of Indo-European Languages. I'm planning to take A-level in Biblical Hebrew but time will show how far will I get.
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    (Original post by Scholar1996)
    Before I started to learn Hebrew some people were saying that it is irregular and has a lot of exceptions and I got scared. I e-mailed one professor of Hebrew and he told me that it's grammar (morphology part) is fairy regular but complex. But even after studying it for a few weeks I can say it's pretty logical language. It has some inner logic in it which many don't see. Read this article:

    http://www.sbl-site.org/publications...?articleId=771

    It is worth to study it's phonology. Verbal system confusing because it's completely different from that of Indo-European Languages. I'm planning to take A-level in Biblical Hebrew but time will show how far will I get.
    Im fluent in Arabic and Persian and Hebrew (my fourth language), and I can tell you that modern Hebrew is VERY easy (now biblical hebrew is something else ). Persian is an indo-European language but learning how to write might be harder than writing Hebrew.
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    (Original post by Carrotcake18)
    Im fluent in Arabic and Persian and Hebrew (my fourth language), and I can tell you that modern Hebrew is VERY easy (now biblical hebrew is something else ). Persian is an indo-European language but learning how to write might be harder than writing Hebrew.

    My goal is to read Hebrew of the Bible but I'm playing with Modern as well. My be it is even better to learn Modern first....

    That do your recommend to learn Modern Hebrew? I'm using Pimpsleur's audio recordings but it is just a starting point. Visit to Israel can be useful. How long it took for you to learn it (if it's not your native language, of course)?
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    (Original post by Scholar1996)
    My goal is to read Hebrew of the Bible but I'm playing with Modern as well. My be it is even better to learn Modern first....

    That do your recommend to learn Modern Hebrew? I'm using Pimpsleur's audio recordings but it is just a starting point. Visit to Israel can be useful. How long it took for you to learn it (if it's not your native language, of course)?
    Doesnt the Oriental Studies course at Oxford teach modern Hebrew anyway? though actually you can also take papers in the Tanakh/Old Testament as far as I know.

    Basically, taking classes in Hebrew taught me how to read and write. Its not something I taught myself. Writing Hebrew by hand is slightly easier than the Hebrew you see printed in books and newspapers (think of it as the difference between capital and small letters in English; not a big difference).

    I think that visiting Israel would definitely give you the best chance to learn how to speak Hebrew. Although taking classes taught me how to write, learning how to speak came entirely from experience, and not by reading an introductory book on how to speak Hebrew. After that, watching channels/clips in Hebrew with English subtitles should be helpful (or the other way around; I learnt certain words when watching American tv shows with Hebrew subtitles). I know many people (including myself) who picked up the Hebrew language within less than a year.

    I understand the course at Oxford also has a lot of cultural elements; so in addition to learning the language you also read literature and other papers. Israel is a very secular country and the people here are not religious, so apart from giving you experience in the language, I dont think visiting Israel would teach you much (or anything at all) about the Jewish culture or religion.

    In conclusion - I would say dont worry too much about the vocabulary and how to write - that part will be taught at university. For now just work on being generally familiar with how the language is spoken.

    Believe it or not, even though Persian is my first language, I dont really know how to read or write it But I think if I did a course in Persian I would be in a much much better position than someone who doesnt speak it at all.
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    (Original post by Carrotcake18)
    Doesnt the Oriental Studies course at Oxford teach modern Hebrew anyway? though actually you can also take papers in the Tanakh/Old Testament as far as I know.

    Basically, taking classes in Hebrew taught me how to read and write. Its not something I taught myself. Writing Hebrew by hand is slightly easier than the Hebrew you see printed in books and newspapers (think of it as the difference between capital and small letters in English; not a big difference).

    I think that visiting Israel would definitely give you the best chance to learn how to speak Hebrew. Although taking classes taught me how to write, learning how to speak came entirely from experience, and not by reading an introductory book on how to speak Hebrew. After that, watching channels/clips in Hebrew with English subtitles should be helpful (or the other way around; I learnt certain words when watching American tv shows with Hebrew subtitles). I know many people (including myself) who picked up the Hebrew language within less than a year.

    I understand the course at Oxford also has a lot of cultural elements; so in addition to learning the language you also read literature and other papers. Israel is a very secular country and the people here are not religious, so apart from giving you experience in the language, I dont think visiting Israel would teach you much (or anything at all) about the Jewish culture or religion.

    In conclusion - I would say dont worry too much about the vocabulary and how to write - that part will be taught at university. For now just work on being generally familiar with how the language is spoken.

    Believe it or not, even though Persian is my first language, I dont really know how to read or write it But I think if I did a course in Persian I would be in a much much better position than someone who doesnt speak it at all.
    I don't know whether they teach modern hebrew at Oxford, but knowledge of modern Hebrew will diffidently help with learning ancient language. But If I will be admitted where I will probably take several over languages as well.

    Sure I think it will be fine to know spoken form because since Biblical Hebrew isn't spoken anymore it will give some intuition to how language worked. Many people say it is easy. I myself learned English basically by experience- thanks to it's widespread nature. But from there did you learn the grammar and vocabulary? From context? Did you used some lexicon in the beginning?

    Persian should be interesting, especially Old Persian which resembles Proto-Indo-Eropean ancestral.

    In the future I probably will try to learn Sanskrit which is a kin to Persian and really incredible language.
 
 
 
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