bunnisuh
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Hiya, I've finished my GCSEs but next year, along with my A-Levels, I'll be taking GCSE Classical Greek. I was wondering if anybody had tips or resources for this subject? It would be much appreciated!
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ΜΗΔΕΝΑΓΑΝ
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Did it this year and got a 9. It's a great subject; nice choice.

It is absolutely necessary to know the vocab. If you don't, translation is impossible, and that's a big part of the language paper. There are three papers (at least for OCR which I did): language, prose, and verse.

For prose and verse you have set texts, and you really need to learn the translations of these, by heart. There's always a 5-marker for translating a short bit but it's most important so that you can understand the extract and get lots of points down in the big questions (8-markers). This is essential particularly for verse, where the word order is so mad that you'll take far too long to translate it in the exam. I made documents for both set texts with the Greek on one side, and the translation on the other side. This was really helpful; i'd recommend it. I was able to read the greek, translate it but also check quickly when i got stuck. I also used a pencil and just underlined certain bits of the greek where there were stylistic features. - in the 8-markers you're given a passage and have to point out the linguistic techniques and stylistic features - it's easy if you know what the words mean! A typical question might be 'How does [the writer] create tension in this passage? Refer to [the writer's] use of language, sound, word choice, and other linguistic techniques.' It's not hard as long as you get enough points, usually an exciting passage is chosen (by which I mean one that is full of linguistic technique), but it will be hard if you don't understand - I think that you also have to quote and translate phrases from the text to support each point. Therefore, learn the translations!
Caveat: don't learn only the english translation and not the greek. If you do, then you won't know which greek phrase means what, so it's pointless! This is why a side-by-side english/greek document is so useful. I had ZigZag documents for my Latin gcse, these were also really good but they didn't do them for my greek set texts. Check for your texts as ZigZag is really good - notes, translations, practice questions.

Grammar in greek is tricky. Tbh I didn't learn the optative, but make sure you understand and can recognise all the tenses (present, future, imperfect, aorist) and moods(indicative, imperative, subjunctive, optative) - and of course active/passive voice because you get penalised for mixing them up (there's also a voice called the middle). Knowing these asap (don't cram) is really useful. It may sound like a lot to learn, but take it slowly and make sure you know each one before you move on.

Knowing both grammar and vocab makes the language paper a breeze. Verse and prose are always a lottery with the passage for the 8-marker, and the 10-marker question (usually more general, doesn't require quotation - eg. What do you think was the purpose of Herodotus' Histories, as a scientific record or as amusing stories?).

The most important thing is, as with any subject, to enjoy it. A passion for the language makes it so much easier to learn and revise. I am always overcome by the emotion of Alcestis, particularly in this line: καγω τ'αν εζων και συ τον λοιπον χρονον (roughly 'I would have been living with you for the rest of time') and in the stichomythia as Alcestis dies. I also love the comedy of Aristophanes ( -Socrates, what are you doing in that hanging-basket? - I'm walking on air and considering the sun [αεροβατω και περιφρονω τον ηλιον]; the long-absent Copaic eel smothered in beetroot sauce). You'll notice that my username is in greek: μηδεν αγαν (in capitals: ΜΗΔΕΝ ΑΓΑΝ), which was one of the maxims inscribed at Delphi. It means 'nothing in excess', a philosophy which I somewhat like, and it is expressed in typically concise yet descriptive greek.

Oh, I've forgotten the script. If you don't know it, don't worry; it really isn't hard to learn - just keep practising writing exercises for a few weeks and you'll get it - and soon you'll be able to recognise certain words and pronounce them immediately.

I hope you gain something from this rather rushed advice. Basically, learn the vocab - I don't have any tips on how to do this, everyone has their own way - the grammar (though this is less important), and the translations of set texts. Good luck!
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bunnisuh
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(Original post by ΜΗΔΕΝΑΓΑΝ)
Did it this year and got a 9. It's a great subject; nice choice.

It is absolutely necessary to know the vocab. If you don't, translation is impossible, and that's a big part of the language paper. There are three papers (at least for OCR which I did): language, prose, and verse.

For prose and verse you have set texts, and you really need to learn the translations of these, by heart. There's always a 5-marker for translating a short bit but it's most important so that you can understand the extract and get lots of points down in the big questions (8-markers). This is essential particularly for verse, where the word order is so mad that you'll take far too long to translate it in the exam. I made documents for both set texts with the Greek on one side, and the translation on the other side. This was really helpful; i'd recommend it. I was able to read the greek, translate it but also check quickly when i got stuck. I also used a pencil and just underlined certain bits of the greek where there were stylistic features. - in the 8-markers you're given a passage and have to point out the linguistic techniques and stylistic features - it's easy if you know what the words mean! A typical question might be 'How does [the writer] create tension in this passage? Refer to [the writer's] use of language, sound, word choice, and other linguistic techniques.' It's not hard as long as you get enough points, usually an exciting passage is chosen (by which I mean one that is full of linguistic technique), but it will be hard if you don't understand - I think that you also have to quote and translate phrases from the text to support each point. Therefore, learn the translations!
Caveat: don't learn only the english translation and not the greek. If you do, then you won't know which greek phrase means what, so it's pointless! This is why a side-by-side english/greek document is so useful. I had ZigZag documents for my Latin gcse, these were also really good but they didn't do them for my greek set texts. Check for your texts as ZigZag is really good - notes, translations, practice questions.

Grammar in greek is tricky. Tbh I didn't learn the optative, but make sure you understand and can recognise all the tenses (present, future, imperfect, aorist) and moods(indicative, imperative, subjunctive, optative) - and of course active/passive voice because you get penalised for mixing them up (there's also a voice called the middle). Knowing these asap (don't cram) is really useful. It may sound like a lot to learn, but take it slowly and make sure you know each one before you move on.

Knowing both grammar and vocab makes the language paper a breeze. Verse and prose are always a lottery with the passage for the 8-marker, and the 10-marker question (usually more general, doesn't require quotation - eg. What do you think was the purpose of Herodotus' Histories, as a scientific record or as amusing stories?).

The most important thing is, as with any subject, to enjoy it. A passion for the language makes it so much easier to learn and revise. I am always overcome by the emotion of Alcestis, particularly in this line: καγω τ'αν εζων και συ τον λοιπον χρονον (roughly 'I would have been living with you for the rest of time' and in the stichomythia as Alcestis dies. I also love the comedy of Aristophanes ( -Socrates, what are you doing in that hanging-basket? - I'm walking on air and considering the sun [αεροβατω και περιφρονω τον ηλιον]; the long-absent Copaic eel smothered in beetroot sauce). You'll notice that my username is in greek: μηδεν αγαν (in capitals: ΜΗΔΕΝ ΑΓΑΝ), which was one of the maxims inscribed at Delphi. It means 'nothing in excess', a philosophy which I somewhat like, and it is expressed in typically concise yet descriptive greek.

Oh, I've forgotten the script. If you don't know it, don't worry; it really isn't hard to learn - just keep practising writing exercises for a few weeks and you'll get it - and soon you'll be able to recognise certain words and pronounce them immediately.

I hope you gain something from this rather rushed advice. Basically, learn the vocab - I don't have any tips on how to do this, everyone has their own way - the grammar (though this is less important), and the translations of set texts. Good luck!
Wow! Thank you very much for your advice! I barely expected a reply on this post, let alone such a detailed and helpful one. I've copied this up to a word document for future reference.

I totally agree that having a passion for the subject is super important. I'm hoping to do Classics at degree level, and I'm so excited as this is my first chance to study an ancient language.

I was wondering if you did Classical Civilisations at A-Level, and if so, how did you find it?

Oh and once again, thank you for your help!
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ΜΗΔΕΝΑΓΑΝ
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(Original post by bunnisuh)
Wow! Thank you very much for your advice! I barely expected a reply on this post, let alone such a detailed and helpful one. I've copied this up to a word document for future reference.

I totally agree that having a passion for the subject is super important. I'm hoping to do Classics at degree level, and I'm so excited as this is my first chance to study an ancient language.

I was wondering if you did Classical Civilisations at A-Level, and if so, how did you find it?

Oh and once again, thank you for your help!
Sorry for the slow reply.

I should have explained; I just did my GCSEs. I did, in fact, do a Class.Civ. GCSE, but I don't know about the A-level (I'm doing maths, physics, Greek and chemistry).
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