The Bridge – customisable Greek and Latin vocabulary lists

Recently I came across a project I hadn’t heard about before, the Bridge, and a new version of the same. It’s a site, and an interface, that lets you build customisable vocabulary lists based on Greek and Latin textbooks and texts.

In general, I don’t believe rote memorisation of vocab is the most effective or pedagogically sound method for expanding vocabulary, but it’s not without merits. This tool is incredibly useful for that purpose (and others). Especially it allows you to build a list from (a) the text your working on, excluding (b) texts/textbooks/lists you’ve already learnt. That allows you to stage your learning of vocab, or target what you don’t know. You can also design a list including words from another list only, so you could create a list of words, for example, you should already know.

If you wanted to brute force your way to a very solid Greek or Latin vocabulary, here’s how to do it.

Steps:

  1. Download or otherwise install Anki.
  2. Set up an Anki account online for syncing.
  3. Create a single list at the Bridge, starting with the DCC Core vocabulary, or your textbook.
  4. Export that list as a TSV (tab separated values) file.
  5. Import that file into Anki (make sure you get the right entries to line up for the correct front/back fields).
  6. Start learning these words rigorously using Anki.

There’s very good reasons to start with the DCC Core vocabulary lists. They (each) represent a curated and carefully composed list that draws upon corpus analyis and frequency of occurence to generate a core list that is ‘biggest bang for buck.’ The Greek list is probably not quite as useful if you’re purely a NT Greek student, but you shouldn’t be so fixated on the New Testament corpus anyway (but if you are, you will get best value by learning a frequency list of NT occurences only).

If/when you learnt/mastered/totally conquered the DCC list, then I’d create a new list – a particular text minus all the words from DCC. If you did DCC first, then I’d do your primary textbook second. Then repeat: new list, minus all the previous lists. If you want to read through a particular actual text, then same process – new list, minus all previous lists.

Voila, you are now on your way to brute forcing your vocabulary acquisition. Is it ideal? No, but if your disciplined it will work and it will pay off.

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