I know, I am notorious for starting new projects, and not necessarily finishing them. Anyway, that’s a personal flaw I’m working on. In this post I’m going to talk about two newish projects I’m working on and a bit about how I’m tackling them.
Both of them are “Readers”, i.e. graded reading texts designed for introductory and intermediate students. In each case I’m specifically keying them to an existing resource, the Greek one μὲν to Athenaze, the Latin one δὲ to LLPSI.
Why key to an existing resource?
Simply, I teach with both these texts, and I quite like them, and don’t think I could currently improve on them (well, LGPSI is a different story, and I am still working on that). I don’t want to replace either of them, but I do want to create new resources that would work alongside those, and expand students’ options and reading material.
What are these readers?
The Greek one is designed to create a narrative that piggy-backs of Athenaze but moves the reader into the world, and the language, of the New Testament. It solves a problem that I have, which is that I prefer to teach NT and Koine students from Athenaze, but if you only read Athenaze you end up with a very atticising Greek, and you don’t have quite the exposure to New Testament vocabulary and idiom that I’d like. A supplementary reader can: (a) broader a students’ reading, (b) build of their Athenaze knowledge, (c) prepare and engage them for NT specific vocabulary, syntax, and content.
I’m calling it Γαλιλίᾱθεν for the moment.
The LLPSI one is designed to mirror and match LLPSI: Familia Romana. FR does an amazing job, despite its flaws, and I have no need nor desire to really replace it. But we could always do with “more reading”. Which, also, the Latin novella industry is doing a nice job of filling. But I want to tell new stories, and I want to tell non-ancient and non-Roman ones. That’s why this book is set in a dystopian cyberpunk future of 2122, with a female protagonist, and no Romans in sight. It exists in a shared universe with my (temporarily halted but not exactly dead) Elena story.
Given that I’m not terribly far along in either of these, this is what my process looks like: for each chapter/section, I look up what new vocabulary and “up to this point” vocabulary the touchstone text has used. I also look over the grammar covered. In the early chapters, some of the content is very similar, simply because the working material is limited. I also look at the length of each sections. For the Latin project, I do a word count on LLPSI and on Colloquia Personarum, and aim to be slightly longer than the CP reading. For Γαλιλίᾱθεν I aim to be around the same length, erring on the shorter side (the Italian edition readings are very long compared to the English edition ones). I try to introduce minimal new grammar, if possible; for vocabulary, my aims are divergent. In Γαλιλίᾱθεν I’m consciously trying to substitute more common Koine words for Attic equivalents, as well as introduce some NT specific vocabulary. For the Latin, I’m trying to gently expand a reader’s vocabulary, to the point where I can tell a full-fledged story in the later half of the book.
Timeline and Release
The good news is that, at least for the present, I have some decent work processes in place that are keeping these (and other projects, including LGPSI!) moving forward at a reasonable pace. I plan to release some sections free to all. Others to my patreon, to moderately reward those backing me there, and once it’s done we’ll see about some kind of publishing. I would very much like to keep up a solid pace of a chapter a week, but that’s probably a little too ambitious.
Thank you, Seumas. I’ll look forward to seeing what you produce.
This could be very useful! I have a suggestion (and of course it is nothing more than a thought and a tentative suggestion!) for the LLPSI-keyed reader. A usual complaint about Familia Rómána is that it introduces too many new words per chapter. Extra reading like the Colloquia Persónárum and the Fabellae Latínae helps by reinforcing the vocabulary of the current chapter and previous ones before the next step up, but the learner is still facing the same hard ridge of 20+ new words in one story whenever they start a new chapter. So instead of just keying to FR chapters, how about setting each chapter “in the gap” between one FR chapter and the next, by seeking to introduce some, no more than about half, of the new vocabulary that appears in that next chapter of FR? Obviously choosing which words to pull forward from the next chapter could be quite tricky. Ideally they’d form a group of words which is spread fairly evenly through the next FR chapter (by first occurrence). Ideally also they’d include words which are known to cause problems for FR readers, where it seems it might be worth someone taking another go at introducing the word. But of course there would be plenty of other considerations, such as what would simply fit best into the story of that “interstitial” chapter.
A good suggestion, not quite sure if I’ll implement it, but what I would like to do is take vocabulary from across the range of FR chapters, and then pull them consciously through subsequent chapters for more exposure. I’m also thinking about the balance and difficulty of new vocabulary needed to tell a different story.
have you finished any Greek chapters already? I would be interested in paying money for early access.
See here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/athenaze-nt-2-70029780