Living Koine Greek in South Africa! (Guest Post)

photo_100Readers, I’m excited to present this guest post by Sebastian Carnazzo. He teaches Greek communicatively with the Academy of Classical Languages through an interactive online format. You definitely need to check out the video samples on his website (on the frontpage)–they’re great! Some feature Sebastian teaching Greek to elementary school-age kids! You may also be interested in checking out Sebastian’s recently published thesis on John 19:34 (very reasonably priced at $10).


nwu1I recently gave a workshop in South Africa and the good Daniel Streett, to whom we are all indebted for this great blog (κῦδός σοι), asked if I would share with his readership a bit about the adventure.

The event was sponsored by the School of Ancient Language and Text Studies of the North-West University of South Africa in Potchefstroom (the locals just call it “Potch” for obvious reasons).  The primary purpose was to provide training for the Greek professors in the use of TPRS.  The Latin and Hebrew professors also attended for the same reason.  The secondary purpose of the workshop was for the general enrichment of the local community by providing an opportunity to learn some Greek.  This latter group was composed of pastors who wanted to recharge their knowledge of Greek from their seminary days and others who had never studied Greek before, even a few teens.


We met for five hours a day for five days (Monday through Friday, December 2nd — 6th, 2013).  Each class period was conducted in Koine Greek through TPRS with a few minutes at the end spent in Q & A in South African English (and quite a bit of Afrikaans as well).

In the words of Marianne Dircksen, the director of the school, “From the very first day it was clear that this was going to be a full immersion Greek workshop. By using props and high energy conversation in a relaxed environment, participants learnt to listen to, understand and speak Koine Greek” (see complete article at

The Chair of the Greek Department at NWU.

The Chair of the Greek Department at NWU.

In between class periods throughout the day and in the evenings at home, the participants worked through Randall Buth, Living Koine Greek, vol. 1.  I was very pleased with the overall results.  Most of the last day was spent reading from the written form of the lessons in the back of the book accompanied by Q & A in Greek to ensure comprehension.  By the final period we had moved to Genesis 1:1-5 and John 1:1-5.  Watching the teenagers read these texts and answer questions in Greek about what they were reading surely made me smile, but the real fun was watching the faces of the Greek professors in the room.

As summarized by Dircksen, the “enthusiasm and the results obtained within a week, led to positive feedback from each and every participant and a unanimous decision to adopt this method at the North West University.”  ἐγὼ ἐφύτευσα, ἐγὼ ἐπότισα, ἀλλὰ ὁ θεὸς ηὔξανεν. δόξα αὐτῷ.

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3 Responses to Living Koine Greek in South Africa! (Guest Post)

  1. aldred says:

    Sebastian- it was great having you here …We (I) now teach Living Language Greek once a week with the first years … So far .. it’s great going…

  2. pnitz says:

    I’m impressed by Potch’s welcoming attitude to a new approach. It’s a rare thing in institutions. Well done. Lilongwe, Malawi

  3. Pingback: Can You Teach Kids Ancient Greek? | καὶ τὰ λοιπά

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