Hansen and Quinn’s Greek, An Intensive Course

Τὸ σὺν τῷ βιβλίῳ ἐντόνῳ τῆς γλώττης μανθάνειν

The studying of the language with the

Before you begin reading this, I would like you to understand this this is no longer the opinion I hold of this book; instead, I would highly encourage you to look at what I have to say about Hansen and Quinn on the page regarding JACT’s Reading Greek. I would no longer recommend this to you.

Studying a language — and this applies to any language, not merely Ancient Greek — requires a lot of practice and also forces one to invest a lot of time to it every day. Therefore, I have always found it somewhat perplexing how some people appear to believe that studying a language for ten minutes daily by using free learning apps — which I shall not be naming here — will result in them becoming fluent in aforementioned language within a short period of time. Using these apps as a supplement is, no doubt, rather helpful and allows one to continously study the language wherever one may currently be; but I am of the opinion that such applications are totally unable to abolish the traditional text book.

All of this is especially true with Ancient Greek — or, in fact, most other ancient languages —, since most of these aforesaid learning applications provide resources merely for modern languages; and even, I must unfortunately say, some fictional languages, too (indeed, why are Klingon or High Valyrian more important than Ancient Greek?). Therefore, being in possession of an adequate text book for this language is of utmost importance, for it is going to be one of the only resources one will be using to advance one’s reading and writing ability — speaking is, generally, not a priority when learning an ancient language.

The Importance of a Good Text Book

As my country of residence is Germany, I first thought about getting a German book and to visit the local library to do so; and I have to mention that there’s both the city’s main library (Stadtbibliothek) and the university library (Universitätsbibliothek) at my disposal. As the university library is, unfortunately, quite a distance from where I live, I decided to, instead, visit the main city library. It is divided up into two floors: the lower contains mostly fiction — in German and other languages —, whereas the upper floor contains the more scientific books; the latter is where I began my search. The language section did did contain a number of book on Ancient Greek, and I took the first one I saw home and was utterly disappointed. The way it taught things was rather — let us say that it was basically unable to teach me anything but a handful of words and the alphabet.

This resulted in my giving up the attempt of studying the language; this is, until I found out about Hansen and Quinn’s Intensive Course. Indeed, I tend to be rather decent at absorbing grammatical concepts and rules into my brain and thus, a course that taught said concepts at a fast pace was exactly what I had wanted (I frequently feel myself underwhelmed when studying languages using regular text books and often study several chapters in short sucession). I therefore decided to get it and start my study of Attic Greek using it.

I was quickly engrossed by it and the language it so nicely teaches that I made rapid progress. Its name is, however, not to be understated for, indeed, it is one of the most intensive text books I have, as of yet, seen. It teaches the language’s basic grammatical concepts at a very fast pace, but does not leave the student in the dark and, instead, explains everything thoroughly and in an easy to understand manner. In addition, it includes a large number of drills and exercises after each chapter and also has self-correcting examinations after every three chapters

But this, unfortunately, brings me to one of the down-sides of this book, namely the lack of an answer key. Indeed, the only exercises which contain answer keys are the self-correcting examinations; all the drills and exercises at the end of each chapter do not contain any answers. This is, obviously, problematic for those people, like me, that study the language autodidactically and was what had initially prevented me from buying the book; but, fortunately, there do exist answer keys, put online by professors or other learners. Answer keys for the exercises can be found here: atticgreek.wordpress.com. Answer keys for the exercises, reviews and drills can be found here on the website of The University of Arizona.

These latter resources greatly decrease the problem for autodidactic learners and make the text book much more accessible outside a classroom setting; indeed, I would go as far as saying that, having these answer keys, this is a really good book for those who which to teach themselves the language without the aid of a teacher. Truly, βιβλίον ἀναγιγνώσκειν ἄξιον ἐστιν.