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on February 1, 2000
As a 37 year old physician, I decided to learn Ancient Greek on my own without any prior experience in classical languages or grammar. Having reviewed a few other texts, this is absolutely the most useful and easily accessible. That's not to say that it's easy, but everything is explained in a well-organized and complete manner. The drills and exercises are very well done and it was thrilling to be able to tackle such a difficult subject on my own. My only minor issue with this book is that there is no answer key for the exercises, so one has to puzzle them out for oneself--a good experience in itself--but there are periodic self-scoring tests with answers that do keep you on track. Overall a wonderful introduction to Greek for the novice.
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on October 30, 1998
I have taught ancient Greek to students from middle school age to graduate students for more than ten years. This book is the best available, hands down. It is not condescending. It contains no serious errors; such infelicities as there are in its Greek sentences are to be excused on the grounds of pedagogical expediency. Its grammatical and morphological sections are the very definition of clarity and succinctness.
It may be guilty of an occasional oversimplification or a venial sin of omission. It leaves certain declensional systems and conditional constructions to the appendix, for example, and it certainly should include the an account of the dual, at least for nouns, somewhere in the body of the text. But those shortcomings are easily outweighed by the advantages of this textbook. It's the only one I have found where a student can actually a) get through the morphology and grammar of the Attic dialect in a realistic amount of time (Athenaze, in contrast, takes FOREVER) and b) leave students actually ready to tackle, say, a Platonic dialogue or a Euripidean tragedy when they're done. (Athenaze takes a distant second on this count, too.)
Other shortcomings: not enough vocabulary to give students a real "working minimum". Relegation of some fairly important morphology and grammar to the appendix. Or, conversely, Other strengths: Doesn't overwhelm students trying to give them a "working minimum vocabulary", I take it because the contents of such a hypothetical working minimum vocabulary vary widely depending on the genre or author the student is going to tackle.
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on January 27, 2001
As an avid reader of the classics I wanted to learn Ancient Greek so that I could appreciate the works in the original language. I started out at my local library where I found very few books on the subject. The few that I did find were too advanced or were poorly written.
Hansen's text book is different. It starts out slowly with pronunciation and alphabet lessons. These are very valuble and were the elements that were most lacking in the other texts. The book builds to syntax and vocabulary. The great thing about the book is that they put easy reading and speaking drills early on. This makes you feel like you are learning and builds your confidence. The book also stresses thinking in Greek, since it makes the language easier to learn and since Greek is one of the most expressive languages.
This truly is an intensive course in the language and some devotion to study is required. However, it is fairly simple and fun to learn from the book. At the completion of the lessons, you will have a basic understanding of the Greek language and will be able to express ideas in the language. I am not very good at learning languages. If I can learn ancient greek so can you.
Other good features of this book are its Greek/English English/Greek translation dictionary for many usefuls words and phrases.
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on February 1, 2003
I picked up this book recently with a friend with the intention of learning Attic Greek. We are both Latin students, and having heard many good things about this book, we decided to try it.
After just a few weeks of work, I can already see the difference between this text and others: this book assumes that the reader is capable of understanding a language vastly more complicated than English. Having a strong background in Latin and an open mind definitely helps, though; I don't suggest using this text if you lack either of these qualities.
However, if you are planning to work alone, this may not be the best option: the title does not lie when it reads "Intensive." I know that working with a friend has helped me so far, and I can only imagine how much help a qualified instructor would be.
After the first few units, I was already finding myself reading and understanding parts of Plato's Republic and other authentic Greek texts.
Either way, I highly recommend this series over the other Greek texts out there, and i hope you pick this one up.
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on July 10, 2003
The main problem with this book is the overwhelming size of the units. This not only makes it quite difficult to work through the exercises since you have to digest so much morphology to be able to do them, but it also means that by the end of the book, though you will have a good grasp of syntax and morphology, your working vocabulary will still be quite small. I also found the order in which the grammatical concepts are presented to be somewhat unnatural - the subjunctive and optative are introduced before you have a good feel for the indicative mood and its endings. The verb forms are presented in such quick succession that I ended up not feeling very comfortable with them.
On the plus side, though, the basic concepts morphology and syntax are explained very thoroughly and clearly, and the vocabulary notes (usage notes on each individual word, possible alternative meanings, idiomatic uses, etc.) were quite helpful. There were also plenty of drills and reading sentences for practice. Overall, I'd say this book might be well suited to its original purpose - a workshop setting where all of basic grammar is covered in 6 weeks - but for the general reader it is a bit too dense. For the aspiring self-taught Classicist, I'd recommend Mastronarde. I myself ended up switching over to his book after 10 units of Hansen and Quinn, and find it to be better balanced overall, with shorter, more approachable units, and better organized chapter vocabularies.
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on August 8, 2006
Having studied Latin for several years, I decided toward the end of my Freshman year of college that I would like to pursue Greek also in order to focus on ancient languages as a classics major. For me the best option was an Intensive Elementary Greek course offered at my university over the summer. The course, GREK 112, uses this Hanson and Quinn textbook and is, as the title of both the text and the course indicates, intense. The text was specifically designed by Hanson and Quinn to be used for their own summer session in New York. And as I was later told, their course is ten weeks long whereas mine was only six--this certainly added to the intensity of the course. That being said, however, the amount that I was able to learn would not have been possible were it not for this text.

Each section is definitely long, a fact about which other reviewers have complained, but that is because the new material in each section is to be covered in a morning lecture and the drills are to be completed in an afternoon session. Other reviewers have also contended that someone who holds a certain natural proficiency in languages or more experience in language comprehension, historical linguistics, et al. is at an advantage. This is not exactly a notable observation, nor is it helpful criticism (least of all is it a reason to lower one's rating of the text), because all education is the same in this regard! Someone with a strong background in historical linguistics will have an easier time with this text than someone who has little second-tongue experience in the same way that someone with a strong background in calculus will have an easier time in microeconomics than someone with a weak mathematical foundation. This text is certainly intense and time consuming, but it provides a fantastic framework on which to build a working knowledge of Attic Greek.
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on May 13, 2002
I used this book in an extension/evening class at a local college. It is very clearly written and, despite its size and considering its subject, very concise. There is, at any rate, not a wasted word between its covers.

I disagree with the reviewer who complained that the chapters cannot easily be divided in order to provide acceptable and accessible lesson sizes. At the end of each section within each chapter - perhaps every five or six pages - the authors invite the student to complete a drill that focuses on new material covered only in that section. This makes it easy enough to break down the chapters.

The drills are really the great strength of the book. They are very useful: they reinforce the chapter material and they really test the student's understanding of the subject matter. The drills are numerous and well thought out. They range from the intentionally nonsensical - thus thwarting guesswork -- to progressively longer fragments of poems and play in their original form.

Finally, I really appreciated the quality of the editing: six hundred error-free pages, much of it in a different language and a different alphabet. I wish every book - especially computer technical books - were printed with as much care and attention to detail.
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on January 21, 2005
This text was very informative and written for those of us with natural talents in language...I used this text in an Elementary Classical Greek course and was very glad I was receiving formal instruction. The chapters in this book are extremely long, dense, and jam-packed, and when a new grammatical point is introduced, they throw everything about it at you (for instance the chapter on verbs throws every possible active form at you, which for those who have no training in Ancient Greek, is A LOT to digest in one chapter) The sections on vocab are great because there are informative insights into each new word. Overall a good book, but I really wouldn't recommend it for self study, as there are no answer keys to follow up the exercises.
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on June 7, 2000
Hansen and the late and sadly missed Quinn put together in the 1970's what is well nigh the only elementary Greek text worth considering. Greek: An Intensive Course covers in 20 units and an appendix what other courses cannot aspire to manage in multiple volumes (e.g., the disgraceful Athenaze series). Hansen and Quinn provide a solid and rigorous foundation in morphology and syntax. Ancient Greek is not supposed to be easy; it is as it is and any attempt to dilute its reality does a disservice to people who actually want to read the classical authors. The only disappointment is that I would have suggested to the authors that space be devoted in the appendix to a discussion of the dialects, especially the Homeric, along with readings of other passages than Attic Greek. The book's readings are perhaps the only weakness in a largely flawless text; there is far too much of an emphasis on Plato and the orators at the expense of historians and tragedians. Most students today will not care to learn so much grammar just to read the Gorgias...without Homer and mythology forget keeping most people's interest today. But for the serious student who does not need to be coaxed into learning her or his lessons, this is the text to use.
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on December 13, 2001
I began my study @ the University of Washington three months ago and have finished half of the Hansen and Quinn text.
The book is well-organized and presents all concepts clearly and with excellent examples.
I looked through the text prior to beginning the quarter and was, needless to say, driven nearly to tears by the level of complexity and the amount of rote memorization that was going to be required of me. However, I can't think of a better way to organize the information than the authors of this book have done.
The units start simply and then begin to require more and more work, yet keep the workload manageable, as long was one is constantly working.
The only flaw I can see is the claim that this text can be used by anyone seeking to learn Greek on their own time. I don't think this is entirely possible, unless one is willing to devote a large amount of time to the subject. I believe this weighty tome is designed for college students with ample time to spend translating sentences, not for the average individual with an already full schedule.
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