[Course Forum] 5000 Important words in Greek

course-forum

(Neal P Carey) #494

I’ve chosen to x-alt them rather than change the primary. So, νέος is young;new and νέαρος is young; youthful. This pair is tricky because changing νέος to ‘new’ as primary then creates a conflict with καινούργιος. It is a never-ending struggle!

Also, added a few new words in 176 and uploaded a new worksheet. (same link as above)


(Neal P Carey) #495

Glad to hear that this ‘course’ is helping you. As we’ve discussed here many times this is really geared toward building vocabulary. Now that we have complete context sentences for every word in the course I am hoping that will further help people. But you’re absolutely correct that you have to get used to Greek in conversation, watching TV, reading as much as possible.


(spdl79) #496

Thanks Neal! Yes, well remembered on καινούργιος.


(Τομακο) #497

Hey, really appreciate the making of this, it’s proved far more useful than any other online language learning tool.

One potential correction I had…

On level 21 ‘αρέσω’ is translated as ‘to like’ but elsewhere I’ve seen it translated as ‘to be liked’ which seems more accurate?


(Neal P Carey) #498

Glad you’re getting benefit from this ‘course’, we’ve put a lot of effort into building the vocabulary from the initial list from which it was made as well as to correcting the many mistakes that were present.

Regarding:

  • well, yes it does mean to be liked as well as to like. Check out this definition:

http://www.wordreference.com/engr/like

as well as:

https://glosbe.com/el/en/αρέσω

Let’s get @spdl79 to chime in on this. It is a bit different than your typical transitive verb.


(spdl79) #499

Sorry for coming late to the party Neal; I’m currently in Crete with limited internet access and I’ve only been doing my bare minimums each day. The good news is that we managed to rent a house and we’re moving here in November :smile:

@11162, as for αρέσω, yes, I initially struggled with it a bit too (and also λείπω, which operates kind of similarly). It doesn’t really translate as such and it is a bit different to how things work in English.

I haven’t actually ever seen it appear in any form other than αρέσει/αρέσουν, ie third person, singular or plural. (Though I should point out I’m nowhere near fluent). But even for impersonal verbs like this it’s not uncommon to learn them in first person form, as that’s the standard way that they’re listed in the dictionary.

Anyway, in my understanding, αρέσει/αρέσουν is always preceded by a personal pronoun, in genitive, and should be literally thought of as ‘it is pleasing’, rather than ‘like’. For example:

μου αρέσει η γάτα
is extremely literally:
to me + it is pleasing + the + cat

Likewise:
μας αρέσουν οι σκύλοι
to us + they are pleasing + the + dogs

But in an interpretation sense (rather than a strict translation sense), ‘like’ is fine for αρέσω and its conjugations. Those two sentences are effectively just ‘I like the cat’ and ‘We like the dogs’.

I hope that helps a little. If you’re not using either of them already, I’d recommend Duolingo and Clozemaster, as they help with grammar and syntax and everything else - Memrise is just learning words, and that’s only half the battle when it comes to learning a language.


(Neal P Carey) #500

Sean, you’re a lucky stiff!! :slight_smile: It has been quite some time since I was in Crete, but I particularly like Agios Nikolaos in eastern Crete. Καλό ταξίδι!

I’m heading to Chicago in November for a week-long icon painting workshop, which I’m very excited about. I’m almost certain your weather in Crete will be better. This will be my second workshop with the Prosopon school, Russian, quite different that Greek/Byzantine style. I love all of the them, but I’m particularly fond of the Russian School. Here’s my Guardian Angel.


(spdl79) #501

Wow, that’s really impressive! I don’t have a single artistic bone in my body and I’m a bit jealous! All those iconography- and painting-related words in the course also make a bit more sense now :wink:

We’ll be in the southwest of Crete, in a κωμόπολη, a working agricultural town with few foreigners or little tourism, about 15 minutes from the coast. We’ve already made a few friends there and feel very much at home. Feel more than free to look us up next time you make it to the big island, and enjoy the workshop!


(Hydrogen Exemptions) #502

σημείωση should take σημείωμα as an alternate I think (with and without articles of course)


(Immortal Sir Nz) #503

Ο ηθοποιός is in two different levels, 83 and 112


(Neal P Carey) #504

Added as Alt w/ & w/o η


(Neal P Carey) #505

Replaced the instance in 83 with ερμηνευτής.

Also, updated worksheet and posted:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3-ATVs8f9pIOWlIMHZOT2F2OFk


(Mino98) #506

Hi @neal.p.carey @spdl79 and everyone else, and thanks so much for this class. I’ve done the first 3 levels and it seems great, I found zero mistakes so far.

However, I’m part of that camp that believes that words should be presented by decreasing frequency. I’ve read in this thread that this issue apparently came up many times over the years. Honestly I don’t understand what is the argument against sorting them, am I missing some technical limitation of memrise?

In case, I’m more than happy to help to sort this out. In my day job I’m a software developer working also on natural language processing.

Thanks again!


(Neal P Carey) #507

Thanks @mino98 for you comments. Although a number of people have raised the issue about frequency and sorting over the past few years, it is virtually impossible. I say virtually because anything is technically possible but Memrise has no facilities to make this easy or even doable. You cannot export (i.e. dump) the DB and re-import it, you cannot move items (words) from one level to another (i.e. no drag-n-drop), there are no sort facilities. The only arranging possible is within a single level. Progress is tied to the words in the current database, so even if you could export and re-import, you would lose those connections and progress would be lost, something that I would not do. And finally, the audio, which is a huge part of why this present course works well for people, would have to likely be re-applied, and the audio has been enhanced, edited, tweaked etc over the years.

All of that said, I personally am opposed to idea of frequency-based vocabulary learning. I don’t think it works as a language learner, although I am trying a French course presently so we’ll see if it makes me feel differently. But, I’ve been at this a long time. If you’ve read my previous comments on the subject you’ll see why I feel the way I do. If there are any good arguments for why someone thinks frequency-based vocabulary learning makes sense, then I’m yet to hear them. A lot of people have suggested they think it is better, but why? What’s the evidence that it works better then this somewhat admittedly random approach.

So, finally, why is the course arranged the way it is? Mainly because it started out as '1692 Most Important Words in Greek (arguable!) when I inherited it. The original author abandoned it years ago and I was made a contributor so that I could start fixing all the problems, errors, etc. There was no audio, there were many mistakes, no articles or Alts, just a lot of words, yet there were a lot of users and in the old forum system people kept asking for things to be fixed. So, we started fixing it, and then just kept growing it to the size that it is now.


(Mino98) #508

Hi @neal.p.carey, thanks for answering so quickly.

You cannot export (i.e. dump) the DB and re-import it, you cannot move items (words) from one level to another (i.e. no drag-n-drop), there are no sort facilities. The only arranging possible is within a single level. Progress is tied to the words in the current database, so even if you could export and re-import, you would lose those connections and progress would be lost, something that I would not do. And finally, the audio, which is a huge part of why this present course works well for people, would have to likely be re-applied, and the audio has been enhanced, edited, tweaked etc over the years.

I would have sorted words by analysing a general large body of Greek text, calculating the frequency distribution and mapping it to the words in your set. This is a standard technique, and tools make it relatively easy to do. However, this is a moot point if Memrise does not allow to export and re-import data without loosing audio mappings (and progress for current students, but that of course it would be lost). So, I give up :slight_smile:

If there are any good arguments for why someone thinks frequency-based vocabulary learning makes sense, then I’m yet to hear them.

Actually, this has strong foundations in both linguistics and cognitive learning.
The main benefit of learning words by decreasing frequency is that is that every new word you acquire is probabilistically guaranteed to fit in the language context of the words you already know. Said simply: the probability of being able to make a sentence with a newly learned word is much higher if you sample new words based on decreasing frequency of usage. This is simple statistics.
Also, practically speaking, benefits are greater for early-stages learners as you have much higher probability of being able to use new words if they are more common. It is clearly a function with diminishing returns, which you want to optimise for the new learners (especially in a huge class like this). This is why every school textbook in the world uses this principle and tend to teach you context-adjacent words instead of randomly picked items of a vocabulary.

The original author abandoned it years ago and I was made a contributor so that I could start fixing all the problems, errors, etc. There was no audio, there were many mistakes, no articles or Alts, just a lot of words, yet there were a lot of users and in the old forum system people kept asking for things to be fixed. So, we started fixing it, and then just kept growing it to the size that it is now.

And thank you for this!
Please don’t take this message as a harsh criticism, I’m thankful for maintaining this course! :slight_smile:


(spdl79) #509

Welcome to the course!

I’m not actually a mod, just a frequent contributor! RE frequency - not that it’s possible to amend the course now - I do see what you’re saying, and I do think learning the more common words has a place. Duolingo and Clozemaster, for starters, are pretty good examples of this. But they’re more about learning the language and its mechanics.

This course (and Memrise as a whole) I see as being much more about expanding your vocabulary, and I think also by osmosis you start to learn things that you wouldn’t necessarily pick up if you were purely learning by frequency - spelling, tonos placement, what sort of word a word you haven’t encountered before is likely to be, and so on. I haven’t had much time to learn new words over the past few months as I’ve been going through some epic life changes (I’m in the process of moving to Greece), but I primarily use Memrise to learn words that I haven’t encountered before. So the words I have in my own course are a very, very strange mix and would be by no stretch of the imagination frequency-based.

I think also, given the ongoing influence of Katharevousa and the fact that newspapers and official bodies like to use logios words, that if you focused entirely on frequency, there’s a danger that you’d find an official form in front of you, or a newspaper article, and not be able to understand a word of it.

Anyway, to be completely honest, although I started learning Greek via Memrise, now that I actually know a little bit about what I’m doing, I’d recommend that someone new to the language started out on Duo or with a textbook and lessons, and then came to Memrise to expand their vocab and improve their spelling once they understood the language a little.

Having said that, if you did want to do down the frequency route, I think there are a few frequency-based Greek courses here on Memrise, but they’re not as good (mistakes, not maintained, no audio etc) as this one.

Good luck learning!


(Mino98) #510

I agree, they are not good. They are full of mistakes, no audio and, most important, they include individual conjugations of verbs which makes no sense to me (e.g., a “είμαι” is a word, “είσαι” is another word, etc.).


(spdl79) #511

Individual conjugations can be useful, depending on the level of the user, I think. I don’t usually bother to learn them separately now that I can, for the most part, take a decent stab at what the conjugation should be if I don’t know it already. But for irregular verbs, and when you’re starting out (I didn’t even know what conjugation was 18 months ago), I think it has its place.

The same goes for tenses but to a greater degree. Verbs like νομίζω are easy enough to figure out in both tense and conjugation, but, hm… words like λαμβάνομαι (ελήφθην/λήφθηκα)… eesh.


(Neal P Carey) #512

It is certainly possible to build a course like this, but frequency-based. I’ve built a number of courses and although I certainly don’t have all the answers or know all the tricks there is a method I follow to create a course. One of the chief problems with the way Memrise works is that if you build your course with a target number of words per level, say 25 (as we do here), then once they are set you cannot just stick a word in where it ‘belongs’ without messing up the scheme. Maybe that’s not that critical. Also, with some of the frequency lists I’ve seen they seem to be based on movies, TV shows, other sources? and so, where do you get the initial list? I’m actually doing a French frequency-based course now to try out if I like it, but the 1st Level alone has 100 words, which I find daunting as it feels like your progress is slow and it’s a lot to bite off, so I like my learning “chunks” to be smaller.

But, if you’re considering building such a course, just realize how much work you’re signing up for before you get started. I would encourage you to create a test course to see how much time it takes to develop a single Level just as an experiment. Here’s how I’d do it:

Create the course, add the columns you want get them in the order you need them. Be sure to include the foreign key mappings (sadly, Memrise does not provide Greek!). Here is the string of keyboard characters I use:
;ςερτυθιοπ ασδφγηξκλ ζχψωβνμ άέήίόύώϊΐϋΰ

Create a few levels to get started.

Using Excel I would create a list of words (you can refer to https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3-ATVs8f9pIOWlIMHZOT2F2OFk)

When you create the list, and before you import anything make sure you’re accommodating the articles, parts of speech, any Alts you want to have. For example, looking at this list and imagine my columns are (in this order) Greek, English, Part of Speech, Gender, Context Example:

χαμηλώνω [tab] to lower [tab] verb [tab][tab] Το μαγαζί χαμηλώνει τις τιμές για τις εκπτώσεις.
η δαγκωνιά, η δαγκανιά [tab] bite, nibble [tab] noun [tab] f. [tab] Πάρε μια δαγκωνιά ροδάκινο.
ιδιωματικός [tab] idiomatic [tab] adjective [tab] Είναι δυνατόν να καταλάβει κανείς εύκολα την καταγωγή κάποιου από την ιδιωματική προφορά του.

A few comments about what you see here:

  1. [tab] represents the tab characters that appear when you copy from your spreadsheet, this is the easiest way I can think of to do it when you paste the list into the “bulk add” form in Memrise.
  2. If you want to automatically include Alts as I have done for “η δαγκωνιά, η δαγκανιά” above, then that is a single string which would have to be edited once you import to Memrise. So, once these 3 entries are in, you have to edit “η δαγκωνιά, η δαγκανιά” so that the word that ‘shows’ is “η δαγκωνιά” and the three Alts are: _δαγκωνιά, η δαγκανιά, _δαγκανιά. The underscore character allows the Alt as a valid answer but suppresses the display of it.
  3. Same approach to Alts for English column, so that once imported the main entry has to be edited so that bite is primary, and you create nibble as an Alt. This is very important because you want either answer to be valid and if you put them both together it would always appear as one string “bite, nibble” and as such in some testing situations won’t appear as you want it.
  4. The 2 tabs together simply specify that a column is being skipped, i.e. in the case of a verb the Gender column remains empty.
  5. Go to forvo.com and join up! This will allow you to find each word, and download the .mp3 pronunciation so you can import it to Memrise. There is apparently another way by creating some kind of link directly to Forvo, but I did not like this method and had trouble making it work. That would also create a dependency between Memrise and Forvo, that depending on the performance of each system may slow things down. So I choose to get the word, download it and upload it to Memrise.
  6. When you create a course, it creates a database for you, this can be confusing because I’ve never been able to use another database, but often when you import Memrise may find that word in another database (how, I don’t know) and use it, so I try to make sure my entries are unique. Ex: putting in “η δαγκωνιά, η δαγκανιά” is certainly likely to be unique, but putting in just “δαγκωνιά” may not be. So, after you import a list it is good to do all of the required editing and make sure you have all of your entries correct. This sounds more arduous than it really is, but it is time consuming. Generally my experience is that it takes about 1 hour to do a Level and if, like our course, it has 200 Levels, that’s a lot of time.

This is pretty much how I do it. There may be other approaches, but this has worked for me. The more you learn about course creation, the more you’ll appreciate and understand what makes some courses work better than others. For a course to be useful, it has to be well-crafted IMHO.

Finally, you need to find someone, like @spdl79 who will help find all the bugs and errors, because they will exist. He has been a tremendous contributor to this particular course and it would not be as good as it is without him. I’m pretty meticulous, but as a software person you already understand that I’ve made plenty of mistakes that may have taken me a lot more time to find without help.


Official Greek Couse
Official Greek Couse
Ξυπνητός vs. συνειδητός in 1692 most important words in Greek
(Neal P Carey) #513

I have completed Level 176, adding some nationality stuff that really should have been much earlier in the course.

New worksheet: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3-ATVs8f9pIOWlIMHZOT2F2OFk