Teaching Classical Languages
This article describes an unconventional method of teaching Greek vocabulary, grammar, and syntax through the translation or adaptation of popular songs into Attic Greek. To reinforce vocabulary and introduce or review points of grammar of syntax in a memorable way, I have adapted and translated a number of modern songs into Attic Greek. Each song was focused around one or two significant concepts (e.g., adverbs, participles, the optative mood) and was presented with the appropriate textbook chapter to augment other available materials. The students themselves, who recommended many of the songs and themes, were consequently active participants in the development of their own ancillary and review materials. My students, furthermore, were inspired to create their own translations and adaptations which were then, once the author approved the instructor’s corrections, presented to the class.
Incorporating this challenging language into contemporary culture gives students a sense of intimacy and confidence with Greek. In this article, I outline the creative process, explain my Attic Greek song lyrics, and suggest further applications of this technique.2
Irby, Georgia L., That Ain’t Workin’; That’s the way you do it: Teaching Greek through Popular Music (2009). Teaching Classical Languages, 1(1), 30-66.