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Reviews 121 Peter Bien, John Rassias, Chrysanthi Yiannakou-Bien and Christos Alexiou. Demotic Greek II: ÎŒ ιπτάμενος θάλαμος [The Flying Telephone Booth]. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England . 1982. Pp. xvi + 423. $12.50. A new textbook by Peter Bien, John Rassias, Chrysanthi Yiannakou-Bien and Christos Alexiou must undoubtedly be most welcome to the users of the popular Demotic Greek I by the same authors . In the field of Modern Greek, in particular, the publication of Demotic Greek II is an event which deserves notice for a number of good reasons. If one were to judge from the abundant crop of popular manuals in the field, it would seem that, despite the depressing phase into which the study of the other "small" languages has fallen on the North American continent, that of Modern Greek is a growing field, and is still in its developing stages. For, with very few exceptions, these manuals are geared to the needs of the general public or of tourists , rather than to those of college and university undergraduates, and they are confined to the first stages of language acquisition— from the very elementary to the post-elementary/intermediate. Demotic Greek I is no exception. It is not so with Demotic Greek II. Demotic Greek II does constitute "an integrated sequel" to Demotic Greek I, but it is a sequel which spreads out to wider horizons. One of its two aspects aims at fluency in all the skills of language strengthening and development, and stresses the study of grammar. Here the authors seem to want to reach the more sophisticated groups of language learners. The other aims at introducing students "to the full sweep of Greek culture and history—classical, hellenistic, Byzantine, revolutionary and modern." It is another matter that the authors chose to do so with, primarily, the larger but less educated groups in mind. No doubt they have good reason for this. The fact remains that, on the whole, the book does indeed set a good standard for an academic intermediate level. This is an important feature and a welcome development. Another outstanding feature oÃ- Demotic Greek II is the great flexibility which the format allows to users. The organization of the material makes it easy for each individual student to concentrate on that aspect of language acquisition which he or she needs most. Each of the twenty chapters of Demotic Greek II is divided into two large sections , "Readings" and "Grammar." The story which is told in the first section appears three times, in three stages of "increasing density "; each of these three "graded steps" is accompanied by English annotations for the explanation/translation of the difficult Greek 122 Reviews words and expressions; all three are preceded by a "comicstrip-like illustration tracing the story line"; they are followed by the inevitable pattern drills, and by questions on the story; a fourth step, at the very end of every second chapter, encourages students "to expand creatively on the material presented in the lesson." The second section of each chapter begins with a series of useful, pertinent and perceptive grammatical explanations, each of which is preceded or followed by good examples. In this section Demotic Greek II is at its best, despite the lengthy, copious, ever-present drills—a great favorite with the authors—which occupy the second half of this section. Had the authors wished their book to be nothing but a manual for second-year language study, they would have stopped here. But they have not. They intended this book to serve as a Reader in Greek culture and history and have provided every second chapter with an extension which includes one, two, or three cultural readings. These are preceded by a micrologue which gives the gist of each cultural reading "in simple language"; they are followed by questions in Greek on the content of these texts, each of which is annotated in English, and all of which are based on, or adapted from, "authentic Greek texts." These extensions should not, therefore, be thought of as mere appendices. Each is the climax and the synthesis of all that precedes in the two chapters which it brings to an end, and the element...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 121-123
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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