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A Greek Alphabetarion

by Harvey Bluedorn

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: A Greek Alphabetarion, Fifth Edition, by Harvey Bluedorn, 158-page, paperback with pronunciation CD, $28. Published by Trivium Pursuit. Please support by buying this program from our Amazon affiliate link or from our Christian Book Distributors link.

Learning Greek can be intimidating for many people because of the unfamiliar alphabet. In A Greek Alphabetarion, Harvey Bluedorn "prepares the student to read, write, and pronounce Greek" by giving him a strong background in Greek pronunciation and phonetics.

Mr. Bluedorn begins the book with some introductory comments and a discussion of why one should study Greek. The New Testament of the Bible was written in Greek, and he feels that the reading of Scriptures in Greek is a key to a renewal and spreading of the Gospel throughout the world. Additionally, Greek sharpens the mind and helps one have a better sense of the Word of God. Developing a complete understanding of the Greek alphabet is the first step in learning Greek.

In part one of A Greek Alphabetarion, Mr. Bluedorn teaches the alphabet in order with two pages per letter. A large diagram shows both the capital and small Greek letter. The pronunciation is given along with an English word or phrase in which the letter can be heard. The "quantity," long and short sounds of the vowels, is then detailed. A "key word," an English word containing the sound, is provided for the student to memorize. Next, a "For Your Information" section gives interesting tidbits that relate the alphabet to history or geography, for example. A review page and an exercise page appear after each group of six letters and include recitation of the alphabet, written exercises, numerical value of each letter, and a review of sounds.

After completion of the basic letters and the obsolete letter "sampi," rough and smooth breathers are explained, and then the more complex topic of diphthongs is presented. Part one ends with a final examination that tests knowledge of the Greek alphabet and diphthongs.

Part two teaches the student how to sound out Greek words for successful reading. Transliteration tables show Greek phonograms and their corresponding English pronunciations. Next, a "Letter Card Activities" page offers several fun methods to help in learning. A Greek Chrestomathy, a group of Bible passages in Greek and English, follows.

Part three, intended for older children, ages 10 and up, and adults, begins with a very detailed discussion of pronunciation. Mutes (consonants), semi-vowels, and vowels are explained in more detail with emphasis on how the lips, tongue, teeth, and throat work together to form the sounds properly. Review sheets, more letter card activities, and a final examination come next. The appendix has a general discussion of the history of languages and the different periods of the Greek language.

Alphabetarion CD: The CD is included in a pocket in the back of the book. Harvey Bluedorn reads from the text and demonstrates the sounds with the fifty-seven tracks on the disk making it easy to follow along with the activities in the book. An explanation of the Chrestomathy and readings of each selection concludes the audio. The recording is crystal clear.

Recommendation: A Greek Alphabetarion offers an easy to follow method that takes all the intimidation out of learning the Greek alphabet. This is an excellent primer to use before moving on to the Greek study program of your choice. The pronunciation CD is a high-quality recording and very helpful. resources related to this review:'s Classical Languages Resource Section
Interview with the Bluedorns
Question and Answers with the Bluedorns
Review of Teaching the Trivium

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