This site pertains mostly to Greek, which is the original language of the New Testament and the langauage of the vital Old Testament Septuagint. Yet Hebrew is also a vital Biblical language, being the most original language of the Old Testament.
Note I felt to first give this allegory as I feel it brings out some very important issues about learning language.
The Monkeys and Their Lammar and Gammar
Their once was a kind of monkeys in the jungles of West Africa that were very intelligent, and so intelligent they spoke to one another just like us humans do. Their cute little monkeys learned to speak by hearing their friends and family speak and learned to speak as they worked and played. They were a very happy bunch of monkeys swinging and playing in the trees and freely communicating with each other. Yet it is true that sometimes a little monkey did not talk quite right or like the other monkeys, and then their parents often would laugh at them and correct them, and soon the little monkey got things straight and started talking basically just like the rest of the monkeys. All the monkeys in their talking knew exactly what was meant, and they had no problem understanding each other.
Yet one day a very wise monkey was born, who wanted to make sure all the monkeys were talking exactly the same and as seemed in perfection, and it was true that with careful inspection one could notice some of the monkeys did not talk exactly the same, although very close and close enough that they could clearly understand each other. This very wise monkey then came up with something he called gammar and although some of his ideas were good, yet he and some other monkeys who were his close friends got carried away with their emphasis on gammar and too often it turned into a very extensive teaching program that really did not help the monkeys talk, but simply required the monkeys to learn a lot of rules and details about talking that the monkeys were already and naturally abiding by, largely without knowing how they were doing it. Some of the old dad and momma monkeys were sad and perplexed that so much effort was being put into gammar, because they knew the wise monkey who had made up all the rules about gammar, got his rules from simply knowing their normal way of talking, and they knew his gammar came from talking rather than talking from his gammar, so they wondered why this wise monkey did not just let them talk, rather than going from talking to his extensive gammar rules and then back to talking as they were already doing. This extensive learning about gammar especially made their little monkeys sad, and they wondered why they had to learn all this when they could already talk in a normal way to their little friends without knowing all the details about talking and how they were doing it. These cute and playful monkeys, although little, were very intelligent creatures and it was amazing how they could be so good at so many things without really knowing how they were doing them. These little monkeys knew they could walk and run and gracefully swing from tree to tree without knowing the technical details and principles about how they were doing these things, and they were very glad nobody required them to learn a lot of technical names and rules about walking, running, and swinging in the trees.
Yet one day another very wise monkey was born, and this monkey one morning while closely observing the monkeys noticed that the monkeys did not all walk exactly the same, and felt they could do a better job of walking. He thought some of them could conserve some energy and even walk a little faster if they moved their feet in just a little different manner. So this wise monkey started a new teaching program to teach a new subject which he called lammar, which pertained to legs and walking. Now the little monkeys in school had to learn a lot of things about walking. They had to learn names for certain kinds of walking muscles in their legs, names for certain kinds of steps, and many names for different angles of their legs while they walked. After lammar class was over and the little monkeys went outside, then the teacher made them watch their little legs while they walked to make sure they were walking the same, and in the best manner. The little monkeys now were very sad. They now because of watching their legs when walking, and thinking about rules of gammar when talking, often stumbled when they walked and often stuttered when they talked. The little monkeys were so sad that finally the big monkeys decided they would no longer require their little monkeys to study gammar or lammar until they got bigger. Now the little monkeys again were very happy, and were freely walking and talking and swinging in the trees, and without stumbling or stuttering. But the big monkeys were still sitting in their classrooms trying to learn big names for special aspects and principles about walking and talking. They indeed learned big new words about different principles and aspects of walking and talking, and some of the big monkeys felt very educated because of this gammar and lammar. Yet some of the old monkeys, like the little monkeys, were not happy about all this, as they knew they could learn language just like the little monkeys did. They knew that some of their little monkeys had even learned the strange talk or language of the monkeys on the other side of the jungle, simply by working and playing with some of their little monkeys who had moved to their side of the jungle, and they knew big monkeys could learn in this manner too. Yet the wise monkey who had started the gammar teaching school strongly advocated his gammar system was a most important thing when trying to learn the strange language of the monkeys on the other side of the jungle. Yet his gammar rules sometimes were quite complicated and hard to understand. Thus one big monkey who was focusing on this gammar while trying to learn Greek, which was the language of the monkeys on the other side of the jungle, was having a hard time of it and writing about his difficulties wrote,
I started on verbs, Mounce holds off verbs until you get the noun system down, 15 chapters in he starts the Verbs. I am at chapter 21 and I'm getting punch drunk, excuse the pun.
It's like I never heard of these words before this and I'm getting blasted with words like mood voice, aspect, person, middle. Then on to Present active, present passive, present middle, future active, future middle, deponents, Verbal roots, future middle, liquid future active, liquid future middle, imperfect active, imperfect middle passive.
Next week Aorist active and aorist middle. Wow that was a mouth full. Please tell me it will sink in! Or some pointers wouldn't be too bad at this point."
Some of the big daddy monkeys in reading this letter, and seeing this poor monkey's frustrations got quite upset and said, why do us monkeys on this side of the jungle have to be bogged down with all this gammar to learn the talk of the monkeys on the other side of the jungle, when those other monkeys learned their Greek talk without any of this gammar at all? Then the monkey who had wrote the above letter spoke up and with a sad face said that he was only trying real hard to learn the Greek talk because some important letters of Peter and Paul and others called Apostles were written in that kind of talk. After he got done talking, a number of excited monkeys quickly spoke up and said they did not believe that even those ancient ones who wrote the Greek letters he wanted to be able to read were encumbered or aware of all the gammar he was struggling with, and said why should he need all this gammar to read and understand their letters if they did not even know it when writing them? A little monkey then spoke up and said he could quite easily understand the Greek talk of the monkeys on the other side of the jungle because another little monkey who he always played with was from that part of the jungle, and he learned their talk while swinging in the trees and playing. Many monkeys now started getting upset at the wise monkey's excessive and extreme gammar teaching system, and wondered if he was as wise as they had thought, and thought that possibly his big new words had just made him seem very wise. Thus these monkeys had a special meeting about all these things.
In this meeting one monkey stood up and said he sort of remembered a Bible verse which said something about, some professing themselves to become wise and who then became fools. Another monkey then said he thinks that a long time ago a special man called Jesus said something about things being hidden to the wise and prudent and being revealed to babes. Another monkey then spoke up and said that as he remembered this Jesus also spoke something about the blind leading the blind and then all of them falling into a hole. Another monkey stood up with a very concerned look on his face and said this Jesus also said that no one will enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless they become as little children which could also mean like little monkeys, and said he was afraid that too many monkeys he knew were to big to be like little monkeys. Hearing how special little monkeys are, made the little monkeys, who could nicely walk and talk without any gammar or lammar at all, very happy and they happily danced and skipped all around.
After all the little monkeys got done with their skipping and dancing, another elderly monkey then stood up and said he has something more and very serious to say about the wise monkeys' Greek school. He said, the wise monkeys' school not only encumbers it's students with all this excessive gammar, but further does not even teach the right way to pronounce the Greek words which makes it even much harder to learn the talk of the monkeys on the other side of the jungle. He said the rules of pronunciation as taught in the wise monkeys' school do not even divide the many compound Greek words in a manner as expresses the individual words in the compound word, resulting in the students making strange new sounds when they read that are not even words at all, which is very bad for those trying to learn this Greek talk. He said this makes the students at his school say words like biplane, as bip lane, and said although he has seen biplanes fly high in the sky above the jungle, he never seen a bip lane before and wondered if that was possibly a road that lead to the wise monkey's school.
Further the elderly monkey said the traditions and text markings at this monkeys' Greek school often tell the students to accent mere prefixes of the Greek words as they read, rather than the root word, which makes all the Greek words with a popular prefix sound too much alike, while the real word then is not properly heard, but mostly the prefix is heard. Further he said, the monkey who copied the Greek words and books for this school and put in the accent marks, for some reason put the accents all over the place or on almost any syllable rather than keeping them on the root word, which results in related words that should sound much the same, sounding very different, and while the main word is neither heard. He said possibly the secondary accents should have been on the syllables he put them on, but he said the main accent should be on the root word. He said accents do make a big difference and if misplaced can make related words that should sound much alike, sound very different. He said different accents are largely what makes the words "Alice" and "alas" sound so different, as well as makes the names Mary and Marie sound so different. He said if these words had the accent on the same syllable they would sound basically like the same word. He said regarding the word "merry", it hardly even sounds like it's other form "merrily", if the word merrily does not have it's accent in accordance with the word merry. He said just put the ly sound on the name Marie and see how that sounds, and that is how the word "merrily" sounds with the accent misplaced (Marie ly). The monkeys then tried it and were amazed how merrily then hardly sounded like merry at all, but sort of sounded like someone trying to be like Marie. The elderly monkey then said some other things about the wise monkeys' school appeared to also be wrong but felt he had said enough of bad things about his school. When all the monkeys at the meeting learned about all these bad things about this Greek school, regarding it's excessive gammar and it's strange way of dividing compound words, and it's strange accents, as well as some of the sounds also being wrong, they were all very sad and pitied the monkeys trying to learn this Greek talk even more. The little monkeys now were even sad. Then one of them spoke up and said he didn't know if he should even talk because he was so little but yet he wondered how he could trust the wise monkey to be wise about his gammar or other things when he did not even teach the right way to divide compound words in the Greek talk, and which even a little monkey knows is bad for those trying to learn the Greek talk. The monkeys for a while all hung their heads and at last a very old and gray and sober looking monkey got up and said it had impressed him very much how this Jesus had said that only those who are like little children would enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and now he was very much wondering what could be done to help all the big monkeys in the jungle be like nice little monkeys who usually were ready to be taught and admit their mistakes, and said he further wondered what could be done to help all the distressed monkeys who were trying to learn the talk of the monkeys on the other side of the jungle.
After a long pause a wise monkey then stood up and said he thinks what would help all the monkeys in the jungle to become like nice little monkeys is to think about how big our world and jungle is, and to think about the many things in it that we don't know about. He said "all of us monkeys get old and die long before we know very much about it." He said, "thinking about the big power and intelligence, the God that somehow made the big jungle as well as everything in it, should make all of us monkeys feel very little." He said, "even the monkey with the best abilities and education, when he really thinks about this big God, knows he is only a very little monkey in His presence." Yet," he said, "too often us monkeys forget this big God and want to be big monkeys and in trying to imagine we are big monkeys often can't admit our ignorance and mistakes, and thus can't learn anymore, and end up becoming the blind leading the blind, and too often imagine we are wise just because of knowing some big words or because of going to some wise monkeys school and having lots of titles." He said, "when big monkeys refuse to hear another monkeys' honest and valid question, and imagine they have the answer before they really understand the question, they close the door to discovering real answers because they didn't understand the real question". He said, "it is good to try to learn, but to really learn one must have an open mind or he gets a mental block and can't see anything beyond what he wants to see, and too often big monkeys don't want to see things as they really are because that makes them too little."
He further said, "their are many other schools of knowledge other than language schools, in our jungle which have problems too similar to the wise monkeys language school." He said there are schools of science, medicine, and religion, as well as many others." He said, "even some religious schools in our jungle are very bad because of being ruled by blind and big monkeys, and thus this Jesus while on earth strongly reproved the big religious monkeys that erroneously ruled these schools even calling them fools and blind guides." And continuing on he said, "regarding the schools of science and medicine although they often do have lots of good knowledge, yet it is very sad that at some schools the ones that rule them are so big and bad that they not only foolishly refuse to admit error, but are even too big to accept or promote a very important discovery if they are not the monkey that discovered it. Thus an important discovery that could greatly help all or many monkeys may never get to help the monkeys as it could and should, and simply because the big monkeys ruling the school don't like promoting another monkeys' idea or discovery, but in jealously may disdain and hinder it." He with tears said, "This is very sad for all the monkeys in the jungle." He said he wonders how many good discoveries and ideas have fallen by the wayside because of big monkeys being resentful towards other monkeys' good ideas and discoveries, rather than promoting them. He further said too often the big monkeys also want too much money, and will almost do and teach anything to get it, rather than really caring about other monkeys. He said when the monkeys in our jungle get too bad, that the big God will allow much evil to befall them and wondered if it will not happen soon, as there is too much monkey business going on in our jungle.
Further he continued on and said "too many monkeys in our jungle don't really think or research, but will simply believe in whatever makes them look like big monkeys in the eyes of other monkeys. Further," He said, "too many monkeys in our jungle will only read things that they think are big to read, and likewise will only believe the things that the big monkeys print and say, even if the big monkeys can't give good reasons for what they say. Yet", he said, "these kind of monkeys often will not listen to or read what little monkeys say even if they can give very good reasons for what they say." He said" that is very sad", and said, "No wonder this Jesus taught that big ones cannot enter the Kingdom of God." He then with tears said, "there really is no reason to learn the Greek talk at all, and to read the ancient words of this Jesus in the Greek, if we don't listen to what He said anyway."
When he had finished speaking all the monkeys hung their heads, thinking about all that was just said, and also because of still thinking about the wise monkeys' Greek school and those distressed monkeys trying to learn the Greek talk. After a long pause a very tall monkey who was feeling very sorry for all of the distressed monkeys trying to learn the Greek talk, then spoke up and said he had just bought and read a new book that spoke about some nice ways to learn the Greek talk. He said he had brought the book along and wanted to read a page or two out of the book right now. So he started reading saying, "In learning the language of the monkeys on the other side of the jungle, or any new language, the meanings and applications of their strange words must become subconscious. Thus language learning tools very much should be created, and appropriate techniques employed to help that happen." He read, "Imagine the confusion even in our English language if only the two words "and" and "the" were exchanged one for the other and we would suddenly encounter this simple change in common speech which is so rapid! Yes, even though our conscious mind immediately would know the meanings of these two words was now turned around, our subconscious mind would not grasp this change for a long time, and it would take much listening for our subconscious mind to fully grasp that change and for things to again sound proper with only this simple change! Although many language teachers focus on technical gammar, such does very little if anything to help train the subconscious mind to grasp the right meaning and application of every word as they flow in rapid succession, and which familiarity with words must be attained to know a language. As one hears or reads, if one looses the train of thought, he often looses the ability to rightly apply the words, and if one misses a word he can easily loose the train of thought."
Further the monkey read, "Although our conscience mind can know the meanings of a certain word, just by being told what it means, to teach our subconscious mind to know what words mean simply takes much mental therapy. To thus provide the needed therapy, one quite helpful learning tool and technique, would be to listen to much literature being read, with every phrase firstly being read in the known language and secondly in the new language, in a sequence much like a speaker with his interpreter. Further as an additional enhancement when the words of the new language are spoken they could appear on a video screen together with their corresponding words of the known language. Seeing such would teach the mind to recognize the word by sight as well as by hearing. An example of this is given at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnFfLI6CYx4 , while another similar example is given at; http://www.home.earthlink.net/~biblicallanguages/id7.htm . Note, click on the tab that reads John_3_16.wmv ."
Further this monkey continued on and read, "Another quite helpful tool and technique would be repeatedly listening to familiar poems or Scripture verses, which at first would have just a few of the original words replaced with new words from the language being learned. The new words would be naturally known because of the words that surround them and because of being familiar with the literature. Then after one's subconscious mind has gotten used to the first few new words, then more new words would be inserted. Finally after hearing this repeatedly, and while more words of the new language were slowly being added, the whole piece of literature would sound proper in the new language."
The monkey then stopped reading for a bit and said he wondered why these kind of language tools were not made available by and promoted by the wise monkeys' school, rather than so much gammar, and a Greek pronunciation system that does not even rightly divide the many compound words. Yet he thought maybe it was because the wise monkey was to big to change or to admit error or to promote another monkeys ideas. Then he continued on reading saying, "Another quite helpful tool or technique would be, to listen to very familiar songs being sung, which would have the words replaced with corresponding words of the new language, and so the new words could largely be known by the music and melody of the song. Yes," he said, "the music or melody would help you learn the words, as it would significantly tell you what the words are. As a further enhancement as the song is being played, both the words of the new language and the known language, which correspond with the music should appear on a video screen to help the student also get accustomed to reading the words." He said, "An example of this is given at; http://www.home.earthlink.net/~biblicallanguages/id7.htm . Note, click on the tab that reads Greek_Song.wmv ."
He then said he has just a little more to read and continued on reading, "To see real life action relating to the words of the new language also would be very helpful, and a learning tool should be created to obtain that. Little monkeys learn language very fast in real life where words are emphatic and relate to what is actually going on, while an appropriate video could nicely simulate such real life activities while also saying both the English and Greek words that correspond with what is going on in the video. The speech on this video should be spoken first in the known language and then in Greek, in sequence like a speaker with his interpreter. Further, as the words of the new language are spoken they should appear on the bottom of the screen together with the English words."
He then in concluding read, "Learning language possibly involves as much learning what word clusters or phrases mean as what individual words mean, and this all must register with the subconscious mind. Language has many inconsistencies and complexities such as the term "the lights are out", meaning quite the opposite of the term "the stars are out", which kind of phrases or word clusters must be instinctively understood. Words also mean so many different things simply depending on the order in which they are given, such as the term "can you speak another language" meaning something much different than the term "you can speak another language". Note the very same five words are used, but just arranged differently. All these differences must be learned by experience."
The monkey when done reading out of his new book then said he wishes very much that learning tools as these would be created to help all the monkeys that are struggling with the Greek talk, or any new language. He said he sometime would like to learn the Hebrew talk of the monkeys beyond the sea and wishes for tools as this to help him. Yet he said, "what is most important, and more important than language is that we all be like those little ones of which this Jesus said will enter the Kingdom of Heaven". He said the God that made the big world is very big and he wished all the monkeys would go to this web page because it talks much about the ways of this big God http://www.teachmegod.com/home18e.htm . He said many religious schools in our jungle have wrongfully portrayed this God as a depriving and hard God, while rather He is a God wanting to help, bless, and satisfy, all the little monkeys who seek Him. By now the sun was sinking in the tall mountains in the west, and after a bunch of shaking hands with each other, all the monkeys went back into the thick jungle realizing in a new way that really no monkey is big, but that all monkeys, including even the most clever and educated, are very little monkeys before the big God who made the big world and the whole jungle.
This link very extensively compares the Septuagint Greek with the New Testament, and reveals that many quotes in the New Testament align better with the Greek Septagint than with the Old Testament Hebrew.
This link advocates that technical grammer really does not help one communicate
This link connects to group working at devoloping intuitive tools for learning Biblical languages.
Click on the below links for more writings about language learning
Click on the below link for many writtings on various subjects by the same writer.