We’ve just started the academic year here, which means I’ve just started teaching a new year of introductory Greek. I like to begin by using conversation in Greek, coaxing the students to understand things by my gestures and emphases, rather than by translation:
- What is your name?
- My name is Matthew
- I’m a teacher.
- What are you doing?
- I’m writing letters
But this year I’ve reflected some more on how this has been working, and I’ve decided to add aorist imperatives in, right at the beginning:
Although we’re not yet reflecting self-consciously on what we’re doing with the language, I think that introducing the aorist as the default tenseform for general imperatives will hopefully communicate the fact that the aorist is not primarily about “past time.” The idea is that this will allow the issue of verbal aspect to arise a little more naturally from communicative practice. We’ll see how things go.