Conventiculum Graecum


Anyone with at least intermediate knowledge of ancient Greek and an interest in developing active competence in the language is invited to the first σύνοδος ἑλληνική at the University of Kentucky, modeled on the well-known Latin conventicula organized by Professor Terence Tunberg since 1996. From July 12-19, 2017, we will use ancient Greek as an active language of communication to talk about everyday objects and events and to discuss selections from a wide variety of ancient Greek texts. This sort of immersion experience will benefit a variety of ancient Greek users: students who wish to read ancient Greek more quickly and without automatically producing an English translation; teachers who wish to introduce oral and/or aural ancient Greek into their classrooms; and anyone who wishes to encounter ancient Greek in a way that might be different from his or her previous experiences.

Organizers: Dr. Christophe Rico (Polis Institute, Jerusalem) and Stephen Hill (MA, University of Kentucky). Dr. Rico is the founder and director of the Polis Institute, Jerusalem, which runs regular courses in ancient Greek as a living language during the academic year in Jerusalem and intensive courses in a variety of countries during the summer. He has also written the textbook Polis: Speaking Greek as a Living Language. Stephen Hill has taught summer courses in spoken ancient Greek for the Polis Institute at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome and at Ave Maria University in Florida. He holds an MA in Classics from the University of Kentucky and an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (N.B.: Dr. Rico’s participation will depend on the number of registrations received.)

Schedule: The σύνοδος will begin on 12 July 2017 and end on 19 July 2017. On the first day, a reception will be held at 6PM at which any language may be used: not only Greek but also Latin, English, etc. Beginning the following day, participants are requested to use only Greek during the sessions. From 13 to 19 July, sessions will be held each day from about 9 to 5 with two short breaks in the morning and afternoon and one longer break for lunch.

Activities: All sessions will focus on developing an active command of ancient Greek. Some sessions will be devoted to talking about everyday objects and events, some to writing Greek, and still others to reading and discussing ancient Greek texts in Greek.

Preparation: At least four weeks in advance, a packet of materials will be sent to participants containing some Greek texts. Because a variety of interests will be represented among participants, these texts will be drawn from a variety of periods and genres.

Prerequisites: It is not necessary to have experience in speaking ancient Greek. Participants should, however, have completed at least two years of ancient Greek grammar at the university level or equivalent. Accordingly, they should have a reasonable grasp of basic morphology and syntax and be able to read unadapted Greek texts with the aid of a dictionary. Experienced readers (and/or speakers) of ancient Greek are most welcome.

Travelling to Lexington: by air, the easiest way to reach Lexington is the city’s Blue Grass Airport, a twenty-minute drive from campus. It is also possible to fly into Louisville or Cincinnati,  although this makes transportation to Lexington more difficult to arrange. By car, Lexington is easily accessed via I-75 and I-64.

Meals in Lexington: Our sessions are located on the campus of the University of Kentucky, near a wide variety of restaurants and university cafeterias.

Lodging: Participants may make their own arrangements with a local hotel or take advantage of the less expensive rooms offered through the university’s student housing. These rooms are also quite close to the location of the sessions. In 2016, a shared student suite cost about $40.00 per night; individual occupancy of an entire suite cost about $80.00 per night. Suites include a bathroom and a small kitchen. Payment for university housing is made directly to the university housing administrators, not to the organizers of the σύνοδος.

Registration: Participation in the σύνοδος requires a modest fee of $100 (this does not include accomodation or meals). To register, please send an email expressing your interest to Stephen Hill at rstephenhill at gmail dot com.

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