Module Catalogue 2022/23

CAG1001 : Beginners' Greek in Action 1

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Athanassios Vergados
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The overall aim of the Beginners’ Greek modules is to allow students to engage with what ancient authors wrote in their own words, and to introduce them to the study of Greek literary texts in the original languages.

The linguistic aims of CAG1001 are to:

1. instil the acquisition and consolidation of core linguistic skills and knowledge (words and their various forms; clauses, sentences, and their structures; strategies for reading and translating);
2. train students in the use of linguistic reference tools such as the LSJ dictionary.

The 'In Action' sessions aim:
1. to help students to solidify and extend their working knowledge of basic vocabulary and its usage;
2. to give students an opportunity to put their developing knowledge of key grammatical patterns and syntactical structures into practice;
3. to help students to develop their ability to analyse and appreciate the effects of different modes of expression in the language, including differences of meaning and style, without the aid of a published translation;
4. to train students in the application of language skills to literary analysis, and in critical reading of texts in the original language;
5. to assist students in developing and applying increasingly nuanced translation strategies based on the foregoing skills; and
6. to enhance students' ability to read classical literature more meaningfully by applying all these skills to unfamiliar texts in the original language.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module introduces students to key grammatical patterns and structures of Greek, which will enable students to identify the function performed by the individual words in a Greek sentence. It also trains students in 'dictionary skills': how to work back to the form of a Greek word to be looked up, from its form in a text; how to take into account the range of meanings and connotations many Greek words carry.

CAG1001 is taught in four contact hours per week. Three of these hours focus primarily on the acquisition and consolidation of core linguistic skills and knowledge (words and their various forms; clauses, sentences, and their structures; strategies for reading and translating).

The remaining weekly hour is devoted to Greek ‘in Action’.
Several methods are used in supporting the module's aims, as appropriate to the level, the readings, and the specific grammatical elements being learned. ‘In Action’ class exercises and assessed assignments are usually based on the close study of one or more short passages of text in the original language. Methods may include translation of passages into English; translation from English into Greek; comparison of published translations; stylistic analysis; scansion of passages of verse; memorisation of short excerpts; recitation.
Both the 'In Action' sessions and other languages classes will introduce students to skills and techniques of Greek dictionary use.

Students are expected to complete regular homework exercises.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completion of the course, students should have acquired a range of key foundational linguistic skills, including:
- the ability to read and recognise the Greek alphabet;
- a command of some essential grammatical forms and syntactical structures of Greek;
- the ability to deduce the 'dictionary form' of Greek words from their form in a text, and look up their meaning;
- the ability to identify and understand the form and function of words within a Greek sentence;
- They should also have developed a range of translation strategies, and the ability to
- appreciate and analyse stylistic effects in the original text, and the contribution these make to interpretation.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students should have had the opportunity to develop skills involved in learning a classical language (logical and analytical thought, problem-solving, adaptability) and skills in interpersonal communication and teamwork.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion681:0068:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading881:0088:00Two hours preparation for each session
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching441:0044:00Full group interactive language classes.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

General rationale: This set-up aims to preserve as much of the (traditional) method for from-scratch language teaching which has worked so well over the past years, and has been commended by students.

The four taught classes per week introduce, explain, demonstrate, and give students the opportunity to apply under guidance, the knowledge of the Greek language and the approach to analysing Greek texts which the module aims to instil. Time is set aside in each session for students to ask questions.

In private study, students consolidate knowledge imparted in the taught classes, further practise applying that knowledge to set exercises, and learn to use their language skills to think in analytical and constructive ways about original Greek texts. Written exercises are set in order to aid students review, apply, and consolidate their linguistic knowledge.

Sessions will be held in-person unless covid-related guidance prevents us from doing so. In this case we will hold class meetings as synchronous on-line sessions via Zoom.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination901A50Inspera digital examination
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A352,000 words following the format of 'Greek in action' sessions.
Written exercise1M15Weekly tests.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MShort homework exercises in grammar and vocabulary, to be completed in physical or on-line format.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Inspera examination: An examination is still inevitably the best way of testing students' assimilation of linguistic knowledge and skills, and their translation skills in both seen and unseen texts, without the use of aids (e.g., grammar charts etc.). It is thus the ideal format for assessing the students' assimilation and command of the taught material.

The assignment is designed to assess students' ability to apply their linguistic knowledge and analytical and problem-solving skills to original literary texts in a way that develops and tests their skills of close literary analysis and assesses their abilities in effectively using dictionaries, grammar books, and other relevant aids.

The tests ensure students’ review of the material covered in the previous week and allow the instructor to detect difficulties early on in the semester and provide students with constant feedback on their progress.

The short homework exercises help students review and consolidate the material introduced to them in the previous session, and enables the instructor to provide constant feedback.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

This module cannot be made available to Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students under any circumstances.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.