Researcher: Alana Taylor
Research Title/Topic:

Methods in Teaching New Testament (Koine) Greek

(Potential Applications of Second Language Acquisition Theory and Modern Language Teaching Curriculum to Koine Greek Pedagogy)


Research Level PhD.

University of Birmingham


Direct R







Final Revision and Submission

You can contact Alana directly using this address:

For a lot of people the Biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek) form one of the biggest obstacles to their study and understanding of the Bible. Few find learning any language easy and Greek has the added drawback of being a 'dead' language. Although techniques for teaching language, using conversation, role play etc., have revolutionised modern language learning, New Testament (Koine) Greek tends to be restricted to reading and writing texts.

Alana is currently involved in exciting work that is developing new ways to teach New Testament Greek which will make it more accessible.

Alana describes how she "instantly fell in love" with the ancient Greek language following an early fascination with ancient Greek culture and the opportunity to learn its language at High School. Her growing participation within the Christian church led her to focus on the Koine (type found in the New Testament) form of the language. A desire to teach the language that she had come to love in the most effective ways possible led her to undertake PhD research at the University of Birmingham. She describes her research as, "investigating the mechanics behind how human beings learn language; and I'm looking at theories of educational practice and modern language teaching methods to see whether theories from these fields can be applied to Koine Greek teaching practices." 


Thesis Abstract

This thesis explores the possibility of changing the current method of teaching for Hellenistic Greek, which is the grammar-translation method.  First the processes of first and second language acquisition (e.g. how we as human beings learn to understand and produce language and the reasons why) are explored in order to illustrate that the learning of a language is distinct in many ways from the learning of other types of information; and therefore requires a teaching method specifically designed to instruct students in a language’s phonology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics.  From there, the work moves on to show how a growing understanding of those processes has affected the evolution of modern language teaching curriculum; and to show some ways in which the various syllabi and new methods can be applied to instruction in Koine. Finally, it reviews course materials already available for Greek teachers, their strengths and weaknesses in light of what language acquisition involves.

Meet the Researcher

"I was born and raised in Boston , Massachusetts , USA and then moved to Minneapolis at 18 to do my university degree before coming to study in England at Birmingham University in 2003. Currently, I'm doing revisions on my doctoral thesis, and teaching Greek at Westminster Theological Centre in London. In London I'm teaching people who are employed in full-time careers, but want to learn the Biblical languages and/or take other courses in theology as well. Because of their work schedule, Westminster Theological Centre holds most of its courses on the weekend or during week day evenings. Because I am dealing with learners from vastly different backgrounds, I have found it really helpful to apply the things I've learned about language acquisition and different learning styles while doing my thesis. I try as much as I can to reflect what I've learnt in how I teach, whether that's by using more pictures, songs, physical motion etc."

"I hope to be able to continue teaching in London and to continue my research into the most accessible ways for people to learn biblical languages."


Alana is very keen to discuss all aspects of her research. You can contact her directly using her email address in the box (above left). Any other correspondence can be passed onto her through SYNEIDON.