"δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
Jacob Rhoden
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"δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Post by Jacob Rhoden » April 21st, 2015, 9:16 pm

Most of the books, flashcards, resources have followed a fairly standard "δια + GEN" form. I recently came across an iPhone app that conveys this information as "δια του" which I found really interesting. It seems to keep my mind in the greek rather than switching into thinking about grammar.

Is this "δια του" form unique to this iPhone app, quite rare, or are there a school of people that use this form? Are there downsides to it?

Paul-Nitz
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Re: "δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Post by Paul-Nitz » April 22nd, 2015, 8:40 am

I can't imagine a downside to διὰ τοῦ. A great improvement over διὰ + Genitive.

Remember that it could also be:
διὰ τῆς... διὰ τῶν...

Or, that it might well appear without an article:
διὰ Χριστοῦ... λόγοῦ... νόμοῦ... αὐτοῦ... αὐτῆς...
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: "δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Post by Barry Hofstetter » April 22nd, 2015, 8:54 am

I've never seen it done before, but I agree with Paul -- the more we can use Greek to do Greek the better off we are. Paul, I think the rationale for using τοῦ is that the masculine or or possibly neuter singular would be the default form if one is simply expressing which case the preposition takes.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

cwconrad
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Re: "δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Post by cwconrad » April 22nd, 2015, 10:59 am

While I can understand the objective of maximal simplification, I can't but wonder whether this may end in minimal utility. The comparable question who is really helped by the Barclay Newman Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament?Its inclusion in readily-available UBS print versions of the GNT clearly indicates that it's a popular resource, but the more cynical among us might question the level of understanding of the text that is facilitated by this kind of speedier reading of the Greek text. Today's enchiridion is the smartphone, the fingertip magic access to what is to be known. I guess that if one is well aware that ΔΙΑ ΤΟΥ accesses the key not just to masculine and neuter genitive nouns with the preposition but also to such expressions as δι’ ἡμερὼν or δια πασῶν, maybe it's useful. So much of our discourse regarding pedagogical terminology and resources does seem to involve finding the right "handles" for things. Perhaps ΔΙΑ ΤΟΥ can be further simplified by creating the right icon or emoji for it? :?
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: "δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Post by Stephen Hughes » April 22nd, 2015, 11:23 am

In the pre-lexical stage of native speaker language acquisition patterns would have been learnt (or perhaps we could say we would have become familiar with them). The patterns of genitives are composed of έων, εως, -ας, -ης, -ος, -ους, -ου and -ων elements - with various stress patterns, but not in all possible combinations.

In other words, if we had learnt Greek natively, we would have patterns like "τῆς blah-ῆς bláh-ης". Which we would have recognised when we had come across passages like:
Matthew 7:11 wrote:διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης
A pattern like "τῆς blah-ῆς bláh-ας" as in:
Luke 13:24 wrote:διὰ τῆς στενῆς θύρας
Acts 24:2 wrote:διὰ τῆς σῆς προνοίας
when heard as a mature native speaker, would have been processed in a similar to the way I would listen to Americans saying /fæst/ for "fast". For somebody who would have first recognised the "τῆς blah-ῆς bláh-ης" pattern, they may at some stage of their development (perhaps 3 y.o.) corrected the "τῆς blah-ῆς bláh-ας" pattern to "τῆς blah-ῆς bláh-ης", and for other early learners it would have been vice-versa.

Another genitive pattern that would have been learnt in the pre-lexical stage would have been "τῆς bláh-εως", that would allow recognition of phrases like:
Romans 2:23 wrote:διὰ τῆς παραβάσεως
Galatians 3:26 wrote:διὰ τῆς πίστεως
At an early stage (perhaps <3 years old) those would be recognised individual patterns, rather than a "genitive" pattern as the "δια του" that you mentioned implies. At some point around 3 years of age, there is a cognitive break through in language learning, and certain of the patterns would have been recognised as being grammatically equivalent.

When that would have happened, would have been that there would have been a leveling effect, similar to what we have in our children saying "maked" as an over extension of a common rule. According to the direction that Greek took to develop into Modern Greek, the basic unit that others were made to conform to was "τῆς blah-ῆς" / "τῆς bláh-ης" for some forms of feminine genitives. That, however, would not have been universal across all children.

It would have taken longer for a recognition of the grammatical equivalence of genitives across genders and that would lead to a confusion in genders (more often where natural and grammatical gender are different, less when they are the same) up until the ages of 7, 8 or 9 - depending on the individual child's cognitive development. The way that that happened, would depend on the order that the child recognised that some of the things that where up until then thought to be singularities in the language were actually "grammatically" equivalent - i.e. that they fulfilled the same syntactic function in similar sentence patterns.

Learning in that way, the δια could be followed by a diverse, but finite set of patterns, and in listening to or reading Greek, we would have (sub-consciously) recognised a pattern, and consciously paid attention to the lexical values of the lexically significant words nested in one or other of those patterns.

Looking at it in that way, the "δια του" that you mentioned could be seen as a short-hand way of referring to all those possible genitive patterns that a mature native speaker would have had - some beginning with the article and some not.

We have not learnt Greek like that, and you are not now either. You are learning to actively recognise the grammatical case with an English name in the foreground of your thinking. We start with a common patter and diversify, rather than start with all patterns and recognise equivalences.

I agree with Barry and Paul's sentiments...
Barry Hofstetter wrote:I've never seen it done before, but I agree with Paul -- the more we can use Greek to do Greek the better off we are. Paul, I think the rationale for using τοῦ is that the masculine or or possibly neuter singular would be the default form if one is simply expressing which case the preposition takes.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: "δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 22nd, 2015, 6:27 pm

Perhaps it's better to use a form of τις, τι instead of the article, since the phrase is an actual constituent. I seem to recall something like that being used in the Greek grammatical tradition. E.g., δια τινος for the genitive and δια τινα for the accusative.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Jacob Rhoden
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Re: "δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Post by Jacob Rhoden » April 23rd, 2015, 1:33 am

Thanks guys for the feedback, Im very tempted to update all my future flashcards in this way. It feels to me like it might be beneficial of me personally, but I was worried there might be some issue with it that (as a beginner) I might not be aware of.
Stephen Carlson wrote:Perhaps it's better to use a form of τις, τι instead of the article, since the phrase is an actual constituent. I seem to recall something like that being used in the Greek grammatical tradition. E.g., δια τινος for the genitive and δια τινα for the accusative.
I am not sure about other textbooks, but the forms for τις are not introduced until much later in duff. The definite article is assumedly much closer to the front of most textbooks?

Paul-Nitz
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Re: "δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Post by Paul-Nitz » April 23rd, 2015, 5:37 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Perhaps it's better to use a form of τις, τι i
Of course! That's the way to go. διὰ τινος. "through something."

This is the standard way some lexicons (BDAG, Liddell) indicate usage. Things like,
  • ὑπο τινος... (by someone, Genitive)
    δουλε̍ύω τινι... (serve someone, Dative)
    κελεύω τινα... (command someone, Acc).
Jacob Rhoden wrote:forms for τις are not introduced until much later in duff.
Ignore the book and learn them now. The τίς, τί pattern is very useful in internalizing Greek.

For example, in learning the verb endings:

  • λέγει.... (Ask yourself, τίς λέγει; Answer, οὗτος λέγει! he speaks)
    δεχόμεθαι.... (Ask yourself, τίνες δέχονται; Answer: ἡμεῖς δεχόμεθα! we receive)
Or, in learning noun endings:
  • λέγει πρὸς αὐτόν...... (Ask yourself, πρός τίνα λέγει; Answer, λέγει πρὸς αὐτὸν! he speaks to him)
    δεχόμεθαι τῷ ξένῳ.... (Ask yourself, τίνι δεχόμεθα; Answer: τῷ ξένῳ δεχόμεθα! we welcome the foreigner)
And as you learn vocabulary or forms, a short-cut way to create a physical impression in your mind is to gesture the thought. This gesturing creates the useful illusion that real communication is taking place and will help most learners to embed the learning as LANGUAGE, rather than adding the burden of a decoding step. E.g. make up some physical gesture with your hands to stand for διά / through. For me, a questioning shrug works for τίς, τί (interagative) and an "I dunno" shrug works for τις, τι (indefinite). [/size]

This sort of advice is what I intend to expand on in a upcoming post in my series of thoughts about the communicative approach. The topic will be something like "how an autodidact can use communicative methods." Here’s the first in the series…
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Stephen Carlson
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Re: "δια + GEN" vs "δια του"

Post by Stephen Carlson » April 23rd, 2015, 5:56 am

Jacob Rhoden wrote:I am not sure about other textbooks, but the forms for τις are not introduced until much later in duff. The definite article is assumedly much closer to the front of most textbooks?
Yeah, the forms of τις, κτλ. are third declension, which many textbooks put off. But it's a really important declension and the sooner you know it, the better.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

cwconrad
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Reference format & Learning ("δια + GEN" vs "δια του")

Post by cwconrad » April 23rd, 2015, 9:23 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Jacob Rhoden wrote:I am not sure about other textbooks, but the forms for τις are not introduced until much later in duff. The definite article is assumedly much closer to the front of most textbooks?
Yeah, the forms of τις, κτλ. are third declension, which many textbooks put off. But it's a really important declension and the sooner you know it, the better.
The particular item under discussion bears upon several concerns of our discipline (a polysemous term in itself!): reference form/formula, pedagogical topic, terminology. What term do we use for the particular case-usage of διὰ + genitive? How do we best teach that case usage? What formula is best for indexing or grammatical listing of constructions? It's helpful to have consistency in these matters so far as possible, even more helpful if the term and/or formula is clearly indicative of its referent. I do think that the formula δια τινος is most apt in this instance. On the other hand, Stephen Hughes brought up the somewhat related matter of how a native speaker "naturally" learns this construction by the pairing of διὰ with the several genitive-case forms.
Yet another issue that has arisen is the most useful sequencing of items to be learned by beginners in ancient Greek. I agree with Stephen Carlson that, while first-and-second-declension morphology may seem more consistent and easier to learn, the third-declension nouns are so indispensable that they ought to be learned as early as practicable (it's equally absurd to postpone the subjunctive as long as possible in Latin pedagogy, inasmuch as communication in Latin is nigh unto impossible without using the subjunctive of verbs quite frequently).
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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