Cataloging verbs as a pedagogical question

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Cataloging verbs as a pedagogical question

Post by cwconrad » September 26th, 2012, 7:31 am

RandallButh wrote:Sometimes there are simple items that are easy to grasp and implement even within 'Grammar Translation' curricula:

> 'Please remember to use real words, and only real words, when teaching beginning Greek.'

and ... 'when learning Greek'

This can help a student plan how to be thinking.
I've taken this to the pedagogy forum, where the current discussion really belongs.

One recurrent item when this question is raised is the lexical lemmatization of verbs -- and the listing of "principal parts" or key forms of the major verbs and their paradigms -- is the matter of how we refer to the contract verbs: ἀγαπῶ, ποιῶ, σταυρῶ. These are always lemmatized and always referred to in non-existent uncontracted 1 sg. indicative active forms. They would be perfectly recognized as conract verbs if written in the present active (or middle) infinitives: ἀγαπᾶν, ποιεῖν, σταυροῦν. I recall that Randall made this point clearly and well in a volume of papers on lexicography (Danker festscrift?).
The lexicographical conventions are an obstacle to overcoming this problem. I don't think, either, that there's any universally accepted convention for listing the "principal parts" or a catalog of verb-stems for the different tense/voice systems. A lexicographical convention is essential, I think, for any pedagogical system. The principal parts or a conventional catalog of essential verb forms indicative of the tense/voice systems is, I think, a necessary element for the "grammar/translation" pedagogy. Could infinitives be used throughout such a catalog? The usefulness of the 1 sg. indicative forms, I guess, is that they show the augment, but how important is that? Might we have something like: λύειν, λὺσειν, λῦσαι, λελυκέναι, λέλυσθαι, λυθῆναι? -- or more importantly, for an irregular verb, e.g. πάσχειν, πείσεσθαι, παθεῖν, πεπονθέναι or γίνεσθαι, γενήσεσθαι, γενέσθαι, γεγονέναι, γεγένησθαι, γενηθῆσθαι?

In sum, how might we better formulate the tabular paradigms for Greek verbs to be most helpful for pedagogy and for reference?
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

Posts: 922
Joined: May 13th, 2011, 4:01 am

Re: Cataloging verbs as a pedagogical question

Post by RandallButh » September 27th, 2012, 3:00 am

i've never listed six principal parts by infinitive.

Usually, I'm relating to one disposition (one voice) or another so I tend to deal with a subset of infinitives, ποιῆσαι, ποιεῖν, πεποικέναι, ποιήσειν (aorist, paratatikos, parakeimenos, and mellwn).

However, there are actually two questions that arise from Carl's question. 1. How can one best respresent the verbs and the principal parts? 2. How does one deal with the literature?

The second one is the easier. A person can be trained to read any spelling with real words.
What does this mean? When a student looks at a vocabulary presentation of ἀγαπάω they simply speak to themselves and read either silently or outloud, privately or publically, ἀγαπῶ. If they see ποιεεσθαι they read ποιεῖσθαι. This is a very natural process and one that we do all the time in languages that we speak. E.g., "Where have you been?" can be read as a homonym to 'bean' or 'Ben', depending on one's personal dialect. The bottom line is that one should read with real words, regardless of how they are spelled. That can work for misspellings as well as etymological spellings. One can read that famous first century papyri letter τωι οιειωι 'to the son' as τῷ υἱῷ without further ado. (OK, yes, that misspelling is a little tricky and needs to be sounded out with the silent grammatical endings dropped, but the principle holds.) The principle: read and pronounce the intended, real Greek word.

So back to question one, how can verbs best be lemmatized and related to principle parts?
Several Greek works use infinitives as a verbal lemma. The Hatch Redpath Concordance to the LXX is the one that sticks in my mind, but there are others that one runs accross. The majority of tools use the first person *present as the lemma (*and the majority of those use uncontracted forms *ἀγαπάω). Every new tool must make the decision anew. I've talked with the middle-liddel revision team and they toyed with infinitives but have decided on traditional Liddel-Scott forms. This is a case of following their precedent. More flexibility arises when one is annotating reading material for students and that is where the 'real word' principle may be seen a little more often.
My recommendation would be to use infinitives for lemmata and then real first person words for principal parts when and if such parts are being listed. This only affects the very first principal part. However, as mentioned above, I tend to present subsets of principal parts and verbs in teaching material according to the meaning and the disposition/voice.
The practical principal parts of "I arise and stand up" are ἀνίσταμαι, ἀνἐστην, along with ἀνιστάμην and ἀναστησομαι.
Infinitive lemmata are ἀναστῆναι and ἀνίστασθαι (and ἀναστήσεσθαι).
Those are the forms that one needs for communicating in Greek, though once standing up a person needs the infinitive ἑστάναι and indicative ἕστηκα.

You gotta love the Greeks. It would have been interesting to listen to two-year olds as they correctly got some of these words, and then four-year-olds as they mixed some of them up (the equivalent of our kids saying 'I goed to the store.')

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