What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby RandallButh » October 21st, 2013, 3:44 am

Most students are introduced to Greek through many ficticious verb forms.

For άγαπᾶν beginners are taught *ἀγαπάω
For ποιεῖν beginners are taught *ποιέω
For δηλοῦν beginners are taught *δηλόω.

The result is to wire the language in the brain through an analytic process rather than directly connected to meaning.

Instead, students need to think in terms of verbs that accented with tonos on the penult, γράφει, κλείει
and those that are accented perispomenos, circumflex: ἀγαπᾷ, ποιεῖ, δηλοῖ.

What form should be learned as a reference word? Probably the continuative infinitive ἀγαπᾶν, ποιεῖν, δηλοῦν, since it provides the helping vowel that will be listed in Liddell-Scott-Jones dictionary entries. These should be tied tightly in practice to the aorist infiinitives, which are more central to the langauge.

Personally, I recommend learning the verb in the voice that will be commonly used, αἱρεῖσθαι ἑλέσθαι "choose", ἀφαιρεῖν ἀφελεῖν "take away"

If Greek teachers would do the above they might find themselves walking down a different path in the language. Almost the same path, but somehow more alive, better for students.
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Re: What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 21st, 2013, 4:00 am

I've come to a similar position, perhaps as result of reading your article (which you should cite for us).

I have another question: What's your view on the principal parts?
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby RandallButh » October 21st, 2013, 5:30 am

Well, I have been hopeful that the article has had some positive influence on people.
The article is R. Buth, "Verbs, Perception and Aspect, Greek Lexicography and Grammar: Helping Students to Think in Greek" 177-198, in B. Taylor, et al. edd., Biblical Greek Language and Lexicography, Eerdmans, 2004. (The Danker Festschrift.)

As for principal parts, I treat them partially.
Memorizing a list of "6+ principal-parts" for words like
-- στῆναι ἑστάναι -- 'to stand, be standing'
or -- ἀναστῆναι ἀνίστασθαι -- 'to stand up, be standing up, rising'
or -- στῆσαι ἱστάναι -- 'to be setting up'
is misleading for students and users. To join the above under ἵστημι almost guarantees confusion and lack of fluency.

Better to learn 'pieces' of some traditional verbs and only later to think of them as etymologically joined. This is surely how the Greeks learned their own language. So I am only in favor of principal parts that fit together lexically. I recommend that students focus particularly on the aorist and continuative infinitives in whichever voice is being used*. We have our Greek verb tables set out in such a manner, cutting across some traditional joinings.

PS: *Note the sentence in the first post "I recommend learning the verb in the voice that will be commonly used, αἱρεῖσθαι ἑλέσθαι "choose", ἀφαιρεῖν ἀφελεῖν "take away"
"
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Re: What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby cwconrad » October 21st, 2013, 6:58 am

RandallButh wrote:Well, I have been hopeful that the article has had some positive influence on people.
The article is R. Buth, "Verbs, Perception and Aspect, Greek Lexicography and Grammar: Helping Students to Think in Greek" 177-198, in B. Taylor, et al. edd., Biblical Greek Language and Lexicography, Eerdmans, 2004. (The Danker Festschrift.)

As for principal parts, I treat them partially.
Memorizing a list of "6+ principal-parts" for words like
-- στῆναι ἑστάναι -- 'to stand, be standing'
or -- ἀναστῆναι ἀνίστασθαι -- 'to stand up, be standing up, rising'
or -- στῆσαι ἱστάναι -- 'to be setting up'
is misleading for students and users. To join the above under ἵστημι almost guarantees confusion and lack of fluency.

Better to learn 'pieces' of some traditional verbs and only later to think of them as etymologically joined. This is surely how the Greeks learned their own language. So I am only in favor of principal parts that fit together lexically. I recommend that students focus particularly on the aorist and continuative infinitives in whichever voice is being used*. We have our Greek verb tables set out in such a manner, cutting across some traditional joinings.

PS: *Note the sentence in the first post "I recommend learning the verb in the voice that will be commonly used, αἱρεῖσθαι ἑλέσθαι "choose", ἀφαιρεῖν ἀφελεῖν "take away"
"


Amen to all of the above!
A remaining question here is:
How should verbs best be lemmatized in a lexicon?

In view of the above, I think it's pretty clear that it should be by the infinitive, either aorist of present (as Randall has noted).

Another item is also implicit in what Randall has said above: Verbs should be lemmatized in their standard voice form: στῆναι (­ἵστασθαι) with active causative στῆσαι (ἵστάναι) listed either separately or below. As Randall has implied already, verbs consistently lemmatized in 1 sg. pres. indic. active forms that either don't exist or are anomalous for the verb in question.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
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Re: What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby Jonathan Robie » October 21st, 2013, 9:26 am

Do you have materials that I could look at equivalent to the standard lists of verbs in other works? If someone wanted to teach this way, what resources are available?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby RandallButh » October 21st, 2013, 9:56 am

Amen to all of the above!
A remaining question here is:
How should verbs best be lemmatized in a lexicon?

In view of the above, I think it's pretty clear that it should be by the infinitive, either aorist of present (as Randall has noted).


There are probably two different issues here, depending on whether new material is being developed or using some older material.

When we discuss verbs we should probably lemmatize by the infinitives, in the appropriate voice.

So commentaries or grammatical discussions about a verb like ποιήσασθαι // ποιεῖσθαι should cite that infinitive.
For most verbs the generic aspect will be the aorist, for some, like κεῖσθαι 'to lie, be placed' only the continuative is available.

I would recommend this practice for new pedagogical materials, too, like in indices to Greek training programs. Some materials like the Hatch-Redpath Concordance were already using infinitive lemmata over a century ago.

The second issue arises when one thinks about LSJM and their "I am doing" lemmata. None of this should be read in such a way to take away from the great detail and scope of the LIddell-Scott-Jones-Mackenzie dictionary. What a colossal, cooperative effort. That Greek-English dictionary is a work that spans almost two centuries of scholarly endeavor. A fantastic wealth of data and citations. LSJM happened to choose the 1st-person singular present tense for their lemmata. Modern Greek doesn't even have infinitives so they are not a part of this discussion. The lemmata in LSJM are very easy for anyone to search even if they themselves "think with infinitives." However, the choices that LSJM made do not relate to pedagogy and do not need to dictate pedagogy, even for using LSJM.

Whatever infinitive one is wanting to search, a person simply drops the infinitive endings and adds -ω for most verbs. For verbs accented with the circumflex, one should keep the -ε-, -α-, or -ο- vowel and then add omega or -ομαι. For infinitives in -έναι, -άναι, -όναι, one adds -μι to a lengthened vowel --η, --η, --ω. Thinking through rules when looking up a word in a dictionary is fine. Dictionary lookup is not part of communication in a language and a person has all the time that they would like for processing rules in order to find a lemma (lexical entry form).

[[A problem only arises in reverse, when trying to build the network in the brain from rapid processing of a language at the speed of speech. One cannot be humming "i before e except after c" [joke] or "ε(ω) plus ει is εῖ, ε- plus -ε is -ει, but the accent retracts a syllable." Instead, when one wants to say something like 'Be walking around', one says περιπάτει or περιπατεῖτε and the present tense is περιπατεῖς and περιπατεῖτε. The forms must come out without routing through a concious algorithm, no matter how high-speed. These accent shifts are crucial to fluency and consitute part of a fluency workshop.]]
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Re: What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby RandallButh » October 21st, 2013, 10:12 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Do you have materials that I could look at equivalent to the standard lists of verbs in other works? If someone wanted to teach this way, what resources are available?


The most basic tool is probably the Greek Morphologia book, (www.BiblicalLanguageCenter.com). It is a work in progress, where we add pages from time to time. Some, like Paul Nitz on this forum, have stated that it is the single most useful resource they have. Basically, it presents Greek verbs in one particular voice and has an English-Greek index. It covers about two hundred basic verbs, which, by the nature of Greek, means mostly all the "funky verb forms" as we sometimes refer to them. The common verbs in a language often have unpredictable and irregular forms. Greek is just a little perverse and exhuberant in this feature, but that only meant that kids took a little longer to get all the forms, and they didn't even notice the extra time, having nothing to compare to.

As for teaching, the two natural classroom activities are TPR (see James Asher) and TPRS (see Ray and Seeley). STudents get to hear the forms and respond to them and to use them before they ever get the rules for the historical generation of the forms. For homework we have students listening to pictures being described in Greek (Livning Koine Greek Part One) and annotated "language lab materials" (Living Koine Greek 2a and 2b). Teachers notes are available on request.
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Re: What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby Alan Patterson » October 21st, 2013, 12:38 pm

Interestingly, Wm Mounce does not have first year students learn accents in Basics of Biblical Greek. Perhaps he feels it is better for 2nd year students, who have enough Greek under their belts, to begin learning accents. Just a wild guess, although he doesn't seem to be too concerned with the accent side of Greek. I wonder if he doesn't believe teaching accents altogether?
χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη,
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Re: What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby RandallButh » October 21st, 2013, 1:06 pm

Alan Patterson wrote:Interestingly, Wm Mounce does not have first year students learn accents in Basics of Biblical Greek. Perhaps he feels it is better for 2nd year students, who have enough Greek under their belts, to begin learning accents. Just a wild guess, although he doesn't seem to be too concerned with the accent side of Greek. I wonder if he doesn't believe teaching accents altogether?


If students are taught communicatively, they will hear and internalize the correctly accented syllables.
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Re: What form(s) should be learned for verbs?

Postby Paul-Nitz » October 21st, 2013, 3:35 pm


Reference form in written works, or “Lemmatized” form: τὸ γνῶναι
Is it a learning tool, like a course, or a book of forms? Make the head reference form the Aorist Infinitive. If it is a dictionary, I'm not sure if it makes no difference these days. A computer search removes the need for one certain form to be the reference.


(What is needed is a dictionary that has all known forms listed together with usage details. A close approximation to this is linking dictionaries in a software programme. E.g. In Logos, link “Lexham’s Analytical Lexicon of the GNT” to other lexicons with more detail. Use the search box in Lexham to search for a word. Click on the lemma link given, and your other lexicons will display the same word).

Reference form to learn: ἀόριστος καὶ παρατατική ἀπαρέμφατος
“What form should be learned as a reference word?” I'm with the crowd. The Aorist Infinitive. But why pick only one? λογός, –ου, ὁ consists of three pieces of information to memorize. So, why not memorize Aor & Pres Infinitive? Look at what wealth of information you get out of these pairs. This is manageable learning, unlike a memorization pattern consisting of 6 parts (with variable blanks in many patterns).

    χρήσασθαι---- χρῆσθαι
    γένεσθαι---- γίνεσθαι
    πειραθῆναι---- πειρᾶσθαι
    λυπηθῆναι---- λυπεῖσθαι
    βουληθῆναι---- βούλεσθαι
    ἀναστῆναι---- ἀνίστασθαι
    χαρῆναι---- χαίρειν
    δοῦναι---- διδόναι
    θεῖναι---- τιθέναι
    ἀφεῖναι---- ἀφιέναι
    γνῶναι---- γινώσκειν

Verbs which are regularly in Middle, or which have Middle forms that substantially change the meaning, should be treated as separate verbs in instruction and (if I had my wish) in lexicons.

Sample of paradigms: βασιλεύς ὁ ἀόριστος
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... sp=sharing

Accents not taught: θαυμάζω
I just can’t get my head around the idea of learning a language without pronouncing it. Computer code? Yes. Greek? No.

Best Resource
As me mentioned, I really appreciate Buth's Morphology book. I get frustrated when I misplace it in my office. Then I have to go back home and get my second copy.
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi
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