Prompts for active vs. middle/passive

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Jonathan Robie
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Prompts for active vs. middle/passive

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 23rd, 2014, 4:20 pm

Here's a challenge - I would like to teach the distinction between active and middle/passive forms, preferably without using English or meta-language. I'll resort to English or meta-language if I have to, but is there a better way to teach this? This is kind of challenging ...

Here's an example, from the Funk workbooks, of the basic task I would like students to perform:
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Emma Ehrhardt
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Re: Prompts for active vs. middle/passive

Post by Emma Ehrhardt » December 23rd, 2014, 7:48 pm

If you really want to omit labels, you can side-step discussion of what you're aiming for altogether, and allow the data to show students what you're looking for. This can be done with Recognition Exercises that ask students to recognize the Difference among elements:
  • Identify which verb of this grouping differs from the others:
    A. λέγω, εἰσιν, βλέπει, εἶπον, άκούεις
A sample question may be provided first, to prime the students for towards what answers you're trying to elicit.

That said, this type of exercise will generate grumbling from students who want to be told what they're supposed to be looking for. And there could be problems if multiple answers are possible. ("Verb #4 is the only aorist verb", but another answers "Verb #2 is the only -μι verb", "Verb #2 is the only verb which cannot be singular", etc.) But if you're ok with keeping minimal grammatical terminology, you can ask them to identify which verb has a different tense than the others, and just not specify that they are seeing aorist vs present, etc.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Prompts for active vs. middle/passive

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 23rd, 2014, 10:46 pm

Sorry to ask the dumb question, but what is the meaning of "Primary or Secondary" in this context anyway?
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Prompts for active vs. middle/passive

Post by Stephen Carlson » December 24th, 2014, 12:17 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:Sorry to ask the dumb question, but what is the meaning of "Primary or Secondary" in this context anyway?
Primary forms are the present, future, perfect, and subjunctive.
Secondary forms are the imperfect, aorist, pluperfect, and optative.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Prompts for active vs. middle/passive

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 24th, 2014, 12:43 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Sorry to ask the dumb question, but what is the meaning of "Primary or Secondary" in this context anyway?
Primary forms are the present, future, perfect, and subjunctive.
Secondary forms are the imperfect, aorist, pluperfect, and optative.
That categorisation is a mixture of aspects, tenses and moods.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Prompts for active vs. middle/passive

Post by Stephen Carlson » December 24th, 2014, 5:59 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:Sorry to ask the dumb question, but what is the meaning of "Primary or Secondary" in this context anyway?
Primary forms are the present, future, perfect, and subjunctive.
Secondary forms are the imperfect, aorist, pluperfect, and optative.
That categorisation is a mixture of aspects, tenses and moods.
Well, it is an expression of the primitive tense system Greek inherited from its Proto-Indo-European ancestor.

I should say that my explanation is grossly oversimplified. Historical presents can be a secondary tense, and gnomic aorists a primary tense. I suppose to grossly oversimplify it further it is the distinction between past and non-past, or between "principal" and "historical" tenses. If we look at the indicative, it is the distinction between the non-augmented and augmented tenses, respectively, while making allowances for historical presents and gnomic aorists. Morphologically, the set of personal endings, especially in the 3rd person plural, also corresponds to the distinction, and it has the additional benefit of extending it to the non-indicative finite moods.

Now, most grammarians define them only in the indicative, so I am being a little idiosyncratic here by adding the subjunctive and optative, but there is an affinity between the primary and secondary indicative tenses and these moods respectively, particularly lying in the choice between a subjunctive and an optative in indirect discourse, with the subjunctive following primary tenses and the optative secondary. With the demise of the optative in the Koine, I'm not sure what the point of maintaining the distinction in teaching NT Greek, except to get student familiar with Attic grammar.
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: Prompts for active vs. middle/passive

Post by Paul-Nitz » December 24th, 2014, 8:30 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:I would like to teach the distinction between active and middle/passive forms
If you are talking simply about learning to produce the alternate form, the Infinitive could be used as a cue word.
αἰτῆσαι <--> αἰτήσασθαι
αἰτεῖν <--> αἰτεῖσθαι
  • Template sentence: αἰτῶ τὸν ἄρτον.
    Cue word: αἰτεῖσθαι.
    Produce: αἰτοῦμαι τὸν ἄρτον.
A drill to distinguish between κοινή & ἑαυτική form and function would be more difficult. I think each verb would require its own drill.
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Prompts for active vs. middle/passive

Post by Jonathan Robie » December 24th, 2014, 9:51 am

Paul-Nitz wrote:If you are talking simply about learning to produce the alternate form, the Infinitive could be used as a cue word.
αἰτῆσαι <--> αἰτήσασθαι
αἰτεῖν <--> αἰτεῖσθαι
  • Template sentence: αἰτῶ τὸν ἄρτον.
    Cue word: αἰτεῖσθαι.
    Produce: αἰτοῦμαι τὸν ἄρτον.
Great - that works.
Paul-Nitz wrote:A drill to distinguish between κοινή & ἑαυτική form and function would be more difficult. I think each verb would require its own drill.
And that's beyond what we're attempting at this stage.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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