A beginners' grammar based on structures?

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Stephen Hughes
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A beginners' grammar based on structures?

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 11th, 2016, 2:31 am

Has anyone put together a grammar for beginners that works from syntactic structures, leaving the little details like the forms of verbs and nouns (the accidence) in the background for a while?

I would expect that the words that mark major changes in the structure of a text would be stressed at the beginning.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: A beginners' grammar based on structures?

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 11th, 2016, 3:05 am

What do you mean by "syntactic structures"? Most grammatical relations in Greek are signaled by morphology, but it sounds like you're thinking of something other than morphosyntax.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Stephen Hughes
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Re: A beginners' grammar based on structures?

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 11th, 2016, 5:37 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:What do you mean by "syntactic structures"? Most grammatical relations in Greek are signaled by morphology, but it sounds like you're thinking of something other than morphosyntax.
The presentation of verbs that is traditional in beginners' grammars is arranged according to the morphology, the various conjugations, the long vowel, the short vowel contract, the consonant stem and the -mi verbs. That approach is based on recgnising similar forms. Students are encouraged to use their logical skills of analogous thinking to say to themselves, "Ah, that is conjugated the same way as blah-blah", or that is a "2nd aorist". Form of the verb is king, so to speak.

What is needed in reading is to recognise the syntactic patterns that verbs fit into. I think it would be better to arrange verbs according to the syntax that they occur in. For didaskw, it would be introduced in say the accusative + infinitive lesson, then it would be used again as an example in the hina + subjunctive syntax, and then again in the 2 accusative classes. At the back of the book, the reference list for the verbs would list the syntactic constructions for the verbs (rather than the principle parts). The basis of introducing the verbs would be their constructions, with the forms being incidental. In another appendix, the traditional approach could be retained.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: A beginners' grammar based on structures?

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 11th, 2016, 5:50 am

Then it sounds like you might like something like Volume II of Funk's Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek hosted on this very site at http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/f ... pre-alpha/ (Of course, Volume I does the traditional paradigms.)
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Laisvunas
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Re: A beginners' grammar based on structures?

Post by Laisvunas » July 11th, 2016, 10:04 am

It seems you might like the Gerda Seligson's Greek for Reading University of Michigan Press 1994
Laisvūnas Šopauskas

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: A beginners' grammar based on structures?

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 11th, 2016, 12:35 pm

E. V. N. Goetchius 1965 presented syntax of the clause as patterns but he wasn't avoiding morphology. Another example of patterns is Waldo E. Sweet Latin 1957. This was the era of late structuralism. If my memory is correct (often isn't), I think Edward Hobbs told me that Goetchius was aware of Syntactic Structures Chomsky 1957. I thought at the time there was some shared features between Goetchius and Syntactic Structures but it was just a hunch, nothing very explicit. Goetchius does not mention Chomsky.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stephen Hughes
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Re: A beginners' grammar based on structures?

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 12th, 2016, 12:15 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Then it sounds like you might like something like Volume II of Funk's Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek hosted on this very site at http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/f ... pre-alpha/ (Of course, Volume I does the traditional paradigms.)
There is a general organisation based on structures there.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: A beginners' grammar based on structures?

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 12th, 2016, 12:17 am

Laisvunas wrote:It seems you might like the Gerda Seligson's Greek for Reading University of Michigan Press 1994
The early chapters that are available on Google Books seem to be very gentle with the Greek and contain a lot of disvussion about how language works, in regard to both languages using linguistic terminology.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: A beginners' grammar based on structures?

Post by cwconrad » July 12th, 2016, 10:10 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Laisvunas wrote:It seems you might like the Gerda Seligson's Greek for Reading University of Michigan Press 1994
The early chapters that are available on Google Books seem to be very gentle with the Greek and contain a lot of disvussion about how language works, in regard to both languages using linguistic terminology.
I've sometimes thought that anyone who enjoys teaching (ancient) Greek comes to the point, after several years, of being dissatisfied with the primers available and eager to put together a new one; it's hard to do, for a number of reasons. What surprises me is that some of the least-appealing (to me, that is) primers remain strangely in use (e.g. Machen, Mounce). It's also true that some of the primers I've liked best (e.g. JACT, Hansen & Quinn) don't seem to ring the bell with others. The fact is that students and teachers both differ not a little from each other and no primer is just peachy for everybody. Nevertheless, it seems that everyone who enjoys teaching Greek and teaches it over the course of many years wants to write his or her own new primer, in the vain hope that someday someone will get it done right.
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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