Noun/Adjective Endings - Which Declension?

How can I best learn the paradigms of nouns and verbs and the other inflected parts of speech?

Noun/Adjective Endings - Which Declension?

Postby Rita Ho » January 28th, 2012, 5:49 am

[Edit: formerly titled "Nature of Vocabuary" LLS]

I studied the vocabularies of Chapter 4-14 in the textbook of “Basics of Biblical Greek” written by W. D. Mounce and try to classify their nature facilitating my revision. There are 3 words which puzzle me:

1. προφήτης, -ου, ὁ
By deducing from the article, this word should be neuter. Thus, it should be 2nd declension noun. However, in the textbook (See p. 347), it is grouped under the category of 1st declension noun. Why?

2. ὁδός, -οῦ, ἡ
Likewise, I perceive this word be the 1st declension noun because of the article. However, in the textbook (See p. 347), it is grouped under the category of 2nd declension noun. Why?

3. αἰώνιος, -ον
Is this word belonged to 3-3 adjective?

Looking forward to having your reply. Thank you very much.

Rita
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Re: Noun/Adjective Endings - Which Declension?

Postby Louis L Sorenson » January 28th, 2012, 7:21 am

Rita wrote

I studied the vocabularies of Chapter 4-14 in the textbook of “Basics of Biblical Greek” written by W. D. Mounce and try to classify their nature facilitating my revision. There are 3 words which puzzle me:


The noun declensions are not based on gender, but on ending types. The 1st declension (alpha/eta endings) is mostly feminine. But there are some masculine nouns in it (Several groups). The largest being like προφήτης / νεναίας. These nouns use the masculine article, and are declined like all other words ending in -η / -α except in the genitive (which has the -ου ending). You can see these categories declined in Smyth's grammar (feminines §216, masculines §221 http://www.ccel.org/s/smyth/grammar/html/smyth_2b_uni.htm#substantives. There are a few other forms (contract nouns) which have the eta/alpha endings (cf. Smyth §227).

1. προφήτης, -ου, ὁ
By deducing from the article, this word should be neuter. Thus, it should be 2nd declension noun. However, in the textbook (See p. 347), it is grouped under the category of 1st declension noun. Why?


I assume you meant, that from the article, it should be masculine, and thus 2nd declension. It is a 1st declension noun because the endings are alpha/eta endings (except for the genitive singular).

2. ὁδός, -οῦ, ἡ
Likewise, I perceive this word be the 1st declension noun because of the article. However, in the textbook (See p. 347), it is grouped under the category of 2nd declension noun. Why?


Unfortunately, Mounce does not give the article above the noun types. ὁδός takes omicron endings but is feminine in gender. n-2a, n-1d(1), and n-2d-3 patterns are masculine; n-2b are feminine; n-2c and n-2d(2) are neuter. Omicron endings are 2nd declension. Most omicron ending nouns are either masculine (-ος) or neuter (-ον). But there is a small category of them which are feminine. The feminine nouns decline exactly like the masculine (-ος) nouns, except that they have the feminine article and thus have to have feminine modifiers (feminine adjectives, participles, ktl.) See Smyth §230 http://www.ccel.org/s/smyth/grammar/html/smyth_2c_uni.htm


3. αἰώνιος, -ον Is this word belonged to 3-3 adjective?


αἰώνιος fits in a small category of adjectives (5 total in the NT) which Mounce classifies as a-3b(1). "Stems alternating between two (2-2) [like ἁμαρτωλός] and three (2-1-2) endings (feminine in -α) [like ἅγιος]" These adjectives usually only have the masculine and neuter forms. The masculine form is often used for the feminine form, but occasionally, the feminine form has the -α adjective endings. See Smyth §287 vs §289 http://www.ccel.org/s/smyth/grammar/html/smyth_2h_uni.htm. So αἰώνιος is usually an adjective of two terminations (2-2), but can sometimes be declined as an adjective of 3 terminations (2-1-2). (The 2-2, 2-1-2 refers to the corresponding noun declension type).

Smyth's grammar, which does not use Mounce's numbering classifications is really a much better overview of the noun endings. Smyth gives the articles and glosses. It the the standard grammar for Classical Greek - Mark Lightman once wrote (cross out the Title and write Koine Greek Grammar on the cover). Every serious student of Greek needs to get a copy of Smyth. Mounce's categories are further identified in his book "The Morphology of Bilbical Greek." In that book, he puts every NT word into its own inflectional category and gives the declension of each type in full. You can read more online about these noun types by looking at the Funk "A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek" which B-Greek hosts online. It can be found at http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/funk-grammar/pre-alpha/
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Re: Noun/Adjective Endings - Which Declension?

Postby cwconrad » January 28th, 2012, 7:24 am

Rita Ho wrote:I studied the vocabularies of Chapter 4-14 in the textbook of “Basics of Biblical Greek” written by W. D. Mounce and try to classify their nature facilitating my revision. There are 3 words which puzzle me:

1. προφήτης, -ου, ὁ
By deducing from the article, this word should be neuter. Thus, it should be 2nd declension noun. However, in the textbook (See p. 347), it is grouped under the category of 1st declension noun. Why?


The article ὁ is masculine; the neuter article is τὸ. προφήτης is a first-declension masculine noun. While the great majority of first-declension nouns are feminine, there are quite a few masculine first-declension nouns with nominatives in -ης or -ας and with genitive singular in -ου. The element common to all first-declension nouns is that they have or originally had a stem-vowel α; in the case of nouns following ε, ι, or ρ, that α is retained, but the stem-vowel of all other first-declension nouns, regardless of gender, shifted to η.

Rita Ho wrote:2. ὁδός, -οῦ, ἡ
Likewise, I perceive this word be the 1st declension noun because of the article. However, in the textbook (See p. 347), it is grouped under the category of 2nd declension noun. Why?


No, this noun is feminine -- the article tells you that much -- but it is not a first-declension noun because the stem-vowel is -ο-; all second-declension nouns have the stem-vowel -ο-. There are quite a few second-declension feminine nouns, of which ἡ ὁδός is one of the most common; others are ἡ νῆσος, ἡ νόσος; in addition there are lots of second-declension names of trees and plants that are feminine.

Rita Ho wrote:3. αἰώνιος, -ον
Is this word belonged to 3-3 adjective?


No; this is a two-termination adjective; the -ος forms are used for with both masculine and feminine nouns, the -ον forms only with neuter nouns.
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: Noun/Adjective Endings - Which Declension?

Postby Rita Ho » January 29th, 2012, 9:15 am

Dear Louis & Carl,

Thanks for the reply to clear my doubts.

Originally, I incline to follow the article type to classify the nouns. Your reply remind me to make such classification by taking both of the article type and the stem ending into consideration.

Moreover, I have a clearer sense towards the classification of 2-1-2 and 3-1-3 adjectives. As for the other two gourps, i.e. 2-2 and 3-3 adjectives, other than the neuter forms, do you mean the masculine forms of these adjectives under these two groups are identical to the feminine one? If so, whether the endings of the pronouns modified by these adjectives will be the same?


Regards,
Rita
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Re: Noun/Adjective Endings - Which Declension?

Postby cwconrad » January 29th, 2012, 10:16 am

Rita Ho wrote:Dear Louis & Carl,

... Moreover, I have a clearer sense towards the classification of 2-1-2 and 3-1-3 adjectives. As for the other two gourps, i.e. 2-2 and 3-3 adjectives, other than the neuter forms, do you mean the masculine forms of these adjectives under these two groups are identical to the feminine one? If so, whether the endings of the pronouns modified by these adjectives will be the same?


I suppose that by 2-1-2 and 3-1-3 adjectives (is that Mounce's designation?), you mean adjectives with masc./neut. forms of the second declension and adjectiveswith masc.neut. forms of the third declension respectively. At any rate, in reply to your question, Yes: these adjectives have identical masculine and feminine forms, i.e., we may see ἄφοβος ἀνήρ and ἄφοβος γυνή.

As to your final question, pronoun endings are never determined by the forms that adjectives governing them may take.
E.g., οὐδὲν φοβεῖται ἡ γυνὴ ἢν λέγεις· ἄφοβος ἐκείνη. "The woman you're talking about isn't afraid of anything; she's fearless."

On the other hand remember that there are pronouns too that have identical forms in the masculine and feminine but a different form in the neuter, e.g. τίς (m/f) τί (n).
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: Noun/Adjective Endings - Which Declension?

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 29th, 2012, 10:43 am

cwconrad wrote:I suppose that by 2-1-2 and 3-1-3 adjectives (is that Mounce's designation?), you mean adjectives with masc./neut. forms of the second declension and adjectives with masc.neut. forms of the third declension respectively.


Yes, it's a Mounce-ism (or at least this notation is popularized in his text book). The -1- means that the first declension is used for the feminine forms.

Stephen
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: Noun/Adjective Endings - Which Declension?

Postby Rita Ho » January 30th, 2012, 6:52 am

Thanks come to Carl and Stephen again.


Rita
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