Learning Greek/English Vocabulary

How can I best learn new vocabulary items? What aids are there and what pitfalls should be avoided? How does a beginner learn to use a lexicon?
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Alan Patterson
Posts: 158
Joined: September 3rd, 2011, 7:21 pm
Location: Emory University

Learning Greek/English Vocabulary

Post by Alan Patterson » March 29th, 2016, 8:27 am

I have been asked by a father to help his 11-year-old son learn to spell better. He is in high level Spelling Bee Contests. The dad wants his son to learn Greek roots/stems/words so he can figure out how to spell words in English that are of Greek origin. I have Bruce Metzger's Lexical Aids for Students of NT Greek. He has quite a few roots with their meanings, and then he gives Greek examples. However, I am looking for English examples. I am thinking that I want to relate Greek roots/stems/words to examples in English. For example, I am looking for Greek to English words so I can help him spell better, such as when he is asked: How do you spell pericardium? He will have learned περι means around, καρδια means heart.

Any books you can recommend? Any advice you can give?

Thank you!!
χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη,
Alan Patterson

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3323
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Learning Greek/English Vocabulary

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 31st, 2016, 12:06 am

There WAS a list on wiki a little while ago, and we were discussing it, but it has been deleted. There is some interesting background reading in the deletion debate, the most important points being that most words of Greek origin are recent borrowings, and that many "Greek" words are constructions made by modern scholars. Knowing the elements is helpful to put them together.

The List of Greek and Latin roots in English is a useful resource. There is also a discussion of the topic in English words of Greek origin.

If you are just looking for an exhaustive list, a more sensible way to go is by extracting data from the relational database at Wiktionary. Terms derived from Ancient Greek. That is basically a search of the various languages filtered according to their etymology. Without extra software based searching within the data, the list's comprehensive nature makes it overwhelming.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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