Do you know Greek grammar?

Resources and methods for teaching and learning New Testament Greek.
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Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Do you know Greek grammar?

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 27th, 2016, 1:34 am

Within the grammar translation approach to Greek, there are various expectation about what one should know if one "knows" Greek. For those who have learnt or who are learning Greek by that method here are a list of points of Greek grammar set out by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (2004) in the document Classical Greek, Victorian Certificate of Education, Study Design. For ease of use in this forum context, I have added some numbering.

Let me make a way that you could use this for self-evaluation:
If you are able use examples of these features from memory in longer contexts - 5 points.
If you are able to give examples of these individual features from memory - 4 points.
If you are able to look at a piece of Greek text and identify various grammar points using these terms - 3 points each.
If you have are given an example of the particular point, do you correctly identify it as such - 2 points each.
If you recognise that you have seen the grammatical term before - 1 point each.
The student is expected to recognise and use the following grammatical items:
  1. Accidence
    1. Nouns declensions 1, 2, 3, irregulars (e.g. ναῦς, Ζεύς), contracted (e.g. νοῦς)
    2. Adjectives definite article, descriptives (all degrees), possessive, demonstrative, interrogative, indefinite, cardinal, ordinal
    3. Pronouns personal, reflexive, relative, emphatic, interrogative, indefinite, reciprocal ἀλλήλους
    4. Verbs -ω/contracted, -μι conjugations: all tenses, voices, moods, infinitives, participles, verbal adjectives in -τέος
    5. Adverbs all degrees
    6. Prepositions governing accusative, genitive and dative case
    7. Conjunctions coordinating and subordinating
    8. Particles individual and combined forms
  2. Syntax
    1. Case Usage
      1. Nominative subject, complement, neuter plural subjects
      2. Vocative direct address
      3. Accusative direct object, adverbial, cognate, of respect, duration of time, extent of space, of result, of motion towards, absolute, in oaths and exclamations, double accusative verbs
      4. Genitive possessive, after certain adjectives/verbs, partitive, time within which, appositional, of quality, of material, of measure, of value, of cause, of source, of comparison, of separation, absolute, subjective/objective
      5. Dative indirect object, after certain adjectives/verbs/nouns, of interest, of respect, of instrument, of accompaniment, of time when, of degree of difference, possessive, locative dative
      6. All cases apposition
    2. Verbs tense, voice, mood; distinction between aspects in the indicative and other moods
    3. Clauses
      1. Independent direct questions, wishes, polite request, potential optative, hortative subjunctive, deliberative subjunctive, direct command, impersonal constructions, indefinite constructions, uses of verbal adjectives in -τέος, uses of ἄν, uses of οὐ and μή.
      2. Subordinate temporal, causal, concessive, conditional, comparative, proviso (ἐφ’ ᾧ/ὧτε), purpose, relative, indirect statement, indirect question, fearing, result, correlative, in indirect speech, indefinite constructions, πρίν / ἕως constructions, uses of ἄν, uses of οὐ and μή, ὅπως and ὡς and future indicative
    4. Phrases
      1. Participles conditional, concessive (καίπερ), temporal, causal, relative, purpose, comparative, indirect statement, supplementary (e.g. faivnomai and participle)
      2. The article attributive and predicative usage, articular infinitive, article and participle/adjective/adverb, article and prepositional phrase
      3. Prepositions governing accusative, genitive, dative
      4. Adjectives agreement, predicative use, attributive use, uses of αὐτός
      5. Particles connecting, qualifying and adding ‘colour’
I guess that for those who did not or who are not learning by the grammar translation method, and who wanted to use this self-evaluation to check their knowledge of Greek, then it would need to be adapted.
0 x

Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
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Re: Do you know Greek grammar?

Post by cwconrad » July 27th, 2016, 10:37 am

I think the ability to manage this terminology and apply it to a text are worthwhile, but I'd want to distinguish between "knowing Greek grammar" and "knowing Greek"; I have occasionally had students who could manage basic grammatical analysis who still didn't have a very good understanding of what the text they'd analyzed means.
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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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