Alpha to Eta?

Barry Hickey bhickey at
Mon Aug 13 08:17:47 EDT 2001

Thanks all...

I'll likely accept Ward's advice and just memorize the paradigm for nouns
like GLWSSA (for now, anyway).  However, I am interested whether Carl plans
to publish "Supplement to Beginning Greek" or otherwise make it available to
the public?  I just can't help but ask a lot of "why" questions even when
they're not essential to the task at hand.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at>
To: "Barry Hickey" <bhickey at>
Cc: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at>
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2001 7:32 AM
Subject: [b-greek] Re: Alpha to Eta?

> At 7:41 PM -0400 8/12/01, Barry Hickey wrote:
> > Carl,
> >
> > Thank you for the timely response.  I truly appreciate the existence of
> >resource like b-greek.  May I inquire as to which beginning grammars
> >best detail such morphological changes?
> As Ward Powers noted or implied in his own response to this message,
> primers of Greek don't go into such historical-phonetic explanations
> generally, although it becomes imperative, I'd think, to do so to explain
> genitives like NEWS from NAUS or POLEWS from POLIS. There is so very much
> that beginning students of Greek must necessarily master by rote
> memorization and so little time normally allotted to the presentation of
> the fundamentals of the Greek language (whether one is teaching/learning
> Koine or Homeric or classical Attic makes no difference in this regard)
> that a teacher has to make decisions regarding what is essential to
> and what may be postponed to later years of instruction (or neglected
> altogether). I personally am inclined to think that Beginning Greek ought
> to be taught for three successive semesters (I'm thinking in terms of the
> 15-week semester we had at Washington University from which I've just
> retired; with four or preferably five class meetings each week) in order
> allow time for full presentation and exercise in the most important
> of the language. I've always made Greek phonetics and the phonetic factors
> disrupting regular nominal and verbal paradigms. In my last several years
> of teaching Beginning Greek I've distributed to my classes a brief
> compendium of Greek phonology and I am now incorporating that into a
> "Supplement to Beginning Greek" which I'm composing/editing as a
> supplementary work aimed at answering the sorts of questions that
> better/more curious students tend to raise when they aren't satisfied with
> memorizing paradigms that seems seriously flawed in one or another aspect
> in their regularity--the sort of question you've just raised about the
> genitive and dative singular of GLWSSA taking -H- instead of -A-. I'd hope
> such a work could be useful to students using just about any textbook for
> Beginning Greek, not as a substitute for the textbook but as a supplement
> for those who keep looking at something that doesn't seem quite right and
> ask "why?"
> A book recommended in this forum in the past and still useful in many
> regards to students of Biblical Greek is:
> David Alan Black, _Linguistics for Students of New Testament Greek: A
> Survey of Basic Concepts and Applications._
> The second edition was published by Baker Book; I'm pretty sure it's still
> in print but I'm not sure who's publishing it now.
> --
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
> Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
> cwconrad at OR cwconrad at
> WWW:

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