Accents

Rbsads at aol.com Rbsads at aol.com
Sat Sep 8 13:40:20 EDT 2001


In a message dated 9/7/01 11:14:09 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
bwpowers at optusnet.com.au writes:


But all we need to do at Introductory Greek stage is tell our students of 
those few occasions when an accent matters.


Dear Brent,

I would respectfully disagree with Dr Powers, whose new grammar has been so 
much praised on B-greek.

It is a little brash to disagree with someone who has published his own 
grammar text, but I speak with the authority of a beginning NT Greek student, 
who is teaching himself with the help of some beginner texts, an intermediate 
text, a Greek bible and a lexicon, and with the help of the patient and 
knowledgeable moderators and participants of the B-greek list.

And I know that the consensus of present day teaching is not to emphasize 
learning the accents.

My first grammar text quite emphatically announced its intention not to 
burden me with the accent rules.

What I found was that when reading from a Greek bible my lack of knowledge 
and familiarity with regard to the accents became a serious impediment.

Since I was able to find an old-school text which stressed accents, taught 
the 8 case functions, and emphasized translation from English to Greek, my 
knowledge and reading have improved significantly.

Additionally, learning pronunciation according to the accents has helped my 
vocabulary and my spelling.

I regret not having a forum to learn to speak NT Greek.  There is no doubt 
that practice in speaking would aid my understanding of the language.

My recommendation is to teach the accent rules, to teach the 8 case functions 
(their short comings can be pointed out in intermediate Greek class, but the 
8 case functions have aided my learning the prepositions), to translate from 
English to Greek, and to speak NT Greek as much as possible.

Of course, the accent rules, along with the other suggested emphases, cannot 
be taught in one class.  They must be repeated and practiced with every class 
and with every exercise.  And that is my recommendation, from a 7 month old 
NT Greek beginner.

Some burdens are worthy and necessary of bearing.  I think that consistent 
practice with accents would be an easy yoke and light burden, both worthy and 
necessary to bear.

And it may be that easy shortcuts are more of a burden than are thoroughness 
and completeness.

Peace,

Richard Smith
Chattanooga, TN
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