[B-Greek] Greek textbook question re Duff

Mark Goodacre goodacre at gmail.com
Tue Oct 2 11:12:44 EDT 2007

The accents issue is controversial, and it was controversial likewise
in Wenham.  It was Wenham's Elements that took this big step, in his
revision of Nunn.  Duff has retained Wenham's decision here and there
are some good reasons for it, e.g. it encourages the proper use of
breathings from early on; it helps students to spot iota subscripts;
and it enables them to get used to the difference between TI/S and
TIS, etc.  I think it's important to remember that Duff is providing
an introductory text book and not a grammar.  After year one (we
covered Wenham in half that time in Oxford), one of the major tasks is
to bring the continuing student up to speed with accents.  One can
focus on them big time in years 2 and 3.  Teaching a language is often
about making decisions about *when* one teaches specific elements.  In
my experience, the holding off on most accents in year 1 works well.
I understand, though, why some still balk at that.  Cheers, Mark

On 02/10/2007, Chet Creider <creider at uwo.ca> wrote:
> I had some contact with the author in the later stages of his work on
> this book and it was apparently too late for him to put in accents.
> This renders the book IMO much less useful than it would otherwise be as
> any serious reader of Greek at any time or level really should have the
> accents available (for one thing, they are necessary to know where to
> place the accent in pronouncing a word).  The fact that they weren't
> used at the time the NT was written (the principal argument given by
> Duff on his website for the text is no argument at all -- paragraphs
> weren't broken up into sentences, sentences were not broken up into
> words, and only upper case was used, but I can't imagine anyone wanting
> to go back to that state of affairs.
> That said, I will try to give a different sort of answer to the original
> poster of the question by saying that I had to work through 3
> introductory textbooks, one of them twice before I was reasonably
> comfortable with reading NT Greek (and this after having studied earlier
> Greek for a couple of years).  I'm sure I'm unusually slow, but I don't
> regret the time and work spent.  One of the texts I used was Wenham
> (i.e. the predecessor to Duff), but I marked all the nonverbal accents
> (accents on verbs are regular and although it looks very odd not to
> write them it isn't necessary to know where to place the accent when
> pronouncing a verbal word) in by hand and made sure that I did the
> exercises writing the accents.  Despite this extra work, I liked the
> book and found its presentation clear.
> Chet Creider
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Mark Goodacre            Goodacre at duke.edu
Associate Professor
Duke University
Department of Religion
Gray Building / Box 90964
Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530


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