[B-Greek] Greek textbook question re Duff

Chet Creider creider at uwo.ca
Tue Oct 2 11:33:58 EDT 2007

I agree that it is a good idea to delay teaching the rules of accent 
placement until the second year, and perhaps not to require that 
students write the accents in their written work, but I very much 
believe that they should be present from the first lesson in order that 
students know where to place the accent (i.e. know which syllable to 
stress) when pronouncing Greek words.

In my previous post I meant to note that Duff is used at my university 
(although I am not the instructor for these courses).

Since my previous post I've looked at the website associated with the 
text and like the powerpoint slides very much.  It is a shame, however, 
that the old WinGreek font is used because although it is a lovely 
typeface some of the characters appear as non-Greek symbols (e.g. TM for 
'trademark') on my Mac.  (Perhaps Carl knows of a way to convert the 
WinGreek 'greek.ttf' font for use on the Mac.)

Chet Creider

Mark Goodacre wrote:
> 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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