Greek Chapter six – tenses.

A tough chapter. The verbs suddenly get a lot more complicated.

Apparently it’s unusal to cover this many tenses in the space of three hours, but we now know the perfect, future, imperfect, and aorist tenses.

To prepare for Tuesday’s exam, I’ve started copying all the insights that I’ve found from the textbook into another notebook: this means revising (again) all the vocab, but also picking up some of the things that I’ve missed along the way.

The hard part, it seems, is not the vocab: that’s merely time consuming, nor the rules – they make sense, in their own way. Even the exceptions can be learned, and explained. The hard part is when a word is missing from a sentence, but it still has an effect on the sentence… and you haven’t noticed that particular rule, because it’s only a single sentence in the textbook.

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  1. Greek verbs keep getting tricky, but they’re fairly consistent so once you know them you should be a-ok. My trick is to use a little whiteboard when I’m studying and to keep writing out my declensions and conjugations. There’s something about the act of writing that helps to cement it in the brain. Repitition is your friend when learning a new language.

    (I found your blog through Marvel A Day’s blog, by the way. I’m his housemate… and currently learning Attic Greek at uni.)

  2. Hey swellen,

    Thanks for the comments; I have a whiteboard that’s currently full of 3rd person pronouns in their various forms: starting to see a few more patterns. Tonight, I’m going to finish writing out the next chapter of the textbook, then do some exercises by way of revision over the weekend: hopefully that will be enough to get me through the exam.

    Is Attic greek aka “classical” greek?

  3. And saying them helps too. One our senior staffworkers in Wollongong used to say that the body remembers saying things, writing things—the physicality of doing it … I suppose it’s a way of kinesthetic learning.

    Are you doing any translation?

  4. Still writing it out… just over one chapter to go. When I find vocab that I can’t remember, I keep repeating it to myself. The kinesthetic learning will be over the weekend (while packing the house in preparation for moving). Busy times!

  5. Yep, Attic Greek is classical Greek. I am studying Classics at the moment – which means I don’t know many New Testament words like ‘forgiveness’ and ‘grace’, but I know plenty of words about war, killing, honour, bravery and slave-beating! In addition to the whiteboard trick, I also colour-coded all my vocab cards when I was first learning. That way when I saw a word in an exam I would visualise the vocab card and think, “Oh right, that was on a red card, so this is an alpha contract verb.” Totally anally retentive, but it helped.

    Ancient Greek is actually pretty cool – once you get into the Greek mindset the language becomes a lot easier, because when you understand how they thought, the way they’ve structured things starts to make sense. Well… sometimes!

  6. Patty, welcome to the blog.

    Imperative is used for commands: “Strike him!” Present imperative versus future imperative would mean sit down immediately. If it moves into the passive, then the verb is turned around: “Be struck!”

    At least, that’s how I would understand a present passive imperative tense verb.

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