Greek: semester two, week 3

Don’t worry, that’s a hot chocolate on my desk for this lecture, though I had half a real coffee this morning: an odd experience, but I found myself pretty alert for the first two hours of class at least.

This week we revised the passive voice for verbs, and learned the middle voice (used for reflexivity – I dress myself, reciprocation – we scratch each others’ backs, or to underscore a point – I wrote to you myself).

In the last hour, we looked at the start of chapter 16 – the perfect tense. Now we have covered the three aspects of Koine Greek: aoristic, imperfective, and perfective.

Knowing the different aspects – especially the ones that don’t map very well to English – is a major reason for learning Greek. When a verb is in the “perfect” tense, it refers to an action that has been completed, and has ongoing significance: there’s no easy way to phrase that in English without giving it undue emphasis (by spending half a sentence explaining it).

All that’s left is to actually learn it… another stack of word endings to recognise!

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