Verb Stems There are three kinds of verb stems: regular, contract, and irregular. In Ancient Greek, verb endings change depending on the person (1 st, 2 nd, 3 rd ) and number (singular or plural) of the verb. Regular will follow the form: λῡ́- “loosen, loose” (3 rd person sing.): λῡ́-ει Contract will follow the form: ϕιλε- “love” (3 rd person sing.): ϕιλέ-ει>ϕιλει̑ Irregular doesn’t follow a form, so you just have to memorize the changes these verbs make: ε͗σ- “to be” (3 rd person sing.): ε͗στί(ν)
Nouns Have Gender So far, we have looked at each gender in the singular: 1. Masculine: ο͑ 2. Feminine: η͑ 3. Neuter: τό Note: nouns also have different declensions, but we’ll get to that later. I just wanted to note that this will get slightly more complicated as we move forward.
Rules for Translating 1. Look for the noun with the articles ͑ο, ͑η, or τó. This tells you what the subject of the sentence is. 2. Look for the verb next. Right now, many of our verbs end in ει, because this is the common third person singular ending for active verbs. 3. Look for the noun with the articles τòν, τńν, or τó. This tells you what the object of the sentence is. Notice that the gender neutral articles is the same in the nominative (subject) and accusative (object) cases.
Example Sentence: Note: the translation of the Greek is at the bottom of the slide. ‘ο Δικαιóπολις αυ’τουργóς ’εστιν; ϕε̒ρει δὲ τòν μóσχον. subject complement ; main verb object This example shows the basic subject/verb/object structure of most English sentences. I have highlighted the main clues you should use to determine what is what in the sentence. Beware! Most Ancient Greek sentences are not structured like English sentences. “Dicaeopolis is a farmer, and he carries the calf.”
Example Sentence: Note: the translation of the Greek is at the bottom of the slide. πολὺν σι̑τον παρε̒χει ο͑ κλη̑ροϛ. object verb subject This example shows how differently Greek syntax works than English syntax. Here, the subject of the sentence is the very last word, but we can still tell it’s the subject because the “ο͑” tells us that κλη̑ροϛ is in the nominative (i.e. subject) case. Likewise, the “ον” ending for σι̑τον tells us it’s in the accusative (i.e. object) case. “The farm provides much grain,” or more colloquially: “a lot of grain.”
Example Sentence: Note: the translation of the Greek is at the bottom of the slide. ο͑ ’άνθρωπος ου͗ πονει̑ ε͗ν τοι̑ς α͗γροι̑ς. subject verb prepositional phrase Here’s a somewhat different structure than subject/verb/object. In this sentence, the prepositional phrase takes the place of the object of the verb. We’ll deal with prepositional phrases soon, but you might notice the “οι̑ς” endings. This means the prepositional phrase “in the fields” is (a) plural, (b) in the dative case, and (c) masculine. We’ll talk about what dative means soon! “The man doesn’t work in the field.”
Example Sentence: Note: the translation of the Greek is at the bottom of the slide. ‘ο Δικαιóπολις τὸν οι̑͗κον ϕιλει̑. subject object verb Here you see a standard subject/verb/object but they’re simply not in common English arrangement. In your translation, you would merely put them in English syntactical order. “Dicaeopolis loves the home,” or more colloquially: “his home.”
Example Sentence: Note: the translation of the Greek is at the bottom of the slide. καλο̒ς ε͗στιν ο͑ οι͗̑κος. complement subject This is a common alternative sentence structure that we find in English and Ancient Greek: subject/complement. To complement something is simply to ascribe a quality to it: “Jim is tall,” or “The walk was arduous,” or “Mexican food is delicious.” There is no action verb in such sentences and therefore no object of the action verb. “The house is beautiful.”
Example Sentence: Note: the translation of the Greek is at the bottom of the slide. α͗εὶ ου̑͗ν πονει̑ ‘ο Δικαιóπολις καὶ πολλα̒κις στενα̒ζει. verb1 subject verb2 This one looks more complicated on first glance, but it’s actually simpler than the subject/verb/object structure, because in this case we only have a subject/verb structure. It’s just that there are two verbs combined by that και and the sentence begins with the connecting adverb ου̑͗ν (“and so”), which has to be the second word in its phrase for weird Ancient Greek grammatical reasons. Remember, γα̒ρ and δὲ also follow this “second place” rule. “And so always Dicaeopolis works and often he groans,” or more colloquially: “And so Dicaeopolis always works and he groans often.”
Example Sentence: Note: the translation of the Greek is at the bottom of the slide. α͗λλὰ ι͗σχῡρός ε͗στιν ο͑ α͗́νθρωπος καὶ α͗́οκνος; πολλάκις ου͗̑ν χαίρει; comp1 subject1 comp2; m. verb ε͗λεύθερος γάρ ε͗στι καὶ αυ͗τουργός. comp subject2 This is a complex sentence in which we have two subjects, where the second subject modifies the first. Note: και here means “also.” “But man is strong and energetic, and so he rejoices often; for a farmer is also free.”