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The Greek Third Declension

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The Greek Third Declension

Postby Recp » Wed Aug 04, 2004 3:39 am

Hi,

I am having problems grasping the 3rd declension (in Ancient Greek). All the grammars I have consulted seem to just decline 10-20 nouns from this declension in full and assume you're set; whereas I prefer to know the rule that causes those endings to be employed. What different sub-declensions are there? What's the difference between the various consonental sub-declensions and i- and u-stems? (in terms of different endings)

I'm rather confused by this; when I was learning Latin, all I had to worry about was an i-stem or a consonant-stem, and masculine/feminine or neuter!

Thanks in advance for any responses,

- Richard
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Postby Clemens » Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:45 am

Hi,

have you already read the relevant paragraphs of Smyth's Greek Grammar (from §240 onwards)? You can download it here on Textkit. :)

Clemens
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Postby mraig » Wed Aug 04, 2004 6:48 am

The reality is that, while the third declension follows lots of different patterns, it's never that hard to identify a form when you come across it in reading if you know the regular and contracted endings. The endings are almost always the same (sing. gen. -os, dat. -i, acc. -a or sometimes -in for stems ending in a vowel; plur. nom. -es, gen. -on, dat. -si, acc. -as) except in cases of contraction, and even then it is usually pretty easy to figure out. As with so many things in ancient Greek, different authors use different forms (polis has poleo^s, poleos, pole^os, polios and poleus as genitive singulars in different authors), so it's more difficult to predict what a form will be than to recognize a form when you see it.

Smyth has the best rundown you will find (pp. 58-73), but my advice is to learn the endings well enough to recognize them, and spend your time memorizing verb forms (particularly oida and the -mi verbs).
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Postby Recp » Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:18 pm

Thanks for the advice!

I read it over, and I think I *mostly* have it down now. I will, as you suggested, concentrate more on the verbal endings now.

Thanks!
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