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Learning Accents

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Learning Accents

Postby Mofmog » Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:13 pm

Are learning where the accents fall, and where they go in declining important in the beginning? Or should it be gradually learned?
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Postby calvinist » Wed Jun 08, 2005 4:01 am

For the most part, the accents are not important as far as declining goes and different verb forms. There are some instances where accents are important though. For instance, distinguishing the relative pronoun from the article [face=SPIonic]h(/[/face] and [face=SPIonic]h([/face], also when you get to verbs accents are important when it comes to liquid futures. For instance, compare [face=SPIonic]me/nw[/face][face=Arial][/face] (present tense) and [face=SPIonic]menw=[/face] (future tense). The few instances where accents are important for identification should be noted by your teacher or textbook. So for the most part, don't worry about them, but make sure you use them for pronunciation because it makes memorization of vocabulary easier when you have a consistent pronunciation.
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Personally I believe learning the accents is very important

Postby IVSTINIANVS » Sun Jun 12, 2005 8:42 pm

I know they seem overwhelming at first, and it's certainly tempting, given how much else there is to learn, to give them a miss and wait until later.

However, I have noticed over the years that the people who did that really did develop a habit of just ignoring the accents, and this made a big difference in terms of interpreting words. The examples calvinist gives are good, but there are many, many more, and some very subtle.

For instance, [face=SPIonic]i)/de[/face] vs [face=SPIonic]i)de/[/face] (one a conjunction, the other an imperative verb form). And as another example, most texts don't mark the long (contracted vowel) with a macron, but the fact that a verb's recessive accent is not as far to the left as possible here is what tells you that the final alpha here is contracted: [face=SPIonic]teleu/ta[/face], presumably with a final epsilon (i.e. it's probably a 2nd person singular present imperative active, though it could be an unaugmented 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active). If the alpha weren't long, the accent would be one syllable to the left. The complexity of the accents is just another one of the many things that make Greek such a byzantine (pardon the pun) language to master, but in the long run they help you.

Good luck!
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Re: Personally I believe learning the accents is very import

Postby messalina » Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:50 pm

IVSTINIANVS wrote: The examples calvinist gives are good, but there are many, many more, and some very subtle.


Also, for instance, [face=SPIonic]ei)=mi[/face] vs [face=SPIonic]ei)mi/[/face] - these two verb forms are (i think) essential to know and impossible to tell apart without the accent. For verbs in general, i find it is easiest to remember the instances when accents are *not* recessive, and for nouns it's easiest to just learn where the accent goes as you learn the vocab.

That having been said, i still have trouble with accents sometimes :oops: - it's not easy! When i write Greek prose i almost always have to double check that my accents are right. However, keeping the exceptions in mind helps when reading (for word identification). Last quarter my Greek Prof. wrote 3 words on the board (all spelled the same) with different accentuation as a demonstration of the importance of accents for identification. (i'll have to go find his example, it was a good one).

On the other hand, a lot of accent-familiarity will come with practice. My recommendation is to not forget about them entirely, but also not to get stuck/frustrated when you can't remember if the accent for a word goes over the penault or the ultima - you will get it eventually.

Good luck!
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