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Memorizing conjugations and declensions--Help!

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Memorizing conjugations and declensions--Help!

Postby jmac » Fri Jan 30, 2004 7:04 pm


I'm a college student with serious problems memorizing noun
declensions and verb conjugations-- :shock:

My brain keeps trying to cling to patterns that keep getting
altered with subsequent chapters. We're using Hansen
& Quinn's Greek Course.

Is there anything anyone can offer? What's best to do,
memorize each list of endings, knowing that contractions
and such will change all but a few instances later?

I'd love any advice!

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Postby Emma_85 » Fri Jan 30, 2004 11:27 pm

Well declentions aren't that difficult. You just have to try to simplify it as much as possible.
So for the first delination you just learn these endings:

- [face=spionic]oj[/face]
- [face=spionic]ou[/face]
- [face=spionic]w|[/face]
- [face=spionic]on[/face]

and so on for Pl. and 2nd and third declination. Then when you know the basics you can go on to learning the special cases. Such as sigma stems and stuff like that, because once you understand which letters contract to what and know the endings everything else is easier.

Same for verbs. They are really easy as the endings are just:

- [face=spionic]w[/face]
- [face=spionic]eij[/face]
- [face=spionic]ei[/face]
- [face=spionic]men[/face]
- [face=spionic]te[/face]
- [face=spionic]si[/face] (n)

and then medium
and then do the same for secondary endings for active and medium.
after learning the endings you just learn that aroist for example has an augment in indicative and otherwise often has a sa.

Just don't try to memorise millions of examples of by heard, you can do that too, but it's more effective to learn some rules, instead of learning some examples off by heart.

Hope that helps a bit
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Postby bingley » Sat Jan 31, 2004 1:26 am

I will add this to Emma's excellent advice. Look at the paradigms and try and work out some rules for yourself. My eyes tend to glaze over if someone gives me the rule, but I can remember rules I've worked out for myself. All I need to know is what kind of rules might operate.
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Postby chad » Sat Jan 31, 2004 8:19 am

also if you think about the sound of the endings it helps...

the accusative is often nasal, ending in a "n" (or "ns" for the plural, but the "n" has disappeared making the syllable long)

the dative always has a dental sound... an "ee" sound between the teeth (the iota)

the genitive is often pronounced at the back of the mouth, with "o" sounds in the singular and plural.

these are just general patterns tho which don't always apply...

make sure you know the definite article well, and the other pronouns... they can often tell you what the case of the noun following is...
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Postby Moerus » Sat Jan 31, 2004 10:55 am

Talk Greek at home e. g. with your dog or something. :P

You will know your declensions very quickly
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Postby klewlis » Sat Jan 31, 2004 3:12 pm

I've always found it helpful to create my own summary charts of all the forms. As you learn a new declension or conjugation, add it to your chart. This personalizes it a little more and I find that it helps me to remember things in the order in which I learned them... visually as well. It's much better than staring at the charts at the back of your book.
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Postby auctor » Sat Jan 31, 2004 6:36 pm

As far as nouns and adjectives are concerned, the singular most important thing to know is the def. art. Only 24 forms (all genitive plurals are the same and some masc and neuter forms are similar) to learn, but if you know those off pat then you'll start seeing sentences in some sense sooner.
But one piece of advice for anyone learning Greek is to have the def. art. at your fingertips, as second nature - other stuff will lead away from that.

Good luck,
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