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Prepositions

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Prepositions

Postby Aletheia » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:02 pm

Does anyone have any memory tricks to help with prepositions? My brain just cannot hold on to them.
Began half-heartedly learning Greek in 2001. Working diligently to take (for the third time) a translation exam of the Nicomachean Ethics as part of a PhD in ancient philosophy (May 2010). Mama to two little boys.
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Re: Prepositions

Postby Damoetas » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:13 pm

It really helps to make diagrams. Since most of the prepositions indicate some kind of spatial relationship (at least in their core meaning), you can draw a circle with lines or arrows or dots showing what each preposition means (for instance, ἐκ + genitive = an arrow moving from the inside of the circle and out, ἀπό + genitive = an arrow starting outside the circle and moving away from it). A lot of books have charts like this; perhaps you can find it online somewhere. I've also seen a book with some funny cartoons involving a man and a lion - I wish I could remember where that was!

Whatever else you do, be sure to learn which cases are used with each preposition. And it's probably helpful to write out a bunch of examples with real words, e.g. ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας, παρὰ τοῦ βασιλέως, παρὰ τὴν θάλατταν - maybe even with drawings of each thing.
Dic mihi, Damoeta, 'cuium pecus' anne Latinum?
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Re: Prepositions

Postby Aletheia » Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:16 am

If the memory of the cartoons with the man and the lion catches up with you, do share it! That sounds right about my speed. :roll:

I'm all about the diagrams right now. I just am bemoaning the fact that I have spent so much time on such a short list of words.
Began half-heartedly learning Greek in 2001. Working diligently to take (for the third time) a translation exam of the Nicomachean Ethics as part of a PhD in ancient philosophy (May 2010). Mama to two little boys.
Aletheia
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Re: Prepositions

Postby Damoetas » Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:34 pm

Aletheia wrote:I just am bemoaning the fact that I have spent so much time on such a short list of words.


It's a short list of words, but they are all extremely frequent and important. Just to put some kind of quantitative figure on this, I looked at the Oxford Classical Text (OCT) of Thucydides and counted the number of prepositions on one page. It was 21: εἰς (5x), ἐπί (2x), κατά (4x), παρά (2x), ἐν (2x), πρός (2x), διά (1x), ἀντί (1x), ἐκ (2x). Furthermore, since there were 258 words on the page, these prepositions accounted for 8% of the total.

This was a section with a lot of concrete military events happening (the beginning of Book 2, when the Boeotians sneak into Plataea at night), so I also checked a page that was full of abstractions (from Pericles' funeral oration) and I found 21 occurrences of prepositions on that page too. So, this is probably sufficient to demonstrate that the time you spend learning them will be time well spent!
Dic mihi, Damoeta, 'cuium pecus' anne Latinum?
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Re: Prepositions

Postby IreneY » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:31 am

Found the cartoon [img=http://mc.delendis.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/leon-griego.png]here[/img] and here you can see lots and lots of results for ancient Greek prepositions charts. Hope they help :)
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Re: Prepositions

Postby Aletheia » Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:28 pm

Oh my goodness! Thank you both so much. I love the lion cartoons, and would have never thought in a million years that I could google "greek preposition charts." (I wouldn't have thought I'd be so excited about the results, either. :roll: )

I also really needed that little boost of encouragement about the frequency of these words. I am motivated. Thank you!
Began half-heartedly learning Greek in 2001. Working diligently to take (for the third time) a translation exam of the Nicomachean Ethics as part of a PhD in ancient philosophy (May 2010). Mama to two little boys.
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Re: Prepositions

Postby Lina » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:06 am

In Athenaze, the text I use, I went through the list of prepositions and tried to get some sense of what I was dealing with.

19 prepositions used one case. 3 prepositions used 2 cases, with the case determining one or more possible meanings of the preposition. 5 prepositions used 3 cases, with the case determining one or more possible meanings of the preposition.

eis + accus. can have 6 possible meanings
en + dative can have 3 possible meanings
entos + gen can have 2 possible meanings
epi + gen can have 2 possible meanings
epi + dative can have 3 possible meanings
epi + accus. can have 6 possible meanings
kata + accus can have 9 possible meanings (down, (distributive), by, on, according to, at (of time), through, with regard to, after)
etc, etc, etc

My inadvisable way of dealing with this has been to learn the most common definition, and then look up the preposition in the glossary for other options if it doesn't make sense.

I am thinking that if I did composition practice with the prepositions, I would get much better at remembering them.

Sometimes, I make sentence hooks for them like: "I pick this aunty instead of that one." Helping me to remember anti means "instead of". This helps as long as I can remember the sentence hook that I made up to help me remember.

At any rate, the prepositions are definitely a challenge!
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