Third Declension

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Lukas
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Third Declension

Post by Lukas » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:43 pm

χαιρετε!

I am beginning Unit 14 of Dr. Mastronarde's Introduction to Attic Greek, 2nd edition, and am having difficulties with Third Declension nouns. For example, χάρισ. A chart at the beginning of the unit gives me a choice of no ending or a sigma with a vocative singular. How do I know that the vocative singular is either χάρι or χάρισ? Do I simply have to remember from page 117 that nouns with an ισ ending originally did not have a plosive ending? Is there a way I can figure it out from the genitive form, χάριτοσ?

I also had trouble with the accusative singular of ὕδωρ. I tried working with the genitive stem ὕδατοσ and came up with ὕδατ, but the answer turned out to be ὕδωρ. I know that Greek words need to end with a vowel, nu,, rho, or sigma (page 116), so ὕδατ ends with the wrong letter, but I was having confusion whether to keep the first vowel short as in the genitive or keep it long?

I have not been able to come up with a method to figure these out.

Confused,
Λουκᾶς

Hylander
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Re: Third Declension

Post by Hylander » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:29 pm

Don't worry about vocatives too much. When would anyone use the vocative for "water"? Neuter vocatives are usually the same as nominatives, but most neuter nouns (except diminutives) are inanimate and don't often find themselves in the vocative case. Otherwise, you'll recognize vocatives when you see them because in modern texts they'll be set off by commas.

mwh
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Re: Third Declension

Post by mwh » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:11 pm

Lukas, You were asking about the accusative of ὕδωρ. Since it’s neuter, the accusative is identical with the nominative. That’s true of all neuters, so you always have to decide from the context whether a neuter is nominative or accusative.

(The vocative would also be ὕδωρ. Hylander’s “(except diminutives)” is an important qualification: there are lots of names in -ιον, female but grammatically neuter and morphologically diminutive, which often occur in the vocative. Philemation, “Kissy,” for one.)

As to χάρις, nouns in -ις are a little more complicated. Vocatives are usually -ι, but sometimes retain the nominative form.

But as Hylander says, I wouldn’t worry too much about vocatives. You’ll usually recognize them when you come across them.

Lukas
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Re: Third Declension

Post by Lukas » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:25 pm

Ευχαριστώ!!! I had to snicker when Hylander wondered when I would worry about the vocative of water. That is true. :)
Λουκᾶς

cb
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Re: Third Declension

Post by cb » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:34 am

Hi, yes it reminds me (and I'm sure many others too) of the famous story of Winston Churchill, who couldn't understand why anyone would need to learn the vocative of table in Latin:

Source: https://newlearningonline.com/new-learn ... chool-days
Churchill relates a story about the discursive game his Latin teacher played:

‘This is a Latin grammar.’ [The teacher] opened [the textbook] at a well-thumbed page. ‘You must learn this,’ he said, pointing to a number of words in a frame of lines …

What on earth did it mean? Where was the sense of it? It seemed absolute rigmarole to me. However, there was one thing I could always do: I could learn it by heart …

‘Have you learnt it?’ he asked.

‘I think I can say it, sir,’ I replied; and I gabbled it off.

He seemed so satisfied with this that I was emboldened to ask a question …

‘But,’ I repeated, ‘what does it mean?’

‘Mensa means a table,’ he answered.

‘Then why does mensa also mean O table,’ I enquired, ‘and what does O table mean?’ …

“O table,—you would use that in addressing a table, in invoking a table.’

‘But I never do,’ I blurted out in honest amazement.

‘If you are impertinent, you will be punished, and punished, let me tell you, very severely,’ was his conclusive rejoinder.

Such was my introduction to the classics from which, I have been told, many of our cleverest men have derived so much solace and profit …

Hylander
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Re: Third Declension

Post by Hylander » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:26 pm

Sorry. I misread the original post. Lukas and mwh set me straight.

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