Saturday, May 14, 2011

Biblical Greek Accents

Beginning Greek students are a generally overwhelmed group. At least that is the a priori assumption of most Greek grammars (although, not Porter's new one!). While it may be true that many (if not all) Greek students will go through periods of wandering through the dense fog that is grammar, syntax, and vocabulary acquisition, this does not mean that we should be handled with kid's gloves. This mentality, in my opinion, is the reason why the Greek accent gets short shrift in most Beginning Greek Grammars.

Recently, I have begun to read through Basics of Biblical Greek (3rd edition), for the first time (I learned from another grammar in seminary). Accent rules are not featured all that much in this grammar either, but the fact that I am a curious sort who always wants to understand the 'why?' questions, like "Why does the acute accent go there?", I am determined to learn them. Yes, I realize that this is going to take work, but I hate not knowing.

Does this mean I want to wade through 167 pages of Carson's Greek Accents: A Student's Manual? Not really. So what other alternatives are out there? Probably the most useful item I have found (and forgive me if you have already seen this!) is John Schwandt's (Institute of Biblical Greek) series of videos on the subject. Do yourself a favor and check these out. He does a great job of helping the student visualize how Greek accents are placed.


Marcus Maher said...

Mounce covers accents in his Morphology of Biblical Greek. He has about 15 pages on it starting at p. 47.

Robert Balaicius said...

That's it...? not even a hint...? No overview? What do all the accents do?/mean? What are even some of the purposes? An example or two? For instance, it is easy to figure out that the curved accent similar to a single quotation mark with the open end to the right, controls breath sound of a vowel... so what does the accent pointed in the other direction do? What do multiple accents do? I realize you can't itemize each one... but can you not give some examples? Thanks. Robert

Robert Balaicius said...

Can you give some examples of what the accents do...? the mark similar to a single quotation with open side to the right controls the breath sound over a vowel, making an "a" a "ha"; what does the accent do when facing the other way? what do multiple accents do? Do the accents govern what part of speech it is, the tense? can you give some examples? Thanks. Robert