Lesson 23 imageThe domain name HellenisticGreek.com has until yesterday pointed to the online grammar that has for several years been housed at Greek-Language.com/grammar (and, more recently, at GreekLinguistics.com/grammar). Now, however, I have moved the content of those directories so that all of the grammar materials are housed directly at HellenisticGreek.com. That way, the grammar materials only need to be updated in a single location.

Greek-Language.com/grammar and GreekLinguistics.com/grammar now both redirect to HellenisticGreek.com rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, that means that if you have bookmarked any of the lessons, you will need to update your bookmarks. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

For a few days, HellenisticGreek.com may show up in your browser as insecure. But that problem will resolve itself in a few days when the domain name registration is finished migrating to a new provider. Since there are no transactions to be completed on the site anyway, it will not be a problem.

Cell Phone Browser Success!

RaphaelPhilosophers350x300Finally! I have overcome the crazy lack of standards for cell phone browsers. Lessons 1 to 18 are now HTML5 compliant and displaying correctly on Safari for iPhone and Chrome and Firefox for Android.

If you are accessing the grammar on a cell phone with a different browser, please let me know, and I’ll test the grammar for your special circumstances.

Working on Greek Lessons from Perú

Chabuca's PatioI’m working on Greek lessons in Miraflores, Lima, Perú. Lessons 1 to 15 are now HTML5 compliant.

I would like to thank those of you who have submitted suggestions and corrections. As I convert the files to HTML5, problems inevitably arise, and it’s wonderful to have dedicated readers who have the confidence to point them out.

The climate here in Miraflores is amazing. It’s winter. The picture above was taken yesterday. It shows the patio at my wife’s aunt Chabuca’s house. All of metropolitan Lima sits on a desert, so such gardens need careful attention.

Patio PictureHere’s the one at her parent’s house where I’m working these days. It’s a nice place to work on Greek grammar. If things go well, I’ll be able to complete the revision of the rest of the lessons before returning to the U.S. in August.

A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek II

A couple of days ago I posted a note about the reprint of Robert Funk’s Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek. At the time I was confident that most of you already knew that almost all of the content of that book is available online a no charge, so I didn’t mention it. Some of you may not know, though, so I’m including a link to the online materials below.

Funk’s Grammar Online

You can see my earlier post about the reprinted edition here:

Earlier Post

A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek

Image of book

A reprinted edition of Robert Funk’s A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek was published in July of 2013. While a lot has happened in Linguistics and the study of Ancient Greek since this grammar was originally published in 1973, I welcome this reprint. In 1973 this book (at that time in three volumes) was revolutionary, and it is still very useful. The book focusses on sentence types, and the bulk of linguistic theory has moved beyond that discussion now, but for students learning the language, Funk’s approach works very will.

UPDATE July 9, 2014:

Most of the content of Funk’s Beginning-Intermediate Grammar is available online at no charge via ibiblio.org. You can access it here:

Funk’s Online Grammar

Grammatical Terms in Ancient Greek

Back in March, Louis Sorenson posted a helpful comment to B-Greek: The Biblical Greek Forum. In it he included a link to a great resource for finding the terminology that Ancient Greek writers used to describe their language. Here’s the relevant portion of his comment:

Randall Buth in his books Living Koine lists some of these terms in his appendix on pages 175-178. William Annis has collected a number of those terms primarily from Eleanor Dickey’s Ancient Greek scholarship: a Guide to Finding, Reading, and Understanding Scholia, Commentaries, Lexica and Grammatical Treatises, from Their Beginnings to the Byzantine Period, Oxford University Press, 2007. You can find his collection of terms athttp://scholiastae.org/docs/el/greek_grammar_in_greek.pdf

This terminology could be very useful in developing a new reference grammar for the Hellenistic Period. For earlier discussions of that topic, go here.

Scope of a Hellenistic Greek Grammar IV: the now-defunct BDF project

I would like to follow up on three entries I wrote on January 30 and February 1, 2010 on the scope of a Hellenistic Greek grammar.

At about that same time (Feb. 2, 2010), Mike Aubrey posted an outline over at ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ of what he would like to include in a grammar, and I thought of the various outlines those of us working on the revision of the Blass-Debrunner-Funk grammar had come up with 12 years earlier.

Today while reorganizing my office, I found a document mailed by Daryl Schmidt on January 30, 1998 to those of us working on the revision.  It included his outline of the grammar as he perceived it at that point.

The outline he sent was definitely not final, and was the subject of much debate. It was one of several being discussed at the time. While the people on the committee had a good grasp of traditional Greek grammar, we had varying degrees of familiarity with the most recent models of linguistic theory, so there was a great deal of unease about terminology as well as the organization of the grammar.

I had many disagreements with Schmidt’s outline as it stood at that time, but understood it as representing his evolving understanding of the project, not a mandate for the form of the grammar. It was as a tool to prompt discussion.

I’m posting it below to invite your comments. The discussion of linguistics and Biblical Greek has come a long way over the last 12 years since it was written. Feel free to suggest where you would have made changes.

I, for example, would not structure a major portion of the grammar around the notion of “sentence” and would have much more to say about semantics and arguments structure. I’m sure Steve Runge (after a good laugh) could tell us clearly what’s wrong with the rudimentary section on “discourse” too.

Here is what Schmidt’s provisional outline included in January of 1998:


Sources: texts and mss
Grammar and Linguistics
Syntax: Words; Sentence types and patterns; Discourse units

Part 1: Grammar of Words

A. Introduction: rationale for categories

Lexical categories (“parts of speech”)
Formal features (morphology)
Grammatical features (e.g. gender, case, voice, aspect)

B. Major (“open”) classes: (heads of phrases)
noun, verb, adjective, adverb

C. Minor (“closed”) classes: (“function words”)
determiners, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions

D. Subclasses:
Lexical properties
Syntactical features

Part 2: Grammar of Simple Sentences

A. Sentence structures

1. Elements of a sentence
agreement of subject & verb
2. Equative sentences

a. nominal (verbless)
b. with equative verb

3. Intransitive
4. Transitive

B. Nominal Phrases

1. Introduction: constituents (determiners, adjectives, nouns)
modifiers and modifier roles
2. Functions
3. Pronouns
4. Substantival (headless)
C. Verb Phrases (predicate clauses)

1. Introduction: constituents (verbs and adverbials)
2. Verb features
3. Verb chains
4. Adverbials
5. Complement patterns

D. Sentence Variations

1. Reflexive & Passive
2. Negation
3. Questions
4. Commands

E. Coordination

1. Within phrases and clauses
2. Compound Sentences
3. Comparison

Part 3: Grammar of Complex Sentences

A. Formation of complex sentences

1. Introduction

a. Subordinate conjunctions
b. Infinitive & Participle

2. Functions of Embedded Sentences

B. Nominal embeds

1. Indirect Discourse

a. Indirect Questions
b. Indirect Statements
c. Indirect Commands

2. Other Nominal Embeds
3. Nominal uses of subordinate conjunctions: summary
4. Nominal uses of infinitive, with

a. Verbs of discourse
b. Verbs of commanding
c. Causative verbs (ποιέω)
d. Impersonal verbs

5. Nominal uses of participle

C. Adnominal Embeds (adjective clauses)

1. Relative pronouns (incl. “substantive”)
2. Participle (incl. “substantive”)

D. Adverbial Embeds (adverbial clauses)

1. with subordinate conjunctions
2. infinitive (with τό, ὥστε)
3. participle (incl. Gen. Abs.)
4. conditionals

Part 4: Grammar of Discourse

Discourse Structures
Narrative grammar


A. Phonology, Orthography, Accents
B. Morphology (incl. paradigms)

catalogue of verbs
loan words & cognations

C. Sumaries & Lists

grammatical/syntactical category functions
e.g. case functions
use of participles & infinitives
correlation with traditional categories

So, what do you think a reference grammar of Hellenistic Greek should include? How would it be different from Schmidt’s model?


Poster of book cover (borrowed from ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ)A few weeks ago, Mike Aubrey announced on ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ the release of Steve Runge’s new book, Discourse Grammar of New Testament Greek. To see the announcement, visit his blog at ΕΝ ΕΦΕΣΩ.

This is a ground-breaking work, in that it approaches grammar from a linguistic perspective not previously employed in a full grammar of Biblical Greek. Notice the subtitle: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis.

Smart Board

I have gone through all 21 lessons on a Smart Board to insure that everything works without complication. All of the exercises work perfectly, and the lessons display well enough to be read comfortably.

The Smart Board allows the teacher to highlight key parts of the lesson by simply dragging a finger across them, or write on the lesson with one of the pressure “pens” to highlight particular items.

If you are teaching Greek and have access to a Smart Board, give it a try and tell me what you would like changed, improved, etc.