Colorful Pneumonics

From: Mike Adams (
Date: Sun Sep 24 1995 - 15:36:18 EDT

This is addressed specifically to the person who originally asked
concerning teaching of accents. Regretably, I have deleted her(?) email
address, and since this may be helpful to the minority here who study
and/or tutor Greek on an informal basis, I shall venture to post this for

Most of my formal(?) training in Greek I received at Sunday school and
night classes at a church I attended some twenty years ago. This provided a
solid basis for me to continue my studies by continually reading my New
Testament and by adding "tools" to my coffer as I have been able. I have
also been able to tutor others with the goal of leading them to what David
Black describes as "R-1 Elementary Proficiency" that is enough knoweldge to
be useful with HEAVY reliance on dictionaries and other tools. (By the way,
I am proud to say I learned accenting which I am meticulous in employing,
but I have only bothered to teach accenting to one person.)

Anyhow, one device I use early on is a color-coded system for illustrating
Aktionsart. Since I never had more than a few students at one time, it has
not been impossible for me to hand mark printed copies of text with majik
highlighters. I have a picture chart that defines the color system.

Color: Picture: Tense: Implication:
Green Leaf Present A leaf that IS growing, continued (or repeated)
                            action in the present

Orange Leaf Imperfect A leaf that HAD BEEN growing at one time.
                            Continued or repeated action in the past.

Yellow Lightning Aorist A flash. Action regardless of time, (but
         bolt usually past) that is VIEWED as an event.

Pink Rose Future A rosy future, of course!

Purple Diamond Purfect Like a marriage, an event with continued
    ring with purple stone results.

Blue Diamond Pluperfect "Blue Purfect" The marriage took place.
     with blue stone The results continued for some time in the
                            past. And now???

I mark all verbs and most participles with highlighters. I use arrows to
show direction of action. > for active. < for passive. a bowtie >< for
middle. I make the front and of the bowtie fatter to indicate deponents.

The arrows are filled in solid for indicative and merely outlined for
subjunctive/optative. Imperatives are outlined and followed by an
exclamation point. Mood I refer to as the substance of the verb or reality
(at least in the mind of the writer.)

Such a system is too simplistic and to difficult to employ for large or
formal settings, but it has worked well for me and my friends. Perhaps it
could prove to a helpful "pneumonic" for others.

Ellen Adams
Wife, mom, &
enthusiastic hacker.

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