Re: coding texts / morphology vs. syntax

From: Mark B. O'Brien (
Date: Wed Jan 22 1997 - 19:11:13 EST

On Wed, 22 Jan 1997 10:26:30 -0500 Jonathan Robie
<> writes:
>It varies from time to time, but I tend to color in the 4 corners of
>imaginary rectangle surrounding the verb. The lower left hand corner I
>for tense, and I choose a different color for each tense. If Present
>to be red today, I write a key up at the top of the page to remind me
>that fact, then put a little red "L" at the lower left-hand corner of
>word. I tend to use the right-hand side for voice and mood, marking
>with an upside-down "L" at the upper right-hand corner, and mood with
>backwards "L" at the lower right-hand corner.
>How do I do this without running out of colors? I just reuse the
>colors. The
>position tells me if the marking refers to tense, voice, or mood. If I
>to use lots of different colors, I get mixed up.
>When I'm working with text in a word processor, though, I find it
>easier to
>insert spaces or dashes to denote the morphology, e.g.:
>Of course, a letter may represent more than one thing - the H in the
>examples is actually E+A. I tend to separate out such a letter, as I
>above, or as in the example below:
>I suppose I *could* decompose it like this:
>I find this very helpful as a way of practicing my verb morphology, in
>addition to helping mark the tense/voice/mood for the verbs in the

Some of this discussion raises in my mind a question which I have been
pondering a little for the last few after a conversation with a very
experienced Greek professor. He commented that he saw a recent trend,
especially with some of Mounce's materials, towards a focus on
introducing beginning students to more morphology than syntax, whereas he
thought that more emphasis on syntactical competence might be more
beneficial for the beginner. I'm curious to see if any of you other
experienced teachers out there have some comments on this.


Mark O'Brien
Dallas, TX
"I have always thought that the acquisition of language and culture gave
a person completely new aspects of personality." -- Head of Humanities
and Art, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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