Re: goodbye

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu May 22 1997 - 17:59:36 EDT

Gregory Yeager wrote:

>Say, now, I've stumbled upon a neat-o idea for teaching Greek to
>youngsters. Tell me what you think. It has to do with those ridiculous
>nouns of the first declension that have feminine forms that are really
>masculine: ho mathetes, ho prophetes, and so on.
>How do I alert my kids to these....grotesque blemishes in the otherwise
>pristine koine Greek <g> ?

Pristine? Sorry, but koine Greek is a *real* language, with all the bumps
and warts that other languages have.

>Well, finally I figured it out, after saying
>countless times...."remember, this is a noun that has a feminine form,
>but it's really masculine....." One of my little geniuses chirped,
>"Just like Dennis Rodman!" "Or like Ru Paul <sp?>" suggested another.
>And the problem was solved. I didn't think it wise to call them
>"transvestite words" but Rodman words is perfect- everyone knows

Hmmm...*I* don't know Dennis Rodman, but I've always been media impaired.
With my schedule, if I watched television or movies, I would have to give up
Greek. However, I think I can picture the general idea, and I don't see how
it helps explain the concept. In fact, I think it is really important to
explain clearly that "feminine" nouns don't look like women, that hH ALHQIA
doesn't wear skirts or bat her eyelashes, and that "you shall know the
truth, and she shall set you free" is not a good translation. Mark Twain's
"That Awful German Language" has an amusing passage where Twain translates a
paragraph of German as though feminine nouns were really female.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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