Re: Little Greeks

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Mon Sep 29 1997 - 08:33:14 EDT

At 04:52 PM 9/28/97 -0400, David L. Moore wrote:
>I see we've come across a valid usage for that erstwhile
>denomination "little Greeks."
I am still calling myself a "little Greek", but my usage has changed
somewhat. When I first started using it, I meant to make it clear that I do
not claim to be an expert on the Greek language. Then Carl Conrad suggested
that perhaps we are all little Greeks. I like that. And it has two
advantages over the original meaning I gave the term: (1) it is more
democratic, and does not separate us into Big Greeks and Little Greeks; (2)
it lets me hold onto the title for longer, since there is a certain danger
that I will eventually know Greek well enough to know what I am talking about.

Here is my blurb on "What is a Little Greek" from my Little Greek Home Page


What is a little Greek?

A "Little Greek" is someone who is still learning Greek. The phrase
originated when someone on the B-Greek Mailing List suggested that "a little
Greek is a dangerous thing". I replied that I am a Little Greek, and I am
dangerous, but so are some of the Big Greeks. Most Greek grammars say a few
things that are completely wrong, and most noted authorities on the Greek
language have said at least one stupid thing. But there is good news: even
Really Incredibly Awesome Big Greeks can be Little Greeks too, as long as
they realize one thing:

ecomen de ton qhsauron touton en ostrakinois skeuesin, ina h hperbolh ths
dunamews h tou qeou kai mh ec hmwn.
(2 Cor 4:7)

Those who don't know aren't dangerous; those who insist they do know are
very dangerous. This is just as true for Really Big Greeks as for Little
Greeks. Each of us knows only in part; if we want to profit by studying
Greek, we must have the humility and the patience to learn one step at a
time, to be corrected by others, and be open to the Spirit who guides us in
all truth.


In that sense, I hope that I will always be a Little Greek, and I honestly
believe that some of the Really Incredibly Awesome Big Greeks on this list
have shown themselves to be Little Greeks too.


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

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