Re: 'instrumental-comitative dative' - beginners guide to grammatical terms

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jun 16 1999 - 15:09:13 EDT

At 5:12 PM +0100 6/16/99, Jonathan Ryder wrote:
>Edgar Krentz wrote:
>> Don't lose heart. Carl Conrad is simply being precise. See H. W. Smyth,
>> GREEK GRAMMAR, par. 1521-1528, all devoted to the comitative dative.
>> This is the grammar you should read constantly. Its grammatical terminology
>> is the normal set, prior to the arrival of modern linguistics.
>It's OK I've not lost heart, but just wanted to find the best and quickest

I can only reiterate and underscore what Edgar has said (I take it he was
doing the same with what I said!): there isn't any quick easy way to do
this. I'm still dumbfounded, after lo these many years, every time I learn
about the three-week crash course that some seminaries offer prior to start
of a fall term as the only fundamental introduction to Greek that many of
their students will ever have. After 40 years of teaching it, I'm now
pretty well convinced that what one must learn in Beginning Greek probably
is best done in three 15-week semesters, preferably meeting at least four
times a week. There is just that much memorization and cumulative
absorption of essential grammatical information to be done. A worthy
alternative for those who can afford the time: the special summer course at
CUNY at UC-Berkely that meets 5-days-a-week for 6-hours-a-day for 8 weeks:
I've heard of beginners coming out of that course and reading Plato quite
adequately. One really needs to absorb what's in the good textbooks
thoroughly if one is ever going to have more than a superficial knowledge
of Greek

>It's also helpful to be given insight into historical development
>of >grammatical description as in the comment above.
>One more question: would you recommend Smyth in preference to BDF?

Smyth's grammar is fundamentally a grammar of classical Attic; BDF is
strictly a grammar of Hellenistic/NT Greek, but it is based on an
assumption that one who uses it already has a sound foundation in classical
Attic; it's not the place to go get that foundation, but is an excellent
resource for someone who has it.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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