Re: Question Concerning Terminology

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Fri Jan 21 2000 - 19:36:09 EST

Carl Conrad wrote;
>If I were wiser than I am (can't do much about that, I fear!), I would
>leave this to the real experts to take on. But at least I've used these
>terms pretty much the same way all the way through a career that's about to
>come to an end, and if I'm wrong about their usage, I too would like to
>learn better.
>At 2:14 PM -0600 1/21/00, Steven Craig Miller wrote:
>>This message asks questions concerning linguistic terminology.
>>What are the differences (or relationship) between the terms "morphology"
>>and "accidence." Are these merely synonyms? Or is "morphology" a broader
>>category than "accidence"? (Or something else altogether?)
>My own sense is that "accidence" is a more archaic term than "morphology,"
>but I've always understood it, rightly or wrongly to refer to precisely the
>same phenomena, namely, the whole array of paradigmatic alternations that
>inflected parts of speech go through--verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives,

James Brooks and I agreed on the following paragraph in our
Morphology,"Morphology is that aspect of grammar which deals with word
formation. A morpheme is the smallest meaningful element in a word. A stem,
an ending, an augment, a tense suffix, etc. are morphemes. Accidence is
another word which is used to describe this kind of study. Morphology is
especially important in a highly inflected language such as Greek. It is
often contrasted with syntax, a study of how words are used in context."


< If
>I were a baptist (this ain't theology folks), I'd say that it's not much
>good to be introduced to Greek by sprinkling; you really need to be dunked
>in it and forced to swim (actually I don't know that swimming has anything
>to do with the baptismal metaphor), but what the heck? The point is simply
>that learning Greek, IMHO, is not a matter of acquisition of theoretical
>mastery of its phenomena but of direct-confrontation with what
>Greek-speakers have left us in the way of a living heritage.
Interesting. My Dad taught me to swim in Chickasaw Creek by telling me to
take a deep breath and hold til I came up and to paddle gently and I would
make to the bank about 20 feet away. He then threw me off the bridge and I
made it out. I took my children to a YMCA to be taught.

I agree with the idea of learning all but a little beginning vocabulary in
context by writing down every word you have to look up in a dictionary in a
notebook. I have notebooks on every book of the NT, several in the LXX, and
the apostolic Fathers. Its important to make your own, tho I think for many
a readers lexicon may help.

Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
Foggleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:54 EDT