[b-greek] Re: Help on Teaching Contract Vowels

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Thu Apr 19 2001 - 06:56:36 EDT

At 8:23 PM -0700 4/18/01, Charlie & Mary Jane Perkins wrote:
>Hello All,
>I'm teaching Greek to grammar school students, and I've been putting off
>contract vowels because of the amount of material in the lists / charts /
>tables. I expect that many adult learners intuitively translate these verbs,
>but the younger ones seem to work better if they have something more
>Does anyone have a song / chant / poem to aid memorization of vowel
>contractions? (or a set of such memory aids?)
>Please feel free to forward this message to other teachers or students of
>Greek who might have some suggestions.

Not really a mnemonic device, but ... One of the observations I've found
useful pedagogically is to note :

(a) that O-vowels prevail over both A- and E- vowels, that A-vowels prevail
over E-vowels in contraction;

(b) that the spurious diphthong OU is produced by O + E, E + O, and O + O;

(c) that the spurious diphthong EI is produced by E + E and E + EI;

(d) that when O combines with EI, the E is squeezed out, while when A
combines with EI, the E is squeezed out and the I becomes a subscript.

I think what makes the contractions more difficult is that they don't seem
to bear obvious clear relationship to most schemes of pronunciation.

In any case, I think they do need to be memorized because they play a role
in noun and adjective morphology also, and if one gets the contractions
fixed in memory, one can come to see that contract nouns and adjectives do
really operate rationally after all.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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