Thoughts on von Siebenthal's Ancient Greek Grammar

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Stephen Carlson
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Thoughts on von Siebenthal's Ancient Greek Grammar

Post by Stephen Carlson »

I've got my copy of Siebenthal and am going through it. My first port of call is the article and I'm mystified by its treatment.

First you have § 130 detailing differences between Greek and English on the use of the (definite) article.

Then you have § 131 laying out the pronominal use of the article.

Only next in § 132 we are told of the standard use of the article, and it's "by and large" just like the English definite article.

Then § 133 is a big section about definiteness without the article.

So... the Greek definite article is just like the English one, except when it isn't--and the exceptions appear random and unmotivated. At times, the grammar even says that there's no rule. While I do think cross-linguistic comparisons are helpful, I doubt that such an English-centric approach (or German-centric in the original) is a good way to go about expounding Greek grammar.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia
Stirling Bartholomew
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Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Thoughts on von Siebenthal's Ancient Greek Grammar

Post by Stirling Bartholomew »

Stephen Carlson wrote: May 17th, 2020, 8:52 pm So... the Greek definite article is just like the English one, except when it isn't--and the exceptions appear random and unmotivated. At times, the grammar even says that there's no rule. While I do think cross-linguistic comparisons are helpful, I doubt that such an English-centric approach (or German-centric in the original) is a good way to go about expounding Greek grammar.
Yes, I totally agree. Any approach that starts with:

the Greek definite article is just like the English|German|French|Spanish|Icelandic

is bound to fail. Forget the English article. It will just prevent you from discovering what is happening in Ancient Greek.
C. Stirling Bartholomew
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