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4.23 The Second Declension

This week you are also learning the "second" declension, which contains mostly masculine and neuter nouns (although later on you will learn that there are some feminine nouns in this declension also).

You will see some basic similarities in the patterns of the endings between the first and second declensions, but they are distinctively different. As you saw, the distinctive vowels of the first declension are η and α, but the distinctive nouns of the second declension are going to be ο and ω. But there is also an α ending in the second declension: the neuter plural nouns end in α - so don't get confused! Although there are a lot of feminine nouns that take an ending with α, this does not mean that only feminine nouns have an α ending.

Neuter nouns are very interesting because the nominative and accusative forms always identical. And that is a rule which holds true not only for Greek, but any of the Indo-European languages which has case endings (Latin, Russian, German, Sanskrit, etc. etc.). The poor neuter nouns did not get a lot of respect compared to the masculine and feminine nouns!

In this declension you will get your first distinctive vocative form! The masculine singular vocative is a distinct form which you will need to learn to recognize. For all the other nouns you have studied so far, the vocative and nominative look the same - but the masculine singular nouns of the second declension are special. They have their own distinctive vocative ending.


Biblical Greek Online. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. Page last updated: April 9, 2005 8:06 PM

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