Prosody Charts for Croy's Vocabulary:
WORDS ARE SOUNDS... and the only way you can really learn the words is by saying them out loud. You cannot learn words simply by reading and writing them. If you are silent while you study a foreign language, you are probably learning next to nothing... by the time you wake up tomorrow morning, it will be gone! You have to MAKE NOISE.
Words and rhythm. Greek is a language with a fairly complex prosodic structure. In other words, it has a complex system of rhythms. English has a complex prosodic structure too - but of course in English you already "know" where the stress goes in each word, and you learned this by listening and by speaking. You need to develop the same kind of familiarity with Greek rhythms as you have with English rhythms. And rhythm is a beautiful thing. This is probably the most enjoyable part of learning Greek (or learning any foreign language). It's a dance!
Prosody groups. In order to start to develop a sense of rhythm in Greek, you need to study words in groups that sound alike. Usually vocabulary lists are organized in alphabetical order - which is basically useless for learning purposes! The alphabet does not help you remember the words... you need the sound to help you remember the words. When you study the vocabulary in this class, you will be presented with a sound chart that looks like this:
|1 syllable||2 syllables||3 syllables||4 syllables|
Do you notice how three squares are greyed out? That is because a monosyllabic word cannot have penultimate or antepenultimate stress, and for a word to have antepenultimate stress, it has to have at least three syllables.
You can use this sound chart in three different ways:
Study Tips. Doing this kind of practice is like playing scales on the piano: you need to do it a lot, until every word flows automatically. Don't worry about the meaning of the words when you are practicing prosody! Just listen to the sounds and "feel" the patterns in the words. Every language is built on an intricate and beautiful system of prosodic patterns, and you will start to absorb those rules unconsciously (just like in English) the more you read out loud and practice the words, especially when you practice with words grouped according to similar sound patterns.
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