Koine Greek: Nouns

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Greek Nouns
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SERMONS, ESSAYS AND OPINIONS
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Lesson

A noun, in basic terms, is a word that is a thing or an object or a concept.

Examples include words like book (Βιβλιον) which is a thing or an object, and love (Αγαπη) which is a abstract concept or an idea.


Function of nouns in a sentence

Unlike English, in Koine Greek, nouns decline, that is, they undergo changes in their form depending upon their use in a sentence.

In Greek, nouns are classified as one of the following

  • Nominative (the subject of a verb)
  • Accusative (usually the direct object of a verb)
  • Dative (usually the indirect object of a verb)
  • Genitive (usually representing possession, or qualifying another noun)
  • Vocative (a form of address)

Nouns can also be related to a preposition


Nominative Case

Subjects of a verb


Accusative Case

Objects of a verb

A noun is the object of a verb if the verb acts on that noun. For example, in the sentence "I read a book" the object is "a book"

In Greek, the noun is modified when it acts as the object. The noun is usually placed in the accusative case.

Other uses of the Accusative Case

  • Used with certain prepositions
  • To express motion towards
  • To indicate a total length in time or geography

Dative Case

Indirect objects

Nouns that act as the indirect object are placed in the dative case in Greek.

Other uses of the Dative Case

  • Used with certain prepositions
  • To express location in space
  • To indicate that the noun is an instrument (of a passive verb)
  • Used as the direct object for a few special-case verbs (often for verbs to do with commanding or obeying)
  • To indicate a point in time

Genitive Case

Qualifying

If a noun qualifies or possesses another noun, it is in the genitive case. In English, a noun is shown to be genitive by adding 's, for example: "the man's house"

Other uses of the Genitive Case

  • Used with certain prepositions
  • To indicate the time during which an event occurred
  • With a participle as the Genitive Absolute
  • Used as the direct object for a few special-case verbs

Definite and Indefinite Articles


Abstract nouns


Declensions


First Declension Feminine Nouns


Second Declension Masculine Nouns


Second Declension Neuter Nouns


Third Declension Feminine and Masculine Nouns

Third Declension Nouns are those that are not First or Second Declension. There are numerous third declension forms.

Variable-ος Form

Various irregular forms exist, however most feminine and masculine nouns follow the same standard pattern with a variable nominative case.

The stem of the noun is seen in the genitive case, not the nominative case.

The paradigm is as follows: variable ος ι α ες ων σι ας

For example the feminie noun ελπις (hope) declines as follows

Singular Plural
Nominative ελπις ελπιδες
Genitive ελπιδος ελπιδων
Dative ελπιδα ελπισι
Accusative ελπιδι ελπιδας

In the plural dative form of these nouns the stem is sometimes modified

  • If the final vowel of the root ends in β or π or φ then this becomes ψ
  • If the final vowel of the root ends in γ or κ or χ then this becomes χ
  • If the final vowel of the root ends in τ or δ or ζ or θ then this becomes σ

For example the dative plural of ελπις is ελπισι and not ελπιδσι

ις-εως Form

ευς-εως Form

υς-ους Form


Third Declension Neuter Nouns

Third Declension Nouns are those that are not First or Second Declension. Various irregular forms exist, however most neuter nouns follow one of two standard patterns.

The first main group consists of those like σωμα (body) that end in an α. The paradigm is as follows: α ατος ατι α ατα ατων ασι ατα

For example, σωμα (body) declines like this

Singular Plural
Nominative σωμα σωματα
Genitive σωματος σωματων
Dative σωματι σωμασι
Accusative σωμα σωματα

The second main group consists of those like σκοτος (darkness) that end in ος. The paradigm is as follows: ος ους ει ος η ων εσι η

For example, σκοτος (darkness) declines like this:

Singular Plural
Nominative σκοτος σκοτη
Genitive σκοτους σκοτων
Dative σκοτει σκοτεσι
Accusative σκοτος σκοτη

Quotes

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