The Easiest Way to Learn Greek Grammar

Sing and Learn New Testament


Kenneth Berding

. . . . . . . . 27 . 20 Joshua Fit’ the Battle of Jericho A Few Notes on Using These Songs . . . Prepositions Song . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Farmer in the Dell or A Hunting We Will Go 4. . . . . . . . . . . Grand Rapids. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alphabet Song . No part of this publication may be reproduced. . . . . . . . 15 Old McDonald Had a Farm 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Mexican Hat Dance 11. Row. . . . . Printed in the United States of America 08 09 10 11 12 • 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad 6. . . . . 18 Twinkle. . . . . . . . . . . who grew up singing these songs. . . . . . . . . . . Indicative Verb Endings Song . . . . . . or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Contract Forms Song (Difficult Forms Only) . . . . photocopy. . . . . . . Michigan 49530 ISBN-13: 978-0-310-28463-5 ISBN-10: 0-310-28463-5 All rights reserved. . . . . . . . 12 Yankee Doodle 5. . . Imperatives Song . . . . . . . . . . stored in a retrieval system. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Row. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Twinkle Little Star 10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews. . . . . Row Your Boat Extra 9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Eijmi v Song (Important Forms) . . General Verb Forms Song . mechanical. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Sing and Learn New Testament Greek Copyright © 2008 by Kenneth Berding Requests for information should be addressed to: Zondervan. Article Song . . . . . . . Infinitives Song . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Three Blind Mice 3. Noun Endings Song . . . . . . 8 The Alphabet Song 2. . . . . . without the prior permission of the publisher. . . 16 For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow 8. . . . . 23 A Note to Teachers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . recording. . . .Table of Contents This project is dedicated to my daughter Grace. . . . Participles Song . . . . . . 4 Basics 1. . Introduction . .

Pennsylvania. I then spent quite a few years in intensive study of modern spoken Turkish while living in Turkey. But would you rather remember 90 percent or forget 95 percent? It also gives the forms as they appear rather than as they mutated somewhere in ancient Greek history. I have been humming these tunes (and hundreds of rejected tunes) since 1992. Thus. I decided that I would learn how to teach Greek while I was relearning it. you’ll face no dearth of books to guide you. You can’t learn Greek without some memorization of forms. It is not the program for the linguistically particular. Spanish. Here’s a simple example from Greek: lu vw lu e iß v lu e i v lu vomen lu ete v lu vousi(n) That’s only one paradigm! I had to learn more than fifty (when I also count all the noun. But that’s not the aim here. I lost much of my ability in Greek through the pressures of learning Turkish. They have been my 5 . I’m uniquely qualified to attack the problem of Greek grammar memorization. things learned through music are not quickly forgotten. In the process. California. The conceptual distance between the songs presented here and the Greek forms you will actually encounter as you read is much shorter. So I had to relearn Greek. Linguistic purists may not appreciate this approach. In addition. I learned it once as a Greek minor during my undergraduate studies. “There has to be an easier way!” (Now you’re saying it!) There is. The result is what you see here. article. But why? I was required to memorize more than fifty different paradigms during my introductory Greek study. adjective. It has required a significant amount of time and energy to create patterns that would connect Greek grammar to music. Again. I had to learn Greek twice. and participle patterns that I learned). I still say it almost every day. Fifty!!! What’s a paradigm? A “paradigm” is a pattern of forms found in a language. Sing and Learn New Testament Greek is a much easier way to learn Greek grammar forms. I said it. If you enjoy the niceties of grammar and the intricacies of language. This approach is for those who are simply trying to learn to read the Greek New Testament and use it in ministry. Since I generally knew what was coming but wanted a way to remember what I was learning over the long haul. But it is always easier to learn through music. and New York. connecting what you see on the page to what you have memorized is significantly eased.Introduction “There has to be an easier way!” All Greek students have either said or heard this while studying Greek. Paradigms learned through rote memory are. the longest song takes no more than fifteen seconds to sing through once you know it well. it is difficult to actually bridge the gap between a memorized paradigm and the form that appears before your eyes on the page of your New 4 Testament. It only covers perhaps 90 perecent of all the grammar forms you’ll encounter while reading the New Testament. Apart from the Prepositions Song. I was motivated to find a new way through the maze that would help me easily learn the material in a way that I wouldn’t forget it. I have worked on these songs in Turkey. the linguists may be unhappy. Ukraine. or German!) In addition. (Take a minute and try to remember the paradigms you learned for high school French. In one sense. Always.

but I didn’t make the connection for twelve years! By the way. I so appreciate both of them sharing their musical skills. Many of the songs were difficult to develop (such as the Participles Song and the Indicative Verb Endings Song). (I mean … if you want to be a stick in the mud!) You still will be greatly benefited by memorizing these charts rather than memorizing paradigms. Steve Taylor. You simply memorize the songs in place of the paradigms you are told to memorize in whatever book you are using to learn Greek.) My wife. Thank you! I owe a debt of gratitude to Kyle Bonenberger. Trudi. The first Greek class that actually used rough versions of some of these songs—the Greek aa section at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. who helped me record a demo CD of these songs. a sound in between the “alpha” and the “omega” has been employed. Rick Lepage made early versions of these charts attractive and let me try them out while tutoring him in Greek many years ago. I seriously considered— and even began—composing new music for each chart.constant traveling companions. This will allow the student to distinguish these vowels from one another. Joe Hellerman. Finally. The left to right approach will make it feel like you are singing a song from a piece of music. I should mention the labor of love of those who have been my Greek teachers and mentors along the way. This program is meant to function as a supplement to other books. Some aspects of these songs represent true advances in pedagogical method. Teachers can feel free to pick and choose if they would rather use a different approach in place of one or more of the songs. I have my father (an engineer) to thank for teaching me that it is easy to make things more complex but you have truly succeeded if you can make something simpler. I am also aware that the tune for the Alphabet Song and for Twinkle. and my older daughter. Dan McCartney. Dwayne Condon arranged and recorded the tracks for this new recording. Moisés Silva. All songs are sung across from left to right. By the way. Rex Koivisto. Together we filled Westminster’s hallowed halls with the sounds of children’s tunes. 7 . Mike Wilkins. Lydia—along with Grace—let me try out tune after tune on them. I even once successfully taught an introduction to Greek in Kiev (through Russian translation!) using an earlier version of some of these songs. Some may object to using folk and children’s tunes. Thanks also are due to David Huttar. and Steven Harms skillfully sang each song. But the familiar songs have the psychological advantage of already being known and of making you feel that what you are doing is easier. who made many helpful suggestions during my days at Nyack College in New York. These songs can supplement any beginning grammar book or program. in particular Ed Goodrick (now with the Lord). Clint Arnold. special thanks are due my Elementary Greek classes at Nyack College and Biola University for letting me try out new songs on them. And it’s OK to sing a little when nobody’s listening! As to the pronunciation of the “omicron” (a regular point of discussion among teachers of Greek). you do not have to sing these charts. My daughter Grace (at age 12) deserves appreciation for suggesting the English Alphabet Song as the tune for the Alphabet Song. and Jon Mathew. 6 By way of appreciation. Walt Russell. 1998–1999—is deserving of special appreciation for bearing with me. Twinkle Little Star is the same tune—though most people are not aware of it. who sang on that CD. (This tune may seem obvious [!]. and Vern Poythress. The Alphabet and Article Songs use standard charts (though they still each needed a tune). These songs are also easier for teachers to use.

L (lambda) m. T (tau) u. O (omicron) p.N (nu) x. Y (psi) w. U (upsilon) f. I (iota) k. H (eta) q.Q (theta) i. C (chi) y. B (beta) g. S (sigma) t.W (omega) P L U R A L Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative “This is the Greek alphabet!” 8 9 . P (pi) r. Z (zeta) h. D (delta) e. K (kappa) l.M (mu) n. F (phi) c. R (rho) s ß. A (alpha) b.Alphabet Song Sing to the tune of The Alphabet Song Article Song Sing to the tune of Three Blind Mice Masculine S I N G U L A R Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative Feminine Neuter a. G (gamma) d. E (epsilon) oJ touç twç / tovn oi J twç n toiçß touç ß hJ thçß thç / thvn ai J twç n taiçß tavß to v touç twç / tov tav twç n toiçß tav z. X (xsi) o.

Noun Endings Song Sing to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell or A Hunting We Will Go 1st Declension Feminine 2nd Declension Masculine Neuter Masc./Fem. ouß ei n P L U R A L Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative Note: The (t) in the 3rd declension represents either t. d. 10 11 . 3rd Declension Neuter …also S I N G U L A R Nominative Genitive Dative Accusative a aß a/ an ai wn aiß aß h hß h/ hn ai wn aiß aß oß ou w/ on oi wn oiß ouß on ou w/ on a wn oiß a (t)oß (t)i (t)a (t)eß (t)wn si(n) (t)aß (t)oß (t)i (t)a (t)wn si(n) (t)a ewß. or k. letters commonly occurring in the 3rd declension.

{ } = alternate forms. (q)hte. P) Future (M. 3. (n) = moveable “nu”.] Imperfect (A) [augment] Aorist (A) [2 Aorist augment + stem change] [1 Aorist augment +sa] sai eß [eiß] [ouß] on Perfect (A) [redup. P) [+s for middle] [+qhs for passive] eiß [aß] ç/ [oiç ß] ei [a] ç/ [oiç] men men meqa meqa men men meqa meqa te te sqe sqe te te sqe sqe si(n) asi(n) ntai ntai [wn] [oun] 1. (q)hß.) Present Middle/Passive and Aorist Middle subjunctive follow line 3 with “filler letter” lengthened. (q)hmen. (A)=Active. but “lengthened”. (q)hsan. P) [augment] Aorist (M) [2 Aorist augment + stem change] [1 Aorist augment +sa] a mhn mhn aß ou {so} e(n) to to {si(n)} an nto nto 13 w 12 . mi mai mai on [wn] [oun] ß h/ [oiç] si(n) tai tai e(n) [a(n)] [ei(n)] [ou(n)] Perfect (M. (q)h. Subjunctives: Present Active. Notice the similarities to the imperfect endings. (M)=Middle. (P)=Passive.] + ka Imperfect (M. P) [redup. Aorist Active (+s) and Aorist Passive (+q) are similar to line 2. (See the ei m i v chart subjunctive line for exact j endings. Aorist Passive (not found in song) = augment + (q)hn. Key: [ ] = difficult contract forms (see contract forms song).Indicative Verb Endings Song Sing to the tune of Yankee Doodle Singular 2 1 Plural 2 3 1 3 w Present (A) Future (A) [+s ] Present (M. 2.

Sing. Gen. 2. Sing. Sing. Continue following Noun Declension: Masculine Feminine Neuter wn ontoß 3 ousa oushß 1 on ontoß 3 Continue following Noun Declension: saß santoß 3 sasa sashß 1 san santoß 3 Nom. ousa. no q] Aorist (M) [1 Aorist +sa] [2 Aorist = stem change + o] Present (M. Sing.General Verb Forms Song Sing to the tune of I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad Sigma (s). Sing. menh. Sing Nom. 1 Aorist (A) Gen. The augment only occurs in the indicative. P) [+ o] Future (M. 14 15 . P) [reduplication] Nom. Note: The Present Active Participle forms of ei m i v are the same as the j Present Active Participle endings (row one above). Gen. imperfect or pluperfect 2 The perfect and pluperfect can reduplicate If you see nt. the symbol of the future But not if a liquid verb qhs the future passive marker ka the perfect active sign1 sa is aorist active / middle a if a liquid verb qh the aorist passive marker. For mi verbs ka could be an aorist rather than a perfect indicator. Sing. but not for second aorist verbs Augment if it’s aorist. Gen. Sing Continue following Noun Declension: kwß kotoß 3 kuia kuiaß 1 koß kotoß 3 Aorist (P) 1 Aorist (P) [with q] 2 Aorist (P) [stem change. ot A participle is your fate! Tense and Voice Present (A) Future (A) [+ s] 2 Aorist (A) [stem change] Participles Song Sing to the tune of Old McDonald Had a Farm Case & Number Nom. Nom. Sing. P) [Future (M) + so] [Future (P) + qhso] Perfect (M. Perfect (A) [reduplication] Gen. meno. (q)eiß (q)entoß 3 (q)eisa (q)eishß 1 (q)en (q)entoß 3 Continue following Noun Declension: menoß menou 2 menh menhß 1 menon menou 2 1. Sing.

Infinitives Song Sing to the tune of For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow Active Present (on stem) Future (+ s) 1 Aorist (on stem) 2 Aorist (changed stem) Perfect (reduplication) Middle Passive Present Active (2 Aorist Active) Imperatives Song Sing to the tune of Row. Row. the aorist active/middle indicator. 2. Row Your Boat 1 Aorist Active Aorist Passive Present Middle Present Passive 1 Aorist Middle ein sai ein kenai esqai sasqai esqai sqai esqai Singular qhnai hnai sqai 2 3 2 3 e (s)on tw te twsan (qh)ti ou ou sqw sqe sqwsan (s)ai Plural Note: Notice that all infinitive forms end either in ein or ai. (s) stands for sa or s. Notes: 1. 16 17 . (qh) is the aorist passive indicator.

The Present and Aorist Subjunctive endings of lu vw are identij cal to the Present Subjunctive forms of ei m i v . if you see oi ç think either ei or h/ . The Participle forms of ei mi v look like the present active endings in the participle song (first box). though connecting letters will often look different. Note 2: Specifically. if you see a/ç think (only) ei . 18 Extra notes: 1. The Active Infinitive form of ei m i v is ei nai. 19 . Other contracted forms are easily recognizable. j \ j 2.Contract Forms Song (Difficult Forms Only) Sing to the tune of Twinkle. 3. Twinkle Little Star Indicative Active 2nd Singular Present Imperfect Eijmiv Song (Important Forms) Sing to the tune of Mexican Hat Dance 1 Present Indicative “Difficult Contract Forms…” a/ß ç a/ç wn eiß a(n) ei(n) oiçß oiç oun ouß ou(n) “think” “think” eiß Singular 2 3 1 Plural 2 3 Active 3rd Singular Mid./Pas. 2nd Singular Active Active Active Active 1st 3rd Singular Plural ei / h/ on eß eijm i v ei\ ejs tiv(n) ejs mevn h\m en (h[m eqa) ejs ovm eqa ejs tev eijsiv(n) Imperfect Indicative “think” “think” h[m hn h\ß h\n h\t e h\s an 2nd Singular 3rd Singular Future Indicative “think” e (n) think… e[s omai e[s h/ e[s tai e[s esqe e[s ontai If you see… Present Subjunctive w\ h/\ß h/\ w\ m en h\t e w\ si(n) Note 1: These are just the difficult-to-recognize forms.

among. below 21 Note: The “dashes” in place of the word “with” are only there to help you sing with the music. throughout because of against. along with with genitive with accusative with genitive — accusative on behalf of above. 20 . down from according to Verse: ajntiv ajp ov eijß ek j en j prov provß suvn with genitive with genitive with accusative — genitive instead of. out of Verse: with genitive with accusative with genitive — accusative with. about around. in from. for from. beyond by (means of) under. near Chorus: with dative with genitive with accusative — dative in. with with. by before. behind concerning. toward. ahead to. about.Prepositions Song Sing to the tune of Joshua Fit’ the Battle of Jericho With One Case Chorus: With Two Cases Chorus: diav diav katav katav metav metav periv periv uJp evr uJp evr uJp ov uJp ov with genitive with accusative with genitive — accusative through. away from into. along with after.

This indicates that there are quite a variety of endings you might encounter that would fit in this box. against from (someone) beside. this column picks up some of the more common extra forms (though not all) found in the 3rd declension. • Note that in the third declension column. Below are a few notes on how to use these songs. gender. Knowing that those letters are commonly found in the e pi v j e pi v j e pi v j para v para v para v with genitive with dative with accusative — genitive — dative — accusative on. and number. just learn it and use it. Alphabet Song: Just learn it and use it. Though not sung in the song.. 1. do whatever your teacher instructs you to do. on these charts) to the paradigms—or patterns—you are told to memorize in whatever textbook you have decided to use to learn Greek. or k. Noun Endings Song: • Most of the song is self-explanatory.With Three Cases Verse and Ending: A Few Notes on Using These Songs These songs are intended to supplement an elementary Greek textbook and simplify the learning process. • Notice that there is an “…also” column.e. 2. Article Song: Again. compare what you see in these songs (i. letters commonly (but not always) occurring in the 3rd declension. when on the basis of on. there are three points where a dash (-) is found in place of an ending. They are not intended to be a stand-alone program. you will encounter nouns that have one of the endings found on this chart. 3. When reading Greek. Memorize these songs in place of the paradigms or charts you have been told to memorize. Use the chart to determine the noun’s case. • The parenthesis around the (t) means that the t stands in for the letters t. over. d. If you are learning with a teacher. with alongside 22 23 . If you are studying Greek on your own.

would be wn ontoß onti onta onteß ontwn ousin ontaß since they follow the third declension of the noun endings. Indicative Verb Endings Song: • Please note the comments at the bottom of the song. say. The reason for the layout of this chart is that you need to know both the nominative singular form of a participle (since nominative singular participles are very common) and the genitive singular form of the participle. and my goal is that you remember over the long-term. 24 25 . not simply to pass a test.third declension can often help you recognize that the noun you are looking at is in the 3rd declension. When used in conjunction with the General Verb Forms Song. • The parenthesis around the “nu” (n) in the dative plural of the 3rd declension is a “moveable nu. It is much simpler to memorize this way. • Note that the chart includes what you actually see. 5. for example. • If your goal had been to learn to speak or write Greek. you can usually figure out how to parse (that is. dative. and accusative plural forms). Participles Song: • Follow the arrows to sing this song. and the nominative. General Verb Forms Song: This song includes the most common ways that tenses are formed. it is adequate to group. identify the tense. look at the top left box. This song is trying to help you recognize and parse what you actually encounter. because the genitive form shows you what the rest of the forms will look like. and perfect middle/passives together on the chart as has been done here.” the other six forms “open” (that is. future. the other six forms open. These other six forms will follow the 3rd declension pattern found on your Noun Endings Song.1 and will follow the noun declension pattern that is listed with a number in the song. 4. All eight forms. • When you are reading Greek. The menu has eight items in the list. You find wn there (the nominative singular form). you will encounter verbs that have one of the endings found in this song. But if your goal is simply to learn to read Greek. which always looks a little different. The other six forms will be similar to the genitive singular. all the present. Except for the Dative Plural. That’s why the number “3” is there.e. and number) of whatever indicative verb you encounter. and also includes signals that you have encountered a participle. voice. 1. the 1st Aorist Active includes the sa on the chart. Those comments will not be repeated here. • Pretend that you are using a computer and “clicking” to open a menu. Use your Noun Endings Song to identify what the other forms are. Just below it is ontoß (the genitive singular form). • So. but only the first two actually are displayed (i. the dative and accusative singular.” If you “click” on the “3. genitive. And just below that is a “3. Thus. you would need to know specifically which endings went with which tenses. 6. person. the nominative and the genitive singular forms). Consult your Noun Endings Song. This song will help you organize lots of miscellaneous information about indicative verbs and participles that you will only learn gradually as you work through your Greek textbook. then.” which means it is sometimes there and sometimes not. When you click on the number immediately below these two forms. and so on.

. so really you do not need to learn all the rules for contract forms if your aim is to simply learn how to read your Greek New Testament. By the way. Infinitives Song: Just learn it and use it.7. Students can be quizzed by having them reproduce the entire chart out of their heads (not just the section of the chart that they sing). This chart will help you to deal with most of the difficult changes you will encounter. Eventually. If you are not as comfortable singing. Use a little bit of class time each day for singing the songs they have learned so far. if you see either a/ß or oiçß on the end of a verb. the Mexican Hat Dance is a combination of two traditional Mexican songs. But be aware that for lines 2. ew . and 4.e. or ow ). but also include aorist active forms (where a sa is found between the verb stem and the ending) and aorist passive forms (where a qh is found between the verb stem and the ending). You should keep singing the songs with your students in class as long as they are learning elementary Greek.) 11. When your students are first learning a song. Also. 26 27 A Note to Teachers I recommend that you regularly sing the songs in class together with your students. [then think] eiß. you do not need to use the CD. you can ask some of your more musical students to help you. All other forms are easily recognizable. Contract Forms Song (Difficult Forms Only): • Most approaches to learning Greek require that you learn a number of rules for how to form endings on contract verbs (i. ç ç That is. you can let them learn with music outside of class and only chant in class. Ei jmi v Song (Important Forms): Just learn it and use it. those lines not only include present forms (where you will find the ending added directly to the stem). later vary the speeds. 3. just sing the songs. your goal should be that they can speak/chant through all but the prepositions song in 90 seconds by memory. verbs with lexical forms ending in aw . 10. enjoy using these songs! Your students certainly will appreciate them. You will do well to have your students learn a particular song before you begin teaching that point of grammar. Prepositions Song: Just learn it and use it. This song simply gives you a list of the forms that are hardest to recognize. 8. In class. then treat it as ç if it were the eiß in your indicative verb song. (La Raspa gave us the “da-Dum da-Dum da-Dum” at the beginning of the song. have them chant the songs without music faster and faster in class until they can do them very fast. which look unusual to us because they are forms of contract verbs. By the way. sing it more slowly. Since eiß in the indicative verb song is present active 2nd person singular. • What the chart means is this: [If you see] a/ß [or] oi ß. Imperatives Song: This song is straightforward. Actually. Jarabe Tapatio and La Raspa. if you are less comfortable singing in class. 9. then so are a/ß ç or oiçß.

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