Archive for the ‘Grammar & Syntax’ Category


E-Books for Learning Greek

April 4, 2011

I have started looking more seriously at texts for elementary Greek that can be used on the Kindle (and/or other e-book readers), in advance of a possible trial in a class this summer.  Here’s a list of resources I have found useful – do you have any to add? The following include texts available in Kindle format, and texts available as .pdfs – most e-book readers can deal with simply-formatted .pdf files, although their treatment of footnotes or multi-column pages can be, frankly, terrible. I have NOT included online-only texts (as at Perseus, TLG, etc.)

Hathi Trust

  • A scholarly e-book repository, it includes most out-of-copyright works (pre-1923) digitized by Google Books, plus additional titles post-1923 where Hathi staff have worked with publishers and authors to make works available to the public.
  • Search interface is very much like a library online catalog, so it’s easier to find a known title than when searching Google Books.
  • Note one can create a free account and make lists (“public collections“) of texts.  It would be useful to have such a list for important classical works, no?  Maybe in my copious free time (or yours).

Google Books

  • An alphabetical list of works selected by Crane and Babeu – Google Books Ancient Greek and Latin Texts Available as downloadable .pdf files.
  • Ditto, but US-access only. Requires a Google account to log in, and you must be in the US.
  • You can also search Google Books for specific titles, but good luck getting what you want in the first page of results – I’d try Hathi Trust first, myself, as the search interface is more sophisticated.


  • Requires creation of an account (free), after which one can download .pdf files.
  • Includes out-of-copyright texts – this site dates to 2001, so the texts were hand-scanned before the advent of Google Books.
  • Greek texts library. There’s also Latin.


  • Best website name ever? Links to downloadable .pdf versions of out-of-copyright editions from the Loeb Classical Libraries.

Project Gutenberg

For purchase at Amazon (prices listed – they are generally modest).

One problem I have run into is that the Kindle cannot convert any documents larger than 25MB, and many .pdf files are larger than this.  The solution is to use Adobe Acrobat and break up the .pdf files into smaller units, which requires a) possession of Adobe Acrobat (the production software, not just the reader) and b) more work on the user end – a lexicon that’s divided into several chunks alphabetically is not as easy to use.


Resource Review: Comparative Grammars

October 11, 2010

Jenkins notes on p. 179 that “there is no compelling linguistic reason for the comparative study of Greek and Latin.”  Nevertheless:

The 20th century standard was Buck’s Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin (Main Library 3rd Floor PA111 .B922C – currently checked out!); Jenkins (no. 528) notes it is “now badly dated” (it was originally published in 1933.)

The new standard is Sihler’s New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin (1995), (Main Library 3rd floor PA111 .S54 1995 – also checked out, yay!)  Jenkins (no. 540) describes it as “valuable” and notes in detail the differences between this work and Buck – of which this was originally intended to be a revision.

Searches of UGA’s GIL catalog for the subjects “Latin language – Grammar – Comparative Greek” and “Greek language – Grammar – Comparative Latin” have, as one would hope, a nearly 100% overlap.

I also want to mention a new work, Michael Weiss’ Outline of the Historical and Comparative Grammar of Latin (2009), which was recently reviewed by James Clackson at BMCR.  Clackson describes it as “by far the most comprehensive and reliable compendium of the historical and comparative grammar of Latin available in English, and even gives the monumental work of Leumann (1977) [Lateinische Laut- und Formenlehre (Man Library 3rd Floor PA25 .H24 Ser. 2, Sect. 2, v. 1, rev. 1977)] a close run for its money in terms of scope and coverage.”


The Best Greek and Latin Grammars (are in German)

October 7, 2010


Previous posts have covered the best and/or commonly used Greek and Latin grammars available in English. In both languages, the standard grammars are in German, however, so serious researchers will want to consult the following.


Lateinische Grammatik (Main Library 3rd floor PA25 .H24 Ser. 2, Sect. 2, v. 1, etc.) by Leumann, Hofmann, and Szantyr, is described by Jenkins (no. 536) as “the best available comprehensive latin grammar.”  Kühner-Stegmann (see below) is a better descriptive grammar, but this work surpasses it in all other areas.

Ausführliche Grammatik der lateinischen Sprache, vol. 2, also known as ‘Kühner-Stegmann,’ is described by Jenkins (no. 534) as “the best descriptive latin grammar available.”   Jenkins also includes information about the index, separately published (Index Locorum zu Kühner-Stegmann “Satzlehre,” Jenkins no. 535).  At UGA we only seem to have the 1912 edition, although Jenkins implies the text has been revised further since then.  Our copy is located at the Repository (off campus storage); we do not appear to own the Index Locorum.


Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache (Main Library 3rd Floor PA255 .K95a 1898; also available online through Perseus) falls into two parts: volume 1, ‘Kühner-Blass,’ which covers phonology and morphology and which Jenkins (no. 532) describes as “still useful [but] somewhat dated” (he prefers Schwyzer, see below); and volume 2, ‘Kühner-Gerth,’ which covers syntax, and is described by Jenkins as “sound and detailed.” We had a chase after the Kühner-Blass volumes last year and discovered them missing, so we are in the process of acquiring new copies. There is an Index Locorum zu Kühner-Gerth (Main Library 3rd Floor PA254 .K72 C3; discussed by Jenkins as no. 533).

Schwyzer’s Griechische Grammatik: Auf der Grundlage von Karl Brugmanns Griechischer Grammatik (Main Library 3rd Floor PA25 .H24 Ser. 2, Sect. 1, v. 1, etc.) is in four volumes: the first is preferable to Kühner-Blass for morphology and phonology, and the second is described as “offer[ing] extensive illustrative examples from greek literature” but sometimes inferior to Kühner-Gerth for descriptive grammar. The final two volumes contain indexes.


Resource Review: Greek and Latin Syntax

September 27, 2010

Jenkins discusses two essential works on syntax, one each for Greek and Latin.  There are also recent essays on syntax available at Perseus.  I have also listed a new work on syntax which has appeared since Jenkins was published in 2006.


One of the advantages of UGA’s new GIL-Find online catalog is it allows the creation of stable urls with search results.  So if you’re interested in the list of all 95 works on latin syntax at the UGA Libraries, look here (the search is a subject search on the Library of Congress subject heading Latin Language – Syntax).


  • Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek VerbMain 3rd Floor PA369 .G657s 1876 and Alexander Room; available online at Perseus.  This work, finalized in 1890, remains  “the most comprehensive and reliable handbook in English on Greek verbs,” according to Jenkins (no. 530).  Note that Goodwin is also the co-author of one of the standard Greek grammars.
  • Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, Overview of Greek Syntax (2000).  Available online at Perseus.

All works at the UGA Libraries with the Library of Congress subject heading “Greek Language – Syntax”.


Resource Review: Basic Greek Grammars

September 8, 2010

As there are three choices for entry-level latin grammars, so too for Greek:

Like its parallel for latin, James Morwood’s Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek (2001) is described by Jenkins (no. 538) as “compact and focus[ed] on Attic Greek” and “an excellent reference for students; the more advanced should use Smyth.”  At UGA it is shelved at Main 3rd Floor PA258 .M89 2001.  This is probably a common undergraduate purchase, as the list price is under $20. Like Morwood’s latin grammar, although this is an Oxford publication, it is not available through Oxford Reference Online.

Smyth is the classic, A Greek Grammar for Colleges, which Jenkins (no. 541) notes is “for over 70 years the standard reference Grammar of ancient Greek for English-speaking students.”  It is available on Main 3rd Floor PA258 .S6 and the Alexander Room; as well as online at Perseus.  Jenkins does note that  “scholars will need to supplement it with” other works, which will be treated in an upcoming post.

The third choice is Goodwin and Gulick, Greek Grammar (Main 3rd Floor PA258 .G66 1930b and Alexander Room). Jenkins (no. 529) calls it  “clear and concise, although with much less linguistic background than Smyth.”


Resource Review: Latin Grammars

August 30, 2010

On to latin grammars, a subject I know very little about indeed.  Thank heavens for Jenkins, who rounds up the top choices very neatly.  This post covers the most popular latin grammars for English-speakers; others will follow with more specialized works.  Most grammars are kept in the stacks at the UGA library; many also live in the Alexander Room in Park Hall.

The newest, and most elementary, is James Moorwood, A Latin Grammar (1999), which is at Main 3rd Floor PA2087.5 .M67 1999.  Jenkins (no. 537) describes it as “relatively abbreviated” but “easy to navigate and more comprehensible [than others] to contemporary students.”   It is widely available in paperback from under $20, so probably many students purchase this.  Although an Oxford publication, it is not available through Oxford Reference Online.

The traditional standby is Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, which we have at UGA (Main 3rd Floor PA2087 .A525 1983 and Alexander Room ) and is also available online at Perseus.  The 2001 reprint includes Anne Mahoney, Overview of Latin Syntax (2000), which is also available online at Perseus.  Jenkins (no. 526) has faint praise, but praise nonetheless: “a quite reliable descriptive grammar of latin, possibly the best available in English.”  This too is available in print relatively cheaply (lists at $38, but Amazon currently has it for $26).

Less preferred, according to Jenkins (no. 531) is Hale and Buck, A Latin Grammar, at Main 3rd Floor PA2087 .H168 1966 and the Alexander Room. While this is  “a reliable and readily available descriptive grammar of latin,”  its unusual arrangement and poor indexing means many people choose Allen and Greenough.  It is also in (re)print and lists at $34, available for $26 at Amazon.