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Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin
Discovering Ancient Greek and Latin

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8.5 The first declension

The endings of Greek nouns are predictable. Every noun belongs to one of three groups, called declensions, each of which contains further subdivisions. A declension is a patterns of endings. If you know which pattern a noun follows, you can determine its possible endings.

Table 18 below shows the genitive and dative case endings of the first declension noun τιμή (timē, ‘honour’). Almost all nouns ending in -α or -η belong to the first declension. This group includes most female names, such as the goddesses Athene (Ἀθήνη), Aphrodite (Ἀφροδίτη) and Hera (Ἥρα). The endings also vary according to number, i.e. whether a noun is singular (‘It was a great honour’) or plural (‘she was awarded many honours’). For the moment, we will concentrate on singular nouns.

Table 18 τιμή, genitive and dative singular
caseendingτιμή
singular
genitive-ης (ēs)τιμῆς (timēs)
dative-ῃ (ēi)τιμῇ (timēi)

Activity 41

a) In which case is the noun Ἑλένῃ (Helenēi, ‘Helen’)?

a. 

genitive


b. 

dative


c. 

none of the above


The correct answer is b.

b) What is the genitive singular of the first declension noun Ἀθήνη (Athēnē, ‘Athene’)?

a. 

Ἀθήνη (Athēnē)


b. 

Ἀθήνης (Athēnēs)


c. 

Ἀθήνῃ (Athēnēi)


d. 

none of the above


The correct answer is b.