Learn to Parse NT Greek
English is a weakly inflected language. This means it relies largely on word order to convey meaning. In contrast, Greek is a highly inflected language. The structure of the sentence is conveyed through changes to the forms of words. Letters can be added to the front or end of words, called prefixes and suffixes, there can even be changes or additions inside the words themselves.
Therefore, you will need to get good at parsing Greek words to be able to understand them and how they are being used. Parsing means to break the word into its dictionary form (technically called lexical form) and grammatical features.
The FluentGreek Approach to Parsing
For students using FluentGreek without the aid of traditional Greek courses, let me suggest a method of learning paradigms. Though it’s common to memorize tens of paradigm charts, rote memory of charts takes considerable time; time that could be spent reading Greek. Therefore, I recommend you memorize only a few key noun and verb charts, relying on your reading to teach you the rest.
Click on Paradigms under the Read Greek tab to see the paradigms I recommend that you memorize. This contains the most important forms in flashcard format. Of particular note is Common Endings, which includes the 18 noun and adjective endings that account for approximately 25% of New Testament occurrences.
Parsing helps are provided for every word in both the verse flashcards and the Greek New Testament sections. If you can't parse a word, FluentGreek will display the lexical form of the word, its base definition, and its syntactical breakdown. If you want to explore further, click See Paradigm to observe the various forms in which that word occurs in the NT. Over time you will parse more and more instinctively, needing to rely on the helps less.
A Caution and a Caveat
Human nature tends to take the easy way wherever possible. FluentGreek's parsing helps give you what you need to understand word usage without you learning the form yourself. Guard against the natural tendency to abuse the helps. They are a tool to aid you on your journey towards fluency, not a crutch to use the rest of your life.
Every individual is unique. I cannot tell you how much time you should spend learning paradigms compared to reading the New Testament. You chart your path. Just remember that you gain fluency by reading Greek, not by memorizing charts. For those that want or need to dig deeper into Greek paradigms, see the Recommended Resources section of the Syllabus for a book that explores parsing in depth.