Greek question and answer patterns

I’ve been trying to do some work to write up the kinds of things I aim to do in live classes, which is mostly to develop questions in Greek (or insert appropriate language here) about the text, as we go. I’ve adapted a lot from the TPRS method of circling, and here below I demonstrate with a very small portion of text from the Athenaze textbook, how you can frame a whole range of questions even on the simplest material. The questions are arranged in ‘levels’ which are somewhat arbitrary, but give something of a schema to work up from and to.


ὁ Δικαιόπολις Ἀθηναῖός ἐστιν. οἰκεῖ δὲ ὁ Δικαιόπολις οὐκ ἐν ταῖς Ἀθήναις ἀλλὰ ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς· αὐτουργὸς γάρ ἐστιν. γεωργεῖ οὖν τὸν κλῆρον καὶ πονεῖ ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς. χαλεπὸς δέ ἐστιν ὁ βίος· ὁ γὰρ κλῆρός ἐστι μῑκρός, μακρὸς δὲ ὁ πόνος.

Questions (with some answers)
Level 1 (Yes/No)

ἆρα Ἀθηναῖός ἐστιν ὁ Δικαιόπολις;    ναί, Ἀθηναῖός ἐστιν ὁ Δικαιόπολις.

ἆρα οἰκεῖ ὁ Δικαιόπολις ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς;   ναί, ὁ Δικαιόπολις ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς οἰκεῖ.

Level 2: Either/Or

Q: πότερον Ἀθηναῖος ἢ Λακεδαιμόνιός ἐστιν ὁ Δικαιόπολις;

A: ὁ Δικαιόπολις ἐστιν Ἀθηναῖος. οὐκ ἔστιν Λακεδαιμόνιος.

Level 2b: Leading yes/no questions

Q: μὴ Λακεδομόνιος ὁ Δικαιόπολις;

A: οὐ Λακεδομόνιος ὁ Δικαιόπολις, ἀλλὰ Ἀθηναῖός ἐστιν.

Level 3: Substitution with who/what/where/when/why

τίς ἐστιν Ἀθηναῖος;   ὁ Δικαιόπολίς ἐστιν Ἀθηναῖος.

τίς ἐστιν ἡ πόλις τῷ Δικαοπόλιδι;   Ἀθηναῖός ἐστιν ὁ Δικαιόπολις.

τί ἐστιν ὁ Δικαιόπολις;    αὐτουργός ἐστιν. ἄνθρωπός ἐστιν. Ἀθηναῖός ἐστιν. ὁ Δικαιόπολίς ἐστιν αὐτουργός τε καὶ Ἀθηναῖός.

τίνα γεωργεῖ ὁ Δικαιόπολις;     τὸν κλῆρον γεωργεῖ.

τίς ἐστιν μικρός;               ὁ κλῆρός ἐστιν μικρός.

τίς ἐστιν μακρός;             μακρός ἐστιν ὁ πόνος.

ποῦ οἰκεῖ ὁ Δικαιόπολις;            ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς οἰκεῖ.

τί ἔχει ὁ Δικαιόπολις;      κλῆρον ἔχει.

τί ποιεῖ ὁ Δικαιόπολις;    τὸν κλῆρον γεωργεῖ; πονεῖ ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς.

ποῖός ἐστιν ὁ βίος;          χαλεπός ὁ βίος.

ποῖός ἐστιν ὁ κλῆρος;     μικρός ἐστιν.

Level 4: Asking for details not in the reading

ἆρα ἐστιν ὁ Δικαιόπολις νεανίας, ἢ οὔ;

μὴ ἦν ὁ πατὴρ τοῦ Δικαιοπόλιδος αὐτουργός;

πότερον πολίτης ὁ Δικαιόπολις ἢ δοῦλος;

τίς ἡ πατρίς ἐστι τῷ Δικαιοπόλιδι;

ὁ Δικαιόπολις μόνος οἰκεῖ ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς;

Level 5: Asking for student details/responses (personalisation)

ἆρα σὺ εἶ Ἀθηναῖος, ἢ οὐ;

ἆρα σὺ εἶ αὐτοργός;

πότερον Ἀθηναῖος εἶ ἢ οὔ;

μὴ γεωργεῖς;

οὐ ἔχεις κλῆρόν τινα;

τίς ἡ πατρὶς σοι;

οἰκεῖς ἐν τοῖς ἀγροῖς; ἐν τῇ πόλει; ποῦ οἰκεῖς;

(the same again, but in the 3rd person, in 2nd plural, in 3rd plural, with students, with known and unknown responses.)

Level 6: Conditionals

εἰ Ἀθηναῖος ἐστιν ὁ Δικαιόπολις, τίς ἡ πατρίς αὐτῷ;

εἰ Λακεδομόνιος ἦν ὁ Δικαιόπολις, ποῦ ἂν ᾤκει;

(I would generally start with conditionals closely tied to the text. But you can make them further and removed.

There are other things you can do: use of synonymous words, phrases, structures. Switching around constructions (active <> middle), etc etc. But this is just a sample.

4 responses

  1. Pingback: Greek question and answer patterns — The Patrologist | Talmidimblogging

  2. χρηςτοι εισι οι λογοι ουτοι, ω Σεαμα! ευχαριστω σοι, φιλε!

  3. Pingback: Recommended Blog Post – Greek Language and Linguistics