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Hellenistic Greek © 2015
Lesson 27: Pronouns for Direct Conversation (ἐγώ, σύ)

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Lesson at a Glance

Pronoun

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun or noun phrase. In the example, “Carla called this morning. She got the job!” the word she is a pronoun. It replaces “Carla” in the second sentence.

Direct Conversation

Pronouns for Direct Conversation are the pronouns used by the people in a conversation to refer to one another. In English, these are the pronouns I, you, and we (also me, my, your, yours, our, and ours)

Interlocution

Interlocution is the term linguists use for direct conversation between two or more people.

Personal Pronoun

Personal Pronouns refer to people. In English we use all of the pronouns mentioned above plus he, she, him, her, his, and hers to refer to people. All of these are personal pronouns.

Grammatical Discussion

Introduction: Understanding Personal Pronouns

In English we use the pronouns I (me, my), we (us, our), and you (your, yours) to talk about ourselves and the person or persons with whom we are speaking. Personal pronouns are the only instance in which English uses morphological case. We have different form for when the pronoun is the subject of its clause, the object of it's clause, or is used to show possession. Observethe following table showing the English first person pronoun.

Singular

Plural

Subjective

I

We

Objective

Me

Us

Possessive

My

Our

Just as in English, in Greek personal pronouns are declined for case and number. In English personal pronouns are the only words that are declined for case, and we have three cases: subjective, objective, and possessive. You have already learned four of the five Greek cases: nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative. First person and second person pronouns are not declined for gender in Greek. They use the same forms for masculine, feminine, and neuter.

Usage

First and second person pronouns are used in direct conversation to refer to the people involved in the conversation. They serve as substitutes for the names of those people:

  1. ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν... (Matthew 5:28)
    I say to you...
  2. Καὶ ὑμεῖς μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν ἐγενήθητε (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
    And you became immitators of us

Personal pronouns are used much less frequently in Greek than they are in English since in Greek the same information can be provided in the verb ending. English needs a noun or pronoun to serve as the subject of a sentence, but Greek does not. Look at this example from Matthew 2:15:

ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἐκάλεσα τὸν υἱόν μου
Out of Egypt I called my son.

Where the English translation has I, Greek does not have a pronoun. The verb ending (ἐκάλεσα) contains all the information necessary.

The use of the personal pronoun as the subject of a sentence in Greek is a marked construction. That is, it is unusual and deserves special attention. Observe the following example from Matthew 3:11:

Ἐγὼ μὲν ὑμᾶς βαπτίζω ἐν ὕδατι...
I baptize you with water...

The particle μὲν suggests that a contrasting phrase may be coming later in this sentence. John is contrasting himself with Jesus, to whom he is speaking in this passage. Because of this contrast, he uses ἐγώ, "I" in addition to the verb ending to refer to himself. Whenever you see the nominative case form of a personal pronoun in Greek, you should look at the context to determine why it is used.

As with nouns and adjectives, the case of Greek pronouns is determined by their function in the sentence.

Forms of ἐγὼ and σύ, the Greek First and Second Person Pronouns

ἐγώ

Person

Singular

Plural

Nominative

ἐγώ

I

ἡμεῖς

we

Genetive

(ἐ)μοῦ

my, of me

ἡμῶν

our, of us

Dative

(ἐ)μοί

to me, for me, etc.

ἡμῖν

to us, for us, etc.

Accusative

(ἐ)μέ

me

ἡμᾶς

us

The ε enclosed in parentheses in this chart are optional. The pronoun appears frequently without it.

σύ

Person

Singular

Plural

Nominative

σύ

You

ὑμεῖς

You (Yall*)

Genitive

σοῦ

your, of you, from you

ὑμῶν

your, of you, from you

Dative

σοί

to you, for you, with you, etc.

ὑμῖν

to you, for you, with you, etc.

Accusative

σέ

ὑμᾶς

you (*yall)

*In the south of the United States, "yall" is used as the second person plural pronoun in informal speech. This form originated as a contraction of "you all" (y'all), but it is has been used as a pronoun in its own right for well over 100 years.

Practice Recognizing Forms of ἐγὼ and σύ

Vocabulary

New Vocabulary

The new vocabulary for this lesson includes the pronouns ἐγὼ and σύ. Learn their forms well.

Count

Greek

English

2666

ἐγώ, (ἐ)μοῦ

I, me, my

Study the forms of this word well! See the chart above.

22

μετανοία, μετανοίας

repentance, change of life in response to a changed attitude

μετανοία differs somewhat from the English word "repentance" in that the English word strongly implies a feeling of guilt or sorrow, while the focus of μετανοία is on the change in actions that comes from a change in thinking or commitment.

2907

σύ, σοῦ

You, your, yours

The forms of this word are introduced in this lesson. Study them well.

24

σωτήρ, σωτῆρος

healer, savior, rescuer

76

ὕδωρ, ὕδατος

water

Notice that ὕδωρ, ὕδατος is a neuter 3rd declension noun, so its nominative and accusative forms are identical. Its singular forms are: ὕδωρ, ὕδατος, ὕδατι, ὕδωρ. The plural forms are: ὕδατα, ὑδάτων, ὕδασιν, , and ὕδατα.

Review Vocabulary

If you know the principal parts (present active, future active, aorist active, perfect active, perfect middle/passive, and aorist middle/passive indicative first person singular forms) of any verb, you can correctly identify all of its other forms.

Beginning with lesson 23, four of these six forms have been given for each verb: the present active, future active, aorist active, and aorist (θ)η middle/passive (if the verb has one). Where the perfect active and middle/passive forms traditionally go in the list, brackets [ ] are shown here if those forms exist. If they do not exist, an underscore (______) is shown in their place. You will learn the perfect active and perfect middle/passive in a future lesson.

If no active voice form is found for a particular tense/aspect, a middle voice form is listed in its place if one appears in the New Testament.

227

οὐδείς, οὐδεμία, οὐδέν

οὐ + δέ + εἷς/μία/ἕν (1) = no one, nothing

54

εὐαγγελίζω, ______, εὐηγγέλισα, εὐηγγελίσθην

I bring good news, announce good news

The argument structure of εὐαγγελίζω is different from the English verbs bring and announce in that the meaning of the Greek verb includes the notion of "good news" but the English verbs do not. "Good news" must be stated separately as an object in English giving the verb one more argument in English than it has in Greek.

1243

πᾶς, πᾶσα, πᾶν

all, whole


δύναμαι, δυνήσομαι, ______, ______, ______ ἠδυνήθην

I am able (to do something); I can (See lessons 20 and 22).

Notice the unusual form of δύναμαι. There is an α where you would normally expect to see the thematic vowel (ο/ε).

70

τηρέω (Contracts to τηρῶ), τηρήσω, ἐτήρησα, τετήρηκα, τετήτημαι, ἐτηρήθην

I keep, guard




Reading and Translation

  1. Ἐγὼ... ὑμᾶς βαπτίζω

    I baptize you (Matthew 3:11)

  2. ἐν ὕδατι

    with water

  3. εἰς μετάνοιαν

    for repentance
    to bring about repentance
    with the goal of repentance

  4. Ἐγὼ μὲν ὑμᾶς βαπτίζω ἐν ὕδατι εἰς μετάνοιαν

    I baptize you with water for repentance (Matthew 3:11)

  5. John contrasts himself with Jesus, saying he is not worthy of carrying Jesus' sandals. Then he talks of Jesus baptism that is yet to come.

    αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ καὶ πυρί

    He will baptize you with holy spirit and fire
    He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11)

    πυρί is the dative singular form of πῦρ, πυρός, a neuter 3rd declension noun introduced in lesson 15.

  6. [χρεία = need]

    ἐγὼ χρείαν ἔχω

    I have need
    I need (something)

  7. ἐγὼ χρείαν ἔχω βαπτισθῆναι

    I need to be baptized

  8. ἐγὼ χρείαν ἔχω ὑπὸ σοῦ βαπτισθῆναι

    I need to be baptized by you (Matthew 3:14)

  9. σὺ ἔρχῃ

    You come

  10. καὶ σὺ ἔρχῃ πρός με

    You come to me

  11. ἐγὼ χρείαν ἔχω ὑπὸ σοῦ βαπτισθῆναι, καὶ σὺ ἔρχῃ πρός με;

    I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me? (Matthew 3:14)

  12. [ἐπιτασσω = I command]

    ἐγὼ ἐπιτάσσω σοι

    I command you! (Mark 9:25)

  13. [ἔξελθε = Come out!]

    ἔξελθε ἐξ αὐτοῦ

    Come out of him!

  14. ἐγὼ ἐπιτάσσω σοι, ἔξελθε ἐξ αὐτοῦ

    I command you, come out of him! (Mark 9:25)

  15. ἡ ψυχή μου

    my soul
    my life
    my self

  16. μεγαλύνω = I magnify, make bigger. When its object is a person, μεγαλύνω indicates praise.

    Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον

    My soul magnifies the lord (Luke 1:46)
    My living praises the lord

  17. τὸ πνεῦμά μου

    My spirit

  18. ἀγαλλιάω = I rejoice

    ἠγαλλίασεν τὸ πνεῦμά μου

    My spirit rejoices

  19. The preposition ἐπὶ can be used to mark the reason or cause for the action expressed by the verb. English does not have a good parallel to this, so when ἐπὶ is used this way the English translation must be creative, finding the best way to express this relationship in that particular context.

    ἠγαλλίασεν τὸ πνεῦμά μου ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ

    My spirit rejoices because of God
    My spirit rejoices in what God has done (Luke 1:47)

  20. ἠγαλλίασεν τὸ πνεῦμά μου ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τῷ σωτῆρί μου

    My spirit rejoices in God my savior (Luke 1:47)
    My spirit rejoices because of God my savior

Vocabulary Practice

A set of vocabulary exercise for this lesson is currently in development. As soon as that work is completed, links to the exercise will be included here.