I am taking Greek 101 this semester on top of my Latin. I figured that if I were ever to learn the language, I might as well do it while I have Catholic University’s outstanding classics department at my disposal.
On thing that any linguist will tell you is that you need to look for little tricks to help you remember things. For instance, to remember the English translation(s) for the Latin word, cupiditas, cupiditatis, I noticed that the English words form the word ‘clap’: cupidity, longing, avarice, and passion (oh yeah, and desire; I guess my acroynm should be ‘clap’d’ or something.)
So here I am, studying my Greek, the first declension nouns in particular. For whatever reason, the forms would not stick in my head. But then, Hermes came to me in a new pair of Nike’s and took me to a goddess (the very same goddess Parmenides spoke to!) She had been on the decline since she met with Parmenides. At first everyone seemed to appreciate the wisdom she gave to Parmenides. She was invited to all of the best parties.
Unfortunately, many people became unsatisfied with her arguments. Those who did agree with her about motion being an illusion just stood around all day, so she fell out of favor and on to hard times. She tried writing philosophy books, and she became a very successful philosophy writer. Unfortunately, she soon learned that being a successful philosopher means that you earn just enough money to buy a pack of cigarettes every week. She then thought she’d try to work as a goddess in the pantheon of New Age deities, but her application was turned down because New Agers much preferred to just make up their own gods and goddesses rather than worshipping anything real.
I felt sorry for her, and I gave her a few food coupons. I then asked her if she had any advice for me, a lowly Greek student trying to learn the first declension endings. Just as with Parmenides, she gave me a cryptic answer, but one with much wisdom: ”I own ice, [jerk]!” After a few minutes of pondering, I realized the wisdom of her words. Incidently, the plural endings of the first declension are -ai, -wn, -ais, and -as. w’s are pronounced like long o’s, and everything else is pronounced as it would be pronounced in English. So when you say the endings quickly, you say, ”I own ice, [jerk]!
The goddess then offered me a Coke. At first I thought I would accept, but then I realized that I was having so much fun with nouns that I chose to decline!