Smyth’s A Greek Grammar for Colleges is the most thorough one-volume reference grammar of Classical Greek available in the English language. In it, he sets forth the essential forms of Attic Greek and the other dialects which appear in classical literature, and devotes extensive attention to the formation of words and particles. He also outlines the principles of Greek syntax and the basics of Greek morphology.
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“The inhabitants of ancient Greece and other Greeks dwelling in the islands and on the coasts of the Mediterranean called themselves (as do the modern Greeks) by the name Hellenes (Ἕλληνες), their country Hellas (Ἑλλάς), and their language the Hellenic (ἡ Ἑλληνικὴ γλῶττα). We call them Greeks from the Latin Graeci, the name given them by the Romans, who applied to the entire people a name properly restricted to the Γραῖοι, the first Hellenes of the whom the Romans had knowledge.” (Page 1)
“Some writers distinguish, as a form of the Koinè, the Hellenistic, a name restricted by them to the language of the New Testament and of the Septuagint (the partly literal, partly tolerably free, Greek translation of the Old Testament made by Grecized Jews at Alexandria and begun under Ptolemy Philadelphus 285–247 b.c.). The word Hellenistic is derived from Ἑλληνιστής (from ἑλληνίζω speak Greek), a term applied to persons not of Greek birth (especially Jews), who had learned Greek. The New Testament is composed in the popular language of the time, which in that work is more or less influenced by classical models. No accurate distinction can be drawn between the Koinè and Hellenistic.” (Page 4)
“The Attic dialect was distinguished by its refinement, precision, and beauty; it occupied an intermediate position between the soft Ionic and the rough Doric, and avoided the pronounced extremes of other dialects. By reason of its cultivation at the hands of the greatest writers from 500 b.c. to 300 b.c., it became the standard literary dialect; though Old Ionic was still occasionally employed in later epic, and Doric in pastoral poetry.” (Page 3)
Herbert Weir Smyth received a PhD from the University of Göttingen. He was an Eliot professor of Greek literature at Harvard University.