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Ancient Languages/Gender Specific Definite Articles

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Question
I'm discussing ancient biblical Greek with someone, and I'm wondering are the rules for the masculine, feminine and neuter definite article -"THE"- always the same and never change.

Examples ὁ ἡ τό

Is "ὁ ἕτερος" (The Other) always referring to a male and never a female or neuter. And can "ἕτερος" by its self without the definite article "ὁ" be considered gender neutral or feminine, or is ἕτερος always considered masculine by the way it is spelled?

Answer
Hello,

First of all  "ὁ ἕτερος" (the other) is always referring to a male person and never to a female or neuter gender, since both the definite article “ ὁ “ and the adjective /pronoun ἕτερος are nominative masculine singulr, while the nominative  feminine singular would be “ἡ ἑτέρα”(=”the other” referring to a female person)  and the neuter “τό  ἕτερον”(=”the other“ referring to a neuter).

Moreover , "ἕτερος" by itself, without the definite article "ὁ", cannot  be considered gender neutral or feminine, but it  is always considered masculine, as its ending "–ος" is the nominative masculine singular, whereas the nominative feminine singular is  “ἑτέρα” with the feminine  ending "–α", and  the nominative neuter singular is  “ἕτερον” with the  neuter ending "-ον".

In short, the pronoun/adjective “ἕτερος" must be inflected in the plural as well as in five cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative), so that for example the accusative masculine plural is “ἑτέρους”, the accusative feminine plural is “ἑτέρας”  and the accusative neuter plural is “ἕτερα”.

Similarly, the ancient Greek definite article “ὁ ἡ τό “  has three forms, i.e. “ὁ “ for the nominative masculine singular, “ ἡ “ for the nominative feminine singular, “ τό “ for the nominative neuter singular.

Moreover, differently from English where the definite article  “the” remains the same,  the ancient Greek definite article “ὁ ἡ τό “  must be inflected in the plural as well as in five cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, vocative), according to its role in a sentence (subject, direct object, indirect object).
See for example the nominative masculine, feminine and neuter plural “οἱ, αἱ, τά” or the accusative masculine, feminine and neuter plural  “τούς, τάς, τά ”.

To sum up, you must always remember that ancient Greek is an inflected language  where every word changes its ending, depending on its role in a sentence (subject, direct object, indirect object), its gender and number, its mood , tense and person.
That’s why it’s important to have a good knowledge of  Greek grammar and syntax.

Hope this is clear enough.

Best regards,
Maria

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Maria

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I am an expert in Latin & Ancient Greek Language and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning this matter.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D. in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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