‘Beyond Translation’: Ancient Greek as an Inflected Language, with Graeme Bird

Go Beyond Reading a Translation

Our Beyond Translation Module is designed to introduce the basic tools and skills necessary to explore an ancient Greek text or word on Perseus.

Key Concept: Ancient Greek as an Inflected Language

We are pleased to share this video, in which Professor Graeme D. Bird (Gordon College) explains how ancient Greek uses inflection rather than word order to convey information.

You may download a transcript of this video: Ancient_Greek_as_an_Inflected_Language_with_Graeme_Bird (PDF)

Challenge: Professor Bird uses the Iliad as an example. Using Perseus, look at the word order and inflections of the first few words in the first line of the Odyssey, compared to English translations.

Graeme D. Bird

Associate Professor of Linguistics and Classics


B.A., M.A. Auckland University
B.D. London University
B.M. Berklee College of Music
M.A., Ph.D. Harvard University

Dr. Bird is a native of New Zealand and Associate Professor of Linguistics and Classics at Gordon College. He is also a participant in the Harvard-affiliated Homer Multitext Project and Lecturer in Extension at Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education, where he currently teaches courses on Mathematics and the Greeks and Quantitative Reasoning: Practical Math. His teaching and research interests include Greek and Latin language and literature, Indo-European linguistics, and early English literature. He is the author of Multitextuality in the Homeric Iliad: The Witness of the Ptolemaic Papyri and “Critical Signs—Drawing Attention to ‘Special’ Lines of Homer’s Iliad in the Manuscript Venetus A” in Recapturing a Homeric Legacy: Images and Insights from the Venetus A Manuscript of the Iliad (3.5 MB PDF download). He enjoys exploring the connections between such diverse disciplines as Homeric poetry, historical linguistics, Greek mathematics, computer programming, and jazz improvisation.