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2.3: Direct address: Vocative case

The case used when addressing a person (or, occasionally, a thing) is called Vocative.  For most Greek nouns the vocative is just like the nominative. and for that reason, more often than not, we will not list it in the declension paradigms or models.  The nouns you are learning now, however, do have a special ending for the Vocative singular: .   the Vocative plural has the same ending as the Nominative: -οι .


ὦ δοῦλε,    φέρε1      καὶ2 σῖτον καὶ2 ὕδωρ   τῷ κυρίῳ.

   Vocative              V                ......................   D O ...................                I O

Slave! Bring both food and water to / for //your master.

  is an interjection, equivalent to English "O" or "Hey!" in common American English.  It is not indispensable but sometimes it precedes the vocative.

Why is  φέρε  highlighted?  Because it is a new form of the verb.  All the verbs you have found in lesson 1 make a statement: they are in the Indicative mood. φέρε expresses a comand.  It is a form of a new mood of the verb: Imperative.  You want to remember now only the 2nd person, singular and plural, of the Imperative.  Actually, only the 2nd singular has a special ending:  δίδασκ-ε = teach!;  θεράπευ-ε = heal!  The second person plural of the imperative is identical to the 2nd plural of the indicative:  διδάσκ-ετε = teach!;,  θεραπε-ετε = heal!  The English translation does not make obvious whether one or more persons are addressed.

We have all the elements we need now to complete the paradigm of the declension of  ὁ ἄνθρωπ-ος = man.






     ὁ ἄνθρωπ-ος

       the man

    οἱ ἄνθρωπ-οι

    the men, men


     τοῦ ἀνθρώπ-ου

        of the man, the man's

    τῶν ἀνθρώπ-ων

     of the men, the men's


     τῷ ἀνθρώπ-

        to / for the man

    τοῖς ἀνθρώπ-οις

     to / for the men


     τὸν ἄνθρωπ-ον

        the man as D O

    τοὺς ἀνθρώπ-ους

     the men as D O


     ὦ ἄνθρωπ-ε

    O man!

    ὦ ἄνθρωπ-οι  

     O men!


Note 1:   καὶ ... καί  = "both...and..." 

Note 2:  ὕδωρ = water.  This is the accusative of a noun belonging to a group that we are not studying yet.  For the meaning, cf. English hydro-