GWOTD – Gymnasium

Greek word of the day – gymnasium, from γυμναζω, which means “to train, to exercise.”

This word also neatly demonstrates the difference between the Active and Middle voices. The book notes that in the Middle voice, γυμναζομαι, (note the different ending) it means “to exercise oneself, to be in training.” I reached a real “aha” moment this morning when I encountered this verb in unit 18. Thinking about it in a transitive sense, i.e. where someone/something is the object of training, then the active word γυναζω, would apply if I wanted to say something like “I train my dog,” or “I exercise the horse.” Or a professional trainer might say “I train my client.” All these would be γυμναζω.

But, if we say, as we commonly do, “I work out at the gym today,” or “I exercise this morning,” then we mean (implicitly), “I exercise myself.” And Greek has an explicit form for this, the Middle voice. In this case, the word would be γυμναζομαι. It’s still transitive; someone (me) is still the object of the action (training). When the subject and object are the same, also called a “reflexive,” then Greek uses the Middle voice.

I just used the first person singular, to keep it simple, but of course, those endings -ω and -ομαι, will change for other genders and numbers. And, uh … also, “of course,” for other tenses.

Also, I am now making good use of the hotkey that I defined for the keyboard. When I activated the Polytonic Greek keyboard, I set up LeftAlt + Shift to toggle between them. So now, that’s easy too.