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Saying 'which'

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Saying 'which'

Postby Cheiromancer » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:34 pm

I understand that πότερος is used when there are only two alternatives, but what about when there are three or more? Do you use τίς (or τί for a thing) is there some other construction?

As in a sentence like "Which of these young men is Callias?" or "Which of these tents belongs to Achilles?"
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Re: Saying 'which'

Postby cb » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:50 pm

hi, yep: see e.g. line 8 of the iliad book 1:

τίς τ᾽ ἄρ σφωε θεῶν ἔριδι ξυνέηκε μάχεσθαι;

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... 99.01.0133

cheers, chad :)
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Re: Saying 'which'

Postby Cheiromancer » Sat May 12, 2012 7:30 pm

Thank you! A related question- besides what something is, and which something is, can τί ἐστι ask whether something is? That is, whether it exists? I suppose the translation into Latin would be an sit.

The reason is something in Quintilian's work on Rhetoric (III, 6, 23-24). Here's the Latin, and an English translation I found.

Ac primum Aristoteles elementa decem constituit, circa quae versari videatur omnis quaestio: οὐσία, quam Plautus essentiam vocat (neque sane aliud est eius nomen Latinum), sed ea quaeritur "an sit". qualitatem, cuius apertus intelluctus est...

Aristotle, first of all, specifies ten elements, to which every possible question has some reference: οὐσία, which Plautus calls essentia (nor indeed is there an other Latin word for it) and to which belongs the question "whether a thing is"; quality, of which the signification is plain enough...

Etc., for the other categories.

The first category is the category of οὐσία, but it is also the τί ἐστι. My Greek dictionary doesn't list "whether" as an option for τίς, but it is not the Great Scott, just the abridged version. Oh, and I believe this passage has some problems in its text- for one thing, I have seen Flavius (for Sergius Flavius) as the person who coined the word essentia.
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Re: Saying 'which'

Postby NateD26 » Sun May 13, 2012 10:18 pm

I think εἰ or εἴτε would convey that meaning. See Smyth §2675.
Nate.
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Re: Saying 'which'

Postby Cheiromancer » Mon May 14, 2012 1:59 pm

I guess I am just surprised that τί ἐστι is construed by Quintilian as asking an sit. I would have thought it would be rendered as quid est. That is, as asking "what" it is, not "whether" it is.

But my Greek isn't very good. I don't know how you would ask "is someone at the door" as opposed to "who is at the door". Or even if I am understanding an sit correctly. My Latin is even worse than my Greek.
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Re: Saying 'which'

Postby Markos » Mon May 14, 2012 3:33 pm

...how you would ask "is someone at the door"...


ἆρά τις πρὸς τὴν θύραν ἐστιν?

...as opposed to "who is at the door".


τίς πρὸς τὴν θύραν ἐστιν?

...But my Greek isn't very good.


οὐδ' ἐμοῦ... :D
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