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Homeric Greek word order

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Homeric Greek word order

Postby psilord » Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:24 am

Hello,

I'm in between Lesson III and IV in Pharr's book and it suddenly dawned upon me that I have no idea how I'm actually performing the translations. :) What I mean to say exactly is that I can do a "best fit" word order translation from greek to english, but when going from english to greek, I have no idea about the word order in greek. Does the verb come first? Last? Anywhere? Adjective before or after nouns? Since, I suppose, the cases(and their agreement between words) basically "construct" a sentence, it would appear to me that word order (so far) doesn't matter at all. I looked ahead in Pharr and while I saw things like compare and contrast words that must be ordered, I saw nothing about general ordering.
What's the story?

Thanks.
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Postby chad » Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:46 am

hi, when doing the english-greek exercises in pharr, you can just follow the english word order. the word order in homer is partly conditioned by the poetic metre... since pharr gets you to write homeric "prose", you can just translate the english sentences into greek as is.

there are maybe 3 categories of words which have a "normal" position. little words like "me/n", "de/" &c don't come first in a line. prepositions like kata/ usually come before the noun they modify: if they come after, you know because the accent has moved back to the first syllable. enclitics like te and ge come after the word they modify.

e.g. in line 12 of the iliad, homer writes qoa\j e)pi\ nh=aj... if you had to write something similar for one of pharr's exercises, you should probably move the preposition to the front, in front of the adjective: e)pi\ qoa\j nh=aj.

if you go to the book by "seymour" here on textkit, there's probably a full section on word order (can't get it to open myself at the moment). hope that helps a bit :)
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Postby psilord » Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:09 am

chad wrote:if you go to the book by "seymour" here on textkit, there's probably a full section on word order (can't get it to open myself at the moment). hope that helps a bit :)


*reads for a while*

!?!

Reading that book by Seymour is like brushing your teeth with a chainsaw...
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Postby annis » Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:29 pm

psilord wrote:Reading that book by Seymour is like brushing your teeth with a chainsaw...


That's quite an image.

Greek word order is still an active field of study. People have been applying modern linguistic methods to Greek in the last few decades, but most of this information isn'g going to be found in the usual textkbooks.

For now I'd suggest you follow Chad's advice, use the English order. If you're feeling brave, feel free to go with Hungarian. :) At least one scholar has made a strong argument that Greek uses word order mostly as a tool for focus, and that it seems to resemble Hungarian's practice: focus, topic, verb, everything else ... where "focus" can of course be a larger phrase like "into the tyrant's castle" or whatever.

A full discussion of Greek word order requires a book.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby Jeremy B » Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:05 pm

Could you provide some bibliographic information for those books that discuss Greek word order? I'm particularly interested in finding out what modern linguistics has to say about this, and other aspects of Greek.
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Postby chad » Wed Jan 12, 2005 10:44 pm

hi Jeremy, there are probably a few but the only one I've read is called "Greek Word Order" by KJ Dover, 1960. it's comprehensive and covers things like emphasis positioning &c. :)
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Postby annis » Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:00 pm

The book that most opened my eyes to the possibilities of modern linguistics applied forcefully to some of the more stubborn sillinesses of Greek grammar was Helma Dik's Word Order in Ancient Greek: A Pragmatic Account of Word Order Variation in Herodotus (the BMCR review is quite instructive, too).

The rest of my reading has mostly been from papers. If you're at a school subscribed to http://www.jstor.org, a little time searching the classics sections can be quite interesting.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Postby annis » Thu Jan 13, 2005 12:13 am

William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
annis
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