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Plurality in translation

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Plurality in translation

Postby Johny Ze » Sat Feb 12, 2005 6:03 pm

Hey everyone, my question is when translating sentences into Greek, with all the different plural cases, when do you use the plural and when do you not? For example, one sentence I have to translate is "But the slave says, "It is not possible to carry so many stones out of the field. So you help!" Now, "stones" of course is translated into the plural acc. b/c it's the DO. But, would you translate "out of the field" in the plural, to keep it in agreeance with stones? Does this question make sense? Any advice please! Thanks!
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Postby Turpissimus » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:11 pm

It is not possible to carry so many stones out of the field.


There is only one field. So it needs to be in the singular (unless I'm missing some major rule of Greek grammar).

A more interesting question is, when you have two singular nouns joined by neither or and, which noun does the verb agree with. I can provide the answer in Latin, but ont in Greek.

I believe that the Greek language is less logical than Latin, in that neuter plural nouns, when used as the subject, take a singular verb.

Utinam lingua graeca ordinatior esset.
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Postby Bert » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:15 pm

Johny Ze wrote:Hey everyone, my question is when translating sentences into Greek, with all the different plural cases, when do you use the plural and when do you not? For example, one sentence I have to translate is "But the slave says, "It is not possible to carry so many stones out of the field. So you help!" Now, "stones" of course is translated into the plural acc. b/c it's the DO. But, would you translate "out of the field" in the plural, to keep it in agreeance with stones? Does this question make sense? Any advice please! Thanks!

Out of the field is a prepositional phase. It does not have to agree with stones.
If it is one field; it is singular. If more than one; plural.
If it said ; 'Out of the many lush and green fields,' then 'many', 'lush' and 'green' will all have to be plural in order to agree with the noun that they are modifying (ie. fields).
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Postby Bert » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:26 pm

Turpissimus wrote:A more interesting question is, when you have two singular nouns joined by neither or and, which noun does the verb agree with. I can provide the answer in Latin, but ont in Greek.

I think usually with the nearest one. Even if one is plural and the other singular, the verb often agrees with the nearest one.
Turpissimus wrote:I believe that the Greek language is less logical than Latin, in that neuter plural nouns, when used as the subject, take a singular verb.

I have no idea whether one is more logical than the other, but there is some logic to that rule as well.
Neuter plural nouns are then not viewed as individual items but as one goup.
In English we often use a singular noun when we want to indicate a group.
A teacher might say that he is doing something for the benefit of the student when he means all the students in his class.
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