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The verb estin (he/she/it is) and related verbs

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The verb estin (he/she/it is) and related verbs

Postby Johny Ze » Tue Feb 15, 2005 7:15 am

Hey everyone, quick question about this verb. In a sentence such as "He is waiting for the oxen," is it necessary to use "estin (sorry greek fonts don't work on my cpu)" or is "he is" contained in the verb for waiting? I know that most of the time it is like this, but are there exceptions? thanks for helping!

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Postby chrisb » Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:06 am

The example you give
He is waiting for the oxen

is an example of the use of the continuous present in English, i.e. the verb 'to be' + the present participle. I will be bold and say that in all such cases you should use the present tense by itself in Greek. Somebody else will prove me wrong, no doubt!!

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Postby cweb255 » Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:01 pm

Just off the top of my head, and although the examples are Latin example, I do believe they suffice for Greek as well, that some verbs become predominantly known only in their adjective form, such as oriens (anatole) and then should est (estin) be used.
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Postby whiteoctave » Tue Feb 15, 2005 7:08 pm

although present participles of verbs can often achieve an adjectival status, which can indeed override the true verbal form in prevalance, this is not so for oriens. both the adjectival and nominal forms are well attested throughout Latin, never would a form of esse be appended to oriens to render a progressive such as 'is rising'.
in the following

Canis infesto sequitur uestigia cursu praecipitantem agitans oriens Cic.Arat.368
cum consul oriens de nocte silentio diceret dictatorem Liv.8.23.15
riuus Herculaneus oriens eadem uia ad militarium tricesimum octauum Fron.aq.15
[sol] purus oriens atque non feruens serenum diem nuntiat Plin.nat.18.342
ne fulgor suus orientium iuuenum obstaret initiis Vell.2.99.2,

to quote but a few instances, oriens is functioning in its natural and purely verbal state.

to render present progressive as esse + verbal participle would be dog latin indeed. sum potens and such like cannot be viewed as counter examples, since potens is one of the fully lexicalised adjectival forms from a participial origin.

both Greek and Latin had severe difficulties in distinguishing the achronic present (e.g. men die) from the present general (e.g. I read books) and the present progressive. apparent counterexamples of the dictum that present progressiveness cannot be represented with esse+ptcpl., such as the early

minimeque male cogitantes sunt, qui in agricultura occupati sunt (Cat.agr.praef.)

do not demand a progressive rendering but rather merely one in adjectival terms.

the same, mutatis mutandis, applies to Greek, although there are a few strong examples where it is difficult to posit a good adjectival rendering. for instance [face=SPIonic]h(gei= diafqeirome/nouj tina_j ei]nai [/face](Pl.rep.492a) is clearly expressing a progressive sense of 'being destroyed'. i would suggest, however, that in this instance the introduction of indirect statement engenders the periphrasis, where the presence of a mere passive infinitive would not have expressed the progressiveness as lucidly.

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Postby cweb255 » Tue Feb 15, 2005 7:26 pm

sorry, I didn't mean to imply that oriens should be considered to be rising, but that the verbal part is lost thus you should use "est" - however you are correct that the word changes then altogether, from "is rising" to something to do with the east. Mea culpa, I should have been more clear (again) with my thoughts.
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Postby whiteoctave » Tue Feb 15, 2005 7:37 pm

thanks for the cordial reply. i still am, however, unsure as to what you mean about the verbal part being lost. oriens is not a defective form, merely the present part. of the deponent verb orior.

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Re: The verb estin (he/she/it is) and related verbs

Postby Emma_85 » Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:17 pm

Johny Ze wrote:Hey everyone, quick question about this verb. In a sentence such as "He is waiting for the oxen," is it necessary to use "estin (sorry greek fonts don't work on my cpu)" or is "he is" contained in the verb for waiting? I know that most of the time it is like this, but are there exceptions? thanks for helping!

john


chrisb is right, you should just use the present tense without eimi in this case.
'He is waiting' is present continuous tense, normal present would be 'he waits', in ancient greek the present tense has the durative aspect, if you wanted to say that 'he waits', you'd probably be better of using the aorist (again without eimi, it's just that the english tense is made up on the 'to be + -ing form).
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Postby cweb255 » Wed Feb 16, 2005 4:30 am

erm, orior to oriens loses the meaning of "rising" when you tack on "est" - to say in oriente est would mean "he is in the east" not "he is in the rising" - better?
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