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Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

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Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:45 am

I'm reviewing my Greek grammar and my German at the same time by reading Bornemann & Risch's Griechische Grammatik. ;)

Here's something I don't understand.

p. 260 §152: "Eine negation wird durch eine oder mehrere folgende Negationen derselben Art

verstärkt, wenn die zuletztstehende zusammengesetzt ist,
aufgehoben, wenn die zuletztstehende einfach ist:
Οὐκ ἦλθεν οὐδείς kein einziger kam – οὐδείς οὐκ ἦλθεν jeder kam

I understand the Greek instinctively, but I don't understand the explanation. What do zusammengesetzt/einfach mean respectively?
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Shenoute » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:01 am

"Eine negation wird durch eine oder mehrere folgende Negationen derselben Art

verstärkt, wenn die zuletztstehende zusammengesetzt ist,
aufgehoben, wenn die zuletztstehende einfach ist:"


I think this means :

"reinforced when the last one is a compound negation,
removed/canceled when the last one is a simple negation."
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:13 am

Aber ja, that makes sense. Ich danke Ihnen sehr!

I suppose μήτε is considered a compound negative as well?
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Shenoute » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:59 am

I would say so. But my Greek is even rustier than my German so it may be better to wait for someone else's answer :D
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby GJCaesar » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:18 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that all negatives except ou, ouk, and mè are compound, since they exist of more than just the negation? Logically and grammatically speaking..
vincatur oportet aut vincat
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:34 pm

Das hatte ich mir schon gedacht, but I don't know...
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Qimmik » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:44 pm

Here's a passage from Demosthenes' speech On the Crown with some interesting negatives (179). Demosthenes is explaining how he followed through from beginning to end (ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς ἄχρι τῆς τελευτῆς διεξῆλθον) with a vigorous program to counter Philip when Philip entered Greece in 339 and seized the town of Elateia, threatening Thebes and ultimately Athens. Demosthenes made a speech (εἶπον) advocating sending an embasssy to Athens' long-standing enemy Thebes to seek an alliance against Philip, then proposed a decree for the embassy (ἔγραψα), and then, when the proposal was adopted by the assembly, he went on the embassy himself (ἐπρέσβευσα) and persuaded (ἔπεισα) the Thebans (who might otherwise have been persuaded to give in to Philip and align themselves with him against Athens) to join Athens in an alliance against Philip.

ταῦτα καὶ παραπλήσια τούτοις εἰπὼν κατέβην. συνεπαινεσάντων δὲ πάντων καὶ οὐδενὸς εἰπόντος ἐναντίον οὐδέν, οὐκ εἶπον μὲν ταῦτα, οὐκ ἔγραψα δέ, οὐδ᾽ ἔγραψα μέν, οὐκ ἐπρέσβευσα δέ, οὐδ᾽ ἐπρέσβευσα μέν, οὐκ ἔπεισα δὲ Θηβαίους, ἀλλ᾽ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς ἄχρι τῆς τελευτῆς διεξῆλθον, καὶ ἔδωκ᾽ ἐμαυτὸν ὑμῖν ἁπλῶς εἰς τοὺς περιεστηκότας τῇ πόλει κινδύνους. καί μοι φέρε τὸ ψήφισμα τὸ τότε γενόμενον.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby mwh » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:57 pm

οὐδενὸς εἰπόντος ἐναντίον οὐδέν from the passage Qimmik quotes exemplifies the "Eine negation wird durch eine oder mehrere folgende Negationen derselben Art verstärkt, wenn die zuletztstehende zusammengesetzt ist" principle. What follows it is a bit different, with its negatived μεν δε pairings, but very nice (if rather contrived: can you imagine Caesar saying "I didn't see and not come, nor did I come and not conquer?—but then he didn't have μεν δε at his disposal, but did have alliteration), and a tricolon crescendo to boot.

As to ουτε, yes that's a compound all right:
ουκ ηλθον ουθ’ οὗτοι ουτ’ εκεινοι
Neither X nor Y came (lit. They didn’t come, neither X nor Y)
vs.
ουθ’ οὗτοι ουτ’ εκεινοι ουκ ηλθον
or ουθ’ οὗτοι ουκ ηλθον ουτ’ εκεινοι
Neither X nor Y failed to come

ουδεις ουκ οιδεν everyone knows, ουκ οιδεν ουδεις noone knows
ουκ οιδεν ουδεν ουκετι ουδεις περι ουδενος nobody knows anything about anything any more,
ουδεν ουκ ηδη ισασι παντες, everyone knows everything already, there’s nothing they don’t all already know.
or ουδεις ουκ ηδη οιδε παντα everyone knows everything already, there’s noone who doesn't already know everything (this could also be ουδεις (εστιν) οστις ουκ ..., technically a different construction)
ουκ οιδεν ουπω ουδεις ουτε τουτο ουτ εκεινο noone yet knows either this or that.
ουκ οιδεν ουπω ουδεις ουτε τουτο ουτ εκεινο ουτ’ εγω ουτε συ.
ουκ οιδεν ουπω ουδεις ουτε τουτο ουτ εκεινο ουτ’ εγω ουτε συ ουδ’ εκεινος.
etc etc
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:29 pm

συνεπαινεσάντων δὲ πάντων καὶ οὐδενὸς εἰπόντος ἐναντίον οὐδέν, οὐκ εἶπον μὲν ταῦτα, οὐκ ἔγραψα δέ, οὐδ᾽ ἔγραψα μέν, οὐκ ἐπρέσβευσα δέ, οὐδ᾽ ἐπρέσβευσα μέν, οὐκ ἔπεισα δὲ Θηβαίους, ἀλλ᾽ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς ἄχρι τῆς τελευτῆς διεξῆλθον, καὶ ἔδωκ᾽ ἐμαυτὸν ὑμῖν ἁπλῶς εἰς τοὺς περιεστηκότας τῇ πόλει κινδύνους.

Donnerwetter. My so called instinct is no use here, but the rule seems to work. I'll keep reading this again tomorrow, until I start to get the meaning naturally.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Qimmik » Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:04 pm

The trick is to recognize that each οὐκ negates the entire μὲν . . δέ phrase. The negative before the δέ element negates the verb in the δέ element.

In English, we might say "I didn't do X and/but not do Y," which reproduces the Greek negation somewhat, and implies that I did do X, or "I didn't do X without doing Y" or "I didn't do X but fail to do Y."

He did X, and he went on to do Y, too.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby mwh » Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:25 am

Maybe I shouldn’t have buried this in a parenthesis:
"I didn't see and not come, nor did I come and not conquer”

But this doesn't touch the subject of the thread.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:05 am

Qimmik wrote:The trick is to recognize that each οὐκ negates the entire μὲν . . δέ phrase. The negative before the δέ element negates the verb in the δέ element.

mwh wrote:Maybe I shouldn’t have buried this in a parenthesis:
"I didn't see and not come, nor did I come and not conquer”

Thanks, I got it and had also read the parenthesis... :) But it's one thing to be able to "analyse" a sentence of Greek as it were a math problem, and another to be able to start from the first word and read it to the end and understand everything without going back, in a natural way. Although I usually don't hesitate to look at a translation, I always want to be able to read the sentence naturally before going on.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:51 pm

I've made some progress now with Demosthenes, finally, and have gotten this far.
συνεπαινεσάντων δὲ πάντων καὶ οὐδενὸς εἰπόντος ἐναντίον οὐδέν, οὐκ εἶπον μὲν ταῦτα, οὐκ ἔγραψα δέ, οὐδ᾽ ἔγραψα μέν, οὐκ ἐπρέσβευσα δέ, οὐδ᾽ ἐπρέσβευσα μέν, οὐκ ἔπεισα δὲ Θηβαίους, ἀλλ᾽ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς ἄχρι τῆς τελευτῆς διεξῆλθον, καὶ ἔδωκ᾽ ἐμαυτὸν ὑμῖν ἁπλῶς εἰς τοὺς περιεστηκότας τῇ πόλει κινδύνους.

Qimmik wrote:The trick is to recognize that each οὐκ negates the entire μὲν . . δέ phrase. The negative before the δέ element negates the verb in the δέ element.

In English, we might say "I didn't do X and/but not do Y," which reproduces the Greek negation somewhat, and implies that I did do X, or "I didn't do X without doing Y" or "I didn't do X but fail to do Y."

I understand this explanation, and similar ones given in a couple of commentaries, but my brain fails to comply. What is the cue to take the first negative with the whole μὲν . . δέ phrase and not just the first element? I don't remember reading anything like this anywhere before.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Qimmik » Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:23 pm

This didn't come to me immediately when I first read it either--I had to think about it before I realized what D. was driving at. But it stuck in my mind because it was so strange at first. If there are cues, they are men/de in short clauses. Also, the connective oude joining the second and third member of the expression to the first, rather than ouk. The context helps somewhat--he's emphasizing that he followed through tenaciously. I think this is the sort of idiomatic Greek that you accustom yourself to the more you read. And when you do see what he means, it makes perfect sense. I wonder whether his audience or readers realized exactly what he was saying before they reached ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρχῆς ἄχρι τῆς τελευτῆς διεξῆλθον, but that follows what he's just said. When the speech was originally delivered, perhaps the inflection of his voice helped make the meaning clear.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:25 pm

It makes perfect sense, and yet... I just have to go on, I know... But thanks.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby mwh » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:54 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:What is the cue to take the first negative with the whole μὲν . . δέ phrase and not just the first element?

Its position, relative to the μεν. Preceding the μεν … δε pair as it does, the initial negative extends up to the completion of the δε half. We had something analogous to this in some earlier thread, don’t remember just what.
To overtranslate: “It’s not the case that I said these things but failed to write them,
nor (ουδε) is it the case that …,
nor …”

εἶπον μὲν ταῦτα, οὐκ ἔγραψα δέ is a selfcontained unit, the μεν indicating that it starts with ειπον and that a δε clause is to follow; the whole thing is negatived by the ουκ up front. Similarly with the following two ουδε parts (the ουδε’s continuing the opening ουκ—not A, nor B, nor C), to give a tripartite κλιμαξ. He could have quit at any of the three steps, but didn’t.

Since it’s completely logical it may actually be helpful to think of it in mathematical or boolean terms:
Not (A and not B), and not (B and not C), and not (C and not D).

The meaning is clear from the outset, just by the word order. It doesn’t depend on vocal inflection, and you don't have to suspend understanding until you get to the end. It simply follows the logic of the syntax.

It’s strong rhetoric, a prime example of Demosthenes’ famed δεινότης. Inevitably the negatived trio is followed by αλλα, for the sentence is basically just an amplified version of the familiar ουκ … αλλα structure (I didn’t go just part way, no, I went the whole way).
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:37 pm

mwh wrote:Its position, relative to the μεν.

Ah! Of course. μεν is always the second word in a phrase. It's as simple as that! Everything is clear now.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby jeidsath » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:41 pm

Are we sure that there is no phrase boundary after the first οὐκ? It looks like one to me. And there is certainly a sense boundary.

If there really is a phrase boundary, then part of the problem is a limitation of our punctuation technology. I wouldn’t write:

It's not I was saying this, but didn't write it.


You could parse the above from just the English syntax, but I have to read it 2-3 times. In my own composition I’d add ‘that.’ If I were transcribing someone else’s speech for a newspaper and couldn’t add words, I might do the following:

It's not 'I was saying this, but didn't write it.'


The scare quotes are not quite correct. Italics might be better, although they aren’t perfect either. I could instead just chuck the unfortunate comma:

It's not I was saying this but didn't write it.


The problem is that the pause indicated by the comma in the first hard-to-parse version is actually the secondary pause in the sentence, due to the phrase boundary. But as the only mark of punctuation, it looks like a primary pause. I think that this sort of problem is more frequent in Greek than in English. In general, I notice that commas in modern editions near the word δὲ can be problematic.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:24 pm

jeidsath wrote:Are we sure that there is no phrase boundary after the first οὐκ? It looks like one to me. And there is certainly a sense boundary.

That's what I tried to say, it's precisely what mwh's last post finally made me realise. (If I understand you correctly: I'm always mixing up English terms such as phrase, clause, sentence etc.) Anyway, μεν is always the second word in the phrase it belongs to - for that reason, οὐκ in οὐκ εἶπον μὲν κτλ. belongs one level "up" with respect to what follows, "Not (A and not B)" in mwh's terms.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby mwh » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:41 pm

“Phrase” is a very vague term, though conventionally lesser than “clause,” which conventionally requires a finite verb. I couldn’t call the opening ουκ a phrase. “Pause” is very dodgy too, when what we’re talking about is syntax. Who knows how Demosthenes delivered the words? But I agree the comma might mislead as much as it clarifies.

Largely thanks to its particles, Greek articulates itself without the need for punctuation. A new thread perhaps: Is punctuation redundant? We’d certainly become better readers if we went without it.
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:30 pm

My 3-year-old daughter decided to help me and cut through for good the difficult passage in Demosthenes... with scissors! Behold the result. She must have noticed how I struggled with this particular page. Shouldn't leave your stuff lying about, I know! Luckily it's just the old school commentary by Goodwin that didn't cost a lot and which I don't use much anyway, and luckily she had a pair of those kids' scissors that don't really cut anything, otherwise she would have cut up my whole library, or herself...

Image

Besides, I've reached 232 already and it's not likely I'll read this again any soon!
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Re: Griechische Grammatik und multiple negatives

Postby Bart » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:58 am

Paul Derouda wrote:My 3-year-old daughter decided to help me and cut through for good the difficult passage in Demosthenes... with scissors!


Great! Philip II would have applauded her actions.
She seems to have an impeccable instinct for difficult Attic prose. My advice: keep her away from your Thucydides shelf.
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