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accentuation of ἐστι

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accentuation of ἐστι

Postby vir litterarum » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:21 pm

Χορός
τὰ δεύτερ᾽ ἐκ τῶνδ᾽ ἂν λέγοιμ᾽ ἁμοὶ δοκεῖ.
Οἰδίπους
εἰ καὶ τρίτ᾽ ἐστί, μὴ παρῇς τὸ μὴ οὐ φράσαι.
OT 281-282

I'm just wondering why ἐστί is not accentuated ἔστι here. It is clearly just expressing existence, i.e. "if there are third things also..." why would an editor choose to accent it this way?
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:30 pm

I don't know how strictly the rule for the accentuation of ἐστί is adhered to in manuscripts, but assuming it is, couldn't the meaning here then be "even if it's the third thing, ..."?
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby jadebono » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:57 pm

ἐστί is correctly accented here. It is accented like this: ἔστι in a limited number of cases which are well explained in Smyth 187b. τρίτα is an adjective here so the conditions outlined in Smyth 187b are missing.
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby vir litterarum » Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:24 pm

τρίτ᾽ is not being used as an adjective but as a substantive in this instance. See Richard Jebb's translation:

Chorus
I would like to say what seems to me the next best course.

Oedipus
And if there is a third course, do not hesitate to reveal it too.

If τρίτ᾽ were predicative, wouldn't you need the imperfect because the expression would be contrafactual? The chorus has just said they are going to speak the second best course, so the logical response, if τρίτ᾽ were predicative, would be,"even if they were the third best, do not hesitate to reveal them too," not "even if they are...," because Oedipus would be speaking something counter to what the chorus has just said.
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:55 pm

I can't see why it would have to be counterfactual, i.e. why he would be implying that it's not third best. Whether it's third best would simply be irrelevant, and I think that would be the point if τρίτα is taken to be adjective, something like "whether it's second best or third best, say it anyway."

I found something at http://books.google.ca/books?id=aAZHAAA ... #PPA102,M1 so perhaps there's just two readings, depending on how you take the accent. Both seem to make sense to me.
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby vir litterarum » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:43 pm

Well, ἐστι seems to me too definite if this is what he were intending. He could have said, "even if they should be" or "even if they were," but "even if they are," right after the chorus has made the assertion that they are the second best, seems strange to me. Furthermore, it seems to me to make more sense that Oedipus would be asking for more information here rather than questioning the "bestness" of the chorus's words. He wants to know as much as possible, and so he wants them to tell him every little detail.

The accents were established during the Hellenistic period, right? So, if the accent on ἐστι was established then, there should be a definite answer there, unless there is some sort of disagreement in the manuscripts that have come down to us, right?
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:13 pm

The Chorus, though, is being extremely deferential: "I would like", "what seems". I read it as them asking permission to say what they think the next best option for Oedipus is, and he's giving them permission to say it, even if it might only be the third best option. (But I'm not arguing that this is right, only that it's equally possible.)

vir litterarum wrote:The accents were established during the Hellenistic period, right? So, if the accent on ἐστι was established then, there should be a definite answer there, unless there is some sort of disagreement in the manuscripts that have come down to us, right?

Yes, at least if the accentuation rule is correct. I understood the comment I linked to as saying both accentuations are found in manuscripts, but I'm not sure about that now.
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby vir litterarum » Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:34 pm

Yeah, I can see where you're coming from. The potential optative used by the chorus does express a feeling of deference. But I would have expected Oedipus, if he were intending for τρίτ᾽ to be predicative, to speak the line in the same way as you translated the meaning: "even if it might only be the third best option." Doesn't it seem to you that ἐστί is too vivid here to express this?
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby Clemens » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:40 pm

My TLG-Text (I don't know at the moment, out of which edition the text is taken) has ἔστι; so I guess it would be a good idea to have a look at the apparatus of a critical edition, just to be sure.
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby vir litterarum » Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:51 pm

The OCT only has ἐστί. I just requested the Teubner. It seems that this must be the definitive accentuation. What bothers me is how scholars contradict themselves. Jebb edited his own text of the OT and accentuated it ἐστί, yet he translates it, " And if there is a third course, do not hesitate to reveal it too." Likewise Hugh Lloyd-Jones for the Loeb accepts ἐστί, yet translates it, "if there is even a third best, do not omit to tell me." How could such preeminent Sophoclean scholars contradict themselves on something that one learns in Greek 101? Is there something I am missing?
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby modus.irrealis » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:22 pm

vir litterarum wrote:Yeah, I can see where you're coming from. The potential optative used by the chorus does express a feeling of deference. But I would have expected Oedipus, if he were intending for τρίτ᾽ to be predicative, to speak the line in the same way as you translated the meaning: "even if it might only be the third best option." Doesn't it seem to you that ἐστί is too vivid here to express this?

I've been thinking about this -- I think the thing is that there is no other option than the indicative (either counterfactual or not). The optative and subjunctive are used only in reference to the future or general statements, right? So ἐστί would be the only option that wouldn't be counterfactual. And then again, even in English, saying "even if it's the third best option" doesn't sound bad.

vir litterarum wrote:The OCT only has ἐστί. I just requested the Teubner. It seems that this must be the definitive accentuation. What bothers me is how scholars contradict themselves. Jebb edited his own text of the OT and accentuated it ἐστί, yet he translates it, " And if there is a third course, do not hesitate to reveal it too." Likewise Hugh Lloyd-Jones for the Loeb accepts ἐστί, yet translates it, "if there is even a third best, do not omit to tell me." How could such preeminent Sophoclean scholars contradict themselves on something that one learns in Greek 101? Is there something I am missing?

There's a book, "The Verb "be" in Ancient Greek" by Charles H. Kahn, that's about εἶναι and I know there's a section on the accent but I don't quite remember the conclusions. I think, however, that it's mentioned that there are cases of unemphatic existential predicates being enclitic, and this may be the case here, since the emphasis would be on the being third, so that may give some leeway for the translation as an existential.
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby vir litterarum » Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:10 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. I've just requested this book.

I'm not disagreeing with your translation. It just seems like it's rather confrontational and "gainsayerish" for Oedipus to say "even if it's the third best option" after the chorus has just said it thinks it's the second best. I was just thinking, that if I were Oedipus in this situation, I would have made the statement more remote so as not to contradict them so directly. You're right about the usages of the subjunctive and optative, but, since the chorus has not yet spoken, couldn't Oedipus still reference them with a potential optative referring to whatever they are about to say? I mean I'm definitely splitting hairs here and only making an arbitrary distinction between polite and impolite, but it seems to me that the existence of an alternative reading invites such interpretation.
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Re: accentuation of ἐστι

Postby vir litterarum » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:59 am

Kahn had the answer,modus--sort of.
"But it is simply false that there is any more general evidence for orthotone pronunciation of non-initial ἐστί, no matter how emphatic or existential its force may be. If an emphatic ἔστι is often orthotone, that is because emphasis on the verb is often connected with initial or quasi-initial position."
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