Textkit Logo

Struggling with cases - help please!

Are you reading Homeric Greek or studying Homeric Greek with Pharr's Homeric Greek - A Book For Beginners? Here's where you can meet other Homeric Greek learners. Use this board for all things Homeric Greek.

Struggling with cases - help please!

Postby Phibun Mike » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:41 am

Hi,
I have just started with Schoder and Horrigan. I have no previous experience of Latin or of declensions & cases. I am now stuck at lesson 6, paragraph 19. Two particular questions:

1) Why is απο (away from, from) GEN., whereas επι (to, towards) is ACC. They would appear to be the same form, only the direction of movement changing.

2) επι can be 'upon' (GEN.), 'on, at, beside' (DAT) or 'to, towards' (ACC). Similar differences in case occur with υπο. I would be grateful for an explanation of the difference between 'upon' and 'on', and example sentences with the different uses.

I have analysed some examples of my own creation, but without a tutor I don't know if I have got it right or not.

Thanks in advance for your help.
Mike
Phibun Mike
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:23 am

Re: Struggling with cases - help please!

Postby Phibun Mike » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:18 am

By the way, concerning my question (2) above, example sentances in English would be most useful at this stage - thanks.
Phibun Mike
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:23 am

Re: Struggling with cases - help please!

Postby spiphany » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:33 pm

Prepositions govern a particular case (or cases). That's just the way they work. It's not like the uses of dative/accusative/genitive where the case alone tells you the function of the word in the sentence.

That said, there is a tendency for the individual cases to be associated with a particular "core" meaning, and this carries over when prepositions are assigned a case to govern.
Dative tends to indicate location (no motion).
Accusative tends to indicate motion towards.
Genitive tends to indicate motion away from.

The first two categories often become conflated in English-- we rely on context for meaning and don"t necessarily use a different word to describe "where" and "to where". Thus, we have:
The cat jumps on(to) the table. (Motion towards the table. Greek would use a preposition + acc here)
The cat is sleeping on the table. (No motion. Greek would use a preposition + dative)
The cat jumps down from the table. (Motion away. Greek would use a preposition + genitive).

The Greek cases are useful because they show nuances of meaning where we have to add extra specification in English. Take the preposition "under" for example:
Accusative: The cat crawls under the table (i.e., the cat is moving in the direction of the table.)
Dative: The cat crawls around under the table (i.e., the cat is under the table the whole time, motion is within a specific space)
Genitive: The cat crawls out from under the table (i.e. the cat is moving away from the table)

If you're not a cat person I apologize; feel free to substitute with different animal of your choice.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
spiphany
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 425
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:15 am
Location: Munich

Re: Struggling with cases - help please!

Postby Phibun Mike » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:14 am

Thanks spiphany - that helps!

I am more of a dog person, but the idea of my dogs jumping onto the table is not pleasant, so I will stick with your cats :-)

Thanks,
Mike
Phibun Mike
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:23 am


Return to Homeric Greek and Pharr's Homeric Greek - A Book For Beginners

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 10 guests