Textkit Logo

μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Here's where you can discuss all things Ancient Greek. Use this board to ask questions about grammar, discuss learning strategies, get translation help and more!

μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:16 pm

Going back and forth between Smyth (#2742 ...) and Cooper has me somewhat confused concerning μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs. When used after negative (or negatived) verbs, μὴ οὐ is not a "double negative" in the English sense. According to Guy Cooper (v.2 page 1128, #67.12.7) μὴ confirms the negation (semantic) inherent in the verb the addition of οὐ doesn't appear to alter the sense.

Example:
Sophocles Trag., Ajax
540 {ΑΙ.} Τί δῆτα μέλλει μὴ οὐ παρουσίαν ἔχειν;

"Why is his arrival delayed?" The negative sense of μέλλει (not yet ...) is reinforced by by μὴ οὐ ... παρουσίαν ἔχειν (to have arrived). Eliminating οὐ doesn't alter the meaning.

C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. S. Bartholomew
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 751
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Postby NateD26 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:06 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Eliminating οὐ doesn't alter the meaning.

Would it still be considered proper Greek?
Nate.
NateD26
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:14 am

Re: μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:41 pm

NateD26 wrote:
C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Eliminating οὐ doesn't alter the meaning.

Would it still be considered proper Greek?


Nate,
Cooper suggests that in this syntactic scenario μὴ w/o οὐ is "marked", which means it is not the regular idiom and draws a little extra attention which is known as "markedness". Cooper says this in his own style, I have reframed it in linguistic terminology. Cooper also points out that supplementary negative can be omitted entirely without affecting the meaning. When the main verb is either semantically negative or negated, the supplementary negative doesn't really alter the sense and is therefore optional.

Cooper v. 2, Page 1128, 67.12.8.a

Leading into this Cooper states a general principle (p. 1123 67.12.2) "The general acceptability of negatives which are only supplementary or insistent is the single most important factor needed in the explanation of negatives which appear commonly in subordinate constructions following upon a verb of negative meaning or turned to negative meaning by the addition of a negative. The negative implied in or expressed with the verb is sympathetically echoed and reinforced by the [supplemental] negative, seemingly redundant to our [English speakers] idiomatic feeling, in the subordinate."


A linguist might find a cleaner way of saying this. The main verb can be either semantically negative or it can be paired with negative particle. The supplemental negative which precedes the infinitive may take the form μὴ οὐ or μὴ w/o οὐ. The supplemental negative is not required.


C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. S. Bartholomew
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 751
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Postby NateD26 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:30 pm

The concept of markedness was new to me, so I thank you for noting it here, and
framing the issue in your linguistic terminology is quite refreshing.

Smyth in his summary of these construction (§2744, 8.) mentions a similar sentence from
Xenophon's Anabasis 3.1.13:
τί ἐμποδὼν μὴ οὐχὶ...ὑβριζομένους ἀποθανεῖν;
What hinders our being put to death ignominiously?

As Smyth writes in parenthesis, this is as if the semantically negative verb is negated,
equivalent to οὐδὲν ἐμποδών, and since the regular construction of such sentences is with
μὴ οὐ, it is kept upon rephrasing.

Another way to rephrase the Sophocles quote would be with a negated imperative,
as Sir Richard C. Jebb, (1907) noted here:
    μὴ οὐ, since τί μέλλει is equiv. to “μὴ μελλέτω”: cp. Aesch. P. V. 627
    “τί δῆτα μέλλεις μὴ οὐ γεγωνίσκειν τὸ πᾶν;”

Though there are instances with only μὴ after μέλλω as LSJ referenced.
Last edited by NateD26 on Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nate.
NateD26
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:14 am

Re: μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:23 pm

NateD26 wrote:The concept of markedness was new to me, so I thank you for noting it here, and
framing the issue in your linguistic terminology is quite refreshing.

Smyth in his summary of these construction (§2746, 8.) mentions a similar sentence from
Xenophon's Anabasis 3.1.13:
τί ἐμποδὼν μὴ οὐχὶ...ὑβριζομένους ἀποθανεῖν;
What hinders our being put to death ignominiously?

As Smyth writes in parenthesis, this is as if the semantically negative verb is negated,
equivalent to οὐδὲν ἐμποδών, and since the regular construction of such sentences is with
μὴ οὐ, it is kept upon rephrasing.

Another way to rephrase the Sophocles quote would be with a negated imperative,
as Sir Richard C. Jebb, (1907) noted here:
    μὴ οὐ, since τί μέλλει is equiv. to “μὴ μελλέτω”: cp. Aesch. P. V. 627
    “τί δῆτα μέλλεις μὴ οὐ γεγωνίσκειν τὸ πᾶν;”

Though there are instances with only μὴ after μέλλω as LSJ referenced.


Nate,

After multiple readings of Smyth and Cooper I am beginning to grasp the difference between the prototypical μὴ οὐ and the μὴ [alone] constructs. When μὴ οὐ is used the μὴ is supplemental to the negative idea in the semantics of the verb and οὐ is supplemental to the negative particle used with the verb Smyth #2744.8. The negated semantically negative verb becomes a "virtual positive" Cooper (v.2 page 1128, #67.12.7). The exceptions which break the prototype(s) are numerous and Cooper tends to drowned you in the expectations leaving you in hopelessly muddled state of mind. On the other hand, Smyth has a useful synopsis of the variations laid out in a nice orderly list (#2744.1-13).

C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. S. Bartholomew
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 751
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Postby Helikwps » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:09 am

Just to try to follow this thread, does μέλλει ("gonna") contain the negative sense itself of "not yet <action>", or does it become negative ("not yet") by the addition of μὴ? I'm confused by the term 'negative verbs'. Are they a class of verbs in themselves (eg μέλλει, implying "not" <yet> <action>), or are they simple verbs which are made negative by the addition of μὴ (and οὐ). Sorry for the slow-poke understanding of this and thanks.
User avatar
Helikwps
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:37 am

Re: μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:59 am

Helikwps wrote:Just to try to follow this thread, does μέλλει ("gonna") contain the negative sense itself of "not yet <action>", or does it become negative ("not yet") by the addition of μὴ? I'm confused by the term 'negative verbs'. Are they a class of verbs in themselves (eg μέλλει, implying "not" <yet> <action>), or are they simple verbs which are made negative by the addition of μὴ (and οὐ). Sorry for the slow-poke understanding of this and thanks.


Helikwps,

Negative verbs have internal negative semantic component. A negatived (negated) verb has a negative particle attached. A negative verb negated with a particle or interrogative is the prototypical pattern we have been discussing.

does μέλλει ("gonna") contain the negative sense itself of "not yet <action>"


Yes, that's how I understand it.

According to Cooper, interrogatives function in this idiom like negative particles. So Τί ... μέλλει is negated negative verb followed by μὴ οὐ + infinitive:

Sophocles Trag., Ajax
540 {ΑΙ.} Τί δῆτα μέλλει μὴ οὐ παρουσίαν ἔχειν;

Don't ask me to explain WHY interrogatives function in this idiom like negative particles, I haven't gotten there yet. Smyth #2742 says the interrogative expects a negative reply but that doesn't work with Ajax line 540.


C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. Stirling Bartholomew
C. S. Bartholomew
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 751
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Postby NateD26 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:37 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Don't ask me to explain WHY interrogatives function in this idiom like negative particles, I haven't gotten there yet. Smyth #2742 says the interrogative expects a negative reply but that doesn't work with Ajax line 540.

Agreed. In Smyth's example from Xen., the question is rhetorical, whereas in Soph., it's just an
expression of indignation, genuinely wondering what could have delayed him, not presuming that
nothing could have done so.

In p.230 of this commentary by Augustus Lobeck*, he mentions a different edition
where οὐ is omitted, and that in some books, οὐ is missing from the line from Aeschylus' Prometheus.
He referenced Euripides' Medea 1242 as evidence for this reading:
τί μέλλομεν τὰ δεινὰ κἀναγκαῖα μὴ πράσσειν κακά;


* Written in Latin. My Latin experience is next to none, but the sentence
was straightforward enough for me to understand it with the aid of a dictionary.
Nate.
NateD26
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:14 am

Re: μὴ οὐ + inf after negative verbs

Postby Helikwps » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:36 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:Negative verbs have internal negative semantic component. A negatived (negated) verb has a negative particle attached. A negative verb negated with a particle or interrogative is the prototypical pattern we have been discussing....

According to Cooper, interrogatives function in this idiom like negative particles. So Τί ... μέλλει is negated negative verb followed by μὴ οὐ + infinitive: ...
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Very belated thanks C. Stirling for explaining this confusing point of grammar to me. It's much appreciated. 8)
User avatar
Helikwps
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:37 am


Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Shenoute and 57 guests