Textkit Logo

Seeking Clarification (various examples)

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!

Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby BrandonWieber » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:06 pm

As I mentioned in my introductory post, I am currently working on Greek: An Intensive Course by Hansen and Quinn. My questions will derive largely from that, but I will post the sentences and or phrases in full, so you will have no need to reference the book. Please note that I am still a novice, so some of my questions may seem rather rudimentary.

1. λύομεν τὸν ἀδελφον. They are releasing the brother.

Sort of awkward, but a simple solution is posed - is the "your" implied in sentences like these, thus making it "They are releasing your brother" ?

Under this sort of implied possessive, would the following sentence translate similarly? :

τὸν ἀδελφον εἰς τὰς νήσους ἐπέμψατε. You sent your brother onto the islands

To be honest I have been moving forward believing that the possessive is implied, and it has worked out well for me. I just want to be sure before I "learn" an error!

2. τὸν ῾´Ομήρου ἀδελὸν παιδεύει. Homer is educating his brother

A similar problem. Why have Homer in the genitive? Why not just have Homer in the nominative, if we could imply the possessive like before? My head boggles, and seeks clarity!

3.τοὺς παρὰ τῳ ῾Ομὴρω φίλους λόγων τέχνην ἐπαιδεύσας. You educated your friends by Homer's artful stories

I have little confidence in my translation. This is because my book informs me that παρὰ +dative is "at" or "at the house of". You can see in my translation that is has neither of those words. This is because in my mind it conflicts with τῳ ῾Ομὴρω, which is "by Homer". Please help me elucidate the use of παρὰ, for I am sure I will encounter similar instances! Like this next one for example...

4. τὰ βιβλία τὰ παρὰ τῶν ξένων ἐπαιδευε τοὺς ἐν τῃ ἀγορα ἂνθρωπος, τοὺς ῾`Ομήρου φίλους.

With his books Homer was educating at the house of his hosts the men in the marketplace and his friends.

Bleh - It doesn't feel right at all. I was unsure how to begin the sentence, and to be honest I do not think there is any right for me to use the term "With his books..." since "books" is the in the nominative plural form. I alternatively thought of "The books of Homer were educating...", but the form ἐπαιδευε is third person singular, not allowing such a translation. The variety of forms here certainly shook me, and left me scratching my head.

Well that is all for now - I have many more questions but I feel like I have already exceeded my limit. My passion and desire to learn overwhelms me... often too. Hope to hear back from you all soon!

Brandon
BrandonWieber
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:26 pm

Re: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby arthad » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:44 pm

1. Yes, the notion of possession is often implied. For example, with body parts, Greek rarely or never uses "my hands" or "your hands," just "the hands." But usually context makes it clear. With these isolated sentences, I would avoid adding to your translation unless it is clearly necessary. But note the person of the verb λυομεν; it is not λουουσι.

2. You are correct that Ομερου cannot be the subject because it is in the genitive. Often the subject pronoun is implied in Greek -- in this case, simply "he." In that case, what would you do with Ομερου?

3. This sentence is not immediately clear to me. Maybe someone else can chime in.

4. Neuter plural nouns in Greek take a singular verb. Your original guess works. Take another stab at it. Watch out for the τους . . . τους at the end. There is no "and" in the sentence there.
arthad
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 1:01 am

Re: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby Markos » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:06 pm

3.τοὺς παρὰ τῳ ῾Ομὴρω φίλους λόγων τέχνην ἐπαιδεύσας. You educated your friends by Homer's artful stories


Assuming παιδεύω can take two accusatives, "You educated your friends in the art of speeches in the presence of Homer.
Markos
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1359
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:07 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby spiphany » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:54 pm

τὸν Ὁμήρου ἀδελὸν παιδεύει.
τοὺς παρὰ τῳ Ὁμὴρω φίλους λόγων τέχνην ἐπαιδεύσας.
τὰ βιβλία τὰ παρὰ τῶν ξένων ἐπαιδευε τοὺς ἐν τῃ ἀγορα ἂνθρωπος, τοὺς Ὁμήρου φίλους.

There's one thing all of these examples have in common that you're missing which will mislead you when trying to translate them. I've bolded the important bits. Take a look at the word order -- all the sentences have an article, and then the noun that it belongs with, with a few other words sandwiched between them.
Do you remember the discussion in Hansen & Quinn about the position of the article relative to nouns? This is a neat trick that Greek does. Instead of simply throwing you a bunch of genitives and datives and accusatives and leaving you to figure out how they all fit together, it (sometimes) uses the article to "group" words that belong together.

Thus, in the second sentence above, you know that παρὰ τῳ Ὁμὴρω is closely connected with (modifies) φίλους rather than, say, λόγων or τέχνην.
These are which friends? -- the ones παρὰ τῳ Ὁμὴρω, at Homer's place.
παιδεύω takes two accusatives: one is the topic being taught, the other is the student. What words are accusative in the sentence? Start there and I think the sentence will begin to make sense.

You have something similar in the next sentence, except at the beginning there's another variation of the way Greek uses the article to group words together: τὰ βιβλία τὰ παρὰ τῶν ξένων
Instead of sticking παρὰ τῶν ξένων between τὰ and βιβλία, it repeats the article another time as a way of giving the reader a heads-up: hey, there are a couple more words coming up that refer to the books! The books -- namely, the ones at the house of the foreigners.
I have one question before saying anything else about this sentence -- does the text read ἂνθρωπος or ἀνθρώπους? Either one would work grammatically, but it does change the meaning of the sentence. ἀνθρώπους is what I wanted to read intuitively. However, with isolated sentences and no context (a typical problem with these exercises) anything is possible.
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: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby daivid » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:31 am

BrandonWieber wrote:
1. λύομεν τὸν ἀδελφον. They are releasing the brother.

Sort of awkward, but a simple solution is posed - is the "your" implied in sentences like these, thus making it "They are releasing your brother" ?


I'm no expert but...

The definite article tells you the word is the obvious one. If it is not referring to someone already mentioned it is likely to be connected with someone mentioned ie a possessive.

Without a wider context the only person mention in the sentence is "They", hence I would expect it to mean that "they are releasing their brother."
λονδον
User avatar
daivid
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1103
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe

Re: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby daivid » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:40 am

daivid wrote:Without a wider context the only person mention in the sentence is "They", hence I would expect it to mean that "they are releasing their brother."

ooops

. λύομεν τὸν ἀδελφον.
would be
"We are releasing our brother"

(I never claimed to be an expert)
λονδον
User avatar
daivid
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1103
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe

Re: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby BrandonWieber » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:37 pm

Thank you, gentlemen, for all your wondrous help! Learning greek by myself has been somewhat of an undertaking, and it is so refreshing to hear comments from those who know.

To spiphany, in the book it reads "ἀνθρώπους"; your instinct was right on the mark.

In reference to "τὰ βιβλία τὰ παρὰ τῶν ξένων" I was lost about where the other τὰ wanted to be - it makes much more sense now! I do recall the section on word position, but they also tried to make clear that word order doesn't matter, so I wasn't sure if they would just toss in the words wherever they saw fit, and make me extricate the meaning. In my own translations (where they ask you to take English and make it Greek), I have been at a sort of loss as well, because I don't have much positive reinforcement that I am, well, doing it right. I know I have all the right forms, but the use of emphasis, which is dictated it seems by word order, is still something of an uncertainty for.

However! I plan to re-translate this sentence and come back here - we'll see if I can get it right. Once again, many thanks. I can tell this forum has much to offer!
BrandonWieber
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:26 pm

Re: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby spiphany » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:38 am

It's not quite true that word order doesn't matter -- the Greeks didn't just randomly throw words together any way they pleased (even if it may seem like that to us sometimes). It's more accurate to say that word order is extremely flexible compared to a language like English.

This is because English doesn't have any good way to mark the role of words in a sentence except through word order (thus "Homer taught the child" and "the child taught Homer" are entirely different sentences). Greek has endings, which means that you can move things around depending on what bits of information you want to present first (thus "Ὁμηρος ἐπαίδευσε τὸν παιδιον" and "τὸν παιδιον ἐπαίδευσεν Ὁμηρος" mean essentially the same thing). Even so, language users are usually interested in communication, which means that they will try to group together words that belong together by sense -- i.e., and article and the noun it modifies, or pieces of a prepositional phrase.

It helps to keep this in mind when trying to figure out sentences: words always stand in relationship to other words in a sentence. If you see something like τὰ or παρα, start looking for something that functions as a noun and is in the right case to go with it, because you don't have articles or prepositions hanging out all by themselves, meaningwise it simply doesn't make sense.

In the English to Greek exercises, I wouldn't freak out about word order too much. It takes time to develop a sense of where to put the verb (after the subject? at the end of the sentence?) and I haven't found any really good and easily accessible guidelines for this. Use H&Q's Greek sentences as a model if you can. Do pay attention to the rules that do exist however -- the big one is, as I mentioned, the location of the article and prepositions in relation to the nouns that they modify.
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: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby daivid » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:36 pm

spiphany wrote:
It helps to keep this in mind when trying to figure out sentences: words always stand in relationship to other words in a sentence. If you see something like τὰ or παρα, start looking for something that functions as a noun and is in the right case to go with it, because you don't have articles or prepositions hanging out all by themselves, meaningwise it simply doesn't make sense.
.

That when you see a definite article you should start by looking for something that agrees with it and functions as a noun is good advice. However, either you have overstated it or I have misunderstood something.
Taylor's "Greek to GCSE" (p102) gives several examples such as "ἁι ἐν τῇ κόμῃ" meaning "the women of the village" with 'women' simply implied by ἁι.
λονδον
User avatar
daivid
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1103
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe

Re: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby spiphany » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:35 pm

That's why I said "something that functions as a noun" and not "a noun in the same case as the article" -- there will always be something that belongs with the article, even if it's an infinitive or prepositional phrase that is being used substantively. You couldn't just have αἱ here all by itself, it only works as a noun phrase because you have ἐν τῇ κόμῃ with it.

(I was also expressing it deliberately slightly simpler than strictly necessary, because it didn't seem to me to be the right place to go into substantive usages -- the point I was trying to make is that words aren't randomly thrown together, but that there's structure, and the structure is guided by meaning. This is true regardless of what words go into the noun phrase.)
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: Seeking Clarification (various examples)

Postby daivid » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:46 pm

spiphany wrote:That's why I said "something that functions as a noun" and not "a noun in the same case as the article" -- there will always be something that belongs with the article, even if it's an infinitive or prepositional phrase that is being used substantively. You couldn't just have αἱ here all by itself, it only works as a noun phrase because you have ἐν τῇ κόμῃ with it.


Thanks, now I understand. And yes I did get that your main point was that words aren't just randomly thrown together.
λονδον
User avatar
daivid
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1103
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe


Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bedwere, Bing [Bot] and 61 guests