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ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις Rico - comparison?

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ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις Rico - comparison?

Postby daivid » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:50 pm

In Rico's book Rode has just boasted that she knows how to speak all languages and then says this
ἡ δὲ ἑλληνικὴ δύσκολος ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις τῆς οἰκουμένης ἐστίν
From the context it is clear that some kind of comparison is going on but it could be
“Greek is the most difficult of all the languages of the inhabited world”
or the softer
“Greek among the languages of the inhabited world is one of the more difficult”

Any pointers to which is the better translation.
Last edited by daivid on Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις Ricco - comparison?

Postby NateD26 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:00 am

But where in this sentence do we have more or most?

Perhaps it was their intention to write it is the most difficult
but then you'd expect δυσκολώτατος.
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Re: ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις Ricco - comparison?

Postby daivid » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:40 am

NateD26 wrote:But where in this sentence do we have more or most?
.

Only that the context seems to require it. If the dative is no acting as some kind of comparison I am at loss to know what ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις τῆς οἰκουμένης adds to the meaning

NateD26 wrote:Perhaps it was their intention to write it is the most difficult
but then you'd expect δυσκολώτατος.

That is what I too would have expected.
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Re: ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις Ricco - comparison?

Postby Markos » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:08 pm

When I read the phrase I was reminded of--I am reminded of-- Romans 16:7

Romans 16:7: ἀσπάσασθε Ἀνδρόνικον καὶ Ἰουνιᾶν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γεγόνασιν ἐν Χριστῷ.


On the one hand, there is nothing inherently comparative about the phrase here. It just means "eminent among the apostles." But there is a hint of comparison. Standing out among the apostles, Andronicus and Junia are more prominent than some--not by any means the most eminent--but not just your average, everyday apostles. As always, context is everything. If your boss tells you, "you shine among your co-workers," it does not necessarily mean that you are better than the other workers, but that is among the implications. Same thing here in both Paul and Rico's phrases.

I would go so far as to say that ἐν plus the dative, if the context supports it, can be idiomatic for an implicit comparison. I'm pretty sure I have read more examples of this, but they would be hard to track down because ἐν is so common.
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Re: ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις Ricco - comparison?

Postby daivid » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:41 pm

Markos wrote:When I read the phrase I was reminded of--I am reminded of-- Romans 16:7

Romans 16:7: ἀσπάσασθε Ἀνδρόνικον καὶ Ἰουνιᾶν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γεγόνασιν ἐν Χριστῷ.


On the one hand, there is nothing inherently comparative about the phrase here. It just means "eminent among the apostles." But there is a hint of comparison. Standing out among the apostles, Andronicus and Junia are more prominent than some--not by any means the most eminent--but not just your average, everyday apostles. As always, context is everything. If your boss tells you, "you shine among your co-workers," it does not necessarily mean that you are better than the other workers, but that is among the implications. Same thing here in both Paul and Rico's phrases.

I would go so far as to say that ἐν plus the dative, if the context supports it, can be idiomatic for an implicit comparison. I'm pretty sure I have read more examples of this, but they would be hard to track down because ἐν is so common.


Thanks for that quote. I shall keep an eye out for more examples. Not exactly a comparison but with that implication sounds right. Given that my two alternatives that I originally posed are probably too exact and that both shades of meaning may possibly be intended.
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Re: ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις Rico - comparison?

Postby mwh » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:04 am

"In all the languages of the world Greek is difficult."

Evidently Roda's Greek is not as good as she thinks.
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Re: ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γλώσσαις Rico - comparison?

Postby Markos » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:32 pm

Markos wrote:I would go so far as to say that ἐν plus the dative, if the context supports it, can be idiomatic for an implicit comparison. I'm pretty sure I have read more examples of this, but they would be hard to track down because ἐν is so common.


daivid wrote:I shall keep an eye out for more examples.


I found another example in Gaza's Paraphrase of the Iliad 5:1:

Gaza 5:1:
τότε δὴ Διομήδει τῷ υἱῷ τοῦ Τυδέως ἡ πολεμικὴ Ἀθηνᾶ ἐδωκε ἰσχὺν καὶ εὐτολμίαν, ὄπως διάδηλος ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς Ἕλληνσι γένηται...


The meaning here lies somewhere between "prominent among all the Greeks" and "the most distinguished of all the Greeks."

So, getting back to Rico's phrase, I think, yes, a superlative meaning is at the very least implied. We could always him, I guess.
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