Textkit Logo

frequency of perfect participles

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!

frequency of perfect participles

Postby Godmy » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:12 am

Without (yet) having the benefit of getting this information through reading (to be done), I would like to ask:

In the sentences of this kind: "Having come to the city, I entered a shop." or "Having knocked, the door opened." would you expect frequently the participle of perfect in the Attic Greek? I know that logically it should be here (because this is exactly how would one describe the perfect: it fits the definition), but I wonder if there is maybe some different (counter-intuitive) use in Attic that for example in these type of clauses one finds rather the participle of aorist, etc.

To rephrase the question: are there some participles which are really rarely used (and/or some other participles are used in their place) and are rather avoided? (Like in this particular case?)

But I'm just purely curious, I don't propose or claim anything...

Thank you!
Latin IRC chat: http://textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/vi ... =3&t=62017
POST·NVBILA·PHOEBVS
User avatar
Godmy
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Czech Republic

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Scribo » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:14 am

Naturally I'm going to just recommend you start reading, as none can answer truthfully how common something is without a frequency chart and even that is of limited usage depending on corpora. I think for epic its amongst the 24th most common verbal forms but not very high.

It also depends exactly on what you want to say! There are other ways of saying such things, genitive absolutes, breaking up the clauses etc. Moreover a huge element of participle usage is aspectual rather than temporal and is always relative to the main verb. Think of it roughly aS:

Present: Contempory to verb so like..grafousa tov paida eida (while writing I saw the child)

Aorist: This is prior to the verb so...to paida idousa kolazw (I punish the child having seen him)

Perfect: Slightly tricky, it is contemporary with the verb as a result of an earlier, perfected, action. This distinction works better in Greek than it does in English. E.g se egkwmiazomen, w kale tan, pepaideukota ton kakon ton paida (we praise you good fellow for having taught the bad child).

Future: Again, relative to the main verb, this time in the future and often with an expectant or purposive sense... me epempsan oi gerontes ton polemon pausonta (the elders sent me to stop the war, in order to to stop the war, with the purpose of stopping the war...what were you expecting tis pais? :P)

Participles can get complex but mastery of them is absolutely essential in order to read Greek. You might find certain elements of their usage similar to infinitives, it is worth revising them together. Often participle clauses, infinitives and recognising imperatives seriously impede the learner's joy.

I could type more but it would probably go better if you can get hold of a decent learner's grammar. Memorise especially the little conjunctions that tend to be paired with them (kaiper, ate and ws being the most common).

Trial and error is the key here I suppose.
User avatar
Scribo
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 715
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:28 pm
Location: Between Ilias and Odysseia.

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Markos » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:21 am

Godmy wrote:In the sentences of this kind: "Having come to the city, I entered a shop." or "Having knocked, the door opened." would you expect frequently the participle of perfect in the Attic Greek?

No, you would more frequently see the aorist participle. The aorist is in general the default aspect.
To rephrase the question: are there some participles which are really rarely used (and/or some other participles are used in their place) and are rather avoided? (Like in this particular case?)

I think I understand what your question is getting at. The perfect in general, and the perfect participle in particular, is used less often than it could be. Most of the time that it is used, another aspect could have been used. It's very subtle and finally incapable of analysis to figure out exactly why the perfect was chosen to appear in that given case and not another. It's not that the perfect is avoided. It's just used sparingly, like salt in a good soup.
Markos
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1375
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:07 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Qimmik » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:59 pm

If I can add a word or two to what others have said, it's important not to confuse the Greek perfect with the Latin perfect. The Greek aorist generally indicates a single completed action, like the Latin perfect. The Greek perfect generally indcates that an action has occurred and the result of the action is still operative. Often it indicates that the subject of an intransitive or passive verb, or the object of a transitive verb, continues to be in a state or condition that is the result of the action of the verb. The Latin perfect sometimes conveys this sense, but probably more often it simply indicates that a past action occurred and was completed.

The Greek aorist participle more often corresponds to Latin perfect participles (which only exist in th passive, except for deponent verbs), indicating that the action occurred and was completed before the action of the main verb. The perfect participle, as Scribo noted, generally emphasizes that the result of the action is still present at the time of the action of the main verb. In narratives that record a sequence of one action after another, in particular, you will indeed encounter the aorist participle more often than the perfect participle.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Godmy » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:33 pm

Thank you everybody very much for your answers!

Scribo:
- Yes, I get the idea that the participles don't have absolute tenses and that one can avoid using them by making a second main clause etc. (I've been dealing successfully with Latin now for few years :P)... the issue was rather whether and where there is somewhere a real need for the participle of perfect in Attic, because it seemed to me from some sentences of my textbooks that the aorist participle really takes its place in such sentences. But thank you for your review (and recommendations)!

Markos:
- That's what I thought... I really wanted to find out whether there was a real justified use of the perfect participle in Greek. So I came up with these sentences, which in theory (or by a basic definition) should probably employ such participles, but I had some apriori knowledge that I'd seen every time in such cases the participle of aorist. Hence my doubts. But thank you for shedding some light on this... and I will just try to figure out (when I'll start to read more seriously) how to get a grip on the sparse use of the perfect participle in some of those environments it appears, as you describe :)
Thanks!

Qimmik:
I'm aware that Latin can cause some chaos in my mind when I deal with this, since it merged the two tenses together, but I kind of thought that those examples I had used could be seen as a present perfect (like "having arrived = therefore still being there/being suddenly in a new place" or "having knocked = therefore still awaiting something to happen behind the door") but maybe this is not really what perfect usually is (as you may imply) or how we describe a result of an action.
But I'm aware that the Latin perfect is in 98% of cases simply the aorist (a finished action that occurred in the past).
But thank you very much for giving me (as Markos did) also this general description of its use (of the aorist/perfect participle use).

I'm not sure whether my examples were theoretically fitting: I was able to spot the result of the action in them, but maybe it is not how you would describe a result of the action or seeing a result in those particular clauses could be semantically redundant.
Last edited by Godmy on Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Latin IRC chat: http://textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/vi ... =3&t=62017
POST·NVBILA·PHOEBVS
User avatar
Godmy
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Czech Republic

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Victor » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:59 pm

Scribo wrote:Aorist: This is prior to the verb so...to paida idousa kolazw (I punish the child having seen him)

Qimmik wrote: The Greek aorist participle more often corresponds to Latin perfect participles, indicating that the action occurred and was completed before the action of the main verb.

I think it's worth adding that there are some circumstances (usually when the main verb is itself aorist) when the aorist participle refers to an action that is presented not as completed prior to the action of the main verb but as co-incidental with it, e.g.:
εὖ γ᾽ ἐποίησας ἀναμνήσας με. Plato, Phaedo, 60, c.
This is sometimes referred to as the synchronous aorist participle.
Victor
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:19 am

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby daivid » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:41 pm

Would it perhaps be helpful if textbooks described the perfect as the present perfect as is normal in English?

There are of course differences between the present perfect in English. In English there is both a Present Perfect and a Present Perfect Continuous - that is to say an aorist perfect and an imperfect perfect. (ie I have read the book and I have been reading the book) For long this has seemed to be odd but maybe it isn't. No present tense can truly be completed because the present moment is a moving point. Hence even if the action that led to the current state was distinct and completed the result if it is to last to the present moment must be ongoing.

Hence my question: Is the reason the perfect in Ancient Greek is less used than the present perfect in Modern English due to it implying a greater link to the present?
λονδον
User avatar
daivid
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1138
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Godmy » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:09 am

Victor: interesting!

Daivid: Well I'm aware that the perfect tense (when not mixed with aorist) is the present perfect tense :) What I was concerned about is that for such examples I stated (either with case agreement or an absolute construction) I was able to conjure up an explanation why would present perfect apply and I was concerned that I had never seen it in those places being used.

Thanks to the reason I'm about to state in another paragraph I also perceive the difference between present perfect and present perfect continuous :) (= in my mother tongue [and also in Latin] we use for the latter normal present and a kind of imperfect in the case of past perfect continuous) <- that would be the same in Greek.

The other thing is, of course, that I'm not a native speaker of a language with present perfect tense. My language has a lexical verbal aspect (aktionstart) which distinction is very useful in Attic for infinitives, subjunctives and imperatives: pres. vs. aorist (=so this distinction I do natively in Attic).
When I try to compare our verbal system with the one I usually see in conservative (or ancient) Indo-European languages (such as Greek or Latin) then I could say that we usually make difference between aoristo-perfect (these two we have together) and imperfect BUT with the imperfect in one case being used where the other languages use aorist/perfect (that is for longer events that are however perceived as finished: we don't have this notion with our aktionstart since the verb, when turned into the perfective aspect also slightly changes its meaning: hence the lexical aspect. Like latin fero vs. adfero or lego vs. perlego). I speak Czech.

To your final question: my experience tells me that the Indo-European languages that do not employ the present perfect tense distinction usually conceive of such events as of past events and, as I mentioned, for the present perfect continuous as of present events (or imperfect for past perfect continuous).
Last edited by Godmy on Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Latin IRC chat: http://textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/vi ... =3&t=62017
POST·NVBILA·PHOEBVS
User avatar
Godmy
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Czech Republic

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Qimmik » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:35 pm

"Would it perhaps be helpful if textbooks described the perfect as the present perfect as is normal in English?"

There is a difference--the Greek perfect can be used in a past context; the English present perfect can't. [Update: On reconsidering this, I think it's wrong. I can't think of an instance where the Greek perfect indicative could be used in a past context. The pluperfect would be substituted for the perfect, but in my experience, the pluperfect is extremely rare, at least in the Geek I've read. However, Greek perfect participles can be used in a past-tense narration.] So maybe designating the Greek perfect as the present perfect would be more confusing.

I think it's best to try to divorce our thinking about Greek verbal aspect (Aktionsart--this is the German term, which Godmy is familiar with, equivalent to "verbal aspect") from English aspectual distinctions.

The Greek perfect is less used than the aorist, I think, because it is a highly specialized, "marked" verbal aspect/Aktionsart, and doesn't normally come into play in straightforward narrations of events, one after the other. The two-way contrast between imperfect and aorist usually is adequate for this purpose. In narrative writing (e.g., history), the perfect isn't often needed. But in speeches and dialogues, there's probably more occasion to use it.

"He knocked and waited for the door to open." Here "he knocked" would probably be rendered by an aorist participle because there's no special reason to emphasize the continuing effect of the knocking. κρούσας ἔμενε. Using the perfect would add a special meaning to the verb. It's difficult, but maybe not impossible, to imagine circumstances where this would be appropriate.

Here's an example of knocking in the perfect, though it doesn't refer to knocking on a door (Plato, Phaedrus 228e, which I found through LSJ; I haven't looked into the context):

Φαῖδρος. παῦε. ἐκκέκρουκάς με ἐλπίδος, ὦ Σώκρατες, ἣν εἶχον ἐν σοὶ ὡς ἐγγυμνασόμενος. "Stop it. You've knocked out of me the hope I had of practicing on you, Socrates."

As a result of Socrates' previous "knocking," i.e., something Socrates said, Phaedrus is currently in a state of having had his anticipation of practicing on Socrates knocked out of him. You wouldn't use the perfect for the simple act of knocking on a door, but here the focus is on the effect of knocking.
Last edited by Qimmik on Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:51 pm

I believe, as Qimmik says, that the perfect must have been much more prominent in conversational situations. One example comes to my mind, though I'm sorry the example is also very vulgar beside being conversational...

καὶ μὴν βεβίνηκας σύ γ᾽
Well, you must have **cked him!
(Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazousae 35)

The point is, I think, that βεβίνηκας is a sort of achievement; once you have "known" a person (to use a more refined idiom) the "knowledge" of said person stays with you for the rest of your life.
Paul Derouda
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 908
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:39 pm

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Bart » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:23 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:καὶ μὴν βεβίνηκας σύ γ᾽


Huh huh. For the rest of my Greek studying life this little sentence will come to mind when pondering the syntactical function of the perfect.
Bart
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:57 pm
Location: Antwerpen

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby daivid » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:16 pm

Qimmik wrote:"Would it perhaps be helpful if textbooks described the perfect as the present perfect as is normal in English?"

There is a difference--the Greek perfect can be used in a past context; the English present perfect can't. So maybe designating the Greek perfect as the present perfect would be more confusing.


I'd be interested to see an example where the Greek perfect is used where in English we would not.

I do know that English tends to move reported speech back a tense in situations where Greek would not.
(ie ὁ Σοκράτης λέγει ὅτι γέρων σοφώτατός ἐστιν. would be Socrates said that the old man was most wise). Do you mean over and above that tendency?
λονδον
User avatar
daivid
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1138
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby demetri » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:10 am

Bart wrote:
Paul Derouda wrote:καὶ μὴν βεβίνηκας σύ γ᾽


Huh huh. For the rest of my Greek studying life this little sentence will come to mind when pondering the syntactical function of the perfect.


I am pretending I never read it.

Good thread, folks.
demetri
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 4:33 am

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Qimmik » Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:37 pm

I was wrong. I can't think of a situation where the Greek perfect indicative could be used in a past context.

I'd be interested to see an example where the Greek perfect is used where in English we would not.


Most Greek perfects could probably be translated by English present perfects, but without something additional the special meaning of the Greek perfect would be lost. To take an example, the sentence near the beginning of Xenophon's Symposium in my other post on the perfect:

ἦν μὲν γὰρ Παναθηναίων τῶν μεγάλων ἱπποδρομία, Καλλίας δὲ ὁ Ἱππονίκου ἐρῶν ἐτύγχανεν Αὐτολύκου παιδὸς ὄντος, καὶ νενικηκότα αὐτὸν παγκράτιον ἧκεν ἄγων ἐπὶ τὴν θέαν.

To turn this sentence around so that Hipponicus is the subject and a non-dangling present perfect participle can be used in English, "Hipponicus was brought to the race by Callias, having won the pancration" doesn't convey the idea that is present in the Greek. This doesn't merely tell us that Hipponicus won the match and then Callias brought him along. Hipponicus was the winner of the match--it was his status as the winner that Callias was celebrating by bringing him to the horse race.
Qimmik
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1406
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 pm

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby daivid » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:41 pm

Qimmik wrote:Most Greek perfects could probably be translated by English present perfects, but without something additional the special meaning of the Greek perfect would be lost. To take an example, the sentence near the beginning of Xenophon's Symposium in my other post on the perfect:

ἦν μὲν γὰρ Παναθηναίων τῶν μεγάλων ἱπποδρομία, Καλλίας δὲ ὁ Ἱππονίκου ἐρῶν ἐτύγχανεν Αὐτολύκου παιδὸς ὄντος, καὶ νενικηκότα αὐτὸν παγκράτιον ἧκεν ἄγων ἐπὶ τὴν θέαν.

To turn this sentence around so that Hipponicus is the subject and a non-dangling present perfect participle can be used in English, "Hipponicus was brought to the race by Callias, having won the pancration" doesn't convey the idea that is present in the Greek. This doesn't merely tell us that Hipponicus won the match and then Callias brought him along. Hipponicus was the winner of the match--it was his status as the winner that Callias was celebrating by bringing him to the horse race.


You could at a pinch say:
"Callias brought along having-won-the-pancration Hipponicus." It would sound very awkward in English but I can imagine myself saying something like that if I was being ironical - the awkwardness gives it that flavor to my ear.

Isn't the difference between your translation that in your translation the participle is an attribute and in the Greek it is a predicate? I put this is a question because !'m a bit shaky on the atribute-predicate distiction.


Thanks for the list of examples. As I read Ancient Greek very slowly still it is rare that I encounter perfects so making it hard to get a feel for their use. Hence it is very useful to have a bunch of them together
λονδον
User avatar
daivid
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1138
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Location: ὁ τοῦ βασιλέως λίθος, London, Europe

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby Godmy » Mon May 05, 2014 7:10 pm

Thank you very much everybody for your discussion and for the elaboration by Qimmik... it seems that I don't have much time lately, so I shouldn't be actually here in the first place ;)

But I'm sure that I will come here later, read it again and maybe even grave-dig the thread to inquire about some aspects further - since there are interesting information.
Latin IRC chat: http://textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/vi ... =3&t=62017
POST·NVBILA·PHOEBVS
User avatar
Godmy
Textkit Neophyte
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Czech Republic

Re: frequency of perfect participles

Postby mwh » Wed May 21, 2014 8:30 pm

Part of the problem, I think, is due to the fact that English (never mind Latin) has only the one past participle. We can distinguish "I have won" (I am victorious, ~ nenikhka) from "I won" (~ enikhsa), but "having won," "having come," "having knocked," etc., represents not perfect but aorist.

For elucidation of Greek perfect Qimmik's excellent follow-up thread is a must-read. As he says, it refers to present state, the result of an action.
mwh
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 520
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:34 am


Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], jaihare and 53 guests