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Od. 7.12-13

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Od. 7.12-13

Postby huilen » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:27 am

Sorry for the insistence, I am in a imperfect-revision phase :)

ἣ τρέφε Ναυσικάαν λευκώλενον ἐν μεγάροισιν.
ἥ οἱ πῦρ ἀνέκαιε καὶ εἴσω δόρπον ἐκόσμει.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... 3Acard%3D1

I am in doubt with these imperfects. The first is clearly an iterative one, because the sense of τρέφω is iterative itself, right? But I am not sure about the other two: should I read "she used to lit a fire for her within and to prepare her supper"?
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Re: Od. 7.12-13

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:30 am

I don't think the first imperfect is "iterative" (=describing an action which is repeated many time) but rather "durative" (=lasting a long time, not punctual).

The second imperfect describes a single event; in my opinion, the imperfect is used instead of aorist because making a fire (like preparing food) is an action that requires some time and effort, it's really a whole series of actions (gathering the wood, piling them, putting some tinder, then putting the fire, blowing into the fire etc.). If she had started the fire with gasoline and a lighter, Homer would have used the aorist. ;) This use is really quite close to the inchoative imperfect, you could argue that the difference is more in how we interpret this than how a Greek would have understood it.

Another clue to interprete this as a single event rather than a habitual action is that here is a common technique used by Homer called "ring composition". When Homer enters a digression, it follows the pattern:
A
B
B
A
So here, in lines 7-8 the poet had said δαῖε δέ οἱ πῦρ / γρῆυς Ἀπειραίη, θαλαμηπόλος Εὐρυμέδουσα, so this repetion ἥ οἱ πῦρ ἀνέκαιε καὶ εἴσω δόρπον ἐκόσμει is used to get back from the digression into the main narrative.
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Re: Od. 7.12-13

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:35 am

huilen wrote:Sorry for the insistence

Insistence is key. There is no way to learn Greek without being insistent. :)
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Re: Od. 7.12-13

Postby huilen » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:06 am

I agree with all what you have say, but still feel some kind of discomfort with the imperfects here. I think my main problem with the imperfect is that in my native language I have a tense that is very close to the Greek imperfect, and indeed this could be a double-edged weapon, because in many points it is different from the Greek imperfect too. I mean, if I make a literal translation from the imperfect Greek to the imperfect Spanish (which is still irresistible for me, at least in some situations) this would be ungrammatical. May be it is because the aspectual values of both imperfects doesn't match exactly (for example, I don't see that the Spanish imperfect has any inchoative force). However, I am sure I have no a more clear idea of why I use the Spanish imperfect in each particular case neither. So, again, I will try to keep reading without puzzling myself like that, as long as the sense is clear (however I don't promise I will not relapse in this, so thank you for your patience :)).

One of the things that I encounter most confussing is that both verses are grammatically equal, and still they are so different: in the first it is about something that she had being doing since Nausicaa was a child, while in the second there are described actions contemporary with the narration. I would have expected at least an emphatic particle like νύ in the second verse, to mark such difference.

Edit: rereading the whole passage, I think that may be there is a syntactical difference between both verses. I have not posted the context, but the previous verse ends in a "·", so the sentence of the first verse may be coordinated with the previous sentences, which are indeed a disgression that talks about the nurse of Nausicaa. The second verse, instead, is sintactically separated from these sentences, and resumes the narration. Have I found a ring? :)
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