Textkit Logo

Is there "absolute accusative" ?

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!

Is there "absolute accusative" ?

Postby Junya » Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:02 am

Hi. I am rather a novice, having never read detailed grammars like Smyth yet.

to gar me^ epaineisthai to^n agatho^n ousan me^nuein o^ieto(think, suppose) hoti kreitton esti to^n epaineto^n

The meaning would be
"he thought that , though it (= he^done^) is one of the good, (for he^done^) not to be praised shows that it (= he^done^) is better than what are praied."

In this translation, I consider "to^n agatho^n ousan" to be something like absolute genitive, using accusative (ousan). Is this guess right?

But an answerer at another Q&A site, said that this sentence does not have such an absolute participle construction. And that this sentence should be read like

"he thought that (for he^done^) not to be praised shows that it (= he^done^) is one of the good, because it (he^done^) is better than what are praied."

He told me that "me^nuein" takes present participle "ousan", like those perceptive verbs like "hear", "see", "know".

I haven't know that grammar (of verbs taking participles) very much. (Please explain a bit about it for me.) But I feel his translation somehow doesn't make sense.

So please show me the right way of reading.
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan

Re: Is there "absolute accusative" ?

Postby modus.irrealis » Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:06 pm

Hi. About verbs taking participles, basically, with certain kinds of verbs (knowing, showing, perceiving, etc.), you use participles instead of using ὅτι or an accusative+infinitive construction. For example, with οἶδα, you have:

οἶδα ὅτι ὁ ἀνὴρ ἀγαθός ἐστιν --> οἶδα τὸν ἄνδρα καλὸν ὄντα
οἶδα ὅτι ἡ γυνὴ ἀγαθή ἐστιν --> οἶδα τὴν γυναῖκα ἀγαθὴν οὖσαν.

Hopefully those two examples make things clear (it's very similar to using the infinitive but you use a participle instead which then has to agree in gender, number, and case with its subject).

The problem is that many verbs can take more than one of the constructions, so I think in theory both translations are possible here. The participle way could be built up as:
τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἐστιν = it is one of the goods
τὸ μὴ ἐπαινεῖσθαι μηνύει τῶν ἀγαθῶν οὖσαν = its not being praised shows that it is one of the goods
τὸ μὴ ἐπαινεῖσθαι μηνύει τῶν ἀγαθῶν οὖσαν, ὄτι κρεῖττον ἐστὶ τῶν ἐπαινετῶν = its not being praised shows that it is one of the goods, because it is better than the things that are praised
τὸ μὴ ἐπαινεῖσθαι τῶν ἀγαθῶν οὖσαν μηνύειν ᾤετο, ὄτι κρεῖττον ἐστὶ τῶν ἐπαινετῶν = he thought that its not being...

Your meaning is also possible, but it wouldn't be case of an absolute accusative because οὖσαν would be accusative because it is modifying the (implicit) subject of ἐπαινεῖσθαι which is in the accusative case. Here you have μηνύω taking the ὅτι construction, and you could build it up as:
τὸ μὴ ἐπαινεῖσθαι μηνύει ὄτι κρεῖττον ἐστὶ τῶν ἐπαινετῶν = its not being praised shows that it is better than the things that are praised
τὸ μὴ ἐπαινεῖσθαι τῶν άγαθῶν οὔσαν μηνύει ὄτι κρεῖττον ἐστὶ τῶν ἐπαινετῶν = its not being praised, even though it is one of the goods, shows that it is better than the things that are praised
τὸ μὴ ἐπαινεῖσθαι τῶν άγαθῶν οὔσαν μηνύειν ᾤετο ὄτι κρεῖττον ἐστὶ τῶν ἐπαινετῶν = he thought that...

Personally I think it makes more sense to read it your way, but the context would have to decide. Now according to the dictionary, μηνύω can take all three constructions, but I'm pretty sure that with this kind of verb the participle construction is the more common one.

(Also, there is something called an absolute accusative but it has do with impersonal verbs.)
modus.irrealis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1093
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:08 am
Location: Toronto

Re: Is there "absolute accusative" ?

Postby Junya » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:32 am

Modus .irrealis, thank you very much.
Your explanation was very clear, I totally understood. :D

By the way, my PC doesn't display your Greek properly, though I could understand without too much difficulty thanks to your simple word choice. And I couldn't get it right how much time I modified the Internet Explorer's settings. Maybe I have to read the moderator's post that explains about font.
Last edited by Junya on Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:52 am, edited 3 times in total.
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan

Re: Is there "absolute accusative" ?

Postby jk0592 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:00 am

Here is what I have in Athenaze, Volume 2, p 172, "The Accusative Absolute",
"Another adverbial use of the accusative case is the accusative absolute, used with participles of impersonal verbs instead of the genitive absolute". (Then follow some examples).
Jean K.
jk0592
Textkit Member
 
Posts: 137
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:20 am
Location: Montreal, Canada

Re: Is there "absolute accusative" ?

Postby Junya » Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:47 am

Hi.

Then, eimi would not be used as an impersonal verb here, so it would not be making an absolute construction. OK. I see. Thank you Jean K.
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan

Re: Is there "absolute accusative" ?

Postby Swth\r » Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:23 am

Absolute accusative is almost always of an impersonal construction. Sometimes, however, a participle of a personal verb may be used in accusative (eventhough moslty in nominative) for some reasons. As in the following situation, where the sorrow and the immotional intense because of the defeat is expressed by the use of this stylistic choice ("σχῆμα ἀνακόλουθον"):

2.2.3.1 Xen. Hellenica
Ἐν δὲ ταῖς Ἀθήναις τῆς Παράλου ἀφικομένης νυκτὸς (absolute genitive)
ἐλέγετο ἡ συμφορά, καὶ οἰμωγὴ ἐκ τοῦ Πειραιῶς διὰ τῶν
μακρῶν τειχῶν εἰς ἄστυ διῆκεν, ὁ ἕτερος τῷ ἑτέρῳ παραγγέλλων. (nominative absolute, instead of genitive)

( PARENTHESIS
Dear "modus.irrealis",
why is the participle in your example in female gender :?:
modus.irrealis wrote:τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἐστιν = it is one of the goods
τὸ μὴ ἐπαινεῖσθαι μηνύει τῶν ἀγαθῶν οὖσαν

if I understand correctly your point, then should not it be like: τὸ μὴ ἐπαινεῖσθαι μηνύει τῶν ἀγαθῶν ὄν. :?:

But even in this situation, what the syntax goes like?

Thanks in advance!

END OF PARENTHESIS)
Dives qui sapiens est...
Swth\r
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 270
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:51 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Is there "absolute accusative" ?

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri Dec 26, 2008 1:29 pm

Swth\r wrote:why is the participle in your example in female gender :?:

Just because Junya said the subject here was ἡδονή.
modus.irrealis
Textkit Zealot
 
Posts: 1093
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:08 am
Location: Toronto

Re: Is there "absolute accusative" ?

Postby Swth\r » Fri Dec 26, 2008 4:09 pm

modus.irrealis wrote:Just because Junya said the subject here was ἡδονή.


ΟK, then it makes sense! Thanks!
Dives qui sapiens est...
Swth\r
Textkit Fan
 
Posts: 270
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:51 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Is there "absolute accusative" ?

Postby Junya » Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:52 am

Thank you Swth/r. But my browser doesn't display the Greek properly, so I couldn't read the whole of your explanation.

I will read the post by the moderator about font now. Sorry.
Junya
Textkit Enthusiast
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:26 am
Location: Japan


Return to Learning Greek

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 39 guests