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Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

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Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby vir litterarum » Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:57 pm

Has anyone read, or does anyone know anything about this book? It's thesis is quite radical, namely that the moods are not based on a continuum of reality, i.e. the indicative actually has nothing to do with indicativeness or statement of fact. It also discusses the field of grammaticalization quite a bit, from what the reviewer says; I don't know much about it, but it sounds intriguing. I just saw the review on Bryn Mawr and was wondering whether anyone could enlightent me as to the value or lack thereof of perusing this book. When I read the Iliad in 201, I remember any discussion of moods in Homer was appallingly vague, e.g. "oh, just translate that subjunctive with an as if it were a future indicative." lol
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Re: Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby annis » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:48 am

vir litterarum wrote:Has anyone read, or does anyone know anything about this book? It's thesis is quite radical, namely that the moods are not based on a continuum of reality, i.e. the indicative actually has nothing to do with indicativeness or statement of fact.


Err. I think that gives a somewhat misleading impression about what she's saying about the indicative. That said, I've tried to read this book twice, and have found it very hard going (not helped much, I'm afraid, by her prose style).

If you can get a library to get it for you, it's worth looking at if you have time to go through it slowly. I don't know if you've had any formal training (even beginning) in linguistics, but that would surely help.

Chad first alerted me to this book, I think, but I can't remember if he's read it. If so, I hope he'll drop by.

Edit: Goodness. She has a web site, in the teaching section of which she has handouts you might find worth a look.
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Re: Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby vir litterarum » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:08 am

I've read Helma Dik's book on word order in Herodotus, and I found the information on linguistics there to be relatively understandable. Is there a significant amount of linguistics jargon that Willmott assumes the reader already knows?
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Re: Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby annis » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:20 am

vir litterarum wrote:I've read Helma Dik's book on word order in Herodotus, and I found the information on linguistics there to be relatively understandable. Is there a significant amount of linguistics jargon that Willmott assumes the reader already knows?


Well, I was thinking more about habits of thought than jargon necessarily. I'd say the jargon content is comparable, perhaps a bit more. But the density of that jargon in technical discussion seems higher.
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Re: Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby vir litterarum » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:01 am

So do you have a book that you would recommend that I read before reading this one?
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Re: Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby Essorant » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:45 am

Better it seems to study the moods through the language itself. Such a book probably just overcomplicates the subject rather than making it more understandable.
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Re: Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby annis » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:42 pm

Essorant wrote:Better it seems to study the moods through the language itself. Such a book probably just overcomplicates the subject rather than making it more understandable.


Her book is crammed with examples. Every tool helps.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
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Re: Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby annis » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:44 pm

vir litterarum wrote:So do you have a book that you would recommend that I read before reading this one?


I'm afraid I don't. Any intro book with hefty sections on syntax and verbal matters (aspect, tense, mood) should be preferred to those that are heavier on phonetics and morphology.

You could just jump in and see how it goes, coming out for more background reading if it seems necessary.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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Re: Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby vir litterarum » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:52 pm

yeah, I mean this work seems to be crucial to Homeric studies in my opinion, so I would really like to read it. It is unfortunate, however, that the author spends so little time on "an," at least according to the reviewer. Whatever one's going to say about modality in Greek, that particle must play a significant role in one's framework. I'll check it out though. Hopefully it's not too obfuscating.
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Re: Jo Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek

Postby annis » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:54 am

vir litterarum wrote:It is unfortunate, however, that the author spends so little time on "an," at least according to the reviewer.


I expect she'll get to it eventually. There's a terrible rush in academia these days to get started publishing books and papers as quickly as possible, whereas not too many generations ago a newly minted PhD might spend a decade still just thinking and studying before really starting their productive period. Another half-decade thinking might bring ἄν in neatly. We'll see.
William S. Annis — http://www.aoidoi.org/http://www.scholiastae.org/
τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;
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