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A request for Translation from English to Greek

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A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby jeramieembry » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:33 pm

I am requesting translation from english to ancient greek. The phrase is:

Eat, drink, and be merry!

As I am not that familiar with greek pronunciation, in addition to the translation, the phoenetics would be great.

Thanks
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby modus.irrealis » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:15 pm

The safest thing might be to use the original of Luke 12:19 so

φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου

which is directed to a single person. Something more classical would probably involve a participle (φαγὼν πιών τε εὐφραίνου ??) but I think the above is the safest.

For the pronunciation, there are a lot of options, but the most common would be something like

fa-ge, pi-e, eu-frai-nu

with the bold syllables stressed and the vowels as if it were Italian.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby cb » Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:02 pm

hi, just to add, i've seen a classical grk vase in the Louvre which has the same kind of idea written on it (although not an exact translation of your quote):

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... re_F97.jpg
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby Damoetas » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:17 am

modus.irrealis wrote:Something more classical would probably involve a participle (φαγὼν πιών τε εὐφραίνου ??).


Actually, I wouldn't think so.... Pithy sayings like this seem to call for a more paratactic construction, with all imperatives.... Also, it's not ordering a temporal sequence of events: "Do A and then do B." It's saying, do all of it, right now!

So yeah, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου is definitely good.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:49 am

Damoetas wrote:Actually, I wouldn't think so.... Pithy sayings like this seem to call for a more paratactic construction, with all imperatives....

To be honest, I was thinking of μολὼν λαβέ and although there are examples like πίνων μὴ πολλὰ λάλει, you're probably right, especially with "eat, drink, and be merry" where the three ideas are more or less balanced, unlike "don't say much while drinking". It's easier to find examples with a more general meaning, like ἔσθιε, πῖνε, παῖζε (or ὄχευε for the non-pg version).

Also, it's not ordering a temporal sequence of events: "Do A and then do B." It's saying, do all of it, right now!

I'm not sure what you mean. The aorist participles don't imply a temporal sequence any more than the aorist imperatives do.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby Damoetas » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:08 pm

To jeramieembry (the original poster):

Don't be worried about this part of the discussion! We agree on how to translate your phrase; now we're getting into various "what-if" scenarios about other ways of saying it...
------------------------------------------------

modus.irrealis:

The aorist participles don't imply a temporal sequence any more than the aorist imperatives do.


Surely you don't mean that.... Perhaps we should back up: I wasn't saying that in the "aorist participle + imperative" construction, the aorists are primarily or exclusively temporal. That's clearly not the case. μολὼν λαβέ doesn't mean, "When you get here, take them." I agree that the aorist participle takes an imperative force from the main verb ("modal solidarity," as they say), so that the construction is equivalent to two commands. But I was saying that the action of the aorist participle is marked as anterior to the action of the main (imperative) verb. It's "do A and then do B." μολὼν λαβέ is "come and (then) get them." Think for a minute about what λαβὼν μολέ or μολὲ λαβών would mean -- there's a good reason why Leonidas didn't say it!

There are of course various nuances depending on whether the verbs themselves express states of being, or (potentially) completable actions. But the general meaning, I think, is well agreed upon and not particularly controversial. (Perhaps you do agree, and my allusion to the topic was just too compressed.)
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby modus.irrealis » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:19 pm

It's true that usually, the action of the aorist participle is anterior to the main verb, but this is by virtue of the fact that aorist forms encode the perfective aspect and the participle is subordinated to the main verb. But you have a similar anteriority when you have a sequence of aorist indicatives or aorist imperatives, which is what I meant by saying that the aorist participle doesn't imply a temporal sequence any more than the aorist imperative, so if φάγε, εὐφραίνου can mean "eat and be merry" with no temporal sequence, I don't see why φαγὼν εὐφραίνου can't do the same.

And it's certainly not always true that aorist participles represents an anterior action. With Luke 15:23, καὶ φέρετε τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, θύσατε, καὶ φαγόντες εὐφρανθῶμεν, which involves the same verbs, I don't see any implication that it's saying "let us eat and then be merry". Smyth has a number of examples (1872c), like μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι, and even some where the participle refers to an event after that of the main verb. So I would disagree that the aorist participle marks anteriority -- rather it marks perfectivity which in most contexts (a significant majority of them) will imply anteriority.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby Damoetas » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:56 am

Sorry, not intending to neglect this discussion. It's just that it requires a lot of thought, and I haven't had time to get to it yet!
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby oberon » Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:42 pm

modus.irrealis wrote:But you have a similar anteriority when you have a sequence of aorist indicatives or aorist imperatives, which is what I meant by saying that the aorist participle doesn't imply a temporal sequence any more than the aorist imperative, so if φάγε, εὐφραίνου can mean "eat and be merry" with no temporal sequence, I don't see why φαγὼν εὐφραίνου can't do the same.


Because there is a difference between how participles "encode" or construe verbal aspects and how imperatives do (especially in classical Greek, or at least compared to English, German, etc).


And it's certainly not always true that aorist participles represents an anterior action. With Luke 15:23, καὶ φέρετε τὸν μόσχον τὸν σιτευτόν, θύσατε, καὶ φαγόντες εὐφρανθῶμεν, which involves the same verbs





First, Luke represents a different dialect than classical greek. Which doesn't necessarily mean one can't use it as an example, simply that one should be wary of doing so. Second, thuis really isn't a counter-example: a strict translation would be "carry fatted calf, sacrifice it, and having eaten it let us be merry." εὐφρανθῶμεν is a hortatory subjunctive (see e.g. Funk's translation of Blass & Debrunner's A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature section 364.). The same construction is used in classical greece.

In any event, the past participle φαγόντες DOES imply that the action is prior to the "let us be merry."


, I don't see any implication that it's saying "let us eat and then be merry"


Having eaten, let us be merry.


Smyth has a number of examples (1872c), like μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι,
Not the same thing, even according to Symth. First, ἐξαμάρτητε is aor. subj. (φάγε can be either aor. or pres. imperat.) Second, as Smyth notes, καταψηφισάμενοι "defines" ἐξαμάρτητε. We aren't talking about a sequence of events, but one event with καταψηφισάμενοι descriptive of the action in that event. Hence Smyth's translation using "of."

In other words, we don't have a mistake/error on the one hand, and a condemning on the other. These aren't two seperate actions. What we have is a mistake which IS the condemning. One event, hence no sequence.



So I would disagree that the aorist participle marks anteriority -- rather it marks perfectivity which in most contexts (a significant majority of them) will imply anteriority.


It is true that the aorist participle doesn't necessarily in and of itself mark anteriority, and that it is in a sense atemporal. But this is due to the nature of participles, and the atemporalization is not a matter of taking time out of the equation; rather, it is taking the processual, scanned nature out of the finite verb (in various ways depending on use). They are, after all, part verbal and part adjectival (and even, one could argue in the case of greek, part nominal). The verbal element, unlike a finite verb, is not scanned as a process in the same way as a finite verb. The matter is then one of profiling and prominence: certain aspects of the participle can be more focal in particular constructions. For example, often a participle in Greek is almost purely an adjective.

In constructions like μολὼν λαβέ the verbal elements of BOTH actions are central. In this type of construction, the choice of the aorist DOES imply a past tense.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby modus.irrealis » Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:24 pm

Damoetas wrote:Sorry, not intending to neglect this discussion. It's just that it requires a lot of thought, and I haven't had time to get to it yet!

No problems, but I do enjoy discussing languages and grammar, so I look forward to any comments of yours.

--

oberon wrote:First, Luke represents a different dialect than classical greek. Which doesn't necessarily mean one can't use it as an example, simply that one should be wary of doing so.

The translation I originally gave was also from Luke, so I was looking for similar examples from him to try to see if my participle version could have the same meaning. But I don't think classical Greek and koine Greek differ on this point.

Second, thuis really isn't a counter-example: a strict translation would be "carry fatted calf, sacrifice it, and having eaten it let us be merry." εὐφρανθῶμεν is a hortatory subjunctive (see e.g. Funk's translation of Blass & Debrunner's A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature section 364.). The same construction is used in classical greece.

Why is that a strict translation? It's true that one can in most cases translate an aorist participle into English using a perfect participle construction (which does mark anteriority), and lots of textbooks teach that as a very useful first approximation, but they're quite different. There's nothing in English that perfectly matches the meaning of the aorist participle, and I don't think there exists a strict translation of it into English.

In any event, the past participle φαγόντες DOES imply that the action is prior to the "let us be merry."

I don't see us agreeing on the grammar if we disagree on the meaning, but I can't imagine this implying that he's saying they should eat first and then be merry, mostly because that's an extremely unlikely thing to say. But there are examples where it's impossible for the participle to mean a prior action, things like ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν, and it doesn't seem to me that you can insist that the strict translation here would be "having replied, he said".

Not the same thing, even according to Symth. First, ἐξαμάρτητε is aor. subj. (φάγε can be either aor. or pres. imperat.)

φάγε can only be aorist as far as I know.

Second, as Smyth notes, καταψηφισάμενοι "defines" ἐξαμάρτητε. We aren't talking about a sequence of events, but one event with καταψηφισάμενοι descriptive of the action in that event. Hence Smyth's translation using "of."

In other words, we don't have a mistake/error on the one hand, and a condemning on the other. These aren't two seperate actions. What we have is a mistake which IS the condemning. One event, hence no sequence.

I agree in terms of the meaning but grammatically you still have an aorist participle, and that needs to be explained if aorist participles mark anteriority, or in other words, if a strict translation here would involve "having voted against". To me it's just like how in English once can say "don't make a mistake and vote against me", all while referring to a single event, and the Greek participle construction can do the same thing. To go back to φαγόντες εὐφρανθῶμεν, I would say that here too you have a single, but compound, event, "eat and be merry".

But now I'm confused. Do you think that the aorist participle marks anteriority, which is how I understood your comment about the strict translation, or that this is only true in most cases? And if it's the latter, what about φαγόντες εὐφρανθῶμεν implies anteriority?

In constructions like μολὼν λαβέ the verbal elements of BOTH actions are central. In this type of construction, the choice of the aorist DOES imply a past tense.

I don't disagree that in most cases the only legitimate understanding of the aorist participle is to see it as referring to a prior event, but that's a result of it encoding the perfective aspect, and there are cases where an anterior meaning is not implied, or even possible.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby oberon » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:50 am

modus.irrealis wrote:The translation I originally gave was also from Luke, so I was looking for similar examples from him to try to see if my participle version could have the same meaning. But I don't think classical Greek and koine Greek differ on this point.


Makes sence.

There's nothing in English that perfectly matches the meaning of the aorist participle


Arguably, there is nothing in any language which perfectly matches the meaning of another language, but that gets more into linguistic philosophy and is fairly impractical.




I don't see us agreeing on the grammar if we disagree on the meaning, but I can't imagine this implying that he's saying they should eat first and then be merry


Your point about "nothing in English" perfectly matching comes in handy here. Let me phrase it a slightly different way, and then show how my translation is construed in the construction: "Having begun to eat, let us be merry."

Now, I'm sure you may have jumped up and shouted when I added "begun." The point of the participle, whoever, is that it conceptualizes the verbal element/the action as an atemporalized EVENT (which is not to say that says nothing as to the time in which the event occured). In other words, verbs look at actions as processual/sequential/scanned. ἐσθίω takes an event not in its entirety but as a process "I"-------eating----------> .Participles, like infinitives, take the same action, but view it in summary fashion ἐσθίων [--EATING--]. The action is encapsulated by nominalization or moving the verb closer to a "noun" type semantic.

So, with μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι, the "eating" part isn't finished prior to rejoicing simply because the aorist participle implies it should be conceptualized sequentially with the participial action preceding the hortatory subj. Rather, schematically it is[---EATING--] --> Rejoice where the entirety of the event of eating is conceptualized as prior to rejoicing, but this does not mean that it actually is done and over with completely when the rejoicing happens. This is the difference between atemporality of the participle, and the atemporalized event of the participle.

, mostly because that's an extremely unlikely thing to say. But there are examples where it's impossible for the participle to mean a prior action, things like ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν, and it doesn't seem to me that you can insist that the strict translation here would be "having replied, he said".

Code: Select all
φάγε can only be aorist as far as I know.


You are using examples from hellenistic greek, where it does occur in the present.



But now I'm confused. Do you think that the aorist participle marks anteriority, which is how I understood your comment about the strict translation, or that this is only true in most cases? And if it's the latter, what about φαγόντες εὐφρανθῶμεν implies anteriority?


I should preface this by saying that in addition to a background in classics I focus a great deal on cognitive linguistics and in particular on constructions grammar approaches.

Basically, the aorist participle DOES "mark" anteriority in a sense, but aspects of tense, grammatical aspect, verbal element, etc, are all at least partly dependent on the constructions in which they are found. To use an example, the indicative is usually used as a plain statement of realis. Yet it is found in contra-factual conditions. The "sense" of the indicative is not completely lost in this use (see the analysis of the indicative in Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek), but it isn't what we expect.

Participles are particularly prone to change because they are already a somewhat nebulous grammatical category. They are a hybrid, and tend to exist on a continuum (sometimes more verbal, sometimes more adjectival).

Like the indicative, the aorist participle has a "normal" function, and it implies a past action prior to the main verb. However, also like the indicative, there are constructions in which the aorist participle is not used in this way, such as (as Smyth notes) when it is more adjectival and descriptive of the main verb (and therefore tied to it).
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby modus.irrealis » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:28 pm

oberon, I can't say that I've understood your argument completely, so I'll have to give it some thought and maybe do some background reading. But some of your reasoning is a bit abstract, and I'm not sure what you're position is in this specific case. Are you saying that φαγὼν εὐφραίνου necessarily has to imply a temporal sequence, but φάγε καὶ εὐφραίνου does not have to? In my opinion the sentences are equivalent in terms of the temporal ordering of events.

oberon wrote:Arguably, there is nothing in any language which perfectly matches the meaning of another language, but that gets more into linguistic philosophy and is fairly impractical.

I think nothing goes too far, but to me it seemed that you were making an argument about the Greek on the basis of a translation into English, an argument I'm not fond of and which I think can only be valid if the two languages grammaticalize the same distinctions (at least in the relevant subsystem of the grammar).

So, with μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι, the "eating" part isn't finished prior to rejoicing simply because the aorist participle implies it should be conceptualized sequentially with the participial action preceding the hortatory subj. Rather, schematically it is[---EATING--] --> Rejoice where the entirety of the event of eating is conceptualized as prior to rejoicing, but this does not mean that it actually is done and over with completely when the rejoicing happens. This is the difference between atemporality of the participle, and the atemporalized event of the participle.

Even if participles conceptualize actions the way you say, that still does not explain why you think the aorist participle conceptualizes the event of eating as prior to rejoicing. It can't be simply by virtue of the use of the participle because it's not true for present or future participles. There's something about the aorist participle in contrast to the present participle that indicates anteriority (in the majority of cases).

You are using examples from hellenistic greek, where it does occur in the present.

Can you give an example (or a reference)?

Basically, the aorist participle DOES "mark" anteriority in a sense, but aspects of tense, grammatical aspect, verbal element, etc, are all at least partly dependent on the constructions in which they are found. To use an example, the indicative is usually used as a plain statement of realis. Yet it is found in contra-factual conditions. The "sense" of the indicative is not completely lost in this use (see the analysis of the indicative in Willmott's The Moods of Homeric Greek), but it isn't what we expect.

To be honest, this is my preferred approach. The same thing has a family of usages, with different sense being metaphorical extensions of other sense, and some being more central than others, but...

Like the indicative, the aorist participle has a "normal" function, and it implies a past action prior to the main verb. However, also like the indicative, there are constructions in which the aorist participle is not used in this way, such as (as Smyth notes) when it is more adjectival and descriptive of the main verb (and therefore tied to it).

Why take the normal function of the aorist participle to be relative tense, when there's another analysis (that it marks perfectivity), which not only covers more cases but also lets you have a more unified analysis of the aorist participle, subjunctive, optative, infinitive, etc.?
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby Selene » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:42 pm

lol i don'r know how to post:/ But i have a question

Which is the correct way to pronounce omega?
Oh or Aw
My teacher says it is aw because omicron can also be pronounced oh and Greeks wouldn't have 2 letters the same but is this right?
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby Selene » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:42 pm

lol i don'r know how to post:/ But i have a question

Which is the correct way to pronounce omega?
Oh or Aw
My teacher says it is aw because omicron can also be pronounced oh and Greeks wouldn't have 2 letters the same but is this right?
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby 1%homeless » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:11 pm

LOL. Yes, that is approximately correct, but you should create your own post so you don't hijack the (inadvertent) hijackers' threads. ;) The button says "New Topic*" at the top. For Attic Greek, omega is like 'aw' in saw and omicron is like 'eau' in the French beau. The book "Vox Graeca" by Allen, however, says this isn't probably correct for omicron and says it is closer to the 'o' in somewhere between 'pot' and 'port'. I prefer the 'eau' in beau for omicron just because Allen's fine vowel distinction seems to be too close to omega and if I remember correctly, other books (Sturtevant) disagree with Vox Graeca about omicron. So take your pick :-)
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby oberon » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:02 am

I am responding to this in haste, but I hope to return to it later to give additional supporting detail.

modus.irrealis wrote:oberon, I can't say that I've understood your argument completely, so I'll have to give it some thought and maybe do some background reading. But some of your reasoning is a bit abstract, and I'm not sure what you're position is in this specific case. Are you saying that φαγὼν εὐφραίνου necessarily has to imply a temporal sequence, but φάγε καὶ εὐφραίνου does not have to? In my opinion the sentences are equivalent in terms of the temporal ordering of events.


Let me attempt to be clearer by giving an example. Consider the sentences:
1)The eaten apple goes in the disposal"
2)"That apple was eaten."

In both sentences, the participle is not completely atemporal, but what matters more is the construction in which it is used. In 1), the adjectival nature of the participle is far more salient. Nonetheless, the use of the past participle still construes a past action. In 2) however, the use past participle is used in a grammaticalized construction which is regularly used to construe a past passive construction. The "tense" of the construction is far more a result of the aux. "was."

To return to the greek, the particple does encode temporality in φαγὼν εὐφραίνου. However, it also does in φάγε καὶ εὐφραίνου. The difference is how the temporal nature of the verbal elements is scanned and sequenced. In the former example (φαγὼν εὐφραίνου), the action of "eating" is brought into focus prior to the act of rejoicing, i.e. "let us having begun eating rejoice" where the first verbal event begins prior to the second. However, in φάγε καὶ εὐφραίνου neither verbal element has temporal prominence.

I think nothing goes too far, but to me it seemed that you were making an argument about the Greek on the basis of a translation into English, an argument I'm not fond of and which I think can only be valid if the two languages grammaticalize the same distinctions (at least in the relevant subsystem of the grammar).


I'm not trying to make an argument about the Greek based on the english. Rather, given that neither of our native languages is Greek, I am using English to attempt to get across certain points as well as the "sense" of various aspects of greek tenses and so forth. It is possible to get (more or less) the sense of the aorist vs. the imperfect or whatever in Greek across in English by the help of lexical items (e.g. adding words like customarily or contiously when translating a particular imperfect). It isn't perfect.


Even if participles conceptualize actions the way you say, that still does not explain why you think the aorist participle conceptualizes the event of eating as prior to rejoicing. It can't be simply by virtue of the use of the participle because it's not true for present or future participles. There's something about the aorist participle in contrast to the present participle that indicates anteriority (in the majority of cases).


I don't completely agree. The tense of all participles, aorist, present, or future, have temporal value. However, they exist in particular constructions which make particular aspects more focal or salient. For example, the future participle is often used to indicate purpose, and in English we would translate it with something like "in order to." Yet the sense of a future event is still present.

Can you give an example (or a reference)?


If I remember, I will try to find where I got this tomorrow. I was looking at something specific, but I'm not sure what it was (I suspect Liddell and Scott). My apologies, but I don't have my reference books on hand at the moment, and it has been some time since I wrote my last post in this thread, so my memory isn't perfect. But I will try to remember to get the reference early on Monday.


Why take the normal function of the aorist participle to be relative tense, when there's another analysis (that it marks perfectivity), which not only covers more cases but also lets you have a more unified analysis of the aorist participle, subjunctive, optative, infinitive, etc.?


First, I am unclear what you mean when you assert I am arguing for taking the aorist participle as a "relative tense." Second, while a "unified analysis" is all well and good, sometimes it misleads more than it helps. For example, when analyzing case use in latin or greek, the typical grammar undoubtly gives far more uses than are necessary. They give a long list of "gentive of x" and "dative of Y" but fail to point out that these uses are related, not discrete. However, any attempt to find one proto-typical usage from which the genitive or dative is derived is likely doomed to fail (there is a great article on the genitive in indo-european languages by Nikiforidou). One of the most important results of research into constructions grammars is that often enough it is the construction, not the morphological realization of the lexical item which determines its use/meaning/etc.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby oberon » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:50 pm

modus.irrealis wrote:Can you give an example (or a reference)?


From Liddell and Scott: ...inf. of ἔφαγον, with no pres. in use (exc. in late Gr.,

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby modus.irrealis » Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:32 pm

oberon wrote:To return to the greek, the particple does encode temporality in φαγὼν εὐφραίνου. However, it also does in φάγε καὶ εὐφραίνου. The difference is how the temporal nature of the verbal elements is scanned and sequenced. In the former example (φαγὼν εὐφραίνου), the action of "eating" is brought into focus prior to the act of rejoicing, i.e. "let us having begun eating rejoice" where the first verbal event begins prior to the second. However, in φάγε καὶ εὐφραίνου neither verbal element has temporal prominence.

We'll just have to agree to disagree about this specific example.

First, I am unclear what you mean when you assert I am arguing for taking the aorist participle as a "relative tense."

"...the aorist participle has a "normal" function, and it implies a past action prior to the main verb."

Second, while a "unified analysis" is all well and good, sometimes it misleads more than it helps. For example, when analyzing case use in latin or greek, the typical grammar undoubtly gives far more uses than are necessary. They give a long list of "gentive of x" and "dative of Y" but fail to point out that these uses are related, not discrete. However, any attempt to find one proto-typical usage from which the genitive or dative is derived is likely doomed to fail (there is a great article on the genitive in indo-european languages by Nikiforidou). One of the most important results of research into constructions grammars is that often enough it is the construction, not the morphological realization of the lexical item which determines its use/meaning/etc.

On what basis (in terms of Greek) would you make a distinction between the use of the aorist participle in "μολὼν λαβέ" and "μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι"? What is gained by seeing these as two different constructions?


oberon wrote:From Liddell and Scott: ...inf. of ἔφαγον, with no pres. in use (exc. in late Gr.,

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon

Even if these few ambivalent attestations meant anything, they still don't provide evidence for your claim that "φάγε can be either aor. or pres. imperat."
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby oberon » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:56 pm

modus.irrealis wrote:"...the aorist participle has a "normal" function, and it implies a past action prior to the main verb."


Rather, the participle in greek has a temporal aspect (aorist, future, etc) but the saliency or focality of this temporal aspect can be downplayed, can vary, etc., based on useage. This is because, while it is easy to think of the participle as "timeless" (e.g. Smyth) and that only aspect is the determining factor between participial tense in relation to the main verb, as Yves Duhoux notes, "Ce sont donc des raisons aspectuelles qui entraînent le choix entre participe présent, aoriste, et parfait." (Le Verbe Grec Ancien, p 311). Yet this ignores in part the clear relationship between tense and aspect as they BOTH relate to time: “Aspect… indicates the temporal structure of an event” (BHAT, D.N.S. The Prominence of Tense, Aspect and Mood. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1999. p 43.) Even finite verbs in a particular tense can construe time in various ways. Look at the gnomic aorist in greek. The aorist here isn't really expressing past time, but is used similarly to how we use the simple present (rather than the continous present).

It is from the temporal structure of the aorist that the aorist participle comes to be generally used to indicate time prior to the main verb. This is why Smyth, Schwyzer, and other main reference grammars note that the aorist participle generally refers to actions prior to that of the main verb. Tense and Aspect are not always clearly differentiated, and the nature or the aorist ASPECT has implications for construal of temporality. So to say that it is the "aspect" of the aorist participle which makes it generally construe events prior to that of the main verb is inaccurate. Rather, it is tense/aspect (two related and not entirely independent grammatical properties) which cause this phenomenon.



On what basis (in terms of Greek) would you make a distinction between the use of the aorist participle in "μολὼν λαβέ" and "μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι"? What is gained by seeing these as two different constructions?


Smyth himself makes a distinction: "it is sometimes coincedent or nearly so when it defines, or is identical with, that of the leading verb, and the subordinate action is only a modification of the main action". In other words, as participles are both verbs and adjectives, often the adjectival nature is prominent (in various ways), as in μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι, where the participle is use primarily as a modification of the main verb. Hence Smyth's translation "do not commit the error of condemning me, rather than "don't commit error condemning me." The condemnation is a modifying event with the error.

With μολὼν λαβέ, we have two clearly seperate events, rather than two events with one modifying or identical to the other. And the aorist past tense/aspect is clear: having come, take.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby modus.irrealis » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:10 am

oberon, just in case we're understanding the terms here differently (sometimes I fully agree with what you're saying and yet then draw very different conclusions), I'm using tense to mean only "location in time", whether relative or absolute. Of course aspect has implications for tense -- in any language that has perfective forms a sequence of perfective verbs will be normally understood as implying a sequence of events one after the other -- but all I'm saying is that the concept of tense is unnecessary to an understanding of how the participle functions, and nothing is gained by bringing it in. In fact, it creates a number of pseudo-problems, because often times I would say that the temporal relation between the participle and the main verb is not relevant. I can't find it now but I had come across a discussion in an older paper of things like (I think) γελάσας εἶπεν and when did the laughing occur with respect to the saying, but to me this is a non-issue.

And to be precise, I'm really only speaking of the circumstantial participle. There are other cases where I do think the participle encodes tense -- although I would say absolute tense. I don't see any place where relative tense is needed to describe Greek.

oberon wrote:Even finite verbs in a particular tense can construe time in various ways. Look at the gnomic aorist in greek. The aorist here isn't really expressing past time, but is used similarly to how we use the simple present (rather than the continous present).

That's an interesting issue too especially since it often comes up in those who take an aspect-only view of Greek (which I do not). I've come to the conclusion that the gnomic aorist is a relatively straightforward extension of the past tense, through rhetorical uses of a single example in the past being used to make a general statement. But my favourite example of non-past-indicating past tense uses, which seems to be constantly overlooked, is the use of the past tense in fictional narration, where the events don't have any temporal relation to the time of speaking, and even in stories set in our future, we still use the past tense.

It is from the temporal structure of the aorist that the aorist participle comes to be generally used to indicate time prior to the main verb.

How come? It seems to me more accurate to say that the temporal structure of the aorist is the result of it encoding both perfective aspect and past tense. Although I do think the indicative must have had an influence on how the participle is used in "indirect discourse", where in fact it seems pretty much equivalent to the indicative. (Although even here, the present participle can "represent" both the present and the imperfect.)

Smyth himself makes a distinction: "it is sometimes coincedent or nearly so when it defines, or is identical with, that of the leading verb, and the subordinate action is only a modification of the main action". In other words, as participles are both verbs and adjectives, often the adjectival nature is prominent (in various ways), as in μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι, where the participle is use primarily as a modification of the main verb. Hence Smyth's translation "do not commit the error of condemning me, rather than "don't commit error condemning me." The condemnation is a modifying event with the error.

With μολὼν λαβέ, we have two clearly seperate events, rather than two events with one modifying or identical to the other. And the aorist past tense/aspect is clear: having come, take.

I think Smyth is mostly right but that definition is not worth much because it's applicable to each and every case. If you'll allow me to return to our example there's no reason you can't think of eating and rejoicing as the same event, or seeing the eating as modifying the rejoicing: rejoicing by feasting. There's a great deal of flexibility in how speakers can portray events and if you accept the definition of perfective as "bounded", it seems to me that all the uses of the aorist participle can be understood, with this distinction here arising from whether the participle is represented as bounded separately from the main verb, in which case you get an antecedent action, or bounded together with the main verb, in which you get a coincident action -- but that's exactly saying that the action of the participle is being portrayed as defining or modifying the main verb. That's why I don't think these two functions are distinct functions or that one needs to invoke tense to explain anything.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby oberon » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:44 pm

modus.irrealis wrote: but all I'm saying is that the concept of tense is unnecessary to an understanding of how the participle functions, and nothing is gained by bringing it in.


And this is the crux of our (I believe partial) disagreement. Basically, while I think it is useful to think of both tense (simply, time of event) and aspect (temporal structure) as two grammatical properties, it is neither accurate nor justified by the evidence to view them as seperate. Allow me to clarify:

Let's look at the gnomic aorist in Greek, gnomic present in latin, and the simple present in English (e.g. ἔγραψα, scribo, and I write). Now, both the latin and greek can be construed as taking place at the moment. The simple present is much harder to see that way, as demonstrated by the following:

*I write my essay right now
I am writing my essay right now.

We use a grammaticalized construction (verb to be+ participle) to indicate action happening at the moment, while latin and greek do not. This is important, becauses it means the same words (ἔγραψα, scribo) in the exact same tense can be taken quite differently. In fact, saying scribo, in a particular context could indicate a past time, or past, present, and future altogether. To argue, then, that it is the aspect of the gnomic aorist/present which allows it to deviate from the usual use of the respective tenses is to say in effect that it has no tense. That's without even going into "present for future" uses and so on.

My point is that rather than thinking of a verb as possessing tense and aspect, and that it is the aspect of the aorist participle which makes it generally precede the main verb, it is more accurate (and more supported by the data) to say that verbs possess tense/aspect, two complementary grammatical aspects of the verb which are not wholly distinguishable nor seperable.

Basically, to say that
I'm using tense to mean only "location in time",
is to seperate tense and aspect in a way I don't think they can be. And this isn't limited to latin and greek (or even indo-european) as several studies indicate. It is clear that part of the verb tells you when it happens, and part of the verb gives you a more structural view of the event, but this doesn't mean we can clearly seperate the two. To attempt to do so would amount to endless search through examples and a great deal of "lumping" and "splitting" where some say "this is aspect" and others "no it is tense." A better way is to conclude that how events are structurally conceived (i.e. verbal aspect) is intrically and often inseperably linked to when the event occurs.




I think Smyth is mostly right but that definition is not worth much because it's applicable to each and every case. If you'll allow me to return to our example there's no reason you can't think of eating and rejoicing as the same event, or seeing the eating as modifying the rejoicing: rejoicing by feasting.


Absolutely. In fact, I would argue that part the translation of aorist participles invovles the semantic properties of the lexemes. In other words, the more linked through meaing the participle and the verb are, the easier it is to translate them as occuring together. Additionally, I would argue that there is in effect a contiuum in terms of times designated by the semantics of the participle and verb. For example, with μολών λαβέ, we have a clear distinction in the events, which makes understanding μολών as occuring first and λαβέ second quite easy. However, with φαγόντες εὐφρανθῶμεν the actions (again, in part by virtue of their semantic relationship) are much closer.

It isn't always a matter of semantics (or mainly semantics) however, nor do am I sure you are accurately interpreting Smyth by saying "there's no reason you can't think of eating and rejoicing as the same event, or seeing the eating as modifying the rejoicing: rejoicing by feasting." Rejoicing and feasting are in the example we use obviously related, and in terms of time they actually coincide (although as I said earlier, the use of the aorist participle construes the times as different, if overlapping). All well and good.

However, this relationship is not the same as in μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι. The condemnation IS the mistake, and therefore we really have a single event broken into two with one a modification of the other. In your example, the rejoicing, while a consequent of the feasting, IS NOT the feasting.

There's a great deal of flexibility in how speakers can portray events...


Couldn't agree more. And this is one reason it appears participles are chosen to describe to actions rather than two verbs. This choice in itself has two (sometimes seperate) effects (actually more, but I only want to focus on the following). First, participles are part adjectives (and it is important to understand that their adjectival nature can be more or less salient). So, in choosing a participle rather than using to verbs, it is easier for the speaker to link the two actions together in a modifier/modified way. This relationship by itself can help to determine (as Smyth notes) the time at which both events occur. What Smyth doesn't note is that part of this is (again) a result of semantics. Certain verbs lend themselves more to being adjectival, certain verbs are easier to see in terms of the modifier/modified relationship, etc. Also, too look back at Smyth's example (μή τι ἐξαμάρτητε ἐμοῦ καταψηφισάμενοι) it would be equally possible to make "condemn" the main verb and "err" the participle. By making "condemnation" a modifier to "erring" the force or emphasis is placed on the act of erring rather than condemning.



and if you accept the definition of perfective as "bounded", it seems to me that all the uses of the aorist participle can be understood
, with this distinction here arising from whether the participle is represented as bounded separately from the main verb, in which case you get an antecedent action, or bounded together with the main verb, in which you get a coincident action -- but that's exactly saying that the action of the participle is being portrayed as defining or modifying the main verb. That's why I don't think these two functions are distinct functions or that one needs to invoke tense to explain anything.[/quote]

The problem I see with the above is that ALL participles (actually, all nominal or adjectival verbs) are perfective or bounded. If the issue is whether the participle is "bounded" to the main verb, or how it is bounded to the main verb, then the tense of the participle is superfluous.
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby cb » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:50 pm

hi, there seems to be lots of separate points being discussed in this interesting thread, and so I have tried to separate out the different questions and then have given my own suggested answers to each below:

1. Does putting a ppl in the aorist indicate that its action occurs earlier in time than the main verb?
My answer: No. Only future and future perfect ppls indicate temporality. Present, aorist and perfect ppls don’t. The key authority for this is Chapter 2 Part 2 of Duhoux 2000. I have scanned it for you (link 1 below). To summarise it, Duhoux shows, going through one-by-one, that present, aorist and perfect ppls can each be used for actions occurring:
- before the moment of speaking (s40) or before the action of the main verb (s43),
- at the same time as the moment of speaking (s41) or at the same time as the action of the main verb (s44),
- after the moment of speaking (s42) or after the action of the main verb (s45).

Duhoux’s analysis shows that present, aorist and perfect ppls can each be used for any timezone. Therefore, they don’t indicate temporality. See also the bottom of pg 310 (link 2 below) where Duhoux states this explicitly.

2. Can the fact that the action of the ppl occurs earlier in time than that of the main verb be a factor (among others) influencing a classical author to put the ppl in the aorist?
My answer: Yes. Sometimes it plays a role, sometimes it doesn’t. There are at least 9 concrete factors (and other less concrete factors) which may play a role in a classical author’s choice of the aorist. There is a list of these factors in Chapter 4 of Duhoux 2000. I have scanned it for you (link 3 below). To summarise it, the following are some of the concrete factors which may influence a classical author to use the aorist:
- Factor (A): where the action of the verb involves a change/modification to something, e.g. δίδωμι (see bottom of pg165 to top of pg166).
- Factor (B): where the verb has the preverb ἀνα-, ἀπο-, κατα- or εἰσ- (see para (d) on pg167 to middle of pg168).
- Factor (C): where the verb is negatived (see para (d) on pg169 to middle of page 170).
- Factor (D): where the action of the verb occurs before the moment of speaking or before the action of the main verb (see para (f) on pg170 to middle of page 171).
- Factor (E): where the verb is qualified by an adjective of suddenness (see para (j) on pg172).
- Factor (F): (for specific verbs) e.g. Lysias prefers to use the aorist for verbs in the list beginning with ἀγγέλλω on pg166; Isocrates prefers to use the aorist for αἱρέω and τελευτάω (see bottom of pg166).
- Factor (G): (specifically where the verb is finite) if it is in the subjunctive, and also (for Lysias specifically) where it is in the optative or imperative (see para (g) pg168 to top of pg169).
- Factor (H): (specifically where the verb is a ppl) if it completes the sense of a main verb in the aorist other than (for Lysias specifically) where the main verb is ὁράω or φαίνω (see para (b) on pg169 and bottom of pg 171) (NB: for background reading on this type of ppl completing the sense of a main verb, see link 4 below (Smyth calles it a “supplementary” ppl) and link 5 below (Goodwin calls it a “predicative” ppl)).
- Factor (I): (specifically where the verb is an infinitive) if it (1) depends on a main verb in the present (see para (c) on pg169) or (2) is introduced by πρίν (see para (g) on page 171).
- Factor (J): (specifically where the verb is imperative) if it (1) is a specific command to someone other than when calling witnesses in a trial (see para (i) on pg172 and para (γ) on pg249, not included in my scan sorry) or (2) is a command from a human to a god (see pgs245-246, not included in my scan sorry).

There are other factors as well, as listed in prose comp books. But this list above alone shows that there are many factors which may play a role in a classical author’s choice of aorist. Temporal sequence is just one of the factors, and no factor is determinative on its own every time (see bottom of pg 311 in link 2 below, and s142 on pg175 in link 3 below).

To take some concrete e.g.s: I flicked through my Lysias OCT to the last paragraph of each speech, which are often full of commands (i.e. please let me off/please punish him), and looked for imperatives with associated participles. I found the following e.g.s, where the ppls differ in tense – some are aorist (ἀναμνησθέντες), some are perfect (μεμνημένοι): but I don’t think we can assume that the aorist ppls are, by virtue of their aorist tense, indicating different timezones to the perfect ppls. As shown above, the temporal sequence is just one of many possible factors (i.e. Factor (D) above) which could influence the choice of aorist for the ppls in the third and fourth e.g.s below. Another factor which could equally well explain it – without reference to temporality at all – would be Factor (B) (given that the aorist ppls begin with ἀνα- whereas the perfect ones don’t). Other factors could also be relevant: my point is that there’s no reason to assume that the aorist is indicating temporality in the ppls below, i.e. that Factor (D) is the determinative factor in these cases.
- e.g. 1: Lysias 3, 47: ὧν ὑμεῖς μεμνημένοι τὰ δίκαια ψηφίζεσθε,
- e.g. 2: Lysias 10, 32: ὧν μεμνημένοι καὶ ἐμοὶ καὶ τῷ πατρὶ βοηθήσατε καὶ τοῖς νόμοις τοῖς κειμένοις καὶ τοῖς ὅρκοις οἷς ὀμωμόκατε.
- e.g. 3: Lysias 13, 95: ἀναμνησθέντες οὖν ἁπάντων τῶν δεινῶν, καὶ τῶν κοινῶν τῇ πόλει καὶ τῶν ἰδίων, ὅσα ἑκάστῳ ἐγένετο ἐπειδὴ ἐκεῖνοι οἱ ἄνδρες ἐτελεύτησαν, τιμωρήσατε τὸν αἴτιον τούτων
- e.g. 4: Lysias 24, 26: ἀλλὰ τὴν αὐτὴν ψῆφον θέσθε περὶ ἐμοῦ ταῖς ἄλλαις βουλαῖς, ἀναμνησθέντες ὅτι οὔτε χρήματα διαχειρίσας τῆς πόλεως δίδωμι λόγον αὐτῶν,

3. Given that anteriority in time is a factor influencing the choice of the aorist (see Factor (D) above), does this mean that the aorist ppl does, in fact, indicate temporality in a downplayed way?
My answer: No. See the answer to question 1 above: aorist ppls do not indicate temporality. It is tempting to think that, given that anteriority in time is a factor influencing the choice of the aorist (Factor (D)), all aorist ppls indicate temporality in a downplayed way. But this would be like arguing that, given that having ἀνα- as preverb is a factor influencing the choice of the aorist (Factor (B)), all aorist ppls indicate the sense of ἀνα- in a downplayed way.

4. Is it justifiable to put the circumstancial ppls (φαγών and πιών) in the aorist solely on the basis that the imperative that they go with is in the aorist?
My answer: Not as far as I know. I have seen authority for this in relation to ppls which complete the sense of the main verb, i.e. supplementary/predicative ppls (see further Factor (H) in my answer to question 2 above), but not in relation to circumstantial ppls. Not to say that it isn’t correct, just that I haven’t personally seen any evidence/analysis on this point (and if anyone has any studies on this, I would be grateful to see them).

5. Was modus wrong to propose that eating and drinking could be written as circumstantial ppls with imperative εὐφραίνου (rather than writing them as imperatives)?
My answer: No. Circumstantial ppls can go with imperatives: see the Lysias e.g.s above in my answer to question 2 above.

6. Which is more classical in the end: puting eating and drinking as circumstantial ppls, or as imperatives?
My answer: I’m not sure as I’ve seen both types in classical literature: personally, I would follow the Louvre cup which I linked to earlier in this thread or something else having classical authority.

cheers, chad :)

Link 1 (Chapter 2 Part 2 of Duhoux 2000): http://mhninaeide2.webs.com/Duhouxextract1.pdf
Link 2 (Chapter 9 Part 2.4 of Duhoux 2000): http://mhninaeide2.webs.com/Duhouxextract2.pdf
Link 3 (Chapter 4 of Duhoux 2000): http://mhninaeide2.webs.com/Duhouxextract3.pdf
Link 4 (Smyth s2088 and ff): http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... thp%3D2088
Link 5 (Goodwin s112-113): http://books.google.fr/books?id=BvAQAAAAYAAJ&pg=226
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Re: A request for Translation from English to Greek

Postby oberon » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:48 am

I willl respond to this more in depth later, but I will say a few things now.

cb wrote:1. Does putting a ppl in the aorist indicate that its action occurs earlier in time than the main verb?
My answer: No. Only future and future perfect ppls indicate temporality. Present, aorist and perfect ppls don’t. The key authority for this is Chapter 2 Part 2 of Duhoux 2000. I have scanned it for you (link 1 below).

I alreadly quoted Duhoux. The problem with the demonstration given is (at least) two-fold:

1) One can almost always find examples of tenses which do not cohere with the normal use, e.g. the gnomic aorist, historic present, or the use of the present in the protasis of a future conditional in English. In other words, simply listing examples of aorist participles which do not signify events prior to the main verb does not indicate that the aorist participle does not by itself do so. In other words, using Duhoux's method, I can say "If I go to the store, I will get milk," and use this as evidence that the present tense in english does not refer to the present. As grammars like Smyth and Schwyzer note, the aorist participle does usually occur prior to the main verb.

2) The greater problem with Duhoux's analysis is the seperation of tense and aspect, which cannot be seperated as neatly as is given in Le Verbe Grec Ancien.


To summarise it, Duhoux shows, going through one-by-one, that present, aorist and perfect ppls can each be used for actions occurring:
- before the moment of speaking (s40) or before the action of the main verb (s43),
- at the same time as the moment of speaking (s41) or at the same time as the action of the main verb (s44),
- after the moment of speaking (s42) or after the action of the main verb (s45).


Yes, tense/aspect (in particular constructions or usages) can often deviate from the norm. We see this cross-linguistically.

Duhoux’s analysis shows that present, aorist and perfect ppls can each be used for any timezone.


Using the same method, I could show that the English present doesn't indicate present, and the Greek present doesn't indicate present.
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