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Questions in Koine Greek

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Questions in Koine Greek

Postby Bontree » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:48 pm

What is the rule governing the sentence structure of a question in Koine Greek?

The semi-colon at the end of a sentence and the interrogative words like Ti and Tis are obvious that a sentence is a question.
I am asking what is the sentence structure that identifies a question when the semi-colon is missing or when the interrogatives are not used in a sentence?
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Re: Questions in Koine Greek

Postby Markos » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:11 pm

Context.
I am writing in Ancient Greek not because I know Greek well, but because I hope that it will improve my fluency in reading. I got the idea for this from Adrianus over on the Latin forum here at Textkit.
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Re: Questions in Koine Greek

Postby LSorenson » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:38 am

First, Questions are in the indicative mood, not the imperative, subjunctive or optative.
Second, sometimes, not always, there are question words in the sentence like τίς, τί, πῶς, ποῦ, ποῖ, .....
Τhird, sometimes the word ἆρα (with the circumflex accent, not the word ἄρα) either starts the sentence or is the second word.
Fourth, sometimes indirect questions using words like ὅπως can be questions, but not have the question word flags.
Fifth, nothing. YOU HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT FROM CONTEXT, as Markos said.

When you are reading Greek texts, the editors always put in punctuation. So you usually don't have to guess, unless you want to disagree with the editors. But if you are reading texts without punctuation (Some online texts strip off all the diacriticals -- accents, breathing marks, iota subscripts, and diaerseis), then you have to figure out if any given statement is a question or statement of fact. Take the following sentence...is it a question or a statement?

συ ἀγαθὸς εἶ

Louis Sorenson Λεωνίδας
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Re: Questions in Koine Greek

Postby Bontree » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:04 am

Oh, thank you, so much.
This is what I have been looking for.
The pages of my Machen grammar disintegrated the last time I opened it (it is old and I am the fourth student to use it) and I can't find another grammar that tells me what you have.

I am happy that this group exists for the study of Greek.
Do you answer questions about translating the Bible too or do you avoid it for what could be emotional posts.
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Re: Questions in Koine Greek

Postby Imber Ranae » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:53 pm

LSorenson wrote:First, Questions are in the indicative mood, not the imperative, subjunctive or optative.


This isn't true, though, unless I misunderstand you. I assume we're talking about direct questions only, so I'll leave out the optative in secondary sequence for indirect questions, but even direct questions aren't restricted to the indicative mood. You're forgetting the deliberative subjunctive, e.g. τί οὖν ποιήσωμεν; "What then are we to do?" I believe the potential optative with ἄν can also be found in questions.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Questions in Koine Greek

Postby calvinist » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:41 pm

Imber is correct. Questions do not have to be asked in the indicative, and his example from the NT is sufficient. Really there are two guides: Question words (who? how? where? when?) and if the question does not use a question word then context is the only guide. Pilate's "Τι εστιν αληθεια;" is obviously a question because of 'Τι'. The question just a few verses before, "Συ ει ο βασιλευς των Ιουδαιων" is obviously a question, but we can only deduce that from the context since there is no question word. We "just know" that Pilate isn't declaring, "You are the King of the Jews!". This doesn't fit the context.
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