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I need help with a phrase

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I need help with a phrase

Postby Santaj » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:08 pm

I have learnt Ancient Greek (koine) for a year. But now it is time when I need to translate small text. in order to avoid some misrepresentations I would greatly appreciate help. The phrase is "Love is giving"- with the meaning of giving as giving all and not asking anything in return- like in Bible.
So my try is" Άγάπή διδονάι"
Any corrections more than welcomed!
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby Markos » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:14 pm

This is not meant to be a correction, because your version is fine, but I would add an article to both words. το διδοναι η αγαπη εστιν.
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: I need help with a phrase

Postby calvinist » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:09 am

How about imitating the structure of the famous phrase in Philippians 1:21? το ζην Χριστος --> το διδοναι αγαπη. The succinctness gives it power. I think εστιν makes it a little cumbersome, and it would be assumed anyway.
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:54 am

I would put it the other way round: διδοναι η αγαπη

And I would drop the εστιν as well in "proverbial" phrase like this.
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby NateD26 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:08 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:I would put it the other way round: διδοναι η αγαπη

I'm not sure the infinitive could be used without article in this sense, although I agree
an abstract noun such as this would definitely have the article.

Is there some aversion to using a finite verb?
EDIT (my apologies): ἡ ἀγάπη παντάπασι δίδωσιν.
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:31 pm

I'd still leave διδοναι without the article... I must confess I'm not so good with Attic/Koine, I mostly know Homeric Greek, but still I think I'm right ;)

So I'd say either "η αγαπη διδοναι εστιν" or "διδοναι η αγαπη".

Check Goodwin's Grammar:
http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/100/author_id/38/

There are some examples at § 1517 (under title "Infinitive without the article"). E.g. "το γνωναι επιστημην λαβειν εστιν"; λαβειν is analogous with διδοναι in my phrase, I think.
Also check § 956, "A predicate noun or adjective seldom takes the article"; I think this applies here, διδοναι being a kind of verbal noun.
It's an Attic grammar, but I wouldn't think that Koine's that different in this regard.

Please, please correct me if I am "the" error!

(the article "the" being ok in this English phrase, I hope, Finnish being my native tongue... ;) )
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:40 pm

...and "η αγαπη διδοναι" would be alright too, in my opinion, but I prefer the two previous ones.

Now this is analogous to "το ζην Χριστοσ". Calvinist got subject and predicate mixed up in his example.
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby NateD26 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:41 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:I'd still leave διδοναι without the article... I must confess I'm not so good with Attic/Koine, I mostly know Homeric Greek, but still I think I'm right ;)

So I'd say either "η αγαπη διδοναι εστιν" or "διδοναι η αγαπη".

Check Goodwin's Grammar:
http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/100/author_id/38/

There are some examples at § 1517 (under title "Infinitive without the article"). E.g. "το γνωναι επιστημην λαβειν εστιν"; λαβειν is analogous with διδοναι in my phrase, I think.
Also check § 956, "A predicate noun or adjective seldom takes the article"; I think this applies here, διδοναι being a kind of verbal noun.
It's an Attic grammar, but I wouldn't think that Koine's that different in this regard.

Please, please correct me if I am "the" error!

(the article "the" being ok in this English phrase, I hope, Finnish being my native tongue... ;) )

I stand corrected, Paul. Thanks! :)
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:26 pm

Thinking a bit further, the article often actually serves to point which word is subject and which word predicate - something that in English is expressed with word order.

"η αγαπη διδοναι" or "διδοναι η αγαπη" - love is giving
"το διδοναι αγαπη" or "αγαπη το διδοναι" - giving is love

Now if I'm wrong about this, I really want to corrected!
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby NateD26 » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:26 am

Paul Derouda wrote:Thinking a bit further, the article often actually serves to point which word is subject and which word predicate - something that in English is expressed with word order.

"η αγαπη διδοναι" or "διδοναι η αγαπη" - love is giving
"το διδοναι αγαπη" or "αγαπη το διδοναι" - giving is love

Now if I'm wrong about this, I really want to corrected!

I think that is often the case. (See Smyth §2031 for examples of the articular infinitive as subject.)
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby calvinist » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:01 am

I think we need to keep in mind that this is a short proverb. Greek does not require definite articles to make something 'definite', even with abstract nouns. Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the NT use abstract nouns and infinitives without articles at times? The article becomes assumed from context the same way as εστιν and the explicit use of the articles becomes more of a stylistic issue. Correct me if I'm wrong. The article can be used to distinguish subject/predicate as it is in John 1:1, but again I thought this was up to the author's style and whether or not he thought the phrase would be ambiguous.
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:26 am

calvinist wrote:I think we need to keep in mind that this is a short proverb. Greek does not require definite articles to make something 'definite', even with abstract nouns. Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the NT use abstract nouns and infinitives without articles at times? The article becomes assumed from context the same way as εστιν and the explicit use of the articles becomes more of a stylistic issue. Correct me if I'm wrong. The article can be used to distinguish subject/predicate as it is in John 1:1, but again I thought this was up to the author's style and whether or not he thought the phrase would be ambiguous.


I don't really know NT Greek well enough to give any general rules... But in this particular instance I would insist that "το διδοναι αγαπη" means "giving is love" and not "love is giving".

You could check Nunn's NT Syntax http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/141/author_id/62/ § 69 (2) for some examples in the NT of the use of the article with abstact nouns.
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Re: I need help with a phrase

Postby calvinist » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:00 pm

Yes, Paul, I agree with you that my formulation does switch the subject/predicate. I think that both word order and the article have a role as far as subject/predicate. You can have different formulations such as: διδοναι η αγαπη -- αγαπη διδοναι -- η αγαπη το διδοναι -- η αγαπη διδοναι. All of these clearly mark αγαπη as the subject. The first uses the article, the second uses word order, the third uses word order as well since both have articles, the fourth uses both word order and the article. I'm trying to point out that there is an issue of style involved here. Which 'sounds' the best? The double article seems unnecessarily long, but then again maybe it has more balance. Again, you are right that το διδοναι αγαπη shouldn't be used. I wasn't thinking about subject/predicate when I put it together.
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