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genitive absolute

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genitive absolute

Postby psilord » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:48 pm

What exactly is the genetive absolute?

I've read my Pharr book and the relevant parts in Smyth, but I still can't really figure it out. Could someone show me some (using words from lesson 21 or earlier from the Pharr book) examples of this construction and why it would be used?

I appreciate it. Thank you.

[edit: spelled genitive wrong in title. I bet it made you all angry. :)]
Last edited by psilord on Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby chad » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:37 pm

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Postby Bert » Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:01 am

Maybe it'll help if you compare it to an English absolute construction.
-If the weather permits then I will go on a picnic.- is a conditional sentence. The first part of the sentence has a grammatical connection to the second part.
-Weather permitting, I will go on a picnic.-
The first part is an absolute construction. It is seperate from, and has no grammatical relationship to the second part.
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Postby psilord » Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:01 am

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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:22 am

All of your translations are okay (though #3 is a little awkward). The the specific meaning of the absolute must ultimately be determined by context.

By the way, the first occurence of the genitive absolute in the Iliad is around line 100 of the first book, where Achilles says something along the lines of "Nobody is going to hurt you while I live and look on the earth" - the bold indicating the genitive absolute phrase.
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Postby chad » Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:48 am

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Postby psilord » Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:11 am

I think my main problem is that while I think I can readily identify a genitive absolute in context, I'm simply not sure what it _means_ grammatically and for what it is used.

So far I have think it is used for some kind of condition:

--if I get hungry, I prepare food--

or some kind of temporal statement:

--while Achillies raged, men died by the score--

I guess I'll need to see it much more in context.
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Postby chad » Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:22 am

hi pete, your 1st eg wouldn't be gen abs, because the subject is the same as the main clause. the condition there would be a nom ppl, or a protasis marked by an "if" particle.

don't worry you'll get the hang of it with more reading, both homer and other genres :)
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Postby Kasper » Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:28 am

A genitive absolute is only used when the subject of the genitive absolute has no grammatical relation to the rest of the sentence. So in your first example you cannot use a genitive absolute because the subject in both parts of the sentence are the same. (in greek you just could use a participle, eg. I, being hungry, will prepare food)

Just keep in mind that the subject of the genitive absolute must be different from anything else in the sentence, ie. subject, object or indirect object. Completely grammatically unrelated. Your second sentence is a very good example of this: Achilles has no grammatical relation to the dying men.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby psilord » Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:18 am

Kasper wrote:A genitive absolute is only used when the subject of the genitive absolute has no grammatical relation to the rest of the sentence. So in your first example you cannot use a genitive absolute because the subject in both parts of the sentence are the same. (in greek you just could use a participle, eg. I, being hungry, will prepare food)

Just keep in mind that the subject of the genitive absolute must be different from anything else in the sentence, ie. subject, object or indirect object. Completely grammatically unrelated. Your second sentence is a very good example of this: Achilles has no grammatical relation to the dying men.


Would my second example be of "Attendant Circumstance"?
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Postby Kasper » Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:40 am

I think that is a very good way of putting it.
“Cum ego verbo utar,” Humpty Dumpty dixit voce contempta, “indicat illud quod optem – nec plus nec minus.”
“Est tamen rogatio” dixit Alice, “an efficere verba tot res indicare possis.”
“Rogatio est, “Humpty Dumpty responsit, “quae fiat magister – id cunctum est.”
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Postby psilord » Wed Jan 18, 2006 4:21 am

Ok, I think I might have enough of an understanding of it to continue my studies.... I might ask more questions later though.

Thank you all for your help. I very much appreciate it.
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