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Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

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Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby danbek » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:17 am

Hi,

I have a few questions about section II of Rouse's Greek Boy.

1. The phrase "και μην άλλα γε έχει τεκνα ὁ Θράσυλλος". I understand this as meaning something like "And in fact Thrasyllus has other children ...", but what is the γε doing?

2. Several times Rouse uses ονομάζουσιν to describe a person's name e.g. "ονομάζουσιν δ' εμε μεν Θρασύμαχον". Why a 3rd person *plural* for the verb here? I found this confusing because at this point only his father has been mentioned, not his mother. Should I understand this as meaning something like "People call me ..."?

3. Later the narrator asks "ᾶρ' ερωτᾳσ, τί εστι χωριον? ᾶρ' ου δῆλον?" What does the second question mean? Something like "Is it not clear? (i.e. what a χωριον is)?"

4. The last sentence is "το δε χωριον έχει αγρους ουκ ολίγους". Does "αγρους ουκ αλίγους" mean "many fields"? Why not say "αγρους πολλους"? is "αγρους ουκ αλίγους" just more idiomatic?
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby jeidsath » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:16 pm

danbek wrote:1. The phrase "και μην άλλα γε έχει τεκνα ὁ Θράσυλλος". I understand this as meaning something like "And in fact Thrasyllus has other children ...", but what is the γε doing?


In the previous sentence, he said that he was a child of Thrasyllus. The γέ underlines the contrast. It doesn't need to be translated.

danbek wrote:2. Several times Rouse uses ονομάζουσιν to describe a person's name e.g. "ονομάζουσιν δ' εμε μεν Θρασύμαχον". Why a 3rd person *plural* for the verb here? I found this confusing because at this point only his father has been mentioned, not his mother. Should I understand this as meaning something like "People call me ..."?


Yes.

danbek wrote:3. Later the narrator asks "ᾶρ' ερωτᾳσ, τί εστι χωριον? ᾶρ' ου δῆλον?" What does the second question mean? Something like "Is it not clear? (i.e. what a χωριον is)?"


Yes.

danbek wrote:4. The last sentence is "το δε χωριον έχει αγρους ουκ ολίγους". Does "αγρους ουκ αλίγους" mean "many fields"? Why not say "αγρους πολλους"? is "αγρους ουκ αλίγους" just more idiomatic?


Sure. Here's an example:

...ὃς πολλῷ χρόνῳ συνωνούμενος κατὰ μικρὸν θησαυροὺς εἶχεν οὐκ ὀλίγους.

...who by buying it up little by little over a long period of time had accumulated substantial supplies.

ἑκηβόλος wrote:As the only person who tends to be as restrictive as I am in terms of vocabulay choices in composition, let me say that what I don't think is idiomatic about this phrase of Rouse's is his using ὀνομάζουσιν with a personal pronoun. That is to say, so far as Perseus lets me search the corpus of extant Greek literature, it is used with a range of pronouns - demonstrative, relative, indefinite, et al. - but not with the personal pronouns.


All wrong. Here is Euripides:

ὅπερ μ᾽ ὁ φύσας ὠνόμαζ᾽ Ὀδυσσέα,
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:52 am

Joel has given you excellent answers. Just to add a little, the use of the generic third person is parallel to English and quite common, such as "They Call me Mr. Tibbs." To use a negative, such as "not a few" to mean "many" is actually a figure of speech called litotes, and is also not uncommon in English (you see what I did there, right?).

Another example of ὀνομάζειν with a personal pronoun:

ἀλλʼ ἀντὶ τοῦ δὴ παῖδά μʼ ὠνομάζετο; (Sophocles, OT 1021).
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby danbek » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:38 pm

Thank you all, this is helpful!
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby opoudjis » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:31 am

danbek wrote:2. Several times Rouse uses ονομάζουσιν to describe a person's name e.g. "ονομάζουσιν δ' εμε μεν Θρασύμαχον". Why a 3rd person *plural* for the verb here? I found this confusing because at this point only his father has been mentioned, not his mother. Should I understand this as meaning something like "People call me ..."?


And not that danbek or anyone else need care, but that pattern has persisted in Modern Greek, both with the (now learnèd) με ονομάζουν Νίκο < ὀνομάζουσιν ἐμέ Νικόλαον "they name me Nick", and with the vernacular με λένε Νίκο < λέγουσιν ἐμέ Νικόλαον "they say me Nick". (Of course, English does the same with they call me Nick, so this is not that much of a data point.)
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby danbek » Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:42 am

On to section IIα.

1. After telling us that his family all live in their χωριον, we have "εν δε τῃ οικίᾳ ἡμῶν οικεῖ τις και άλλη:". This must mean "But another lives in our house also:", but I don't understand what the τις is doing. How does it affect the meaning? Is it modifying άλλη, so that it is more like "Some other woman also lives in our house:"? Is it strange that the word και is stuck in between the two words?

2. In a few places the indefinite τι appears with an interrogative as part of a question ("ποῖόν τί εστι τροφός;", "τί ποτ' εστι λόφος;", "ᾶρα νῦν δῆλον ὅ τι εστι λόφος;") What is it doing there? How does it affect the meaning of these questions?

3.For "ὁυκ άδηλόν πού εστί σοι ὅτι οικοῦμεν ἅμα, ..." should I understand something like "It is now clear to you where we live together"? I don't see what else it could mean, but what is the ὅτι doing?

4. I mostly understand this sentence, but not entirely: "και εν ᾦ χρόνῳ λέγω σοι, μανθάνεις ἕκαστα· δῆλον οῦν δή πού εστι, δια τί λέγω πολλάκις ἕκαστα." I think he is saying that over time the reader will learn everything, because he will speak about everything frequently (or perhaps repetitively). But I don't really understand the middle clause (especially the use of που), or the δια τί in the second clause.
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby jeidsath » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:13 pm

I'll leave 2 and 4 for others.

1. τις καὶ ἄλλος is a common idiom in Xenophon and Herodotus. It's usually used with ὡς or εἰ, and in a number of places the καὶ seems to be emphatic. Maybe "and in our house lives even somebody else."

X.An.4.4
ἐπεὶ δὲ Ξενοφῶν ἐτόλμησε γυμνὸς ἀναστὰς σχίζειν ξύλα, τάχ’ ἀναστάς τις καὶ ἄλλος ἐκείνου ἀφελόμενος ἔσχιζεν.

H.5.91:
ὥστε ἐκμεμαθήκασι μάλιστα μὲν οἱ περίοικοι αὐτῶν Βοιωτοὶ καὶ Χαλκιδέες, τάχα δέ τις καὶ ἄλλος ἐκμαθήσεται ἁμαρτών.

3. The idiom with δῆλος (and ἄδηλος) was often δῆλός ἐστι ὅτι <clause>. (See the article on δῆλος in the LSJ). "It is clear that ..."
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:00 pm

danbek wrote:On to section IIα.

2. In a few places the indefinite τι appears with an interrogative as part of a question ("ποῖόν τί εστι τροφός;", "τί ποτ' εστι λόφος;", "ᾶρα νῦν δῆλον ὅ τι εστι λόφος;") What is it doing there? How does it affect the meaning of these questions?


I would render ποῖόν τί εστι "what sort of thing is..." According to LSJ:

"4. ποῖός τις; making the question less definite..."

In your second example, the τί appears to be interrogative, "What actually is a crest?" Again LSJ:

"3. with intensive force, in questions, τίς ποτε; who in the world? τίνες ποτʼ ἐστέ;"


4. I mostly understand this sentence, but not entirely: "και εν ᾦ χρόνῳ λέγω σοι, μανθάνεις ἕκαστα· δῆλον οῦν δή πού εστι, δια τί λέγω πολλάκις ἕκαστα." I think he is saying that over time the reader will learn everything, because he will speak about everything frequently (or perhaps repetitively). But I don't really understand the middle clause (especially the use of που), or the δια τί in the second clause.


που... II. without reference to Place, in some degree, καί πού τι Th.2.87: freq. to qualify an expression, perhaps, I suppose...(LSJ)

διὰ τί simply means "why" and is used here of an indirect question. You've got the idea of what he's trying to say. "It should therefore perhaps be clear why I say each of these things often."
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby mwh » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:28 pm

Just to tie up loose ends.
In your #4, Dan, εν ᾦ χρόνῳ λέγω σοι is not “over time” but “while I’m speaking to you,” “in the course of my speaking.” εν ᾦ χρόνῳ λέγω is short for the more cumbersome εν τῷ χρόνῳ ἐν ᾧ (lit. “in the time in which I’m speaking to you”). Rouse's schoolboys are meant to understand him as he’s speaking.
—But in giving you these answers, complete with translations and grammatical explanations, I think we may be running counter to Rouse’s pedagogical method, which is essentially oral and meant to be self-explanatory. It's inductive.

δῆλον οῦν δή πού εστι, δια τί λέγω πολλάκις ἕκαστα “So I guess it’s clear why I say everything many times over.” (“I guess” is often the best translation of enclitic που. δή intensifies δῆλον. διὰ τί is “why”, lit. “on account of what”. ἕκαστα each of the various things that I’m saying; "each of these things" would be ἕκαστον τούτων.)

In your #2, ᾶρα νῦν δῆλον ὅ τι εστι λόφος: the ὅ τι (sometimes written ὅτι as one word) is the indirect (not indefinite) form of τί, “what?”. The clause ὅ τι εστι λόφος is an indirect question.
Cf. τί λέγεις; “What do you mean?” versus δῆλον ὅ τι λέγεις “It’s clear what you mean.” (This could also use the direct form, δῆλον τί λέγεις, cf, διὰ τί not δι’ ὅ τι above).

In your #1, τις καὶ ἄλλος is just “someone else too” (not “even”). Here ἄλλη not ἄλλος, so female.

I don’t say anything about the accents, but you might find them puzzling if you’re not aware of how enclitics behave, particularly enclitics in series. (And Rouse is not entirely consistent here.)

A final note. Particles, such as που and δή, and γε earlier, both single and in combination, are one of the glories of ancient Greek, especially Attic Greek. They’re often untranslatable (which is not to say meaningless!), or overtranslated or mistranslated, for in English we tend to express equivalent semantics by intonation alone. One of the good things about Rouse is that he uses them idiomatically. The significance of word order—much more flexible in Greek than in English—is also something that’s difficult to capture in translation. So the aim is to learn to read without translating, since translation inevitably interferes with accurate understanding.
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby danbek » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:23 pm

Thanks again everyone. I think a takeaway for me is that despite not understanding the purpose/meaning/point of every word, I'm still getting the general gist pretty well. So I will take that as encouragement to continue reading as much as possible, and try not to worry too much about the bits that I don't quite understand.

At the same time, its clear that the LSJ, properly used, can help with some of these questions. So I'll try to look at that more too.

I'm definitely striving to read without translating, although it's a challenge at my (low) level!
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Re: Rouses's Greek Boy, section II

Postby jeidsath » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:46 pm

I think that, even if you had a teacher who could run a full immersion Greek classroom, reviewing things carefully in the LSJ outside of class would still benefit you and not retard your progress in any way. There are some advantages to being an adult language learner, vs. being a small child, and we should take advantage of those.

I do think that Rouse's book definitely has its place alongside traditional methods, even if you don't have a full immersion Greek classroom. "ὅστις εἰμὶ ἐγώ" is probably my daughter's most requested Greek story (she uses that title to refer to all of Greek Boy at Home). It's nice and simple Greek, similar to her favorite English story books. I haven't found anything that she likes quite as much.

[She also requests "poetry", which means the Iliad. Her vocabulary as far as that goes is "ballads" for Quiller-Couch's book of ballads, and "poetry" for his book of English verse. It surprised me a lot when she started using "poetry" to refer to the Iliad.]

For not translating, I think that the following reading techniques that I try to do with my daughter would also be useful for anyone. 1) As Rouse suggests, ask questions about what you just read, and answer them. Examples are in his First Greek Course and the dialogues sections of Greek Boy. 2) Restate things in simple two word Noun-Verb sentences frequently. Of course, we also do this for my daughter in English constantly, and I think most adults do it whenever they interact with toddlers. My daughter's favorite question right now is "What is X doin?" which is mostly her way to ask "what is the verb for that?" 3) For any verb meaning, the most important forms to learn are the 3rd person singular aorist indicative and the 2nd person singular aorist imperative (Christopher Rico taught me this), along with an object and subject that is representative. Memorize whichever form is correct for the given meaning (active or middle), instead of trying to memorize all the forms for a given verb. That's enough to actually use the verb for basic communication.
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