Translating "to" into Greek

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Lukas
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Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Lukas » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:19 pm

One area I am having trouble with in Unite 9 of Dr. Matronarde's textbook, the unit pertaining to the introduction of present indicative infinitives, is how to translate English "to" into Greek.
For example, Unit 9, Part III, #3:
"The children urge the tyrant to entrust his fate to the gods."
The answer book wrote:

τα παιδια τον τυραννον την μοιραν τοις θεοις επιτρετπειν πειθει.

I was not sure whether to use εισ, προσ, or use the dative case for "to the gods." The answer book used the dative. How do I decide which way to use?

I think the verb at the end is in the singular, as I learned that often plural neuter subjects take a singular verb.

Lukas
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:01 pm

The answer is... it depends. Sorry :shock:

But I mean it. Now here is a very general rule of thumb. Often, when the verb in English can be followed with the preposition "to," the verb takes a dative complement (indirect object) to show to or for whom the action is done. Verbs like give, "I give the book to him," or in this case "entrust," "I entrusted my very life to him." Notice that I said "very general" and "often." We can say in English "I'm running to the river" but in Greek that would take a preposition, because it's a verb of motion. It's actually best to learn the syntax of each verb on a case by case basis. The lexicons indicate this with examples once you get beyond your beginning text, in which, by the way, you can place your absolute trust... :)
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Callisper
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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Callisper » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:32 pm

The thing to realize now is that the key to such questions lies not in "to" but in "entrust."

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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:05 pm

Lukas wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:19 pm
τα παιδια τον τυραννον την μοιραν τοις θεοις επιτρετπειν πειθει.

I was not sure whether to use εισ, προσ, or use the dative case for "to the gods." The answer book used the dative. How do I decide which way to use?
There is no easy way to know which one a particular verb uses. We need to learn that as we learn a verb. Learning a verb means learning the inflectional pattern it follow (conjunction), it's meanings (sometime 1 and sometimes many) and the syntactic constructions in which it is used (which is in fact the question you are asking).

Luckily, for ἐπιτρέπω, the way that phrases are constructed around it is straightforward. This verb requires syntactical constructions with the dative of the person to whom something is entrusted.

There are basically 2 ways we can know that. Either you notice it by (active) reading - by active, I mean consciously noting the syntactic pattern that the verb is used in. The second is that it may be spelled out in the reference works. In this case LSJ is pretty clear that it usually takes the dative.

ἐπιτρέπω

___________
Speaking more generally about this exercise, and seeing your other questions about composition, I will talk a little about techniques for composition:

I assume you know, but let me state anyway, the nested sentence based on the syntactical requirements of ἐπιτρέπω is επιτρεπει ο τυραννος την μοιραν τοις θεοις. Because the verb πειθω is constructed with an accusative (noun - subject of the nested sentence) and infinitive (verb of a nested sentence), some changes need to happen in the nested sentence. The changes are that επιτρεπει (the verb of the nested sentence) becomes the infinitive επιτρεπειν and ο τυραννος (the subject of the nested sentence) becomes the the accusative τον τυραννον.

You are right in observing that πείθει is the singular form of the verb because τα παιδια is neuter plural.

_____________
Practically speaking then, for the answer provided in the key, there are three levels of construction in this exercise:

If you are a person like me who adds multidigit numbers from the left to the right (" the thousands need to be increased by 1"), we could look at the composition process from the core syntax to the shell:
• the first is that ἐπιτρέπω is constructed with 3 syntactic units- who entrusts is in the nominative, what is entrusted is in the accusative, and to whom it is entrusted is in the dative, giving επιτρεπει ο τυραννος την μοιραν τοις θεοις
• The second level is that πειθω is constructed with an accusative of who is persuaded to do something and an infinitive of what they are persuaded to do, πειθουσιν τον τυραννον επιτρεπειν την μοιραν τοις θεοις,
• The third is that a neuter plural subject requires a singular verb, giving τα παιδια πειθει τον τυραννον επιτρεπειν την μοιραν τοις θεοις.

If you are a person who adds multidigit numbers from the right ("carry the 1"), we could look at that from the shell syntax to the core:
• First, a neuter plural subject takes a singular verb, so the dictionary form πειθω is modified to πειθει, giving τα παιδια πειθει,
• second, the verb πειθει takes an accusative of who is pursuaded and an infinitive of what they are persuaded to do, giving τα παιδια τον τυραννον επιτρεπειν πειθει,
• third, the verb επιτρεπει takes an accusative of what is entrusted and a dative of to whom it is entrusted, giving τα παιδια τον τυραννον την μοιραν τοις θεοις επιτρεπειν πειθει.

[Your Dr. M's word order suggests that he uses the second of these two compositional methods/ techniques, and that he parenthesises the elements as he composes. My composition teacher explained composition to me in terms of the first method. Neither method is the "correct" one, and both are valuable skills to develop.]

Whichever method you prefer, you can use the other method of composition as a check for the method you have used to compose.
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Constantinus Philo
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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Constantinus Philo » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:47 pm

those who speak Russian do not have such problems :lol:
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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Hylander » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:34 am

those who speak Russian do not have such problems
Not necessarily. Some Russian verbs take different cases as complements than their Greek equivalents. For example, προδίδωμι takes an accusative complement, but изменять takes a dative complement.

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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Hylander » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:03 pm

Constantinus, am I right about this?

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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:09 pm

Hylander wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:34 am
those who speak Russian do not have such problems
Not necessarily. Some Russian verbs take different cases as complements than their Greek equivalents. For example, προδίδωμι takes an accusative complement, but изменять takes a dative complement.
What I know about Russian can be engraved in large block letters on my thumbnail, but προδίδωμι certainly can take a dative indirect object:

II. give up, [κλῆρον] PPetr.3p.96 (iii B.C.); deliver up, τοὺς ὁμοκωμήτας ἡμῖν PThead.17.16 (iv A.D.): most freq., give up to the enemy, betraν, τοὺς λοιποὺς τοῖσι Σαμίοισι Hdt.6.23; τὸ σὸν θνητοῖσι π. γέρας A.Pr.38, etc.

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon (pp. 1474–1475). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Hylander » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:42 pm

But not a dative complement of the person betrayed.

предать/предавать however works more like προδίδωμι with dative and accusative complements, and maybe that's a better translation for προδίδωμι. But there are other verbal concepts that take different complements in Greek and in Russian. I'll try to exhume another one.

Here: μενειν + accusative, "wait for" = ждать + genitive.

And of course Russian has two more cases than Greek: instrumental and prepositional, although the Greek dative has subsumed most of the functions of the instrumental, and the prepositional also mostly corresponds to the Greek dative with prepositions. Some Russian nouns also have a locative case that's distinct from the prepostional, but again the locative mostly corresponds to the Greek dative with prepositions.

But Russian о(б) + prepositional, "about", generally corresponds to Greek περι + genitive (not dative).

However, I think that many Russian verbal complements are calqued on Greek, using the Russian cases corresponding to the Greek, due to the early influence of Greek on Russian (and perhaps other Slavic languages) through Bible translations and religious literature.

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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:07 pm

Hylander wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:42 pm
But not a dative complement of the person betrayed.
Right, but the OP was about "entrust," ἐπιτρέπω, and how to use the dative with it. It also uses and accusative D.O. and dative I.O.
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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Hylander » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:57 pm

My point was a general one — that Russian doesn’t always mirror Greek case usage.

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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by RandyGibbons » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:20 pm

Hi Lucas. Welcome to Textkit.

The simple answer to your question is that there is no rule on how to translate English "to" into Greek. Most often it will be either as an indirect object (i.e., the dative, as is generally the case with ἐπιτρέπειν) or as a prepositional phrase (with several candidate prepositions): It simply depends on whatever the usual construction is for a given verb, which there's no way of knowing other than by either reading the dictionary entry for that verb or seeing it in your reading, as you just have with ἐπιτρέπειν.

(I don't have the Mastronarde text, so I can't see for myself, but usually the Greek-to-English and English-to-Greek exercises won't require any vocabulary or construction you haven't already seen in the instruction material. Out of curiosity, was ἐπιτρέπειν familiar from the instruction material?)

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Re: Translating "to" into Greek

Post by Lukas » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:55 pm

ἐπιτρέπειν was listed with its meanings and principal parts, but there was no mention as to whether it took an accusative or dative.
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