Objective Genitive?

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Lukas
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Objective Genitive?

Post by Lukas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:53 pm

Χαιρετε!

I took a break from Greek and now am starting to try to learn it again. I backed up a couple chapters and am working on Unit 10, page 90, of Dr. Mastronarde's Introduction to Attic Greek. I am having confusion with distinguishing between Subjective and Objective Genitives. I am supposed to translate this sentence and state the reason of the case of the underlined word: ἠ ἐπιθυμία τοῦ πλούτου τοὺς ἀνθρώποuς κακὰ πάσχειν πρείφει. I wrote, "The desire of wealth persuades people to suffer evils." The translation was close to the answer book, but I thought "wealth" would be the subjective genitive, because I thought the desire for wealth was the subject. The answer book says that it is the objective genitive. How do I know when a genitive is subjective and when it is objective?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:06 pm

Welcome back to Greek! Essentially this, it depends on the verbal idea in the noun. Nouns which imply longing or desire often take an objective genitive (but not restricted to that). A simple way to do it is convert the noun into its verb equivalent, keeping 3 singular present for simplicity's sake. Then does the genitive noun make better sense as the subject of the verb or the direct object? Pretty clear cut here, ἐπιθυμεῖ τὸν πλοῦτον. Sometimes you can't really make that formula work quite so directly, but think verbal idea, and you'll get it. "For" is often a better translation in English for the objective genitive, "desire for wealth."
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Lukas
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by Lukas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:55 pm

So would ἐπιθυμεῖ be a subjective genitive?
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Aetos
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by Aetos » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:09 pm

I see Barry has already answered this, but I'll throw this in, as it contains another example and to be honest, I can't really take credit for what follows, as it comes mostly from Claxton's Attica:
As you've probably read in the book, subjective and objective genitives are employed when the noun they're associated with has a verbal idea. In the case of your sentence, the noun is ἐπιθυμία and derives from the verb ἐπιθυμέω (+genitive of object desired) meaning, you guessed it: desire or yearn for. Thus τοῦ πλούτου becomes the object of the noun ἐπιθυμία. Perhaps thinking of it as "desiring wealth" makes it easier to see how the wealth is the object. Distinguishing between subj. & obj. genitives depends on whether the genitive indicates the doer of the action, or the object of the action. Another tip: the subjective genitive is often in the attributive postion, whereas the objective genitive is found in the predicate position. Here's an example:

ὁ ἐκείνου φόβος ἐστὶ κακός. (Subjective genitive - The man has fear)
The fear of that man is cowardly.
ὁ φόβος ἐκείνου ἐστὶ κακός. (Objective genitive - The man is the object of someone else's fear)
Fear of that man is cowardly.

Notice in English the translations are very similar, but in Greek it's quite clear that in the first sentence it's the man who fears, whereas in the second sentence he is the one being feared.
Lukas wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:55 pm
So would ἐπιθυμεῖ be a subjective genitive?
ἐπιθυμεῖ is the verb and τοῦ πλούτου would be the object. So if you use the noun ἐπιθυμία with τοῦ πλούτου, "τοῦ πλούτου" is going to be an objective genitive.

Lukas
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by Lukas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:20 pm

So if a noun comes before the verbal noun, it is subjective genitive, and if it comes after it is an objective genitive?
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by Aetos » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:40 pm

Lukas wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:20 pm
So if a noun comes before the verbal noun, it is subjective genitive, and if it comes after it is an objective genitive?
You'll need to review the concept of attributive vs. predicate position. In the first example, "ἐκείνου" came before the verbal noun, yes, but more importantly it came between the article and its noun. This puts it in the attributive position. In the second example, "ἐκείνου" does come after the verbal noun, but again more importantly outside the article-noun pair, thus placing it in the predicate position. You could even put "ἐκείνου" before the article and it still would be in the predicate position. (ἐκείνου ὁ φόβος ἐστὶ κακός.)

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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by mwh » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:17 pm

We've got too much going on here now. Let me dial it back.
Lukas wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:55 pm
So would ἐπιθυμεῖ be a subjective genitive?
No, not at all. Subjective genitives, like objective genitives and like genitives in general, are nouns. ἐπιθυμεῖ is a verb.
Lukas wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:20 pm
So if a noun comes before the verbal noun, it is subjective genitive, and if it comes after it is an objective genitive?
No, not at all. It's not a matter of position. It's a conceptual distinction.

Barry’s explanation was good. [His ἐπιθυμεῖ τὸν πλοῦτον is not Greek, unfortunately, but it would only create more confusion to go into that.] Some nouns, such as ἐπιθυμία, contain a verbal idea. The noun ἐπιθυμία contains the idea of desiring, or having a desire.

ἠ ἐπιθυμία τοῦ πλούτου.
τοῦ πλούτου would be a subjective genitive if it were wealth that had the desire for something, as in e.g. “Wealth desires (to increase itself)," where wealth would be the subject. (Eng. transl. "Wealth's desire.")

But here wealth is the object of the desire, as in e.g. “People desire wealth." That’s why it’s called an objective genitive. (Eng. transl. "Desire for wealth.")

Do you see the distinction?

Bear in mind that not all genitives with nouns (“adnominal” gens.) are subjective or objective (e.g. “the protestors’ umbrellas," where "the protestors'" is a possessive gen.). And it’s possible to have both subjective and objective genitives in a single phrase, e.g. “Xiao Lin’s gift of a gas mask,” where “Xiao Lin’s” is subjective (since Xiao Lin gave a gas mask), while “a gas mask” is objective (since Xiao Lin gave a gas mask). Usually it’s obvious which it is, and then the labels are unnecessary.

Incidentally I presume πρείφει in the original post is a typo for πείθει.

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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by Lukas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:41 pm

Yes, it is a typo. So it sounds like if a verbal noun is more like a verb, that it is an objective genitive, and if it is more like a noun, it is a subjective genitive?
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by mwh » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:56 pm

I wouldn’t put it like that, no, but if you understand what I wrote, we can call it a day.

Lukas
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by Lukas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:55 pm

Then I do not think I understand what you wrote. I don't get it.
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mwh
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by mwh » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:42 am

Then I wouldn't worry about it.

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:31 am

mwh wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:17 pm
.

Barry’s explanation was good. [His ἐπιθυμεῖ τὸν πλοῦτον is not Greek, unfortunately, but it would only create more confusion to go into that.]
It would be perfect if ἐπιθυμέω in fact took the accusative, but alas...
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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daveburt
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by daveburt » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:19 am

May I have another go at explaining "subjective genitive" and "objective genitive"?

I think, Lukas, you already understand that in ἠ ἐπιθυμία τοῦ πλούτου the genitive is πλούτου and the head noun is ἐπιθυμία, "the desire of wealth". "Desire" is modified in some way by the genitive "wealth". In what way? That is, how do we classify this particular use of the genitive?

Barry's first post talks about the "verbal idea" and explains it quite well. Note that the "subject" and "object" are not the role either word plays in the genitive phrase we're discussing (ἠ ἐπιθυμία τοῦ πλούτου) but in a made-up sentence where the head noun is turned into a verb, and the genitive becomes either the subject or object (*ἐπιθυμεῖ τὸν πλοῦτον, * "he desires wealth").

Let's look at a simple sentence: "The man desires wealth." And two genitive phrases: "the desire of the man" and "the desire of wealth". In the first, "of the man" is a subjective genitive, corresponding to the subject of the sentence version of the phrase "the man desires" -- the desire is "of the man" in the sense that the man is the one who has the desires for something. The second is the phrase you're working with, and it's an objective genitive, corresponding to the object of the sentence version, "... desires wealth" -- the desire is "of wealth" in the sense that the wealth is what someone desires.

* A side note probably best to ignore: As Barry points out, this is not quite Greek; one generally desires a person with the accusative (ἐπιθυμεῖ γυναῖκα) or a thing in the genitive (ἐπιθυμεῖ τὸυ πλοῦτου).

Lukas
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by Lukas » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:49 pm

OK

I think I am starting to understand this.

ευχαριστώ
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Re: Objective Genitive?

Post by daveburt » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:45 am

παρακαλώ

A simpler way of putting this might be using the alternative terms 'agent' for 'subject' and 'patient' for 'object': a subjective genitive is the agent of the head noun action ("the doctor's cure"); an objective genitive is the patient of the head noun action ("the patient's cure").

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