δέ

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Barry Hofstetter
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δέ

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:53 pm

mwh wrote:δέ can be translated by “and” or by “but” or (often best) by nothing at all, according to the context. Often it’s just a nondescript sentence connective, as in this passage.
jeidsath wrote:I was thinking of starting a thread on this, but didn't get to it before your comment. I feel like the importance of δέ in Greek versus it's non-importance in turning Greek into English prose are two different issues. When reading it tells you at least a couple of important things, 1) the topic has shifted, 2) that the upcoming words aren't really subordinate. A bit like は in Japanese.
Good idea. Since I'm now a proud owner of the Cambridge grammar, here is part of their description of δέ as a starting point for a discussion:

**********

Postpositive. Basic function: δέ indicates a shift to a new, distinct text segment, often with a change of topic...; δέ is one of the commonest particles in Greek texts to connect clauses and/or sentences.

-- in moving to a new topic, a new argument, a new topic for discussion, or another aspect of a certain larger topic...

-- in narrative: in moving to a new step in the story, shifting to a different character...

-- frequently in combination with a preceding μέν...

*********

Using more recent meta-language, δέ is a discourse marker controlling the readers understanding of clauses/sentences in the flow of writing.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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Re: δέ

Post by jeidsath » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:07 pm

Well, it's nice to see that he's in agreement with what I noticed from a couple of minutes with Xenophon's Hellenica before the other post. I'd like to add that I think that in Greek, new sentences almost always have new topics. There are so many ways to continue a sentence that authors seem to cram everything that they want to say about something into a single sentence, and then move on to the next only when they are finished.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: δέ

Post by mwh » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:35 pm

I should explain that the quote from me at the head of this thread was what I wrote in response to a beginner’s asking how to translate δέ (a question no-one had answered for him). It is not what I would say about the function of δέ.

I’m not much inclined to participate in a thread inaugurated by someone who writes such a vacuous and ill-written sentence as “Using more recent meta-language, δέ is a discourse marker controlling the readers understanding of clauses/sentences in the flow of writing.” But I would suggest a thread on δέ would stand to be more profitable if it did not exclude kai; alla; and asyndeton.
I think Joel does well to approach by way of topic (as in topic&focus), but basic issues are dodged: what constitutes “a single sentence,” for example, and to say that “the upcoming words aren't really subordinate” is either ill-defined or axiomatic. (I don’t have much Japanese, but I’d say a lot like は; but what is Greek for が?)

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Re: δέ

Post by seneca2008 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:18 am

mwh wrote:I should explain that the quote from me at the head of this thread was what I wrote in response to a beginner’s asking how to translate δέ (a question no-one had answered for him)
I answered it and told him that he shouldn’t.

“As I have said before only translate δέ when it is natural to express it in English. (That was in terms of of an antithesis with μέν.) On its own its more like a simple connective "and" which we wouldn't translate. ”

It picked up a previous thread where I was dissuading Lukas from translating μέν....δέ as on the one hand and on the other. A common mistake. I was trying to pitch the answer at a beginner’s level.

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Re: δέ

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:28 am

mwh wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:35 pm
I should explain that the quote from me at the head of this thread was what I wrote in response to a beginner’s asking how to translate δέ (a question no-one had answered for him). It is not what I would say about the function of δέ.
You were mainly cited to give context to Joel's comments.
I’m not much inclined to participate in a thread inaugurated by someone who writes such a vacuous and ill-written sentence as “Using more recent meta-language, δέ is a discourse marker controlling the readers understanding of clauses/sentences in the flow of writing.” But I would suggest a thread on δέ would stand to be more profitable if it did not exclude kai; alla; and asyndeton.
Nice use of vocabulary, although "vague" would be more accurate than vacuous, and "ill-written" is simply a subjective judgment. I understand that looking at old subjects from new perspectives can sometimes be challenging. Nothing in the OP excludes καί and ἀλλά. It's the nature of these discussions that people are free to add any information they feel would be helpful in the discussion, and this certainly would be here.
I think Joel does well to approach by way of topic (as in topic&focus), but basic issues are dodged: what constitutes “a single sentence,” for example, and to say that “the upcoming words aren't really subordinate” is either ill-defined or axiomatic. (I don’t have much Japanese, but I’d say a lot like は; but what is Greek for が?)
Do we have Japanese translations of Greek classical texts made directly from Greek by competent scholars? How might they handle this? This reminded me of the use of -ו (vav) in Hebrew. The parts of the LXX that are more natural Greek (such as sections of the Torah) sometimes render with δέ, though the more "interlinear" passages woodenly use καί.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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Re: δέ

Post by Menoeceus » Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:59 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:53 pm
Using more recent meta-language, δέ is a discourse marker controlling the readers understanding of clauses/sentences in the flow of writing.
Can't this be said of any word traditionally identified as a particle or conjunction?

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Re: δέ

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:59 am

Menoeceus wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:59 am
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:53 pm
Using more recent meta-language, δέ is a discourse marker controlling the readers understanding of clauses/sentences in the flow of writing.
Can't this be said of any word traditionally identified as a particle or conjunction?
Actually, no. At least γέ can function as emphasizing a particular word, and both καί and τε can join individual words or phrases.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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Re: δέ

Post by jeidsath » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:13 am

mwh wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:35 pm
(I don’t have much Japanese, but I’d say a lot like は; but what is Greek for が?)
Well, I'd direct everybody's attention here for a good description of both particles (better than I've seen in textbooks):

https://www.learn-japanese-adventure.co ... wa-ga.html

For example, look at "3. Universal Things".
ゆき は しろいです。
yuki wa shiroi desu

Meaning: Snow is white.

ちきゅう は まるいです。
chikyuu wa marui desu

Meaning: Earth is round.

That's because if you say ゆき が しろいです (yuki ga shiroi desu), it sounds like normally snow is in other colors other than white. This is incorrect. Therefore, for description of universal things that never change, use は (wa).

Let's say if something terrible happens one day and snow becomes red. In this case, you can say ゆき が あかいです (yuki ga akai desu - Snow is red) because this is new information that we don't know.
In Plato (far more sparing of δέ than Xenophon) I think that δέ tends to function more like this usage of が (ga).
Ἐκ ταυτησὶ δὴ τῆς ἐξετάσεως, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, πολλαὶ μὲν ἀπέχθειαί μοι γεγόνασι καὶ οἷαι χαλεπώταται καὶ βαρύταται, ὥστε πολλὰς διαβολὰς ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν γεγονέναι, ὄνομα δὲ τοῦτο λέγεσθαι, σοφὸς εἶναι· οἴονται γάρ με ἑκάστοτε οἱ παρόντες ταῦτα αὐτὸν εἶναι σοφὸν ἃ ἂν ἄλλον ἐξελέγξω.
Here, δὲ signifies that there is going to be new information about this ὄνομα, and not something that merely reinforces "πολλὰς διαβολὰς."

Before spending too much time on this parallel (though it might be interesting to translate all of the example sentences in the link) one big difference between Greek and Japanese is that は (wa) and が (ga) only go with nouns (I think). So in the end, the parallel can never be too close -- as you'll probably see from looking at the various usages in the link.
what constitutes “a single sentence,” for example, and to say that “the upcoming words aren't really subordinate” is either ill-defined or axiomatic.
I think this would be probably worth another thread (or a dozen). The way I've begun to think about it, which seems obvious, but I don't think I've seen discussion elsewhere, is that words in Greek (and other languages), have a set of necessary context that needs to be resolved. A transitive verb needs an object; if it is being used personally, it needs a subject as a referent somewhere, etc. And a sentence isn't generally complete until you have resolution (explicit or implicit) to all of the "promises" made by the foregoing words. Some words function equally well as promisers or resolvers, depending on where they come in a sentence, but others, generally the connectives, seem to be one or the other. ὥστε and γὰρ always promise something new, and require a back-reference, but they don't necessarily resolve a promise. Notice that the "·" soft stops in the Apology sentence above could both have been hard stops, serving as the end of the expression. And in theory, in spoken delivery they could have been, with ὥστε or γάρ added as an addendum rather than a planned continuation.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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