what's going on with the accusative Οὖτιν?

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brometheus
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what's going on with the accusative Οὖτιν?

Post by brometheus » Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:58 pm

Od. 9
Οὖτις ἐμοί γ᾽ ὄνομα· Οὖτιν δέ με κικλήσκουσι 366
μήτηρ ἠδὲ πατὴρ ἠδ᾽ ἄλλοι πάντες ἑταῖροι.” 367

It's not *Οὔτινα, so the wordplay falls a little flat here.

Do you think Οὖτιν represents
1) an ad-hoc accusative of Οὖτις, on the pattern of i-stem nouns?
2) a relic of a prehistoric version of the pun, from when the accusative of τίς was still *τίν < *kwim (cf. Lat quem)?

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Re: what's going on with the accusative Οὖτιν?

Post by Timothée » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:31 pm

It would seem to me to be simply caused by the sought wordplay (note also the accent differring from οὔτις). The LS s.v. refers also to μήτις and μῆτις (Od. 20,20). We have somewhat similar cases with accusatives of ἔρις and indeed μῆτις (amongst others), as you note. One can easily understand the analogy. Therefore it doesn’t strike to me as terribly strange, though I will not promise that there isn’t more to it. I don’t know if Chantraine indeed has something to add in his Grammaire homérique.

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Re: what's going on with the accusative Οὖτιν?

Post by mwh » Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:50 pm

I think it works quite nicely (at least as well as Brometheus :D), in a folktaleish sort of way. ουτιν rather than ουτινα helps ensure that the Cyclops accepts it as a name. His fellow-cyclopes only hear him cry ουτις με κτεινει. Like Timothée I doubt that kwim comes into it; an interesting idea, but more likely an ad hoc analogical formation. Accentuation as Οὖτις is a grammarian’s pedantry.
μητις in bk.20 seems rather more sophisticated: the Odyssey poet himself?

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Re: what's going on with the accusative Οὖτιν?

Post by Timothée » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:19 pm

So you suggest that Οὖτις with its properispomenon may not represent the ancient (original) accentuation? I find this very interesting, since I have been under the impression that the Ancient Greek accentuation we use can be assumed to be to very large part of ancient provenance.

Lehrs writes in his work on Aristarchus (cited by Probert), in 1882:
“Mihi in his rebus uersanti iterum iterumque occurrit, etiam in obsoletioribus uocabulis aliquam de accentu traditionem fuisse. Etenim etiamsi ponamus in uersibus recitandis accentum uoce non notatum esse, quam saepe extra uersum etiam Homericorum uocabulorum proferendi occasio erat, partim coram discipulis in ludo, partim in rhapsodorum et philosophorum confabulationibus: ut facile cogitari possit multorum uocabulorum accentus quasi per manus traditos usque ad Alexandrinos peruenisse.”

Probert translates this:
“As I occupy myself with these matters it strikes me again and again that even in the case of the more obsolete words there was some tradition regarding the accent. For even supposing that the accents were not marked by the voice in the recital of verses, how often was there the opportunity of pronouncing Homeric words even outside the context of the verse: in front of pupils at school, in the conversations of rhapsodes and philosophers. It can easily be imagined, therefore, that the accents of many words were passed down as it were from hand to hand, and so reached the Alexandrians.”

But Οὖτις will not belong these words?

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Re: what's going on with the accusative Οὖτιν?

Post by Paul Derouda » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:40 am

Timothée wrote:So you suggest that Οὖτις with its properispomenon may not represent the ancient (original) accentuation?
I think mwh means that for a nonce word like Οὖτις the concept "original accentuation" doesn't mean anything. The word doesn't have a history or a provenance, and the only thing we can assume is that the pronunciation must be quite similar to οὔ τις for the joke to work. Whether we write Οὖτις or otherwise is pedantry.

M. L. West in his Making of the Odyssey (contrary to about anyone who has ever given an opinion on the subject) claims that there's no pun intended with Οὖτις and μῆτις. I don't have the book now, but I don't remember him giving any grounds for his claim.

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Re: what's going on with the accusative Οὖτιν?

Post by jeidsath » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:01 am

All third declension -ις words, forming the accusative in -ιν, are barytone. So, if our accentuation rules do reflect anything about Homeric speech, it would seem likely that a Greek of Homer's time would have naturally pronounced the word Οὖτις by analogy.

I would love to hear more about the West statement.
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Re: what's going on with the accusative Οὖτιν?

Post by mwh » Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:24 am

Herodian will have prescribed οῦτις on the strength of accusative ουτιν, viewing it as morphologically analogous to e.g. μῆτιν. (I haven’t checked, but this is how he operated.) Grammarians and jokes don’t mix. We can’t know for sure that Homeric rhapsodes pronounced Odysseus’ ουτις no differently from anyone else's ουτις, but we do know for sure that Polyphemus’ echoing ουτις at 9.408 was heard as the regular ούτις—and this was the very point of the trickster's so naming himself. (Cf. the "Who's on first" sketch.) I see no reason to posit differential accentuation. Schoolboys would not have been rolling in the aisles at the Cyclops’ stupidity if oυτις were anything other than ούτις.

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Re: what's going on with the accusative Οὖτιν?

Post by Timothée » Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:34 am

Thank you. There is, therefore, a conflict of interests of accentuation, when we put ourselves in Ancient Greeks’ shoes. I would suggest that this conflict makes the pun more telling, adding suspense and tension to it. Analogy of μῆτιν draws it to Οὖτιν, and conformity with οὔτις and οὔτινα draws it to Οὔτιν—simultaneously! So much force in one accent.

One can also see that the Cyclops could be to blame. Maybe loses his cool from the shock and makes an error in his anguish, not being able to speak properly, and utters Οὔτις instead of Οὖτις he may have meant to say.

One is perforce reminded of Demosthenes. Here is Probert once again:
“Demosthenes, when asking the citizens of Athens whether they considered Aeschines a hired servant, a μισθωτός, of the Macedonians, is said to have deliberately mispronounced the word as μίσθωτος (Sch. Dem. 18. 104a, b, c). His audience reacted instantly by correcting him with a great cry of ‘μισθωτός!’ Demosthenes, of course, treated the response as a positive reply to his question. An accent, even an incorrect one if it is carefully planted, can be an effective weapon.”

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