'nullus' in Greek

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cclaudian
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'nullus' in Greek

Post by cclaudian » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:48 pm

Hey, just wondering what sort of translations/paraphrases I can use to render 'no X' in Greek, like an equivalent to the Latin nullus. E.g. "no arms / nulla arma / ? ὅπλα". An example sentence might be "no arms will be found in this household, I assure you, except those of Lamachus." / nulla arma hic invenientur nisi ea Lamachi.

Am I to use οὔδεν in an oblique case? Will a partitive genitive work? Paraphrase to "you will not find arms here" seems to work to a point, but how exactly would you preserve the "no" if you had to.

mwh
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Re: 'nullus' in Greek

Post by mwh » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:55 pm

In translating you shouldn’t be looking for word-by-word equivalents but for something that renders the sense as exactly as possible. Here you’d simply use a negative. E.g. εν ταυτη γε τη οικια ουχ ευρεθησεται οπλα. That corresponds well. You could strengthen the negative by using ουδαμως (ουχ ευρεθησεται ουδαμως οπλα), or you could use a partitive genitive, οπλων ουχ ευρεθησεται ουδ’ ἕν, but either one would probably be overdoing it.

Simple εστιν might be better than ευρεθησεται, depending on the context.
For “I assure you” you could add σαφ’ ισθι, or kick off with οὔτοι δη as your negative.
And for “except those of Lamachus” ει μη τα Λαμαχου is perhaps more idiomatic than πλην των Λ. (A γε would go very nicely here, πλην γε, ει μη γε, but we needed γε for “in this house” above and it doesn’t do to go overboard on γε.)

Hope this helps.

cclaudian
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Re: 'nullus' in Greek

Post by cclaudian » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:32 am

Cool, that helps for the translation. Does this mean there just isn't a nullus equivalent in Greek?

Also, is it really fine to use εἰ μή without a verb? I always took it to mean "unless" as opposed to "except" (I can't find a dictionary entry dedicated to it sadly). If it helps I'm thinking mostly in terms of iambic trimeters and poetry here

Hylander
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Re: 'nullus' in Greek

Post by Hylander » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:12 pm

Does this mean there just isn't a nullus equivalent in Greek?
Nothing that is exactly equivalent in all situations. οπλων ουχ ευρεθησεται ουδ’ ἕν is more emphatic than nulla arma.
Also, is it really fine to use εἰ μή without a verb?
Yes, but a verb is more or less "understood" -- the main verb of the sentence: ει μη τα Λαμαχου [ευρεθησεται]/[εστιν].

See LSJ εἰ VII.3.a:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... try%3Dei)1

Another way to express "except": ὅ τι μή (sometimes written ὅτι μή) -- οτι μη τα Λαμαχου

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... y%3Do(%2F3

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