Punctuation and Capitalization

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Jonathan Robie
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Punctuation and Capitalization

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 7th, 2016, 8:00 am

I am looking for a good article or reference that describes punctuation and capitalization in Greek. Any suggestions? So far, the best source I have found is the introduction for a given edition of the GNT, describing its capitalization scheme.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

cwconrad
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Re: Punctuation and Capitalization

Post by cwconrad » February 7th, 2016, 10:39 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:I am looking for a good article or reference that describes punctuation and capitalization in Greek. Any suggestions? So far, the best source I have found is the introduction for a given edition of the GNT, describing its capitalization scheme.
This is, of course, a matter of convention and one on which there is not, so far as I know, full consensus. I don't know whether APA (which has been rebaptized as "Society for Classical Studies" https://classicalstudies.org/ or SBL has a statement of preferences on these matters, but I'd look at the opening section of BDF and Smyth. Personally, I find annoying the editorial practice of the UBS editions that capitalize the beginning of sentences in the text of the GNT; I prefer the NA convention of capitalizing only proper names. The standard critical editions do all, I believe, indicate how different editors have decided matters of punctuation. I do think that we all need to be aware that the punctuation is altogether absent from the early MSS, so that what we read in the critical editions is always some editorial interpretation of where those marks of punctuation ought properly to be placed.
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

cwconrad
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Re: Punctuation and Capitalization: Aux armes, citoyens!

Post by cwconrad » February 7th, 2016, 1:38 pm

I guess this belongs here as well as it belongs anywhere else; we have occasionally talked about the Greek notation of acute, grave, and circumflex accents as a Hellenistic creation of a means of indicating how Greek was pronounced in days of yore when there was still a more musical sort of pitch accent rather than the stress accent currently in use. Occasionally in this forum we have had discussions about adopting the procedure of modern Greek orthography with its monotonic accent, abandoning the circumflex and grave on grounds that these don't really affect the way words in sequence were pronounced in Hellenistic Greek including NT Koine. Randall Butch has assured us that there is sufficient reason for retaining the old pitch-accents quite apart from traditionalist conservatism and the pedagogical insistence upon preserving any grammatical convention that has a nuisance value. In view of that question, it's more than a little amusing to observe the consternation of the French who, eager enough to overthrow centuries of traditional orthodoxy in the years following 1789 -- to the point of erecting an altar to the goddess Raison in Nôtre Dame cathedral (note the circumflex on Nôtre), have become so old-maidish about the ὀρθότης of their native tongue's ὀρθογραφία that they are in open rebellion against the proposal to eliminate the circumflex accent in the next new set of French textbooks. There are outcries to the Académie Française: Les têtes rouleront!

Imagine such a fate overtaking Greek. Do you suppose that we could distinguish between a που meaning "somewhere" or "anywhere" and a που meaning "where?"? That might be as difficult as distinguishing in English between the adjectival demonstrative "that" and the the demonstrative pronoun "that" and the relative pronoun "that" and the conjunction "that".

Here's the article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/06/world ... racas.html
0 x
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3605
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Punctuation and Capitalization

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 7th, 2016, 5:09 pm

cwconrad wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:I am looking for a good article or reference that describes punctuation and capitalization in Greek. Any suggestions? So far, the best source I have found is the introduction for a given edition of the GNT, describing its capitalization scheme.
This is, of course, a matter of convention and one on which there is not, so far as I know, full consensus. I don't know whether APA (which has been rebaptized as "Society for Classical Studies" https://classicalstudies.org/ or SBL has a statement of preferences on these matters, but I'd look at the opening section of BDF and Smyth. Personally, I find annoying the editorial practice of the UBS editions that capitalize the beginning of sentences in the text of the GNT; I prefer the NA convention of capitalizing only proper names. The standard critical editions do all, I believe, indicate how different editors have decided matters of punctuation. I do think that we all need to be aware that the punctuation is altogether absent from the early MSS, so that what we read in the critical editions is always some editorial interpretation of where those marks of punctuation ought properly to be placed.
This came up because today's text includes a lot of direct quotations, which start with a capitalized word:
John 1 wrote:19 Καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Ἰωάννου ὅτε ἀπέστειλαν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἐξ Ἱεροσολύμων ἱερεῖς καὶ Λευίτας ἵνα ἐρωτήσωσιν αὐτόν· Σὺ τίς εἶ; 20 καὶ ὡμολόγησεν καὶ οὐκ ἠρνήσατο, καὶ ὡμολόγησεν ὅτι Ἐγὼ οὐκ εἰμὶ ὁ χριστός. 21 καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτόν· Τί οὖν; σὺ Ἠλίας εἶ; καὶ λέγει· Οὐκ εἰμί. Ὁ προφήτης εἶ σύ; καὶ ἀπεκρίθη· Οὔ. 22 εἶπαν οὖν αὐτῷ· Τίς εἶ; ἵνα ἀπόκρισιν δῶμεν τοῖς πέμψασιν ἡμᾶς· τί λέγεις περὶ σεαυτοῦ; 23 ἔφη· Ἐγὼ φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ· Εὐθύνατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου, καθὼς εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας ὁ προφήτης.
What I found in Smyth was one paragraph that does not address capitalization in this kind of usage:
MARKS OF PUNCTUATION

[*] 188. Greek has four marks of punctuation. The comma and period have the same forms as in English. For the colon and semicolon Greek has only one sign, a point above the line (.): ““οἱ δὲ ἡδέως ἐπείθοντο: ἐπίστευον γὰρ αὐτῷ” and they gladly obeyed; for they trusted him” X. A. 1.2.2. The mark of interrogation (;) is the same as our semicolon: πῶς γὰρ οὔ; for why not?
Does Smyth go into more depth on this elsewhere? I find myself wondering why some sentences are capitalized and others not in various GNT editions that I have. Some of them explain their capitalization conventions in the introduction, others do not.
0 x
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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