What a difference a δή makes!

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.
Post Reply
Robert Crowe
Posts: 108
Joined: January 8th, 2016, 11:06 am
Location: Northern Ireland

What a difference a δή makes!

Post by Robert Crowe » March 11th, 2016, 2:23 pm

And it really was like 24 hours. One day they were very much alive and singing like songbirds, and the next they were dead. And gone? Well not exactly. It was just that no-one had the heart to give them a descent burial. Instead, they were hung out to dry and fossilise into mere adverbs and exclamations. Psittacism rules! I don't even know of a single whatsbody that mourned their passing, nor a teacher who never glibly dismissed them with a comment such as: 'Oh those! Best to ignore them!'

I am of course referring to those splendid parts of speech known as 'particles' that so charmed the classical language. 'Tis true that some lone writers later tried to revive them, but their true zeitgeist was gone forever. But not entirely. All languages can have recourse to disused idioms. For instance, a modern Greek doctor will occasionally ἀκροάσεται to a heartbeat, using a word for 'listen' not found in a modern dictionary.

So what exactly did it for particles? No-one knows for sure, but several things were clearly working in their disfavour:

• Modern scholars continue to wrangle over their semantic roots. This is no doubt because they were really understood 'emotionally' rather than 'semantically'.

• This emotional quality depended largely upon sound and tone which were in flux.

• The spread of the language during the Koine era among diversified cultures served to dismantle them.

• During this period, the tour de force of the Greek genius moved away from heated debate to the tranquil Elysium of mathematics.

δέ of course did survive into the GNT with several of its former subtleties. And perhaps also its cousin δή? Why the question mark? Well, it is widely regarded as having degenerated into an emphatic 'indeed'. But just as 'indeed' can have a disparaging undertone as in 'So you're going to fly to the moon? Indeed!' so also can δή. But this use is hard to identify simply because we really need to hear it. (I can say that I've heard many pathetic δήs in my time, but this was usually because the reading of the entire passage was pathetic.) To be sure, it is best pronounced when one is undergoing some duress, such as having a molar extracted. Euripides was so fond of it that he nearly did it to death singlehandedly, and then Aristophanes colluded in the act by lampooning him. (No disparagement as to their dental wellbeing intended.)

The gist of all this is to lend some support to an alternate reading of Καυχᾶσθαι δεῖ [Kurt Aland & Co.] in 2 Cor 12:1. This reading is ridiculous. The writer is saying that he must boast and then goes on to say that he will not. Some adjustments have been made by Byzantine commentators. The one requiring least adjustment is the one 'correcting' δεῖ to δή. Reading δή with a pathetic nuance, the writer is pouring scorn on the idea of his boasting, and this fits in with the context very well.

Of course little kudos is to be gained from such amendments, as nowadays absurdities in the text are generally considered valid. Grrrh! Where did I put my copy of Euclid's Elements?
0 x


Tús maith leath na hoibre.

cwconrad
Posts: 2110
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: What a difference a δή makes!

Post by cwconrad » March 12th, 2016, 9:07 am

Forum rules
Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up. This is not a beginner's forum, competence in Greek is assumed.
This rule is not posted in the "Greek Language and Linguistics" forum, but most of us try to abide by it in any of the forums where there's a specific text under discussion. This message probably should have been posted in Greek Texts, inasmuch as it's dealing with a word in a text rather than with a lexical question. It wouldn't have required 24 hours to indicate the text, but the message about the δὴ might have been σμικρῷ δηλότερον.
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)

Paul-Nitz
Posts: 461
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am
Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Re: What a difference a δή makes!

Post by Paul-Nitz » March 12th, 2016, 11:26 am

Robert Crowe wrote:I am of course referring to those splendid parts of speech known as 'particles' that so charmed the classical language. '
Interesting thoughts. Here's a pertinent quotation from AT Robertson:

  • The N. T. is in the vernacular κοινή, but even so it does not reproduce to any great extent the witchery of the old Greek particles. Time has worn them down very much. Still, we do find them here and there.

    • There is a good example in Ph. 3:8, ἀλλὰ μέν οὖν γε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι.
    • So also εἴ πως ἤδη ποτέ (Ro. 1:10) and
    • τί ἔτι κἀγὼ ὡς (3:7)....
    This shows that Paul at least knew how to indicate the finer shades of thought by means of the Greek particles. (pg. 1145)
[/i]
I think I see a parallel between tone and particles.

In my opinion, tone is the primary thing that is not acquired by 2nd language learners (tones or intonation). We see this effect played out around the world with the various kinds of English spoken outside of England. Zimbabwean English is spoken with Bantu tones, Chinese English with Chinese, etc. Many Americans speak English with German intonation. As a corollary, Jews spoke Greek with Jewish intonation, no doubt.

Robert Crowe's thoughts have me thinking that those small words we use to convey emphasis and emotion are also things that do not get taken on board by 2nd language learners. As I think about the speech of 2nd language speakers around me in Malawi, they largely miss the intensive words - "very happy, so sad, how wonderful." Vice versa, foreigners speaking Chichewa produce some pretty dull speech.

So, I wonder, do we lack the particles in the GNT because these were 2nd language speakers?

How does the Greek of Paul compare in its use of particles to the Greek of a contemporaneous ethnic Greek writer?

Maybe when a language becomes the lingua franca, it also loses flavor and depth for the sake of clear communication. English has lost much since becoming a lingua franca, even among her owners.
0 x
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Louis L Sorenson
Posts: 708
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 9:21 pm
Location: Burnsville, MN, USA
Contact:

Re: What a difference a δή makes!

Post by Louis L Sorenson » March 15th, 2016, 2:24 am

Perhaps a look at Epictetus' use of particles could be helpful here. Arrian is the author of Epictetus' Discourses (written in Koine) and the author of The Anabasis of Alexander (written in restored Attic). Arrian (Αρριανός) was a native Greek speaker, so there would be no non-native speaker influences in his writings. It would be a good place to start. There is a book on the differences between Arrian's two styles, and an article in a periodical, the first in German, the second in Spanish. Those two works are:

(1) Zu Arrians und Epiktets Sprachgebrauch. 1887 by Dr. Rudolf Mücke. (GoogleBooks). A 35 page comparative analysis of Arrian's Attistic Greek versus the Koine of the Discourses. http://books.google.com/books?id=rxZI6z ... =1#PPP5,M1 On page 19, Mücke discusses the particles used by Arrian, but he discusses only about a paragraph worth of particle usage. This would be a good place to start looking. I would also look at the index of Schweighauser's five volume publication of Epictetus' works (http://letsreadgreek.com/Epictetus/bibl ... greektexts).

(2) J.M. Floristán Imízcoz, Arriano, aticismo y koiné, I: Fonética y morfología, Cuadernos de Filología Clásica 4 (1994), 161-187. WorldCat http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=ti%3AC ... t=advanced. Perhaps look at this URL: https://revistas.ucm.es/index.php/CFCG/ ... 494110161A But reviewing the article, I do not see where Imízcoz addresses the difference in particle usage; Imízcoz focuses on phonetic and morphological differences.

My Epictetus bibliography page is found at http://letsreadgreek.com/Epictetus/bibl ... ersusattic. There are many links there which can lead to further inquiry.
0 x

Paul-Nitz
Posts: 461
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am
Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Re: What a difference a δή makes!

Post by Paul-Nitz » March 15th, 2016, 8:20 am

Has anyone read this:

https://archive.org/details/shorttreatiseong00palerich
A Short Treatise on The Greek Articles and Their Combinations - According to Attic Usage
F. A. Paley
Cabridge
1881
74 pages

From the Preface: "The object of this compendious work is to collect Facts, and from them briefly and yet clearly to explain Principles. It does not attempt too refined distinctions or too minute classification, but it points out an illustrates the meaning of the Particles, both singly and in combination... It is designed for use of Schools, and is therefore made as simple and easy as possible."

Contents:
αλλα, αν, αρα, γε, δη, δητα, η, και, μεν-δε, ου-μη, ουν, περ, ποωσ, που, τοι, ως.
0 x
Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

Robert Crowe
Posts: 108
Joined: January 8th, 2016, 11:06 am
Location: Northern Ireland

Re: What a difference a δή makes!

Post by Robert Crowe » March 15th, 2016, 7:39 pm

Louis L Sorenson wrote:Perhaps a look at Epictetus' use of particles could be helpful here. Arrian is the author of Epictetus' Discourses (written in Koine) and the author of The Anabasis of Alexander (written in restored Attic). Arrian (Αρριανός) was a native Greek speaker, so there would be no non-native speaker influences in his writings
I think there is a good case to be made for the preservation of particles among native Greeks during the time of Arrian:

• The pitch accent was still being used by native speakers. They are described as such by Dionysius of Halicarnassus c. 25 BC, and their depiction in written form in the 2nd century AD accords with this.

• These pitch accents are inherently part and parcel of the lexical form itself. As segmental overtones they work to preclude individualised undertones. I.E. we can't have overtones and undertones both together.

• This creates the need for the particle to indicate individualised feeling. They work a bit like the instructions added to sheet music.

I think it would be profitable here to look at how personal emotion is expressed in other languages with a pitched tone. I will pose the question to a Chinese lady who quite serendipitously just happens to be with me just now.………………………Using classification words, she says. Yes, and facial expression. "But I can't see that, dear. You're still wearing that mask I brought you from Verona." Wait, there's more……By increasing pitch gradients, she says. Gosh, I wish I hadn't asked her that! Are we to supposed the Alexandrian scholars sold us short with oversimplified markings?

I think I do see places where the pitch accents alone can indicate feeling. Medea refers to her enemies as τῶν ἐμῶν ἐχθρῶν. Here, the repetition of the circumflex accent contrives to give the expression a disparaging connotation.

I certainly think we have enough evidence to conclude that Paul, working for some years in a native Greek environment, could very well have learned some of the finer shades of Greek expression.
0 x
Tús maith leath na hoibre.

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 945
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: What a difference a δή makes!

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 17th, 2016, 7:28 pm

SBLGNT 2Cor. 12:1 Καυχᾶσθαι δεῖ · οὐ συμφέρον μέν, ἐλεύσομαι δὲ εἰς ὀπτασίας καὶ ἀποκαλύψεις κυρίου.

R-P Byz. Textform 2Cor. 12:1 καυχασθαι δη ου συμφερει μοι ελευσομαι γαρ εις οπτασιας και αποκαλυψεις κυριου

Ancient greek particles is a difficult subject. Checking all the english lexicons and NT reference grammars; having reviewed what Cooper says about δη and what Cooper says about what Denniston said about δη, my first inclination is to look at syntax.

Questions about syntax. The syntactical “constraints” (patterns of use) in regard to δη according to Cooper can summarized:

1 δη generally follows the word it limits.

2 δη generally doesn’t begin a clause.

3 δη is sometimes found between a preposition and its case, but can preceded or follow the entire prepositional phrase it limits. In like manner, δη generally doesn’t intrude in a tightly bound constituent.

4 δη can appear middle or late in a clause when it construes with whole clause.

... there are more patterns.

Copper talks about δη with participles but has no discussion of δη following an infinitive so I a performed a search to verify that there is nothing abnormal about καυχασθαι δη. There was no difficulty finding examples of a clause initial infinitive followed by δη in Attic or Koine.

Euripides Trag., Heraclidae
Line 853

Παλληνίδος γὰρ σεμνὸν ἐκπερῶν πάγον
δίας Ἀθάνας, ἅρμ' ἰδὼν Εὐρυσθέως,
ἠράσαθ' Ἥβηι Ζηνί θ' ἡμέραν μίαν
νέος γενέσθαι κἀποτείσασθαι δίκην
ἐχθρούς. κλύειν δὴ θαύματος πάρεστί σοι·
δισσὼ γὰρ ἀστέρ' ἱππικοῖς ἐπὶ ζυγοῖς
σταθέντ' ἔκρυψαν ἅρμα λυγαίωι νέφει·
σὸν δὴ λέγουσι παῖδά γ' οἱ σοφώτεροι
Ἥβην θ'· ὁ δ' ὄρφνης ἐκ δυσαιθρίου νέων
βραχιόνων ἔδειξεν ἡβητὴν τύπον.


Eusebius Historia ecclesiastica
Book 8, chapter 6, section 1, line 2

ἤγετό τις εἰς μέσον κατὰ
τὴν προειρημένην πόλιν ἐφ' ὧν δεδηλώκαμεν ἀρχόντων.
θύειν δὴ οὖν προσταχθείς, ὡς ἐνίστατο, γυμνὸς μετάρσιος
ἀρθῆναι κελεύεται μάστιξίν τε τὸ πᾶν σῶμα καταξαίνεσθαι,
εἰς ὅτε ἡττηθεὶς κἂν ἄκων τὸ προσταττόμενον ποιήσειεν.

Eusebius, De martyribus Palaestinae Chapter 11, section 30, line 1

πρὸς τῇ πύλῃ καὶ αὐτοὶ δι' ἣν ἐληλύθασιν ἀνεκρίνοντο
αἰτίαν· εἶτα ὁμολογήσαντες τἀληθές, τῷ Φιρμιλιανῷ
προσάγονται. ὃ δ' ὡς εἶχεν, πάλιν μηδὲν ὑπερθέμενος, μετὰ
πλείστας βασάνους ἃς κατὰ τῶν πλευρῶν αὐτοῖς ἐπιτέθεικεν,
θηρίων αὐτοὺς βορᾷ κατακρίνει.
δυεῖν δὴ οὖν μεταξὺ
διελθουσῶν ἡμερῶν, ὁ μὲν Ἀδριανὸς Δύστρου πέμπτῃ μηνός,
πρὸ τριῶν Νώνων Μαρτίων, γενεθλίων τῆς κατὰ Καισάρειαν
νομιζομένης Τύχης ἡμέρᾳ, λέοντι παραβληθεὶς καὶ μετὰ
τοῦτον ξίφει κατασφαγεὶς ἐτελειώθη· ὁ δὲ Εὔβουλος μεθ'
ἑτέραν μέσην, Νώναις αὐταῖς, ἣ γένοιτ' ἂν ἑβδόμη Δύστρου,
εἰς ὅτε ἡττηθεὶς κἂν ἄκων τὸ προσταττόμενον ποιήσειεν.

Switching gears to look at the SBLGNT Καυχᾶσθαι δεῖ, I found examples beyond counting of an infinitive followed by δεῖ.

John 3:14 Καὶ καθὼς Μωϋσῆς ὕψωσεν τὸν ὄφιν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, οὕτως ὑψωθῆναι δεῖ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου,

Shep. 45:2 αὗται οὖν αἱ ἐπιθυμίαι πονηραί εἰσι, θανατοῦσαι τοὺς δούλους τοῦ θεοῦ. αὕτη γὰρ ἡ ἐπιθυμία ἡ πονηρὰ τοῦ διαβόλου θυγάτηρ ἐστίν. ἀπέχεσθαι οὖν δεῖ ἀπὸ τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν τῶν πονηρῶν, ἵνα ἀποσχόμενοι ζήσητε τῷ θεῷ.

So it appears that the problem here isn’t syntactical.

exegetical question:

Does Καυχᾶσθαι δεῖ involve Paul in a contradiction? Paul’s rhetoric often sets up what might seem at first to be a paradox but then resolves it in the development of his argument. I don’t see anything unusual here in that regard. Paul is put in position of having to defend himself against critics at Corinth. In the presentation of his defense he might appear to be boasting. So he is compelled to take the risk of appearing to be boasting. He attempts to deflect that criticism by boasting about his weakness and suffering.
0 x
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Louis L Sorenson
Posts: 708
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 9:21 pm
Location: Burnsville, MN, USA
Contact:

Re: What a difference a δή makes!

Post by Louis L Sorenson » March 18th, 2016, 2:53 am

I have struggled with δη over the last few years in regards to composition. Does it follow or precede? It it used with nouns/verbs/infinitives/imperatives? What is the pattern that is dominant? Obviously, δη is an emotive particle. Denniston's Greek Particles discusses δη on pages 203-262. δη does occur after infinitives and imperatives. It likes to follow a word (especially verb form) not precede. Denniston says that when δή follows an imperative, it can mean "come" or "now". But δή can emphasize individual words, phrases, or whole clauses. It is a word with a lot of rubber and traction, but yet is squishy and moldable. The only way a modern person is going to get a full understanding of this particle is to read Denniston's passages in context and analyze the word δή. If we are going to have this thread discuss the passage in 2 Cor 1:12, we should post it as a specific text question.

BDAG gives two meanings: (1) a marker denoting that a statement is definitely established, indeed ; (2) now, then, therefore, w. exhortations or commands, to give them greater urgency (B-D-F §451, 4; somewhat like our colloq. ‘well’, ‘well, now’;

As far as I can figure, δή only occurs 5 times in the NT. It occurs way more frequently in non-biblical Greek.
0 x

cwconrad
Posts: 2110
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: What a difference a δή makes!

Post by cwconrad » March 18th, 2016, 5:38 am

Robert Crowe wrote:The gist of all this is to lend some support to an alternate reading of Καυχᾶσθαι δεῖ [Kurt Aland & Co.] in 2 Cor 12:1. This reading is ridiculous. The writer is saying that he must boast and then goes on to say that he will not. Some adjustments have been made by Byzantine commentators. The one requiring least adjustment is the one 'correcting' δεῖ to δή. Reading δή with a pathetic nuance, the writer is pouring scorn on the idea of his boasting, and this fits in with the context very well.
It occurred to me to wonder whether there was an assumption here that δεῖ and δή sounded alike? They certainly did not sound alike to first-century writers of Greek.
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)

Robert Crowe
Posts: 108
Joined: January 8th, 2016, 11:06 am
Location: Northern Ireland

Re: What a difference a δή makes!

Post by Robert Crowe » March 18th, 2016, 12:27 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Does Καυχᾶσθαι δεῖ involve Paul in a contradiction? Paul’s rhetoric often sets up what might seem at first to be a paradox but then resolves it in the development of his argument. I don’t see anything unusual here in that regard. Paul is put in position of having to defend himself against critics at Corinth. In the presentation of his defense he might appear to be boasting. So he is compelled to take the risk of appearing to be boasting. He attempts to deflect that criticism by boasting about his weakness and suffering.
I can see how δεῖ can be taken as valid by loosely paraphrasing the argument here as something like 'I must boast, but not about myself, rather about a man who had visions and revelations.' Paul is not expressing himself very nicely here. Even at the best of times he often has too many topics juggling for expression, but here we know he is particularly upset because of adversity in the church at Corinth. The somewhat broken syntax I think reflects his resentment at boasting, whether δη indicates it explicitly or not.

Do you think his doctor was trying to cheer him with something like 'What's it going to matter in 2000 years?'
0 x
Tús maith leath na hoibre.

Post Reply

Return to “Word Meanings”