καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Anything related to Biblical Greek that doesn't fit into the other forums.
Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3098
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 23rd, 2016, 2:57 pm

Some things probably need to be discussed without disrupting the thread where they were first brought up. I am creating this thread to discuss them here.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3098
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 23rd, 2016, 3:06 pm

From here: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... 798#p24798
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:Request: in the beginner's forum, can we please aim our answers at the level of the person asking the question? Some of these explanations go way beyond what I would expect a beginner to understand. There are probably simpler ways to answer his question.
Perhaps you should re-name this sub-forum "learner's" forum. The learner's ability to understand concepts in English is not tied to their ability to understand the target language (here Greek). What is the "level" of understanding (of English) that a beginner (studying Greek) can understand? Some beginners thrive on being able to understand and grapple with ideas and concepts beyond the frustration and strictures that are imposed by their level of Greek. Engaging with the language at an advanced level in a point of interest can also allow them to set general goals for future mastery and understanding of Greek. Building and working with the theoretical understanding of the language is an important skill to develop. In a traditional model of education access to theory is dependent on mastery of the language. I think there is an unhealthy exclusiveness in that. We need to open the doors to knowledge of Greek at any level it can be attained in an egalitarian and enlightened spirit of inclusivity. If this is a forum restricted to learning and mastering Greek, without understanding it deeply, that could be stated clearly. Calling it beginners' and restricting discussion to a simple level can be seen as perpetuating an exclusivist and hierarchically arranged knowledge structure that requires people who want to know Greek to follow a prescribed path to knowledge. There are too few people studying Greek and many of those that do learn Greek do so only at a superficial level. Integrating higher-order questioning and thinking into discussions is generally a desirable thing.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
Posts: 3098
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 23rd, 2016, 3:15 pm

Stephen, please don't scare the fish.

I posted a request, we can discuss it in this thread if you disagree. I think we have a problem. When a beginner comes in, the experts often start feeding off of each other and bury the beginner's original question. The beginner can't keep up and drops out. That defeats the purpose of the Beginner's Forum. Some people who post as beginners stick with the discussion and show that they understand what's going on, that's a good sign. If the original poster is engaged in the conversation, keep engaging at whatever level keeps them engaged.

I moved your post here because discussing policy in that thread would only bury the beginner's question further.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3332
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by Stephen Hughes » April 25th, 2016, 1:44 am

Although it was posted in the beginners' sub-forum, Perkins' question was both not a question and not beginners' level. Their use of "time-ness" suggests that they are struggling to conceptualise something about the temporal relationship expressed in the phrase. The quotes listed fall into two camps - those who see the time of the participle as relative to the time of the finite verb, and those who state that the tense of the participle is not a temporal relationship, but actually says something about the nature of the action. Whether Perkins knew it or not, they have walked into the most contentious and least understood topic in Greek, and asked an "am I missing something" question. :o

The combination of a participle in the nominative with a finite verb is a development in Greek that existed for a defined period of time in the language - from Thucydides till the Medieval period. The explanation generally given for it's development is that the historian wanted to write in a densely packed style, perhaps following a shorthand convention of abbreviating what would have been told in a narrative more fully, if one did not need to save space - parchment - and effort, in writing. The evidence for what became of it is clearly seen in Modern Greek, with the active participle becoming an indeclinable adverb - taking the form of the nominative singular masculine, as constructed from the accusative by the addition of a sigma for the nominative, the middle-passive participle has become limited to an adjectival function.

Thinking outside the limitations of grammatical categories for a moment, what is the single biggest contributing factor in determining how, when and why an action is done? The doer, of course - either by limitation of nature, or design of purpose. The subject in their role as controller of how an action happens is the most influential adverb in the sentence. Putting a participle in the nominative, an author in the period when this nominative participle + finite verb was widely used it is making a statement about how, when, where, why the action of the verb in the indicative happened or was done. The subject or doer of the action is portrayed as using an active verb - the voice that in many cases means that the subject is making a change in the world. Considering the adverbial nature of the nominative, the step to move to the unmarked adverbial function force of the participle in Modern Greek is not so great. The difference between Koine and Modern is that the number, gender agreement is gone, and only the case (nominative) remains. For the middle passive the participle come to be limited to an adjectival meaning is logical in an obvious kind of sense. The middle-passive describes how something or somebody changes themself or is changed, and that is basically saying something about the thing or person, and that is basically what an adjective does too. Having the number-case endings of the (more straight forward) first and second declension probably contributed to their retention - as opposed to the third declension of the active, but the level of difficulty of the third doesn't mean that it was lost in Modern Greek. If there is a tendency in languages in general, i.e. linguistic theory that supports that difference in the use of participles then there is probably a need to look at the voice of participles, even when considering what Perkins calls "time-ness". Talking about "participles" without differentiating voice is probably a little too vague even in our period.

The grammars that Perkins quotes are implicitly based on trying to understand how the shorthand way of writing that became a widely-accepted convention is to be understood. That is an approach that is limited in its consideration of facts to the period up until the period of the New Testament. My comments and question about Modern Greek were about giving some balance to the other side of historical linguistics.

The other point about whether the participle is usually or always the secondary verb, and the indicative is always the main one, is something not well-explained or often discussed. The construction παύει + nominative participle is actually NOT an example of this abbreviated narrative style. It is a construction in Greek that is syntactically conventional with this verb. If abbreviation is considered a former of ellipsis, then perhaps the verb that was considered most prominent is the one that retains its full form as a finite verb, which can then be used together with (active transitive) participles describing what is done along with the verb - where consideration of time-ness, as Perkins calls it, makes some sense - considering when one action or another happened is more relevant when the actions are related. If there is no actual relatedness between two verbs, but it is actually just part of the abbreviated style of writing, then by applying either of those understandings that were given in the quotes, one will arrive at conclusions based on the questions asked, rather than what might be in the Greek. Alternatively, in the case of (middle-passive, stative and intransitive) participles that tell us something about the doer of the action, but not necessarily what the doer did to have an effect on the finite verb, Perkins' questions about "time-ness" don't make so much sense.

The other major theoretical problem with Perkins' argument is the assumed relationship between tense and time. The Greek aorist and present indicatives do not necessarily refer to past and present time respectively. That issue was covered in the responses given to them.

By quoting so many grammars, Perkins seemed to me to be asking for a way to make sense of the issues involved in the use of the participle. The man looking at his watch applies in some cases for some types of participles, but there is so much more to learn about them. Giving vague labels to things like "adverb" may be a pacifying answer for the type of person who feels that they know Greek once they have been able to correctly give it its name. This issue, however, is much more involved than Perkins realised, or than anybody can simply and satisfactorily explain. There is no answer to be given, only a discussion to be had.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
Posts: 2107
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by cwconrad » April 25th, 2016, 7:52 am

I'd like to be brief, partly because I think long-windedness has confounded the difficulties of this exchange. I call it an "exchange" because I don't really think it has been so much a dialogue as a sequence of disparate contributions on a not-very-clearly focused theme.

It seems to me that posting of the original message in the Beginners Forum, rightly or wrongly, was a mistake: the question itself was one that could not be resolved with a simple answer or by directing the questioner to an indisputable source. The query belongs -- and probably would best be moved -- to "Syntax and Grammar" in "Greek Language and Linguistics". It might really have been best had it been moved there at once -- but it wasn't, and maybe we wouldn't all agree that it should have been.

The discussion has been unwieldy, in my opinion. Why? Because (I think) we do not have a clearly-formulated and consistent account of the way that participles function in the ancient Greek sentence, despite (or because of) the fact that the participle is the work-horse of ancient Greek discourse. We say that participles function adverbially and adjectivally -- and like verbs. We argue about their tense and their aspect in terms of kind of action and temporal relation to the time of the verb with which they construe. This is not a beginner's question -- nor is it a question, I believe, on which there is a consensus among those who hold considered views of it.

I think the Beginners Forum here is a useful part of our forum's structure; I think it ordinarily functions pretty much as it was intended. Occasionally, and we now have a significant instance, a query has been misplaced there. Misplacement of posts happens not infrequently in this forum, but unless some moderator steps in, some useful dialogues get lost in the aftermath like mis-shelved library books. It's easy to say that everyone participating in the Forum ought to consider carefully where a question is best posted, but I'm not going to lose sleep waiting for that to happen.

Might we move the whole thread to "Syntax and Grammar" perhaps re-titling it as "Construing participles" or some more suitable title?
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: 3098
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by Jonathan Robie » April 25th, 2016, 8:26 am

This is a little amusing.

I just spent some time trying to construct an answer that I thought more suitable for the beginner's forum:

http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... 817#p24817

At the same time, Carl is suggesting that it's not a beginner level question. I suspect that may depend on how you answer it. To me, Rijksbaron's explanations of things like this are reasonably accessible, especially if you throw in a few concrete examples. Take a look at what I did and see if you agree or not.

I think this is very much a question we need to be able to answer for beginners if we let them read Greek texts. Participles are everywhere. But I think there is such a thing as a beginner-level explanation.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

cwconrad
Posts: 2107
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by cwconrad » April 25th, 2016, 8:55 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:This is a little amusing.

I just spent some time trying to construct an answer that I thought more suitable for the beginner's forum:

http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... 817#p24817

At the same time, Carl is suggesting that it's not a beginner level question. I suspect that may depend on how you answer it. To me, Rijksbaron's explanations of things like this are reasonably accessible, especially if you throw in a few concrete examples. Take a look at what I did and see if you agree or not.

I think this is very much a question we need to be able to answer for beginners if we let them read Greek texts. Participles are everywhere. But I think there is such a thing as a beginner-level explanation.
Jonathan, I just don't believe that your response would be meaningful to a "beginner" in Greek (I'm not even sure that I understand it myself, but I need to read through it again -- and maybe a third time. You have achieved one thing: you have strengthened my conviction that this is not a discussion that belongs in the Beginners Forum. I would add, for what it's worth, that the verb ὑπάρχειν is one of those verbs of which Humpty Dumpty said, "They've a temper, some of them."
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3332
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by Stephen Hughes » April 25th, 2016, 10:42 am

participles function in the ancient Greek sentence
I think there might be a development from Ancient to Koine Greek. Anything that becomes widespread has probably taken on a life of its own.
the participle is the work-horse of ancient Greek discourse.
It seems to be a feature of desciption, rather than dialogue.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3332
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by Stephen Hughes » April 25th, 2016, 11:17 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:At the same time, Carl is suggesting that it's not a beginner level question. I suspect that may depend on how you answer it. To me, Rijksbaron's explanations of things like this are reasonably accessible, especially if you throw in a few concrete examples. Take a look at what I did and see if you agree or not.
Wisdom of Solomon 2:2 wrote:
ὅτι αὐτοσχεδίως ἐγεννήθημεν, καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο ἐσόμεθα ὡς οὐχ ὑπάρξαντες · ὅτι καπνὸς ἡ πνοὴ ἐν ρισὶν ἡμῶν, καὶ ὁ λόγος σπινθὴρ ἐν κινήσει καρδίας ἡμῶν

ἐσόμεθα is the main verb, in future time - "we shall be". ὑπάρξαντες is an aorist participle, the verb's action is completed at the time of the main verb. Instead of "being", it's talking about "had been" - but it's "had been" at the future time indicated by ἐσόμεθα: "we shall be as though we had never existed".
How can a stative verb complete its action? By not coninuing in the state, perhaps. But here it is negated. Is the negation a negation of the state or of the completion. My ignoring the type of verb it is, you have confused things in the explanation.
Stephen Hughes wrote:If there is no actual relatedness between two verbs, but it is actually just part of the abbreviated style of writing, then by applying either of those understandings that were given in the quotes, one will arrive at conclusions based on the questions asked, rather than what might be in the Greek. Alternatively, in the case of (middle-passive, stative and intransitive) participles that tell us something about the doer of the action, but not necessarily what the doer did to have an effect on the finite verb, Perkins' questions about "time-ness" don't make so much sense.
There is no time-relation to be found in the examples that you have given from the LXX. They are adjectival examples to explain your point about the time-relatedness of adverbal participlas.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3332
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: καὶ τὰ λοιπά

Post by Stephen Hughes » April 25th, 2016, 11:40 am

I think this is very much a question we need to be able to answer for beginners if we let them read Greek texts. Participles are everywhere. But I think there is such a thing as a beginner-level explanation.
A beginners level explanation for participles reduces to a way to fudge an understanding of them by having a few clever ways to translate them. The explanations of how to really understand them in terms of the Greek grammar is not easy.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest