Page 1 of 2

Copulative verbs

Posted: May 18th, 2017, 12:28 pm
by Michael Sharpnack
I just read something in Black's SGM that confused me a little. He says that copulative verbs "take the same case after them as before them." And he sites ειμι, γινομαι, and υπαρχω as the most common copulative verbs. I knew that was true with ειμι, with predicate nominatives and accusatives, but not the other 2. I briefly searched Logos software for occurrences of γινομαι, and tried to see how this works, but wasn't really able to figure it out.

Can anyone explain this a little more? And/or point to a location with more info on it. Can this be true for these verbs with any case? i.e. can γινομαι take a genitive subject and object? And if so, what differences in meaning do the different cases used carry?

I know it's probably a big question. Mainly, I'm now kind of confused at the meaning of a copulative verb, so some general principles would be great, and maybe a reference to look into.

Thanks,

Re: Copulative verbs

Posted: May 18th, 2017, 1:01 pm
by Jonathan Robie
Michael Sharpnack wrote:
May 18th, 2017, 12:28 pm
I know it's probably a big question. Mainly, I'm now kind of confused at the meaning of a copulative verb, so some general principles would be great, and maybe a reference to look into.
Let's start with little question, which you just asked above.

A copulative verb links a subject to a predicate. In the sentence "Michael is a pastor", the copulative verb "is" links the subject Michael to the predicate "a pastor". In the sentence "Micheal became a father", the copulative verb "became" links the subject Michael to the predicate "a father". So far so good?

If you are not a pastor with children, the sentences probably don't work for you, but I hope the concept is clear ;->

Re: Copulative verbs

Posted: May 18th, 2017, 3:25 pm
by Michael Sharpnack
Jonathan Robie wrote:
May 18th, 2017, 1:01 pm

A copulative verb links a subject to a predicate. In the sentence "Michael is a pastor", the copulative verb "is" links the subject Michael to the predicate "a pastor". In the sentence "Micheal became a father", the copulative verb "became" links the subject Michael to the predicate "a father". So far so good?
So far so good.

So what distinguishes a copula from other verbs that take direct objects? Is it that the object is something specific about the subject, but in other verbs they are distinct? If I say "Michael eats chicken", Michael and chicken are separate, (except in the case of you are what you eat?) whereas in "Michael Became a father" they are connected?

What about υπαρχω then? Being subjected to something seems to be distinct from the subject.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
May 18th, 2017, 1:01 pm
If you are not a pastor with children, the sentences probably don't work for you, but I hope the concept is clear ;->
If you said "Μιχαηλ μελλει γενεσθαι πατερ" you would be correct. (Did I write that correctly? I put Father in the nominative case, but would it be accusative because of mello?)

Thanks!

Re: Copulative verbs

Posted: May 18th, 2017, 7:07 pm
by timothy_p_mcmahon
The difference here is that the copula does not take a direct object. It takes a subject complement (in the nominative).

Your sentence Μιχαηλ μελλει γενεσθαι πατερ is correct except that πατερ is actually vocative, so it would mean, "Michael is about to become, O father!" without specifying what he is about to become. (γινομαι used alone can mean 'happen', so it could mean something like 'Michael is about to burst onto the scene.') μελλω as an auxiliary would not change the subject complement to the accusative.

Re: Copulative verbs

Posted: May 19th, 2017, 2:22 am
by RandallButh
Your sentence Μιχαηλ μελλει γενεσθαι πατερ is correct except that πατερ is actually vocative
So we fix it:

Μιχαηλ μέλλει γενέσθαι πατήρ

Michael is about to be a father.

Re: Copulative verbs

Posted: May 19th, 2017, 4:16 am
by Stephen Hughes
Michael Sharpnack wrote:
May 18th, 2017, 3:25 pm
Jonathan Robie wrote:
May 18th, 2017, 1:01 pm
If you are not a pastor with children, the sentences probably don't work for you, but I hope the concept is clear ;->
If you said "Μιχαηλ μελλει γενεσθαι πατερ" you would be correct. (Did I write that correctly? I put Father in the nominative case, but would it be accusative because of mello?)
<Also in response to the following statements by TPM and RB>

Πατήρ is adding an element of meaning. Can μέλλειν have such a complex clause (one that adds a meaning) after it?

Embedded copulation happens with θέλειν or ποιεῖν - which inherently have the power to envoke an infinitive + accusative construction, but not with μέλλειν I think.

Perhaps we could only use γενήσεται "he will become".

Re: Copulative verbs

Posted: May 19th, 2017, 5:52 am
by RandallButh
Embedded copulation happens with θέλειν or ποιεῖν - which inherently have the power to envoke an infinitive + accusative construction, but not with μέλλειν I think.
I'm not so pessimistic about equational clauses. μέλλειν seems to be rather unrestricted in using infinitive complements. Luk 21.7 even uses γενέσθαι.
. . . ὅταν μέλλῃ ταῦτα γίνεσθαι;
and Shepherd 72.2 τὴν καρδίαν μέλλουσαν καθαρὰν γενέσθαι

In fact, I got a lot of 'hits' searching for μέλλειν + γίνεσθαι/γενέσθαι or εἶναι/ἔσεσθαι in First and Second Century authors, including Josephus, Epictetus, and Christian apologists.

Re: Copulative verbs

Posted: May 19th, 2017, 8:51 am
by Jonathan Robie
RandallButh wrote:
May 19th, 2017, 2:22 am
So we fix it:

Μιχαηλ μέλλει γενέσθαι πατήρ

Michael is about to be a father.
Michael Sharpnack wrote:
May 18th, 2017, 3:25 pm
but would it be accusative because of mello?)!
No - let's look at the internal structure of this:

s Μιχαηλ
v μέλλει
o
vc γενέσθαι
p πατήρ


So ... reasoning from that, what do you think the subject and predicate of γένωνται are in Matthew 4:3?

Matt 4:3 εἰπὲ ἵνα οἱ λίθοι οὗτοι ἄρτοι γένωνται.

Re: Copulative verbs

Posted: May 19th, 2017, 10:42 am
by Jonathan Robie
Just bumped into this while working on something else.

καὶ
v ποιήσω
o
s ὑμᾶς
vc γενέσθαι
p ἁλεεῖς ἀνθρώπων.

In the object clause, ὑμᾶς is accusative because it is the object of ποιήσω. γενέσθαι is a copulative verb. Morphologically, ἁλεεῖς could be either accusative or nominative, but it has to match the case of the subject of γενέσθαι, so it is accusative.

Re: Copulative verbs

Posted: May 19th, 2017, 10:58 am
by Stephen Hughes
RandallButh wrote:
May 19th, 2017, 5:52 am
Embedded copulation happens with θέλειν or ποιεῖν - which inherently have the power to envoke an infinitive + accusative construction, but not with μέλλειν I think.
I'm not so pessimistic about equational clauses. μέλλειν seems to be rather unrestricted in using infinitive complements.
This composition is a calque, based on the native language, as many people do at the beginning of forming their interlanguage. It is another thing again to discuss whether "become a father" can be translated literally into Greek. Anyway, in a collectivist spirit, I like to take the attempts of one to be the attempts of all, and to learn for what has been written. It is a great starting point for an intellectually stimulating discussion.

I think staying true to the idiom requires exploration the possibilities of overloading the syntax with complexity.
RandallButh wrote:
May 19th, 2017, 5:52 am
Luk 21.7 even uses γενέσθαι.
. . . ὅταν μέλλῃ ταῦτα γίνεσθαι;
Without an adjective or noun, this use - can we call it absolute?? "happened" - is one level of complexity simpler than Michael's composition. (Not withstanding that Michael translated word-for-word from the English).
RandallButh wrote:
May 19th, 2017, 5:52 am
and Shepherd 72.2 τὴν καρδίαν μέλλουσαν καθαρὰν γενέσθαι
Participles reduce complexity by one notch too. (Actually, they lose the person and don't vary from the case of the other nominal elements here, so perhaps they could be said to move the complexity down 2 notches here).
RandallButh wrote:
May 19th, 2017, 5:52 am
In fact, I got a lot of 'hits' searching for μέλλειν + γίνεσθαι/γενέσθαι or εἶναι/ἔσεσθαι in First and Second Century authors, including Josephus, Epictetus, and Christian apologists.
TLG?