I've been studying Greek for quite some time, stubbornly refusing ever to write (let alone speak!) original Greek sentences that I made up myself. I've told myself and my students that "all the Greek sentences we're interested in have already been written -- and long ago."
As is so often the case, I'm now having to "eat my words" so to speak, as I try to write some simple Greek stories to give my students much more practice reading Greek prose, from the very beginning of the online intro Greek courses I teach.
Here's my problem: οτι
The textbook I use (Croy) introduces οτι in Lesson 2 (glossed as "that, because"), along with present active indicatives and infinitives , so one can write some pretty nice sentences using οτι, such as these from Croy's practice exercises:
1. γινωσκομεν οτι πιστευετε και θελετε διδασκειν.
2. ακουω και βλεπω οτι αδελφη γραφει.
I've long offered students a list of examples from John, illustrating some ways that the Lesson 2 vocabulary and grammar occur, e.g.
John 1:50, Jesus answered and said to him, οτι I said to you οτι I saw you under the fig tree, πιστευεις;
And then I point out that the 2 occurrences of οτι are functioning differently: BECAUSE I said to you THAT I saw you....
But now I'm trying to write some little stories. e.g.
Μαρκος πιστευει. Μαρκος ακουει, και βλεπει, και πιστευει.
But then if I say:
Μαρκος πιστευει οτι ____
I guess it can mean either "Markos believes THAT ____" or "Markos believes BECAUSE _______."
Is there any way (without a lot of narrative context that, in lesson 2, I have no good way to build) to nail down which is which?
This is exactly the reason I've resisted making up my own sentences all these years -- I'm afraid I'll mislead students as to the simple meaning of simple sentences. I don't mind "making mistakes" or "looking foolish" -- I do that all the time with typos and and whatnot, and the students cheerfully correct me and I cheerfully thank them -- what I'm realizing is that, without a larger narrative context, I really sometimes can't tell how οτι is making meaning in very simple sentences! The last thing I want to do is burden my students with a lot of metalanguage about οτι -- I want to just stick with "that, because" and then give lots of examples in simple narrative context, so the students can get an intuitive feel for how οτι works.
I just looked at Shirley Rollinson's Chapter 14 where she introduces οτι -- I notice she gives a lot of examples using verbs that don't have this kind of ambiguity... http://www.drshirley.org/greek/textbook/contents.html
αιτω αρτον οτι πεινω
I ask for bread because I am hungry
I guess one way around my dilemma would be switch around the clauses if I want οτι to mean "because" and where the main verb is one where "that" is also possible or likely... γραφω, βλεπω, γινωσκω, λεγω -- pretty much all the verbs in lesson 2!
e.g οτι Μαρκος ακουει και βλεπει, Μαρκος πιστευει.
Because Markos hears and sees, Markos believes.
Μαρκος ακουει και βλεπει οτι Αννα πιστευει.
Markos hears and sees that Anna believes.
οτι αδελφος διδασκει, ακουομεν.
because a brother teaches, we listen.
ακουομεν οτι αδελφος διδασκει.
we hear that a brother is teaching.
Note that I'll be wanting my students to just read the Greek without translating -- I'm only providing the translations here to point out the ambiguity I feel is present in some of this... and because it's the "Beginners Forum" -- I surely am a beginner with respect to writing my own Greek sentences!
Thanks in advance for any advice anyone can offer --- as you can probably tell, I'm pretty muddled -- and studying Wallace's section on οτι with the indicative just confirmed my sense of ambiguity...