οτι

How can I learn to express my ideas in clear and intelligible Greek?

Re: οτι

Postby SusanJeffers » May 7th, 2012, 2:04 pm

@StephenCarlson: Yes, too early for γαρ. Lesson 5. :-)
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Re: οτι

Postby SusanJeffers » May 8th, 2012, 6:50 am

Thanks Carl and everyone else who has replied here. I've satisfied myself that

(a) if I write λεγω οτι ... or πιστευω οτι ... etc it's going to "default" to mean "I say that..." or "I believe that..." If I write such a sequence intending "I say because..." or "I believe because..." the most I'll be able to do via narrative context is introduce ambiguity and confusion for the reader AND

(b) putting the causal οτι clause ahead of the indicative λεγω, πιστευω etc is a legitimate and intelligible way to make sure it functions causally.

(c) once I have more vocabulary and grammar, I'll be able to write plenty of clausal οτι clauses that follow the main verb; e.g. following the pattern of
Matt 5:4 Μακαριοι οι πενθουντες, οτι αυτοι παρακληθησονται
blessed the ones mourning, because they will be comforted
Eph 4:25 λαλειτε αληθειαν εκαστος μετα του πλησιον αυτου, οτι εσμεν αλληλων μελη
speak truth, each with his neighbor, because we are members of one another.

So I'm satisfied and able to go forward with my exercise of writing short practice stories for my students to accompany their lessons in Croy.

Inevitably as I write more, I'm sure I'll develop my own idiosyncratic style of Greek composition. However, my goal is to help students learn to read the Greek of the New Testament, so I hope I will always continue "searching the Scriptures" for model sentences and paragraphs.

Carl writes:
"I would also be hesitant in composition about using ὅτι in the causal sense. It's easy enough to indicate causality in other ways: διὰ τί γινώσκω διδάσκειν τὸν Πέτρον; διότι βλέπω τε καὶ ἀκούω διδάσκοντα τὸν Πέτρον."

Right -- and if my goal were to write Greek in my own style, for the purpose of communicating my own thoughts, I might well avoid causal οτι as several have suggested. But my task is to teach intro Greek to students who are expected to recognize causal οτι as well as their other "vocabulary words to memorize" and grammatical/syntactic/discourse structures common in the GNT. So I want to give them practice from the time οτι is first introduced as vocabulary with gloss "because", in Lesson 2.

FYI in case anyone is still reading along, especially actual beginners in NT Greek, here are a couple more GNT sentences (besides John 1:50) on which I'm modeling my "causal οτι clause first, then indicative" sentences:

2 Cor 1:5 οτι καθως περισσευει τα παθηματα του Χριστου εις ημας, ουτως δια του Χριστου περισσευει και η παρακλησις ημων.
because just as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, thus through Christ our consolation also abounds.

Rev 3:10 οτι ετηρησας τον λογον της υπμονης μου, καγω σε τηρησω εκ της ωρας του πειρασμου.
because you kept the word of my perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing.

Thanks again, everyone --

Susan Jeffers
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Re: οτι

Postby David Lim » May 8th, 2012, 8:06 am

SusanJeffers wrote:Here's what I'm meaning to say. Bear in mind that all I have to work with is proper names in the nominative, the 9 verbs I mentioned in the present active indicative and present active infinitive, plus και, οτι and ου/ουκ/ουχ

Λουκας διδασκει. Στεφανος ουκ ακουει και ου βλεπει οτι Λουκας διδασκει. και Δορκας ουκ ακουει και ου βλεπει οτι Λουκας διδασκει. οτι ουκ ακουουσιν και ου βλεπουσιν, ου πιστευουσιν οτι Λουκας διδασκει.

Lukas is teaching. Stephanos does not hear and does not see that Lukas is teaching. And Dorcas does not hear and does not see that Lukas is teaching. Because they do not hear and do not see, they do not believe that Lukas is teaching.


It is not the text itself but the reasoning that is odd. Stephen hearing that Luke teaches is different from Stephen hearing Luke teaching. It is easy to see why Stephen would not believe that Luke teaches if he never hears him teaching, but it is odd to say that Stephen does not hear that he teaches. If really that was intended, the aorist is still more appropriate: "στεφανος ουκ ηκουσεν οτι λουκας εδιδαξεν".

SusanJeffers wrote:What I'm trying to do is build some context ("because they do not hear and do not see") as to WHY someone might "not believe."

All as a means to the end of illustrating causative οτι early on.

I don't doubt that it sounds odd -- how could it not, with so little vocabulary & grammar available? But is it intelligible? If not, can someone suggest a fix using only my admittedly self-imposed constraints?


I could be wrong but I think there is little choice but to use other language elements when it comes to conveying certain meanings such as this: "στεφανος ουκ ακουει λουκα διδασκοντος ουδε βλεπει αυτον διδασκοντα".

SusanJeffers wrote:[...]

(b) putting the causal οτι clause ahead of the indicative λεγω, πιστευω etc is a legitimate and intelligible way to make sure it functions causally.


Seriously as I said before I think putting "οτι ..." before the statement is really quite uncommon and should be avoided.

SusanJeffers wrote:[...]

FYI in case anyone is still reading along, especially actual beginners in NT Greek, here are a couple more GNT sentences (besides John 1:50) on which I'm modeling my "causal οτι clause first, then indicative" sentences:

2 Cor 1:5 οτι καθως περισσευει τα παθηματα του Χριστου εις ημας, ουτως δια του Χριστου περισσευει και η παρακλησις ημων.
because just as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, thus through Christ our consolation also abounds.

Rev 3:10 οτι ετηρησας τον λογον της υπμονης μου, καγω σε τηρησω εκ της ωρας του πειρασμου.
because you kept the word of my perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing.


2 Cor 1:5 has "οτι" between the two clauses it connects, and it is not an example of the usage you are referring to. Rev 3:10, however, is a valid example.
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Re: οτι

Postby cwconrad » May 8th, 2012, 8:31 am

SusanJeffers wrote:Carl writes:
"I would also be hesitant in composition about using ὅτι in the causal sense. It's easy enough to indicate causality in other ways: διὰ τί γινώσκω διδάσκειν τὸν Πέτρον; διότι βλέπω τε καὶ ἀκούω διδάσκοντα τὸν Πέτρον."

Right -- and if my goal were to write Greek in my own style, for the purpose of communicating my own thoughts, I might well avoid causal οτι as several have suggested. But my task is to teach intro Greek to students who are expected to recognize causal οτι as well as their other "vocabulary words to memorize" and grammatical/syntactic/discourse structures common in the GNT. So I want to give them practice from the time οτι is first introduced as vocabulary with gloss "because", in Lesson 2.


So we're not really talking about "writing Greek," but rather, about composing sentences to illustrate a lexical item. For my part, I think it would be more useful, pedagogically, to list half a dozen clear examples of the construction drawn from NT Koine texts than to make up an example. I have complained often about the frightful English and Greek sentences in Machen's exercises, but I've found in my own teaching experience that it is not at all easy to write illustrative Greek constructions and that the peril of conceiving the Greek constructions in terms of one's native language is ever at hand.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
ὁ ἀναγινώσκων νοείτω
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Re: οτι

Postby SusanJeffers » May 8th, 2012, 10:39 am

"So we're not really talking about "writing Greek," but rather, about composing sentences to illustrate a lexical item."

Right. Yes. The lexical items and grammatical forms that have been introduced so far, at a very early stage of learning Greek.

"For my part, I think it would be more useful, pedagogically, to list half a dozen clear examples of the construction drawn from NT Koine texts than to make up an example."

This has been my strong belief and consistent practice as well, for my 12 years of teaching beginning Greek. However, it is clear that such examples are not enough for my students to really master the grammar and vocabulary as they go along. I'm aiming to provide lots of reading material from the very beginning, similar to what children have available in the "easy reader" section of a library.

"I have complained often about the frightful English and Greek sentences in Machen's exercises, but I've found in my own teaching experience that it is not at all easy to write illustrative Greek constructions and that the peril of conceiving the Greek constructions in terms of one's native language is ever at hand."

It is this very concern that has kept me from attempting to write my own Greek, or ask my students to write their own Greek. And why I'm so intent on using actual GNT sentences as models, and asking for feedback here. I may not stick with this project, but I'm eager to try it out in the coming academic year, to see whether "lots of reading" in the first few weeks provides a better foundation for mastery as students go through the year.

David wrote:
"Seriously as I said before I think putting "οτι ..." before the statement is really quite uncommon and should be avoided."

Point taken - it's uncommon -- so I guess you're saying that I should just give up on writing a sentence or story for lesson 2 to illustrate causal οτι? All I have to work with is the present active indicative and present active infinitive of ακουω, βλεπω, γινωσκω, γραφω, διδασκω, θελω, λεγω, λυω, πιστευω. No aorist, no participles, no other words besides nominative proper names, these verbs, and και, οτι, ου / ουκ / ουχ ... I'm not trying to say any particular thing, I'm just trying to say ANYTHING that would illustrate causal οτι at this very early stage in the course / textbook.
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Re: οτι

Postby David Lim » May 8th, 2012, 12:02 pm

SusanJeffers wrote:David wrote:
"Seriously as I said before I think putting "οτι ..." before the statement is really quite uncommon and should be avoided."

Point taken - it's uncommon -- so I guess you're saying that I should just give up on writing a sentence or story for lesson 2 to illustrate causal οτι? All I have to work with is the present active indicative and present active infinitive of ακουω, βλεπω, γινωσκω, γραφω, διδασκω, θελω, λεγω, λυω, πιστευω. No aorist, no participles, no other words besides nominative proper names, these verbs, and και, οτι, ου / ουκ / ουχ ... I'm not trying to say any particular thing, I'm just trying to say ANYTHING that would illustrate causal οτι at this very early stage in the course / textbook.


τι ου γραφω "οτι" εμπροσθεν ουτως ου γραφω οτι εμοι ουκ ορθος εστιν :)

How about this?
τι ο μαρκος γραφει περι ιησου χριστου ο μαρκος γραφει περι ιησου χριστου οτι θελει παντας πιστευειν εις ιησουν χριστον
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Re: οτι

Postby SusanJeffers » May 8th, 2012, 1:55 pm

David suggests:
τι ο μαρκος γραφει περι ιησου χριστου ο μαρκος γραφει περι ιησου χριστου οτι θελει παντας πιστευειν εις ιησουν χριστον

That would be great much much later in the course, after Croy has introduced
τις, τι
prepositions and their objects (περι ιησου χριστου, εις ιησουν χριστον)
πας, πασα, παν

However I'm working from Croy's LESSON 2. Lesson 1 taught the alphabet, Lesson 2 present active indicative and present active infinitive. That's ALL.
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Re: οτι

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 8th, 2012, 2:44 pm

SusanJeffers wrote:However I'm working from Croy's LESSON 2. Lesson 1 taught the alphabet, Lesson 2 present active indicative and present active infinitive. That's ALL.


OK. I see what you're doing, and I think you're doing it about as well as can be (IMHO). In my own use of Croy, I didn't compose sentences (for quizzes) until Lesson 3, primarily because of the impoverishment of the vocabulary at this stage and because the quiz period covered Lessons 2 and 3. In Lesson 2, I would have been hampered by the fact that the accusative had not yet been introduced and so the only way to complement a verb is with a ὅτι clause.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: οτι

Postby SusanJeffers » May 8th, 2012, 3:15 pm

whew! thanks, Stephen :-) "doing it about as well as can be" is plenty good enough for me at this point...

One reason I decided to start with lesson 2 is that it seems to me that some students struggle with how to operationalize the idea of person and number, and the whole business of paradigms and how to apply the pattern to a variety of verbs... I think they need practice with the one present active indicative + infinitive before they have to also concern themselves with inflected nouns.

My plan for 2012-13 is to go week by week doing 2 lessons with readings, 2 lessons with readings, then a week for review and practice and quiz, then 2 lessons with readings, 2 lessons with readings, then a week for review and practice and quiz...

Once I get past these silly little Lesson 2 stories, the ones for Lesson 4, with all the lovely cases and 1st & 2nd declension nouns, will seem like vocabulary and grammar heaven :-)

Thanks again, all o'y'all !
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