Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 5th, 2016, 9:19 pm

Wes Wood wrote:I am resigned to make a fool of myself for lack of research.
Let me say something too about conditionals, that I think I know, but I feel I am too close to, and I can only see timber not trees.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:καὶ ἐὰν ἄνθρωπος δυνηθῇ ὡς ἀκρὶς πηδᾶν καὶ ἠδύνατο ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν ὅ ἐστιν πήχεις διακόσιοι τὸ ὕψος. πλὴν καταβῆναι δυσκόλως σφόδρα ἐστίν καἰ δεὶ συμβιβάζειν τὸν ἄνθρωπον τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ πρὶν τὸ ψηλαφῆσαί τὴν γῆν.
Perhaps you should reconsider ἠδύνατο. English "would" is the past tense of "will", and you have this in a past tense following that pattern I guess you are following. Conditionals are one of my weakest points in Greek, but I think that what you are doing here is using the past tense here, when you should use something else.
δυσκόλως - this idea is difficult in English too. What you have said here means that he had a great deal of difficulty getting to the ground, but that is not the nature of the beast at hand here. He doesn't have difficulty getting to the ground, but when he reaches the ground. Perhaps καταβῆναι εἰς τὸ ἔδαφος could make it clear you are only talking about the moment of landing, rather than the (whole) descent. I think that the English phrase, "a difficult landing" is one that needs a lot of skill to do safely. Could you think of a word that has a meaning "with (grievous) injury", or "dangerously" instead of δυσκόλως?
ψηλαφῆσαι - "touch" as in "touch down" arrive at? Perhaps ἀφίκηται?

Is Koine Greek the first foreign language you have attempted to communicate in?
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » February 6th, 2016, 1:51 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:καὶ ἐὰν ἄνθρωπος δυνηθῇ ὡς ἀκρὶς πηδᾶν καὶ ἠδύνατο ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν ὅ ἐστιν πήχεις διακόσιοι τὸ ὕψος. πλὴν καταβῆναι δυσκόλως σφόδρα ἐστίν καἰ δεὶ συμβιβάζειν τὸν ἄνθρωπον τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ πρὶν τὸ ψηλαφῆσαί τὴν γῆν.
Perhaps you should reconsider ἠδύνατο. English "would" is the past tense of "will", and you have this in a past tense following that pattern I guess you are following. Conditionals are one of my weakest points in Greek, but I think that what you are doing here is using the past tense here, when you should use something else.
Thank you for the feedback here, Stephen. Very helpful, and I do appreciate you taking the time. I must say that the conditional here was one of the things I was quite tentative about.

In reviewing Funk (Lesson 59), Wallace GGBB (pg 690ff), and Decker (Reading Koine Greek, Lesson 30), I NOW understand this to be a first class conditional. Here is Wallace's definition
Wallace, GGBB, pg. 690 wrote:
1. First Class Condition (Assumed True for Argument’s Sake)
a. Definition
The first class condition indicates the assumption of truth for the sake of argument. The normal idea, then, is if–and let us assume that this is true for the sake of argument–then. . . . This class uses the particle εἰ with the indicative (in any tense) in the protasis. In the apodosis, any mood and any tense can occur. This is a frequent conditional clause, occurring about 300 times in the NT.10
Wallace GGBB pg. 690
As I understand this, I should have used εἰ + indicative rather than ἐάν + subjunctive. The apodosis then would also be an indicative, and in my usage it should be in the same tense as the protasis. From the examples I've seen, I think that tense could be past present or future, and they often (but not necessarily) match. "If a man were .... then he was able"; "if a man will be .... then he will be able", and so on. Thus I should have written something like:
  • καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωπος ἐδύνατο ὡς ἀκρὶς πηδᾶν καὶ ἐδύνατο ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν ...
instead of
  • καὶ ἐὰν ἄνθρωπος δυνηθῇ ὡς ἀκρὶς πηδᾶν καὶ ἠδύνατο ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν ...
Stephen Hughes wrote:δυσκόλως - this idea is difficult in English too. What you have said here means that he had a great deal of difficulty getting to the ground, but that is not the nature of the beast at hand here. He doesn't have difficulty getting to the ground, but when he reaches the ground. Perhaps καταβῆναι εἰς τὸ ἔδαφος could make it clear you are only talking about the moment of landing, rather than the (whole) descent. I think that the English phrase, "a difficult landing" is one that needs a lot of skill to do safely. Could you think of a word that has a meaning "with (grievous) injury", or "dangerously" instead of δυσκόλως?
ψηλαφῆσαι - "touch" as in "touch down" arrive at? Perhaps ἀφίκηται?
Yes, I think I was reaching for a bit of subtlety here which I didn't achieve in Greek. What I wanted to say is, 'he can jump as high as a high rise (probably not quite 200 cubits!), but the real challenge is coming back down.' In English you depend on a sort of deliberate understatement for effect, 'So he gets as high as a high rise! Great! Then what?' - 'Has he considered the descent?'

ψηλαφῆσαι - "touch" as in "touch down" arrive at? Perhaps ἀφίκηται? - "touch" as in make contact with. I agree that I was forcing one of the required words into the slot here.
Stephen Hughes wrote:Is Koine Greek the first foreign language you have attempted to communicate in?
I have never had to communicate for real in any other language than my mother tongue - at least not beyond the touristy stuff. A half a century ago and longer, I did a number of years of French grammar which was the norm for Canadians of that era (shoulda done more communicative); I did several years of latin, I did a course in Russian. More recently I've done a lot of work in Biblical Hebrew, including intermediate and advanced university courses, and I've spent a bit of time of Koine Greek. I've also done a smattering of modern Greek and Spanish.
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Wes Wood
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by Wes Wood » February 6th, 2016, 1:57 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:Thus I should have written something like:

καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωπος ἐδύνατο ὡς ἀκρὶς πηδᾶν καὶ ἐδύνατο ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν...
The second ἐδύνατο isn't necessary, is it?
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » February 6th, 2016, 2:45 am

Wes Wood wrote:
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:Thus I should have written something like:

καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωπος ἐδύνατο ὡς ἀκρὶς πηδᾶν καὶ ἐδύνατο ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν...
The second ἐδύνατο isn't necessary, is it?
It seems necessary to me. What I want to express is "if he could do this, then he could do that". I think I need something like δύναμαι to express the second "could". I am NOT trying to say, "if he could do this, then he would (will, might, etc.) do that".
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 6th, 2016, 6:02 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:
Wes Wood wrote:
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:Thus I should have written something like:

καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωπος ἐδύνατο ὡς ἀκρὶς πηδᾶν καὶ ἐδύνατο ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν...
The second ἐδύνατο isn't necessary, is it?
It seems necessary to me. What I want to express is "if he could do this, then he could do that". I think I need something like δύναμαι to express the second "could". I am NOT trying to say, "if he could do this, then he would (will, might, etc.) do that".
English uses auxiliary verbs a lot more than Koine Greek does. I'm not really up on my grammar, but I think that "I can ... " (in English) may be expressed by the present in Greek, without the need for an auxiliary.

What is the difference between the ability to do something and the actual doing of it? It is the same and it is something more. The possibility, once attained, can be used at various times. In 1 Corinthians 14:1 ζηλοῦτε δὲ τὰ πνευματικά, μᾶλλον δὲ ἵνα προφητεύητε. The "might" (subjunctive) is needed in the Greek because προφητεύειν is the second verb. Would the person have prophesied at all times after getting the gift? No. Only at opportune moments, at the other moments they would have the ability to prophesy, but not actually be using that ability. The here and present, albiet unused, is quite close to what we mean when we say "can".

The English word "can" / "be able to" is a really broad-brush solution to a number of situations. I don't know if it is native Greek, or Jewish Greek, but anyway, consider passages like ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω. The English "can" implies, but doesn't express the means, "If you can buy a car, buy it" -> ὁ ἔχων χρήματα ἀγορασάτω ἅρμα, where the Greek (in this expression) spells out the means, which implies the possibility.

Rather than use one of the English "wonder words" like "can"/"be able", "enough", "see" or "know" and blindly carrying that into Greek, let's perhaps express the means, and then use the present tense.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωπος ἐδύνατο ὡς ἀκρὶς πηδᾶν
καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωπος ἔχει πόδας εἰς το πηδᾶν ὡς ἀκρὶς καὶ ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν, might have made sense more simply

I think that διαβῆναι might be better than ὑπερβῆναι if you mean clear the hedge, rather than land on it (even if you really want to impress on people that he can get higher). Greek seems to express the result of the crossing, whereas we express the crucial moment of the crossing.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:Yes, I think I was reaching for a bit of subtlety here which I didn't achieve in Greek. What I wanted to say is, 'he can jump as high as a high rise (probably not quite 200 cubits!), but the real challenge is coming back down.' In English you depend on a sort of deliberate understatement for effect, 'So he gets as high as a high rise! Great! Then what?' - 'Has he considered the descent?'
μόλις is word which might be worth exploring.
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:I agree that I was forcing one of the required words into the slot here.
Better to fudge the rules of the game than to fudge the language. 8-)
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » February 7th, 2016, 7:39 am

Sorry to be so slow to get back to this, Stephen. Time is not in abundance these days
καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωπος ἔχει πόδας εἰς το πηδᾶν ὡς ἀκρὶς καὶ ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν, might have made sense more simply
Yes, after looking at it more carefully, I do have to agree with you once again. I'm not sure about making better sense, but it definitely is better Greek. I was not able to find much in the way of "εἰ δύνασθαι ... δύνασθαι" in the Greek Bible. I did not have time to search beyond there in something like TLG, but your phrasing "reads" much better just from my own experience with the language.

Alas, however, like Wes I find this exercise demanding more time than I am able to allocate to it these days. Pity, because it is an effective way to learn by experience how the language is expressed.
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Wes Wood
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by Wes Wood » February 7th, 2016, 8:51 am

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:Sorry to be so slow to get back to this, Stephen. Time is not in abundance these days
καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωπος ἔχει πόδας εἰς το πηδᾶν ὡς ἀκρὶς καὶ ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν, might have made sense more simply
Yes, after looking at it more carefully, I do have to agree with you once again. I'm not sure about making better sense, but it definitely is better Greek. I was not able to find much in the way of "εἰ δύνασθαι ... δύνασθαι" in the Greek Bible. I did not have time to search beyond there in something like TLG, but your phrasing "reads" much better just from my own experience with the language.

Alas, however, like Wes I find this exercise demanding more time than I am able to allocate to it these days. Pity, because it is an effective way to learn by experience how the language is expressed.
The submissions that I have spent the least time on were the ones that I attempted without aid. Of course, they were also embarrassingly bad. I have found that the exercise has helped me to be a more critical reader of Greek texts, and I tend to notice the constructions that I have wanted to use when I stumble across them.
Right now, my reading goal is nine chapters per day in the New Testament and reading as far as I can through Laws book one without a lexicon. Rereading texts is something new that I am trying, and I think it has been helpful. There have been some constructions that I thought I understood on my initial readings that I have come to be less sure of on a subsequent pass. I think this is because I am identifying the areas where my command of the grammar is weak and fixing them. At the very least, composition has shown me glaring deficiencies in my understanding of grammar that aren't as apparent when simply reading a text. Just knowing that there is meaning in a given text and being able to "find" it affords me a false sense of confidence about how well I understand the syntax. Having all the pieces in play at once, though admittedly time consuming, seems to help my progress rather than hinder it.
Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

cwconrad
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by cwconrad » February 7th, 2016, 10:17 am

Wes Wood wrote:
Thomas Dolhanty wrote:Sorry to be so slow to get back to this, Stephen. Time is not in abundance these days
καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωπος ἔχει πόδας εἰς το πηδᾶν ὡς ἀκρὶς καὶ ὑπερβῆναι φραγμόν, might have made sense more simply
Yes, after looking at it more carefully, I do have to agree with you once again. I'm not sure about making better sense, but it definitely is better Greek. I was not able to find much in the way of "εἰ δύνασθαι ... δύνασθαι" in the Greek Bible. I did not have time to search beyond there in something like TLG, but your phrasing "reads" much better just from my own experience with the language.

Alas, however, like Wes I find this exercise demanding more time than I am able to allocate to it these days. Pity, because it is an effective way to learn by experience how the language is expressed.
The submissions that I have spent the least time on were the ones that I attempted without aid. Of course, they were also embarrassingly bad. I have found that the exercise has helped me to be a more critical reader of Greek texts, and I tend to notice the constructions that I have wanted to use when I stumble across them.
Right now, my reading goal is nine chapters per day in the New Testament and reading as far as I can through Laws book one without a lexicon. Rereading texts is something new that I am trying, and I think it has been helpful. There have been some constructions that I thought I understood on my initial readings that I have come to be less sure of on a subsequent pass. I think this is because I am identifying the areas where my command of the grammar is weak and fixing them. At the very least, composition has shown me glaring deficiencies in my understanding of grammar that aren't as apparent when simply reading a text. Just knowing that there is meaning in a given text and being able to "find" it affords me a false sense of confidence about how well I understand the syntax. Having all the pieces in play at once, though admittedly time consuming, seems to help my progress rather than hinder it.
I've commented on this problem of tutorial pedagogical interaction in a response in the "5x1 definition challenge" thread. Here I would add something more: I'm not sure how others of our on-line tutors and tutees may think about this, but it seems to me that conducting these exercises on-line in a forum is extremely awkward, both in terms of the time-lapse involved in the tutorial interaction and in terms of the public exposure of silly errors made in composition both by tutees and, even more embarrassingly, by tutors (I know, believe me!). Personally I think that if individuals want to engage in this sort of electronic tutorial exchange, it would be far more efficient and probably ultimately more beneficial, to conduct the exchange by personal e-mail exchange. That would have at least two advantages: (a) the give-and-take would happen in something as close to real time as electronic exchange permits, and (b) only tutor and tutee would be able to see the embarrassing stupid errors that both are likely to make in the course of the session. Those who want to do this could use the Forum's PM option to share their email URLs, and, of course, there would be no public pressure to undertake or continue with the process, which is strictly a matter of voluntary interaction between parties that have (or think they have) time to devote to the slow and deliberate pace of this activity.
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
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 7th, 2016, 11:55 am

cwconrad wrote:I've commented on this problem of tutorial pedagogical interaction in a response in the "5x1 definition challenge" thread. Here I would add something more: I'm not sure how others of our on-line tutors and tutees may think about this, but it seems to me that conducting these exercises on-line in a forum is extremely awkward, both in terms of the time-lapse involved in the tutorial interaction and in terms of the public exposure of silly errors made in composition both by tutees and, even more embarrassingly, by tutors (I know, believe me!). Personally I think that if individuals want to engage in this sort of electronic tutorial exchange, it would be far more efficient and probably ultimately more beneficial, to conduct the exchange by personal e-mail exchange. That would have at least two advantages: (a) the give-and-take would happen in something as close to real time as electronic exchange permits, and (b) only tutor and tutee would be able to see the embarrassing stupid errors that both are likely to make in the course of the session. Those who want to do this could use the Forum's PM option to share their email URLs, and, of course, there would be no public pressure to undertake or continue with the process, which is strictly a matter of voluntary interaction between parties that have (or think they have) time to devote to the slow and deliberate pace of this activity.
I don't mind going private, but I'd rather not go to email. The type of emails that have multiple cc's sending and resending emails with additions tend to get a bit out of hand. I'm happy to do participant only a closed door sub-forum here, maybe move the conversation to Sxole if someone can explain to me how to use it properly, or if Thomas really has nothing to do with his time, he could host us to dinner on his private forum. I don't want to use the delete-after-a-week option, because I want to use my own sentences as a portfolio of my progress and be able to look for common mistakes I make over the long-term.

How does the suggestion to go private sit with others participating here?
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Greek Composition 4x4 Challenge

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » February 7th, 2016, 5:59 pm

Wes Wood wrote:Right now, my reading goal is nine chapters per day in the New Testament and reading as far as I can through Laws book one without a lexicon. Rereading texts is something new that I am trying, and I think it has been helpful.
Wow! That's a serious undertaking, Wes, and especially if you are reading with reasonably good comprehension of the text! That get's you through John in a bit more than 2 days, Luke in less than 3 days, Acts in 4! If that is a consistent practise day after day, you are reading a lot of Greek, and for sure a whole lot more Greek than I'm reading.

One of the benefits of a private forum from my point of view is that you can have a few different dedicated threads going, and any particular thread can just sort of sit on the back burner for a few days or even a few weeks. I simply could not keep up to a day after day participation in this kind of exercise, but I think I could pop in every now and then and do a bit more. That would likely work a lot better in a 'side eddy' than in the main stream.
Last edited by Thomas Dolhanty on February 7th, 2016, 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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