Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Iver Larsen
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Joined: May 7th, 2011, 3:52 am

Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Post by Iver Larsen » June 15th, 2013, 2:37 pm

Peter Streitenberger wrote:Dear Jonathan,

So the entrance question remains: how would Koine-Speakers downshift the following Information. Is it agreed to consider GE depending on context? Or MONON ?

Peter, Germany
It appears that GE intensifies the preceding word rather than downshifts the following. MONON may do that in some contexts. These kind of discourse particles do not correspond across languages, so we can rarely say that a particular particle in one language corresponds to a particular one in another language.

The German one you are looking at corresponds somewhat to our Danish "bare", My dictionary gives a number of options: nur, bloss, schon, doch, eben. (But it is only one of the senses of eben that fits here.)

When I looked at where we used "bare" in our Danish translation, I noticed that we had used it 76 times in the NT. Then I compared with the Greek MONON which occurs 73 times, but in only 10 places could I detect that MONON had been translated by "bare". A native speaker will put these particles in depending on context, not by looking at dictionary explanations. In most cases where we used "bare", there was no particular Greek word it translated.

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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Post by RandallButh » June 15th, 2013, 2:48 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
RandallButh wrote:Perhaps in the latter case:

πωλητήρ γε ἐτελεφώνει--οὐδὲν ἀξιόλογον
And here it seems to put the focus on πωλητήρ, it doesn't seem to defocus πωλητήρ, right?
Yes, but in context that dismisses the phonecall as insignificant.

Louis L Sorenson
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Location: Burnsville, MN, USA

Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Post by Louis L Sorenson » June 15th, 2013, 4:35 pm

Πέτρος γέγραπται·
IDOU e.g. sets the Focus on the Proposition and highlights the following Information. But are there grammaticalized devices, e.g. words doing the exact opposite by making Information less important? We have some in our German language, called "Abtönungspartikel" (halt, eben, mal), but are there such devices in Greek ? An English equivalent could be *just", as in "it's just me, Darling!".
There are a number of ways to de-focus and downplay information. One way is to change word position, another to heighten or emphasize other words/phrases, use indefinite particles and articles (such as τὶς), Smyth, §2763 SOME NEGATIVE PHRASES may be another way.
§2771. Greek has an extraordinary number of sentence adverbs (or particles in the narrow sense) having a logical or emotional (rhetorical) value. Either alone or in combination these sentence adverbs give a distinctness to the relations between ideas which is foreign to other languages, and often resist translation by separate words, which in English are frequently over emphatic and cumbersome in comparison to the light and delicate nature of the Greek originals (e.g. ἄρα, γέ, τοί). The force of such words is frequently best rendered by pause, stress, or alterations of pitch. To catch the subtle and elusive meaning of these often apparently insignificant elements of speech challenges the utmost vigilance and skill of the student. (
Smyth, H. W. (1920). A Greek Grammar for Colleges (631). New York; Cincinnati; Chicago; Boston; Atlanta: American Book Company.)
BDAG τίς
β. serving to moderate or heighten
א . to moderate an expr. that is too definite (Just., D. 48, 1 [λόγος] … παράδοξός τις … δοκεῖ μοι εἶναι [your statement], in my judgment, does not make much sense; Diod S 1, 1, 3; Appian, Bell. Civ. 1, 15 §65 οἷά τινες δορυφόροι=as a kind of bodyguard) ἀπαρχήν τινα a kind of first-fruits Js 1:18 (Appian, Bell. Civ. 3, 39 §162 τὶς μετάνοια=something like remorse; 3, 77 §314 συγγνώμη τις=some kind of pardon).—So perh. δύο τινὰς τῶν μαθητῶν several disciples, perhaps two Lk 7:18 (cp. Appian, Bell. Civ. 2, 59 §245 δύο τινάς=a few [ships], about two; Jos., Ant. 16, 274). But the expr. in Ac 23:23 τινὰς δύο τῶν ἑκατονταρχῶν certainly means two, who simply cannot be more closely defined (s. W-S. §26, 1b; Rob. 742; Mlt-Turner 195).

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (1008). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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