Basic Phrases

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

Basic Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » October 16th, 2011, 1:36 am

I know that Carl has been working to translate the German Sprechen Sie Attisch? on the LetsReadGreek.com site. That's a fantastic reference, but it doesn't seem to conform easily to phrases that we can use here. For example, there's no simple way to say "please," but it seems to be built into imperatives and optatives throughout. Is there just an expression that means "please"? What about "you're welcome"?

I see ἐπαινῶ τὸ σόν for "thank you." What does this make of the εὐχαριστῶ (σοι) that we are apt to use with each other on Schole?

Also, what would be the difference between ἐπαινῶ τὸ σόν (from Sprechen Sie Attisch?), εὐχαριστῶ (σοι) and χάριν ἔχω (which I found in the Oxford dictionary)?

Thanks!
Jason A. Hare
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Re: Basic Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » October 17th, 2011, 8:53 am

In other words, how can this be translated into Greek cleanly?

Lucas: I think you're exactly right in what you said.
Jason: Thank you. (for saying so)
Lucas: You're welcome, my friend.

Simple stuff, I know. I'd like to learn of ancient expressions that match these feelings – not just using modern phraseology and anachronism (such as εὐχαριστῶ and παρακαλῶ for "thanks" and "please").
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Re: Basic Phrases

Postby Jonathan Robie » October 17th, 2011, 11:38 am

I wonder if some of the dialogues of Socrates couldn't be mined for this kind of thing, such as:

Σωκράτης: οὐ γὰρ οὖν.
Εὐθύφρων: ἀλλὰ σὲ ἄλλος;
Σωκράτης: πάνυ γε.
Εὐθύφρων: τίς οὗτος;

It would be great to have a phrasebook with these kinds of phrases.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Basic Phrases

Postby cwconrad » October 17th, 2011, 1:26 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:I wonder if some of the dialogues of Socrates couldn't be mined for this kind of thing, such as:

Σωκράτης: οὐ γὰρ οὖν.
Εὐθύφρων: ἀλλὰ σὲ ἄλλος;
Σωκράτης: πάνυ γε.
Εὐθύφρων: τίς οὗτος;

It would be great to have a phrasebook with these kinds of phrases.


It's precisely this sort of phrase that constitutes the bulk of the Johannides Sprechen Sie Attisch? chat book; the objection raised against that has been that these are Attic, not Koine expressions. I think the same would apply to the Platonic conversational phases. Of course I personally think that the objections are a sort of reverse-snobbery: Phrynicus warns would-be speakers of good Greek to avoid colloquial Koine usages and to adhere to "pure" Attic expressions. I think, on the other hand, that the objections to Attic conversational usage constitute a preference for the language of the street and a rejection of phraseology that Plutarch and Josephus and Philo might have used if they'd had the opportunity to chat with each other. The fact is that there were, even in the Hellenistic era, Stilhöhen comparable to the modern distinction between Katharevousa and Dimotiki
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
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Re: Basic Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » October 17th, 2011, 4:21 pm

cwconrad wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:I wonder if some of the dialogues of Socrates couldn't be mined for this kind of thing, such as:

Σωκράτης: οὐ γὰρ οὖν.
Εὐθύφρων: ἀλλὰ σὲ ἄλλος;
Σωκράτης: πάνυ γε.
Εὐθύφρων: τίς οὗτος;

It would be great to have a phrasebook with these kinds of phrases.


It's precisely this sort of phrase that constitutes the bulk of the Johannides Sprechen Sie Attisch? chat book; the objection raised against that has been that these are Attic, not Koine expressions. I think the same would apply to the Platonic conversational phases. Of course I personally think that the objections are a sort of reverse-snobbery: Phrynicus warns would-be speakers of good Greek to avoid colloquial Koine usages and to adhere to "pure" Attic expressions. I think, on the other hand, that the objections to Attic conversational usage constitute a preference for the language of the street and a rejection of phraseology that Plutarch and Josephus and Philo might have used if they'd had the opportunity to chat with each other. The fact is that there were, even in the Hellenistic era, Stilhöhen comparable to the modern distinction between Katharevousa and Dimotiki


My main problem with the phrasebook is its incompleteness to the level that it doesn't provide simple things like "thanks" and "you're welcome." I mean, that's the kind of things that we need to exchange here and on the Schole site, and I feel like I'm lacking in these little details. I don't know how I can begin to communicate smoothly in a language when I don't even know how to express gratitude. Know what I'm saying?
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Re: Basic Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » October 17th, 2011, 4:29 pm

I see this one:

Luke 17:9 - μὴ ἔχει χάριν τῷ δούλῳ ὅτι ἐποίησεν τὰ διαταχθέντα;

Would it be good Greek then to say χάριν ἔχω σοι ὅτι ταῦτα εἶπες ("I thank you that you said these things")? Is there a better way to thank someone for saying something nice to you?

And once someone has said this to you, is there a proper response similar to "you're welcome"?
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Re: Basic Phrases

Postby Jonathan Robie » October 17th, 2011, 5:39 pm

Jason Hare wrote:I see ἐπαινῶ τὸ σόν for "thank you." What does this make of the εὐχαριστῶ (σοι) that we are apt to use with each other on Schole?

Also, what would be the difference between ἐπαινῶ τὸ σόν (from Sprechen Sie Attisch?), εὐχαριστῶ (σοι) and χάριν ἔχω (which I found in the Oxford dictionary)?


I see Εὐχαριστῶ 12 times in the New Testament, but usually it's thanking God. I didn't see those other forms in the New Testament (closest was 1 Corinthians 11:17). But I haven't read much outside the New Testament and some Septuagint, so I hope someone else will give you a more authoritative answer ...
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Basic Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » October 17th, 2011, 7:47 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Jason Hare wrote:I see ἐπαινῶ τὸ σόν for "thank you." What does this make of the εὐχαριστῶ (σοι) that we are apt to use with each other on Schole?

Also, what would be the difference between ἐπαινῶ τὸ σόν (from Sprechen Sie Attisch?), εὐχαριστῶ (σοι) and χάριν ἔχω (which I found in the Oxford dictionary)?


I see Εὐχαριστῶ 12 times in the New Testament, but usually it's thanking God. I didn't see those other forms in the New Testament (closest was 1 Corinthians 11:17). But I haven't read much outside the New Testament and some Septuagint, so I hope someone else will give you a more authoritative answer ...


I actually found (ἔχειν) χάριν + dat. in a few instances in Paul's writings.
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Re: Basic Phrases

Postby Mark Lightman » October 18th, 2011, 7:20 pm

Hi, Jason,

In other words, how can this be translated into Greek cleanly?

Lucas: I think you're exactly right in what you said.
Jason: Thank you. (for saying so)
Lucas: You're welcome, my friend.



Λουκᾶς: εὖγε, φέριστε!
Ἰάσων: εὐχαριστῶ σοι.
Λουκᾶς: καλῶς.
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Re: Basic Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » October 19th, 2011, 8:47 am

Mark Lightman wrote:Hi, Jason,
Λουκᾶς: εὖγε, φέριστε!
Ἰάσων: εὐχαριστῶ σοι.
Λουκᾶς: καλῶς.


Why φέριστε? What's the implication of that form?
Jason A. Hare
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