Author Topic: Τα βιβλία τα παρά των ξένων επαίδευε τους εν τη αγορά ανθρώπους, τους Ομήρου φίλους -> The others' books educated the people in the marketplace, the friends of Homer.  (Read 1636 times)

Jorsay

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Again, I am sorry about the font.

Are the friends being educated about the men in the marketplace or are the men on the marketplace being educated about the friends?  How can I tell?

Thank you
« Last Edit: 02 Aug, 2008, 01:14:51 by wings »


vbd.

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Hi,

I posted in the other thread about how you can type in greek font.

The answer to your question is "neither". The translation is: "The others' books educated the people in the marketplace, the friends of Homer."

ξένος = stranger, other

ἐπαίδευε is our verb
Τά βιβλία = subject (with para twn xenwn modifying it)
τούς ἀνθρώπους = object (with en th agora modifying it)
tous Omhroy filous = apposition to anthrwpous*

Now for what apparently confused you. "para twn xenwn" does not modify epaideue. It modifies "ta biblia". Therefore it can only mean "the others' books". How do I know it modifies "ta biblia" for sure? There's a hint of course, which is none other than "ta", just before "para twn xenwn". The author put this "ta" right there, between "ta biblia" and "para twn xenwn" to show you that these 2 are connected with eachother. If he wanted "para twn xenwn" to modify the verb, he never would have placed "para twn xenwn" there, and he never would have put this "ta"... This "ta" helps you understand that "para twn xenwn" modifies "ta biblia", because "ta para twn xenwn" has "ta" in it just like "ta biblia". So simple. He could also have written "Ta para twn xenwn biblia" and it would mean exactly the same.

* this is a simple syntactical phenomenon to spot and identify. It provides further info for a part of your sentence, in our case the object. In apposition, we move from specific to general and provide an information that is a temporary feature of the thing/person carrying it. For example, "George Bush Jr, the president of the United States...". We moved from something very specific, George Bush Jr, a name we can identify a single person with, to something less specific, which is also a temporary characteristic of his, his presidency over the United States. Another example "Mike Tyson, former heavyweight champion of the world": of course here it's not a temporary characteristic, because he'll be a former heavyweight champion of the world for ever, well at least unless he becomes actual hw cotw again, but again we moved from something very specific to something less specific. Of course the apposition has to agree grammatically with the word it modifies. For example in our case, tous Omhrou filous is accusative, just like tous anthrwpous.
« Last Edit: 30 Oct, 2008, 03:26:29 by spiros »
At last, I have peace.

Jorsay

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Thank you for your explanation. 

I am still not certain how I can be sure that the two accusatives are in appositive position as opposed to the verb taking a double accusative.


vbd.

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Hello,

I assume you mean "tous anthrwpous" and "tous (Omhrou) filous" right? I'll start from something else however, that could be confusing you if the book doesn't explain it. You will have noticed that all your nouns are in plural, while your verb is in singular... This as well, is a hint, so that we know that "ta biblia" is the absolutely only noun in this sentence that could ever be the subject of "epaideue". There's this phenomenon, called Attic Syntax in Greek- I don't know what it's called in English, where the plural of a neuter noun (like 'ta biblia" in our case) can serve as the subject of a verb in singular (epaideue). So, this type of syntax is an exception which you don't encounter too often, nor is it something difficult to spot once you get familiar with the rule. You just keep in mind that neutral plural nouns can be subjects to verbs in singular. Another example

"Τά παιδία παίζει" = The kids are playing- again, normally we would have used "παίζουσι", not "παίζει".

Now, about "tous anthrwpous" and "tous filous". How do you know "tous filous" is an apposition to "tous anthrwpous". Again, it's possible to find hints, but you have to work out what the author is most likely trying to say, and then test it compared to the hints the author provides. In our case, "tous anthrwpous" and "tous filous" are seperated by a semicolon. If the author wanted to hint that they are both the same- objects to "paizei" that is- he would have separated them using "καί". On the other hand, seeing how we are moving from general "people" to more specific "friends", that should also hint that we're talking about an apposition... Also, the words "tous Omhrou filous" provides extra information about "anthropous", again, a sign that what we have is indeed apposition. Finally, you should be able to understand this out of the context: the books educated the people and Homer's friends... that doesn't really make sense, why separate Homer's friends from people, aren't they human? However, if you translate that the people who are in the marketplace happen to be friends of Homer right now (apposition attributes a temporary characteristic to the noun it modifies like I noticed in the previous post), it does make sense both syntactically and as a logical statement.
At last, I have peace.

Jorsay

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Thank you.  The book did explain that neuter plural nouns take a singular verb.  Can I assume that this is always the case in ancient Greek?

I think that I am misunderstanding what it means to take a double accusative.  If I were to write in ancient Greek the sentence "I teach Bill History", I would put Bill and History in accusative, correct?  Whereas, if I were to write "I throw Bill a ball", I put Bill in dative and ball in accusative.  Is this correct?

If correct, then I thought that the books might be teaching the men about Homer's friends. However, I see why the clues in the sentence point to your translation.

Thanks,

vbd.

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I can't tell you for sure if it's absolutely always but it's definitely most of the times.

Well to take double accusative is something very simple, it means that the verb you have needs two objects(or, of course, two sets of objects. I mean, there could be 5 objects in total), both of which will be in accusative. The examples you wrote are correct. Each verb has different syntactical uses. Some verbs can take as their object only acc. Others can take only dat. Others take both. Others take acc. or infinitive. Others take a whole other sentence as their object etc etc.
In this .pdf you will see a list with some important verbs of the ancient Greek language. I hope you have a dictionary, if not let me know and there's things we can do(I mean online dictionaries). In this list "τινα" or "τι" equals acc. (τίνα = person, τί = thing). "τινί" = dat. and "τινος" = gen. It's the declension of "τις" of course, which means "somebody".

After reading the sentence again, I understand what you mean about the double accusative and how the books might be teaching the men about Homer's friends. "παιδεύω" can indeed take 2 accusatives, but one of them would have to be the thing you educate about, the object of the education. If however you were to translate the sentence with "about", you would either have a preposition like "περί" which often means "about", or some other kind of hint. (Ta biblia epaideue tous en th agora anthrwpous *peri twn Omhrou filwn = The books educated the men in the market about Homer's friends)

Also, teach = διδάσκω. παιδεύω = educate or raise (a child). When παιδεύω has one object, like in our case, you translate it as "educate". When it has 2 objects, you translate "teach". However, in order for παιδεύω to carry 2 objects, one of them must be a thing, and one of them a person (as in I teach somebody something- you can't possibly have "I teach somebody somebody", which is precisely what we have if we try to translate as teach in our case). In our case we have no "thing" as an object, which is the most important hint towards the fact that our verb has only 1 object.**

*notice there's no comma now that we don't have apposition

**when I say 1object or 2objects, I really mean 1 set of objects. For example the verb of this sentence "He taught John, Mary and Lila maths, physics and history" has 6 objects in total, but only 2 sets of objects, one set contains the "somebody"'s and one that contains the "something"'s (as in "I teach somebody something"). So, even if you were to assume that both "tous anthrwpous" and "tous filous" are objects, given that they are both "somebody"'s you now know for sure they really are part of 1 set.
« Last Edit: 03 Aug, 2008, 02:31:01 by ev1H »
At last, I have peace.


Jorsay

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Thanks for the reply.  Sorry it took so long for me to get back.  My son and have been working steadily each day and are moving on to chapter three now.  I am certain we will have more questions.

Thank you