Author Topic: what you are saying is not true -> ἃ λέγετε οὐκ ἀληθῆ  (Read 130 times)

Kurama

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I would like to figure out how to translate that in order to answer a doubt I have about pronouns. So far, I have studied interrogative pronouns, indefinite pronouns, relative pronouns, indirect interrogatives, indefinite relatives, demonstratives, and of course, the article. However, none of these resources seems to be exactly what I need. One way of translating it which I think is grammatically correct is as follows:

τὰ ὑφ᾿ ὑμῶν λεγόμενα οὐκ αληθῆ.

I.e.: The being-said-by-you (things) (are) not true.

But this is not quite what I am looking for. I would like to know if there is a way of translating the phrase in a way that mirrors the English construction. That is, in a way that includes a subordinate clause with λέγετε as its verb form.

So far, I am aware that one could use the subjunctive to construct a general conditional, but that would only give us the translation for: "Whatever you say is not true". Yet, I want something that expresses only a simple present condition. One candidate might be:

ἅτινα λέγετε οὐκ αληθῆ.

But that is not quite it, for it rather means, either:

Whatever you are saying is false. (Indefinite relative)

Or:

What you are saying is false. (Indirect interrogative)

But the latter does not capture the meaning I have in mind in English. I do not want the 'what' to carry the force of an indirect interrogative. I just want it to be a relative pronoun.

A very clear way of seeing the distinction I have in mind, if you speak Spanish, is the difference between these two sentences:

Yo sé qué estan diciendo ustedes, y no es verdad. (Interrogative)
Yo sé lo que ustedes están diciendo, y no es verdad. (Relative)

Another way of saying what I have in mind, without going outside English, is:

That which you are saying is not true.

Here, 'that which' does not carry the force of an indirect interrogative since it is not the answer to an implicit 'What are you saying?' question.

And this, I do know how to translate into Greek:

τάδε (ταῦτα) λέγετε οὐκ ἀληθῆ.

But once more, it is not exactly what I want, since it carries a demonstrative force.

Given all this, I thought one might use:

ἃ λέγετε οὐκ ἀληθῆ.

The only problem is that I am not sure that the relative pronoun can be used in Greek without an antecedent. But if it can, I think this last sentence gives me exactly what I want. Or one could simply use the definite article, if that is admissible too.

And so I am left in a state of doubt. Is there a grammatical construction I am missing that gives what I want? Is either of the final proposals I gave, or any of the ones I already listed, the right way of doing it? Or is it just something that cannot be done in Greek but can only be approximated?
« Last Edit: 19 Aug, 2017, 21:26:15 by Kurama »


billberg23

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Re: What you are saying is not true
« Reply #1 on: 18 Aug, 2017, 08:37:23 »
ἃ λέγετε οὐκ ἀληθῆ sounds just fine.  Don't forget that the negative before a smooth-breathing vowel is οὐκ, and before rough-breathing οὐχ.  And the initial alpha should have a grave accent, since another word follows.
Υour other suggestions seem acceptable as well — with the exception of ἅδε λέγετε οὐ ἀληθῆ.  I think you mean τάδε ἃ λέγετε οὐκ ἀληθῆ, but it still seems a bit contradictory, since the pronoun ὅδε, ἥδε, τόδε generally points to what follows, not what precedes.  ταῦτα ἃ λέγετε οὐκ ἀληθῆ would be O.K.   
Τί δέ τις; Τί δ' οὔ τις; Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος. — Πίνδαρος

Kurama

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Thanks a lot for the corrections. I have included them in the post. It is hard to type in Greek with an English keyboard!

What you said clarifies my doubts, thanks. I am assuming it would also be possible to do it this way, then?

τὰ ἃ λέγετε οὐκ ἀληθῆ.


billberg23

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I am assuming it would also be possible to do it this way, then?

τὰ ἃ λέγετε οὐκ ἀληθῆ.
Homer could get away with using τά as a demonstrative pronoun (though I can't think of an instance of his actually using τὰ ἃ), but not the Attic authors.  In Attic Greek, τά is strictly a definite article;  τὰ ἃ λέγετε would make as little sense as "the what you say" in English.  So unless you're writing Homeric hexameter, either ταῦτα ἃ λέγετε or αὐτὰ ἃ λέγετε would be acceptable.
« Last Edit: 20 Aug, 2017, 06:58:42 by billberg23 »