...Πρέπει να τον βοηθούν όταν έχει ανάγκη

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by panettonea, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. panettonea Senior Member

    English--US
    I'll repeat the sentence above in context and follow it with a similar sentence:

    a) Οι φίλοι του πρέπει να τον βοηθούν όταν έχει ανάγκη.
    b) Οι φίλοι του πρέπει να τον βοηθήσουν τώρα που το έχει ανάγκη.

    Now a couple of questions:

    1) What is the meaning of το in the second sentence? It can't refer directly to ανάγκη, which is feminine. Is the antecedent simply understood to be help?
    2) Is το actually necessary in the second sentence, and could it be used in the first sentence as well?
     
  2. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece
    OK first of all you do know that these two have a different meaning right? (When he is in need, when he's in a difficult position vs now that he needs help).

    "Το" stands for "the fact that they'll help". Or, in another words "help" :D
    Same, more or less with "it" in "must help him when/now that he needs it". And yes, it could be used in the first sentence too. But it would change the meaning to "whenever he needs help".
     
  3. panettonea Senior Member

    English--US
    Well, according to my book, the το itself doesn't really change the meaning, at least in the opinion of the authors. The book gives 6 sentences in parallel to illustrate a point. I didn't really want to type out the entire example, but I guess I'll have to:

    ------------------------------------------------
    Πρέπει in the sense of obligation is followed by a clause introduced by να with a verb which may be in the imperfective or the perfective non-past, the imperfect or the pluperfect. These combinations are exemplified below:

    (7) Οι φίλοι του πρέπει να τον βοηθούν όταν έχει ανάγκη
    'His friends must help him when he is in need'

    (8) Οι φίλοι του έπρεπε να τον βοηθούν όταν έχει ανάγκη
    'His friends should help him when he is in need'

    (9) Οι φίλοι του πρέπει να τον βοηθήσουν τώρα που το έχει ανάγκη
    'His friends must help him now that he is in need'

    (10) Οι φίλοι του έπρεπε να τον βοηθήσουν τώρα που το έχει ανάγκη
    'His friends should help him now that he is in need'

    (11) Οι φίλοι του έπρεπε να τον βοηθούσαν
    'His friends ought to have been helping him'

    (12) Οι φίλοι του έπρεπε να τον είχαν βοηθήσει
    'His friends ought to have helped him'

    ---------------------------------------

    Thanks. OK, that's what I was thinking. :)

    In formal English, everything is supposed to have an antecedent. So, saying "we'll help him now that he needs it" would not be considered correct. However, in informal English, that would be fine, because everybody knows exactly what you mean. :D

    It's interesting how the authors use το only in (9) and (10), but consistently translate the end of the first 4 sentences as "he is in need." I just found it confusing, and still do. Maybe they have some hidden agenda. ;)
     
  4. panettonea Senior Member

    English--US
    Oh, I thought of something else. Why wouldn't it be τοu έχει ανάγκη? Doesn't a person have need of something? Or maybe it's not expressed that way in Greek.

    Incidentally, apparently my book (according to its preface) has been translated into Greek as well and is used as a basic grammar source for many Greek universities. Some of you might even have the Greek version.
     
  5. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece
    Easy one first: Yes, I know, "it" is not considered, strictly speaking correct. I needed some kind of equivalent and, since it's used quite often, in my experience, I thought I'd use it.


    Well, it wouldn't be the first time I disagree with a book, university ones included. True, "τώρα που έχει ανάγκη" can be translated (or thought of) as meaning "now that he needs help". But, to me, that's sloppy thinking. Or, if you wish, taking a phrase out of the overall context.

    See, in my mind, in the non-το phrasing, ανάγκη refers to the specific thing he's in need of. Say, Ο Πέτρος δεν έχει λεφτά. Πρέπει να τον βοηθήσουν τώρα που έχει ανάγκη (I'm changing it on purpose). Ο Πέτρος έχασε τη μνήμη του. Ο Πέτρος ξέμεινε από καφέ. "Need" in this case refers to the specific help Petros needs.

    In the case of "Ο Πέτρος δεν έχει λεφτά. Πρέπει να τον βοηθήσουν τώρα που το έχει ανάγκη" the need refers to the fact that he needs help.

    In other words, "το" may not change the fact that he needs help now, it changes the focus between the need and the help. In one case we're focusing on what help he needs, in the other on the fact that he needs help.

    It could very well be that this is only my opinion though. I hope others join our conversation.

    As for your second question: It's not "του" because it's not "he is need of help" but "he needs help".
     
  6. panettonea Senior Member

    English--US
    OK. Of course, saying "Give him help if he needs it" is perfectly fine. And anyway, "formal" English is pretty much dying out. Newspapers and magazines tend to use informal English, so the phrase you wrote could easily be encountered in such publications.

    Well, books aren't always right, that's for sure.

    I see what you're saying. Thanks for your explanation of what you consider the difference between the two.

    Yes, but in the clause "τώρα που το έχει ανάγκη" the verb there is "has," not "needs." Or does έχει mean "there exists" in this case? It seems that the direct object of έχει is ανάγκη, so grammatically what function does το have there? That of a second direct object? It appears to be in the accusative.
     
  7. Live2Learn Junior Member

    English - USA
    Panettonea wrote, "Yes, but in the clause "τώρα που το έχει ανάγκη" the verb there is "has," not "needs." Or does έχει mean "there exists" in this case? It seems that the direct object of έχει is ανάγκη, so grammatically what function does το have there? That of a second direct object? It appears to be in the accusative."[/QUOTE]

    Response from L2L: There are some verbs in Greek that use the accusative case for both the direct and indirect object. One verb that comes to mind is ρωτάω, e.g. Ρώτησε τον [not του!] το ζώδιο του! Another is Πάρε με [not μου!] τήλεφωνο!
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  8. Perseas Senior Member

    Athens - GR
    Greek
    In Greek there are phrases consisted of the verb έχω plus noun, which are called "περιφράσεις" (η περίφραση). Some of them are: έχω τη γνώμη (=νομίζω), έχω την υποψία (=υποψιάζομαι), έχω την προαίσθηση (=προαισθάνομαι), έχω ανάγκη (=χρειάζομαι) etc. They remind of the English phrasal verbs.
    In this example "Οι φίλοι του πρέπει να τον βοηθήσουν τώρα που το έχει ανάγκη" το is the object of "έχει ανάγκη", and not of "έχει"
     
  9. panettonea Senior Member

    English--US
    Thanks. I was aware of the first one, but not sure about the second one. I am now, though. ;)
     
  10. panettonea Senior Member

    English--US
    Thanks. I betcha my book doesn't even cover that topic. ;) That's very interesting and helpful to know. It's not something I could have ever figured out on my own. And now I know why Ireney was saying that the verb is "needs." :)

    OK, now I understand. So is the antecedent of το then the entire phrase να τον βοηθήσουν?
     
  11. Perseas Senior Member

    Athens - GR
    Greek
    "Οι φίλοι του πρέπει να τον βοηθήσουν" gives us the information we need to know what does "το" refer to.
    So yes, "να τον βοηθήσουν οι φίλοι του" as you say, or with a little rephrasing "τη βοήθεια των φίλων του".
    I totally agree with ireney.
     
  12. panettonea Senior Member

    English--US
    Except in the latter case we have gender mismatch. :) But since the tone of the sentences in the book seems to be rather informal anyway, perhaps that kind of stuff doesn't really matter. ;)
    Now that you explained about the periphrastic verbs, what ireney was saying has become even clearer.
     
  13. Αγγελος Senior Member

    Greek
    You all reminded me of a memorable exchange from Alice in Wonderland:

    [The Mouse is reading aloud from a history book] "Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared for him: and even Stigand, the patriotic archbishop of Canterbury, found it advisable--"'
    `Found WHAT?' said the Duck.
    `Found IT,' the Mouse replied rather crossly: `of course you know what "it" means.'
    `I know what "it" means well enough, when I find a thing,' said the Duck: `it's generally a frog or a worm. The question is, what did the archbishop find?'
    The Mouse did not notice this question, but hurriedly went on,`"--found it advisable to go with Edgar Atheling to meet William andoffer him the crown. [etc.]
     

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