Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by melonidas, Feb 18, 2013.
How can I guess an unspoken verb in a sentence of strong greek?
I am not entirely sure what kind of cases you are referring to - perhaps you could give an example you found difficult to guess? All I can think of for now is that if you have a sentence with the verb omitted, and there are two noun phrases or for equivalent (adjective, pronoun etc.) and the sense demands that the one modify the other, the verb is probably εἰμί (but you probably know this already?). As for verbs other than the standard copula εἰμί, it isn't really possible to omit the verb without any indication of its identity at all, so you just have to look around for clues, both in the same sentence and adjacent sentences. Often a verb which was previously used is omitted instead of repeating it, like the following example from the Anacreontea: Ἡ γῆ μέλαινα πίνει, πίνει δένδρεα δ' αὖ γῆν, πίνει θάλασσ' ἀναύρους, ὁ δ' ἥλιος θάλασσαν, τὸν δ' ἥλιον σελήνη. Here the verb πίνει, after being overtly expressed in the first three of the five verses, is then omitted from the last two as being obvious, leaving only two noun phrases with the one in nominative case as the subject (ὁ ἥλιος and σελήνη) and the other in accusative case as the object (θάλασσαν, τὸν ἥλιον). In such cases the fact that you have a noun phrase in the accusative is a further clue that you have to look for a transitive verb. In this poem it is of course easy to spot, but in a longer passage of prose one might well get lost more easily (I remember how difficult it was at first! ).I hope this comes at least close to what you wanted to ask!
Ἡ ἐν Δελφοῖς Πυθία χρησμὸν ἔλεγε τῷ Χαιρεφῶντι· σοφὸς μὲν ὁ Σοφοκλῆς,
σοφώτερος δὲ ὁ Εὐρυπίδης, ἀνδρῶν δὲ πάντων ο Σωκράτης σοφώτατος.
I can't guess the verb after the tall point, or whatever you call it
Note that, in each of the three clauses following the "tall point" (I don't know its name either, only the Greek name ἀνω τελεία - Upper dot, perhaps?) and separated from each other by commas, the basic constituents, excepting syndetic particles such as μέν or δέ, are a noun phrase consisting of a proper name (Σοφοκλής, Εὐριπίδης, Σωκράτης) and an adjective phrase (σοφός or σοφώτερος, in the last case with modifiers of its own, namely ἀνδρῶν πάντων). The fact that you have a noun and an adjective paired in this way might suggest to you that the adjective is meant to modify the noun. This in turn should suggest that it is the copula verb εἰμί which is missing (think σοφὸς μέν ἐστι ὁ Σοφοκλῆς, σοφώτερός δ' ἐστιν ὁ Εὐρυπίδης, ἀνδρῶν δὲ πάντων ὁ Σωκράτης σοφώτατός ἐστι) and the adjective is grammatically the predicative. Did this help?
The following translation is not idiomatic, I just wrote it to show that it is not difficult to guess the verb.
"Sophocles (is) wise, but Euripides (is) wiser, however Socrates (is) the wisest of all men".
Isn't easy to guess that the missing verb is εστί (is)?
Ok Perseas, thank you. It is easy when you understand that a word is a nominative and not a genitive, and if you can seek the root of a word in the dict, which I can't at all. Also my mind thinks in spanish, and when I see the first word I always think of a subject instead of an object...
You 're right, melonidas . I had thought that you knew that Σοφοκλής, Ευριπίδης and Σωκράτης are all in nominative, i.e. the case of the subject.
I was really more confused with: ἀνδρῶν and πάντων , because i can't find the nominative of these two.
The nominatives of ἀνδρῶν and πάντων is ἄνδρες and πάντες, keeping them plural . Otherwise the nominative singulars are ἀνήρ and πᾶς.
Separate names with a comma.