passive as reflexive

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OssianX

Senior Member
English (USA)
A complete sentence: "Δε γνωρίζομαι." I want to translate it as "I don't recognize myself." But I'm not quite clear about whether this use of a passive as a reflexive is what would be meant.

More obviously it could be "I am not recognized?" But there is (rather adamantly) no one else present in the poem to do the recognizing, so my reflexive reading seems most plausible semantically -- but is it plausible grammatically?
 
  • elliest_5

    Senior Member
    UK
    Greek
    The most salient meaning of "γνωρίζομαι" is to know/have met somebody:
    "Με το Γιάννη (δεν) γνωρίζομαι" = I (don't) know/have(n't) met/have(n't) been introduced to John.

    Here, you have the verb without a complement which is really rare. If it retains the original salient meaning it could mean "I don't have any acquaintances" as in "στην καινούρια μου δουλειά δε γνωρίζομαι (εννοείται: με κανέναν)"

    But then, again, your interpretation is not impossible if we consider this form as an alternative of the form "είμαι αγνώριστος" = I am not recognisable (because I have changed very much). However, the expected form of the verb if it carried that sense would be "δεν αναγνωρίζομαι"...

    Now, a translation "I don't recognise myself" would be the least expected of all. The expected form for that sense is "δεν (ανα)γνωρίζω τον εαυτό μου" and "δε γνωρίζομαι" for the same purpose (i.e. as a reflexive) would be considered as a marginally acceptable construction - if not totally unacceptable to some.

    Once again, I couldn't help very much, because -I suppose that- it's a poem verse and this means that its interpretation depends on your interpretation of the poem...
     

    OssianX

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Hm. Though "its interpretation depends on your interpretation of the poem" of course that's only within the limits of what the language (its usage) allows; and you've given me grave doubts about that.

    On the other hand, it's hard for me to see what else the sentence could mean, in the context of a poem about an obvious loner who sometimes sticks his head and hands out the chimney (short chimney, I guess), comes back in covered with soot, sits in front of the mirror for hours ("Αυτό μ' αρέσει."), and rubs off patches of soot in various designs.

    Maybe "I'm unrecognizable"? Though that doesn't have the same impact as "I don't recognize myself."

    Thanks again -- and again partly for confirming that the problem is a real one and not just some simple misreading on my part.
     

    tasfos

    New Member
    Greek
    Το "δεν γνωρίζομαι" είναι αδόκιμο, το σωστότερο είναι η περίφραση " δεν αναγνωρίζω τον εαυτόν μου"
     
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