Tora katàlava / katalaveno

Discussion in 'Ελληνικά (Greek)' started by bearded, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. bearded

    bearded Senior Member

    Milano
    Italian
    When someone receives a satisfactory explanation, in Greek should he say ''tora katàlava'' (aorist) or ''tora katalaveno'' (present) ?
    In English it would be ''now I understand'' or ''now I see''.
    In advance many thanks for your replies.
     
  2. Perseas Senior Member

    Greek
    Yes, "τώρα κατάλαβα/καταλαβαίνω" are fine.
     
  3. BrendaP Senior Member

    Canada
    Canada, English
    This has been confusing me for a long time. Is there an explanation for why the aorist is used this way? I hear/read it often, but I can't bring myself to say "Now I understood". I always use καταλαβαίνω rather than κατάλαβα and wonder if people think I'm strange for doing that.:)
     
  4. Perseas Senior Member

    Greek
    In general they are interchangeable. If I were to spot a difference I would say: by using "καταλαβαίνω" the speaker has not yet completed his argument/statement, and you just follow him, whereas by "κατάλαβα" you have understood a part or all of it..
     
  5. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    The explanation is quite simple "I just now understood". It's more like "I've got it" / "Got it" if you wish. :)
     
  6. BrendaP Senior Member

    Canada
    Canada, English
    Oh...that makes sense. τώρα κατάλαβα!:) Thanks to both of you.
     
  7. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Wouldn't it be more precise to say "τώρα έχω καταλάβει" instead of "τώρα κατάλαβα"? Is it unusual because it has more syllables?
     
  8. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    No, I'm afraid not διαφορετικέ. "Now I have understood" just doesn't work in Greek (or English either but that's a different matter). "I have understood" conveys the meaning of something already done by the time we are speaking and has a continuous aspect. It cannot work with "τώρα".
    Compare the following:
    Κατάλαβα τι κάνεις. = I just now understood what you are doing.
    Έχω καταλάβει τι κάνεις. = I've already understood what you are doing.
    The first shows the instant of realization of what X is doing.
    The second conveys the meaning that the speaker already knows/understands what X is doing.
    You see the difference?
     
  9. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Thanks, ireney.

    Did you mean that it shows that "understanding" as well as "doing" happened in the past?

    This meaning is what I wanted to express. But you claim that it cannot be combined with "τώρα"? (In German, at least, it is possible.)
     
  10. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    This is one of the difficult ones since the aspect of tenses works differently in many cases in different languages.

    "Κατάλαβα τι κάνεις" shows that, while the action (κάνεις) is happening as we speak, the "understanding" happened just now, just a second ago.

    "Έχω καταλάβει τι κάνεις" shows that, the act of understanding has been concluded in the past. When is undetermined but if you use it instead of "κατάλαβα" you imply that the "understanding" happened some time ago.
    This is why it cannot be paired with "now". Now is about the fleeting instance of the present. It cannot be combined therefore with a tense that shows that something happened well in the past.

    Now if it was another verb, it could work. "Ξόδεψα σχεδόν όλο το μισθό μου αλλά τώρα έχω πληρώσει όλες μου τις οφειλές". (Ι spent almost all my wages but now I have paid all my debts". The difference here is this: In the first instance, "τώρα" denotes the instant of "now". In the second, it denotes that the end of a period is "now".

    Does this make any sense?
     
  11. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    I am trying to summarize your reply, ireney.

    "Κατάλαβα" (αόριστος) can denote an act (of understanding) which happened just now, just a second ago.
    "Έχω καταλάβει" (παρακείμενος) always denotes an act which happened not just now, not just a second ago, but further in the past.
    I am surprised that there is a difference between the temporal meaning of αόριστος and the one of παρακείμενος. Therefore, I am hesitating to "confirm" that this makes sense. ;)

    This makes sense, for this is the interpretation which I would have considered possible for "τώρα έχω καταλάβει", too. But if I have understood you correctly, it is only possible after a time interval of "more than a second". (?)
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  12. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    I am truly sorry for the delayed reply! Yes, you are right, that's how it works.
     
  13. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Thanks anyway for your reply, ireney.

    I have found a grammar rule which seems to fit your objection to using "τώρα" with "έχω καταλάβει":
    "Δεν μπορούμε να χρησιμοποιήσουμε τον παρακείμενο, όταν στην πρόταση υπάρχουν λέξεις ή φράσεις που δείχνουν πότε ακριβώς έγινε κάτι. Σε αυτή την περίπτωση χρησιμοποιούμε τον αόριστο."
    This was on page 127 of http://www.ilsp.gr/files/Basic_Greek_Grammar.pdf .
    So your same objection would apply to "χτες το απόγευμα έχω καταλάβει" (one should say instead "χτες το απόγευμα κατάλαβα").

    But ... if "τώρα" does not denote the instant when I performed the action of understanding, but the later, present moment, isn't it allowed to say "τώρα έχω καταλάβει" (with the intention to stress the contrast between my present knowledge and my knowledge of yesterday)?
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
  14. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    U.S.A.
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    In that instance we would use " τώρα πια έχω καταλάβει". By including " πια" we show that we are contrasting our present knowledge with the the past. It translates more closely to " by now" and it's as close as you can get to using the construction you have in mind.
    You could also say something like " τώρα που μιλάμε έχω καταλάβει τι γίνεται αλλά όταν σου τηλεφώνησα δεν είχα καταλάβει ακόμα", usually with emphasis on "έχω". I think that's what you're talking about?
     
  15. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Yes, "by now" is probably an appropriate expression for what I meant.

    Well, by the "τώρα" alone I already intended to stress the contrast between present and past. The "τώρα πια" looks like a stronger emphasis.
    I thought that this would work the same way as this example of yours:
    Doesn't this example phrase (by using "τώρα") emphasize the contrast between "my present debts and my debts in the past"? Probably one could also say "τώρα πια έχω πληρώσει όλες μου τις οφειλές" to stress that contrast more. (?) Is there a significant difference between these examples, such that "τώρα" alone is appropriate only in one of them?
     
  16. Perseas Senior Member

    Greek
    Hm, no, I wouldn't say that...

    You would use "τώρα (πια) έχω πληρώσει όλες μου τις οφειλές", if you paid them at an unspecified time before now. Maybe you could imagine two meanings; I mean "τώρα (δεν χρωστάω τίποτα,) έχω πληρώσει όλες μου τις οφειλές".
    If you use "τώρα (μόλις) πλήρωσα όλες μου τις οφειλές" you mean that you just paid them.
     
  17. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    I see a clear contrast between the debts in the past and the debts in the present: in the past, they were greater than zero, whereas in the present, they are equal to zero, because they have been paid in the meantime. This is what I mean by "contrast" here: the difference caused by the action described in παρακείμενος.
    The word "τώρα" draws my attention to time, i.e. the development of the "story", which makes me think about the fact that the debts were unpaid before, but paid now. In this sense, the word "τώρα" seems to emphasize the contrast between past and present.

    Why not?
     
  18. Perseas Senior Member

    Greek
    Thanks for the clarification. You refer to the use of τώρα in παρακείμενος, right? I think by "contrast" you mean something similar to "τώρα (δεν χρωστάω τίποτα,) έχω πληρώσει όλες μου τις οφειλές" (#16). I also see this contrast.
     
  19. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Yes, I do, thanks for the feedback.
    Yes.
     
  20. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    One question is still left.
    Is it possible to express the meaning of "τώρα πια έχω καταλάβει" without the "πια": "τώρα έχω καταλάβει" ? (Accepting that some emphasis is lost by dropping the "πια".)
     
  21. danoisedelacobra Member

    Greek
    In some contexts it may not be wrong, perhaps in written word or as a concluding mark, followed by what is it that you have understood, e.g. τώρα έχω καταλάβει τί κουμάσια ήτανε, "Now I reckon what a piece of work they were." (Or by implying it was something already said - some kind of ellipsis) But as a standalone expression prefer Τώρα κατάλαβα.
     
  22. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Thank you, danoisedelacobra.

    I think "Τώρα κατάλαβα" as a "standalone" expression is always some kind of ellipsis because there is always an object of "understanding". Don't you agree?
     
  23. danoisedelacobra Member

    Greek
    Well, I mentioned ellipsis in order to justify "τώρα καταλαβαίνω". I have not thought of "τώρα κατάλαβα" as a form of default ellipsis, as you say, but I guess this is a way to see it. The speaker definitely has in mind "the whole thing" which they have understood. However, the construction has to do more with aspect, i.e. the fact that they refer to the state of understanding as a whole event. The understanding of aspect solves this and all similar problems in modern Greek. See works by A. Mozer, a linguist in University of Athens that specializes in verb aspect in modern Greek. Think of the examples: Θα πηγαίνω ταξίδι κάθε δύο μήνες vs Θα πάω Γερμανία για δύο μήνες (i.e. repetition vs duration). Standard textbook terminology εξακολουθητικός vs στιγμιαίος μέλλοντας do not tap the phenomenon accurately. Study the above mentioned scholar for an exhaustive treatment.
     
  24. διαφορετικός

    διαφορετικός Senior Member

    Swiss German - Switzerland
    Hi danoisedelacobra,
    Your message is rather general and I don't see the application to the thread's subject. Can you please specify two example phrases between which you see a difference in aspect? Thanks in advance.
     

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