Great chapter on the syntax of questions

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Jonathan Robie
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Great chapter on the syntax of questions

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 21st, 2015, 12:07 pm

I have had a hard time finding a good chapter on the syntax of questions. Giuseppe Celano pointed me to this excellent chapter in Kühner's Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache. As a bonus, it has links into Smyth, where material relevant to this matter is scattered.

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Re: Great chapter on the syntax of questions

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 21st, 2015, 2:25 pm

I pulled together various statements that Smyth makes about answering and answering questions. I'm posting this here in case someone else finds it useful. Some parts of this do not seem directly applicable to the GNT and LXX.
  • 2636
    Questions are either direct (independent) or indirect (dependent). Thus, τίς ἔλεξε ταῦτα; who said this? ἐρωτῶ ὅστις ἔλεξε ταῦτα I ask who said this.
  • 2638
    Yes and No Questions (or sentence-questions) are asked by the verb (whether a given thing is or is done). Such questions are commonly introduced by an interrogative particle. Pronoun-questions (or word-questions) are asked by an interrogative pronoun, adjective, or adverb (who, what, where, when, how).
  • 2642
    Questions which cannot be answered by yes or no are introduced by interrogative pronouns, adjectives or adverbs (340, 346), usually without any interrogative particle, and may have any form of the simple sentence.
    τί οὖν κελεύω ποιῆσαι; what then do I urge you to do? X. A. 1.4.14, πόσον . . . ἄπεστιν ἐνθένδε τὸ στράτευμα; how far distant from here is the army? X. C. 6.3.10, πῶς εἶπας; what (lit. how) did you say? P. G. 447d, τί ἂν αὐτῷ εἶπες; what would you have said to him? P. R. 337c.
  • 2665
    The use of the direct interrogatives is a relic of original juxtaposition, e.g. εἰπέ μοι, ποῖόν τι νομίζεις εὐσέβειαν εἶναι; tell me, what sort of a thing do you think holiness is? X. M. 4.6.2. The interrogative force of the indefinite relatives is derived, not from any interrogative idea in these words, but from the connection in which they stand.
  • 2644
    A subordinate clause introduced by a conjunction or a relative pronoun may suddenly change into a direct pronoun-question, though the construction of the clause remains unaltered. Thus, ἐπειδὴ περὶ τίνος Ἀθηναῖοι διανοοῦνται βουλεύεσθαι, ἀνίστασαι συμβουλεύων; when the Athenians are intending to deliberate (lit. about what?) do you get up to give them advice? P. Alc. I. 106 c, πόθ᾽ ἃ χρὴ πράξετε; ἐπειδὰν τί γένηται; when will you do what you ought to do? in what event? (lit. when what shall have happened?) D. 4.10.
  • 2645
    Two questions may be condensed into one in an interrogative sentence by placing an interrogative between the article and its noun. Thus, ἐγὼ οὖν τὸν ἐκ ποίας πόλεως στρατηγὸν προσδοκῶ ταῦτα πράξειν; am I waiting for a general to do this? From what city? X. A. 3.1.14.
  • 2646
    Two or more interrogative pronouns, without a connective, may occur in the same sentence (question within a question). Thus, ἀπὸ τούτων τίς τίνος αἴτιός ἐστι γενήσεται φανερόν from this it will become clear who is chargeable with what D. 18.73, ἐπειδάν τίς τινα φιλῇ, πότερος ποτέρου φίλος γίγνεται; whenever one person loves another, which one is the lover of which? P. Lys. 212a.
  • 2650
    ἦ and ἆρα introduce questions asking merely for information and imply nothing as to the answer expected (neither yes nor no).
    ἦ τέθνηκεν Οἰδίπου πατήρ; is Oedipus' father really dead? S. O. T. 943, ἦ λέγω (delib. subj.); shall I tell you? X. C. 8.4.10, ἦ καὶ οἴκοι τῶν πλουσίων ἦσθα; were you really one of the rich men when you were at home? 8. 3. 36.

    ἆρ᾽ εἰμὶ μάντις; am I a prophet? S. Ant. 1212, ἆρ᾽ Ὀδυσσέως κλύω; can it be that I am listening to Odysseus? S. Ph. 976, ἆρα ἐθελήσειεν ἂν ἡμῖν διαλεχθῆναι; will he really be willing to talk with us? P. G. 447b.
  • 2651
    οὐ, ἆρ᾽ ου᾽, οὐκοῦν expect the answer yes (nonne), μή, ἆρα μή, μῶν ( = μὴ οὖν) expect the answer no (num).
    a. οὐχ οὕτως ἔλεγες; did you not say so? P. R. 334b (i.e. ‘I think you did, did you not?’), ἆρ᾽ οὐχ ὕβρις τάδε; is not this insolence? S. O. C. 883, οὐκοῦν . . . εὖ σοι δοκοῦσι βουλεύεσθαι; do they not then seem to you to plan well? X. C. 7.1.8. οὐκοῦν οὐ expects the answer no.

    b. μή τι νεώτερον ἀγγέλλεις; no bad news, I hope? P. Pr. 310b, ἆρα μὴ αἰσχυνθῶμεν; surely we are not ashamed, are we? (or can it be that we should be ashamed?) X. O. 4.4, μὴ ἀποκρί_νωμαι; am I not to answer? P. R. 337b, μῶν τί σε ἀδικεῖ; surely he has not wronged you, has he? (or can it be that, etc.) P. Pr. 310d. μῶν οὐ expects the answer yes.
  • 2650
    ἦ and ἆρα introduce questions asking merely for information and imply nothing as to the answer expected (neither yes nor no).
    ἦ τέθνηκεν Οἰδίπου πατήρ; is Oedipus' father really dead? S. O. T. 943, ἦ λέγω (delib. subj.); shall I tell you? X. C. 8.4.10, ἦ καὶ οἴκοι τῶν πλουσίων ἦσθα; were you really one of the rich men when you were at home? 8. 3. 36.

    ἆρ᾽ εἰμὶ μάντις; am I a prophet? S. Ant. 1212, ἆρ᾽ Ὀδυσσέως κλύω; can it be that I am listening to Odysseus? S. Ph. 976, ἆρα ἐθελήσειεν ἂν ἡμῖν διαλεχθῆναι; will he really be willing to talk with us? P. G. 447b.

    a. ἆρα is from ἦ ¨ ἄρα. ἦ is chiefly poetic. Homer uses ἦ, not ἆρα. Both particles denote interest on the part of the questioner (often = really? surely?).
  • 2653
    (Not relevant to Hellenistic?)εἶτα and ἔπειτα (more emphatic κᾆτα, κἄ_πειτα) introduce questions expressing surprise, indignation, irony, etc.; and often indicate a contrast between what a person has or has not done and what is or was to be expected of him. Thus, εἶτα πῶς οὐκ εὐθὺς ἐπήγειράς με; then why did you not rouse me at once? P. Cr. 43b.
  • 2654
    ἀλλά (ἀλλ᾽ ἦ) introduces a question opposed to an expressed or implied thought of the speaker (especially an objection). Thus, ᾔτουν τί σε καὶ ἐπεί μοι οὐκ ἐδίδους ἔπαιον; ἀλλ᾽ ἀπῄτουν; ἀλλὰ περὶ παιδικῶν μαχόμενος; ἀλλὰ μεθύων ἐπαρῴνησα; did I ask anything of you and strike you when you would not give it to me? Or did I demand anything back? Or was I quarreling about an object of affection? Or was I the worse for liquor and did I treat you with drunken violence? X. A. 5.8.4, ἀλλ᾽ ἦ, τὸ λεγόμενον, κατόπιν ἑορτῆς ἥκομεν; but have we arrived, as the proverb says, late for a feast? P. G. 447a. Cp. 2785.
  • 2655
    δέ sometimes introduces a suppressed thought, as an objection. Thus, εἰπέ μοι, σὺ δὲ δὴ τί τὴν πόλιν ἡμῖν ἀγαθὸν πεποίηκας; tell me, (but) what good, pray, have you done the State? D. 8.70.
  • 2652
    ἄλλο τι ἤ; is it anything else than? and ἄλλο τι; is it not? are used as direct interrogatives. Thus, ἄλλο τι ἢ οὐδὲν κωλύ_ει παρεῖναι; there's nothing to hinder our passing, is there? (lit. is there anything else the case than this that nothing prevents, etc.) X. A. 4.7.5, ἄλλο τι φιλεῖται ὑπὸ θεῶν; is it not loved by the gods? P. Euth. 10d. Cp. τί γὰρ ἄλλο ἢ κινδυ_νεύσεις ἐπιδεῖξαι κτλ.; for what other risk will you run than that of showing, etc.? ( = for what else will you do than that you will very likely show?) X. M. 2.3.17.
  • 2656
    Direct alternative questions are usually introduced by πότερον (πότερα) . . . ἤ whether . . . or (Lat. utrum . . . an).
    πότερον δέδρα_κεν ἢ οὔ; has he done it or not? D. 23.79, πότερόν σέ τις, Αἰσχίνη, τῆς πόλεως ἐχθρὸν ἢ ἐμὸν εἶναι φῇ; shall I say, Aeschines, that you are the enemy of the State or mine? 18. 124 (τις φῇ ῀ φῶ, 1805 c), πότερα δ᾽ ἡγεῖ . . . ἄμεινον εἶναι σὺν τῷ σῷ ἀγαθῷ τὰ_ς τι_μωρία_ς ποιεῖσθαι ἢ σὺν τῇ σῇ ζημίᾳ; do you think that it is better to inflict the proper punishments in your own interest or to your own loss? X. C. 3.1.15.
  • 2657
    ἤ often stands alone without πότερον (as an without utrum). Thus, ἔλυ_ε τὴν εἰρήνην ἢ οὔ; did he break the peace or not? D. 18.71, ἢν χρήματα πολλὰ ἔχῃ, ἐᾷς πλουτεῖν ἢ πένητα ποιεῖς; if he has great wealth, do you let him keep on being rich or do you make him poor? X. C. 3.1.12. So when the first question expresses uncertainty on the part of the questioner; as ἀλλὰ τίς σοι διηγεῖτο; ἢ αὐτὸς Σωκράτης; but who told you the story? (was it some one else) or was it Socrates himself? P. S. 173a. Cp. 2860.
  • 2675
    . Indirect alternative questions are introduced by the particles signifying whether . . . or: πότερον (πότερα) . . . ἤ, εἴτε . . . εἴτε, εἰ . . . ἤ, εἰ . . . εἴτε. See also under Particles.
    a. πότερον (πότερα) . . . ἤ: Thus, ““διηρώτα_ τὸν Κῦρον πότερον βούλοιτο μένειν ἢ ἀπιέναι” she asked Cyrus whether he wanted to stay or go away” X. C. 1.3.15, ““θαυμάζω πότερα ὡς κρατῶν βασιλεὺς αἰτεῖ τὰ ὅπλα ἢ ὡς διὰ φιλία_ν δῶρα” I wonder whether the king asks for our arms as a conqueror or as gifts on the plea of friendship” X. A. 2.1.10.

    N.—πότερον . . . ἤ may denote that the second alternative is more important than the first. πότερον is omitted when the introductory clause contains the adjective πότερος (X. C. 1.3.2).

    b. εἴτε . . . εἴτε gives equal value to each alternative. Thus, ““τὴν σκέψιν ποιώμεθα εἴτε ὠφελία_ν εἴτε βλάβην παρέχει” let us make the inquiry whether it produces benefit or injury” P. Phae. 237d.

    c. εἰ . . . ἤ indicates that the second alternative is preferable or more probable. Thus, ἠρώτα_ εἰ αὐτοῖς τοῖς ἀνδράσι σπένδοιτο τοῖς ἰοῦσι καὶ ἀπιοῦσιν, ἢ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἔσοιντο σπονδαί he asked whether he was making a truce merely with the individual men who were coming and going or whether the truce would be with the rest as well X. A. 2.3.7.

    d. εἰ . . . εἴτε is like εἴτε . . . εἴτε. Thus, ““εἰ δ᾽ ἔτ᾽ ἐστὶν ἔμψυ_χος γυνὴ εἴτ᾽ οὖν ὄλωλεν, εἰδέναι βουλοίμεθ᾽ ἄν” we should like to know whether the lady is still alive or dead” E. Alc. 140.

    e. ἢ (ἠὲ) . . . ἦ (ἦε) occurs in Homer, as ““ὄφρ᾽ ἐὺ εἰδῶ ἠὲ νέον μεθέπεις ἦ καὶ πατρώιός ἐσσι ξεῖνος” that I may know well whether thou art newly a visitor or art actually an ancestral guest-friend” α 175. Cp. 2661. ἢ . . . ἤ is doubtful in Attic.
  • 2662
    The moods used in direct questions are the same as those used in statements.
    a. Indicative (examples in 2642): sometimes in a past tense with ἄν, as πῶς δὲ πάντες ἐζήλουν ἂν τοὺς τυράννους; but why should all men envy despotic rulers? X. Hi. 1.9, εἴ τις ἕνα νόμον . . . ἐξαλείψειεν . . . , ἆρ᾽ οὐκ ἂν ἀπεκτείνατ᾽ αὐτόν; if any one should cancel a single law . . ., would you not have put him to death? Lyc. 66. On τί οὐ or τί οὖν οὐ with the aorist, see 1936.

    b. Subjunctive: in deliberative questions (2639). On the anticipatory subjunctive in τί πάθω, see 1811.

    c. Optative (potential), as τίς φράσειεν ἄν; who can tell? E. I. T. 577. Without ἄν this
  • 2677
    The moods and tenses of indirect questions follow the same rules as govern clauses in indirect discourse. The person may be changed.
    After primary tenses, the mood and tense of the direct question are retained (indicative, past indicative with ἄν, deliberative subjunctive, potential optative with ἄν).

    After secondary tenses, the mood and tense of the direct form may be retained or the optative may be used instead. The latter is more common. But a past indicative with ἄν always remains unchanged.

    a. Direct Form Retained.—““πολλάκις ἐσκόπει τί διαφέρει μανία_ς ἀμαθία_” he often considered in what respect ignorance differed from madness” X. M. 1.2.50, ““ἠπορεῖτο τι ποιήσει” he was uncertain what to do” X. A. 7.3.29 ( = τί ποιήσω, deliberative future, 1916), ““ἐβουλεύοντο εἴτε κατακαύσωσιν . . . εἴτε τι ἄλλο χρήσωνται” they deliberated whether they should burn them or dispose of them in some other manner” T. 2.4 ( = κατακαύσωμεν, χρησώμεθα;), ““ἠρώτησε . . . ποῦ ἂν ἴδοι Πρόξενον” he asked where he could see Proxenus” X. A. 2.4.15 ( = ποῦ ἂν ἴδοιμι;).

    b. Optative: ““ἤρετο εἴ τις ἐμοῦ εἴη σοφώτερος” he asked whether any one was wiser than I” P. A. 21a ( = ἐστί;), ““ὅ τι δὲ ποιήσοι οὐ διεσήμηνε” he did not announce publicly what he was going to do” X. A. 2.1.23 ( = τί ποιήσω;), ““τὸν θεὸν ἐπηρώτων εἰ παραδοῖεν Κορινθίοις τὴν πόλιν” they questioned the god whether they should surrender the city to the Corinthians” T. 1.25 ( = παραδῶμεν;). Here παραδοῖεν might represent the aorist indicative, but that tense is usually retained to avoid confusion (exceptionally ἠρώτα_ τι πάθοιεν X. C. 2.3.19; cp. X. A. 6.3.25, D. 50.55). An imperfect relatively anterior to the time of the main verb is retained in D. 30.19.

    c. A dubitative subjunctive in an indirect question, when dependent on an optative, may be attracted into the optative; as ““ἔλεγες . . . ὅτι οὐκ ἂν ἔχοις ἐξεθὼν ὅ τι χοῷο σαυτῷ” you were saying that if you went out you would not know what to do with yourself” P. Cr. 45b ( = τί χρῶμαι ἐμαυτῷ;).

    d. Homer has the optative for the indicative due to indirect discourse only in indirect questions; as ““εἴροντο τίς εἴη καὶ πόθεν ἔλθοι” they asked who he was and whence he had come” ρ 368. See 2624 c.
  • 2678
    After a secondary tense the mood of a direct question may be retained (usually for vividness) in the same sentence with the mood of an indirect question (cp. 2632). Thus, ““ὁμοῖοι ἦσαν θαυμάζειν ὅποι ποτὲ τρέψονται οἱ Ἕλληνες καὶ τί ἐν νῷ ἔχοιεν” they seemed to be wondering to what direction the Greeks would turn and what they had in mind” X. A. 3.5.13, ““ἤρετο ὅ τι θαυμάζοι καὶ ὁπόσοι αὐτῶν τεθνᾶσιν” he asked what it was that he was astonished at and how many of them were dead” T. 3.113 ( = τί θαυμάζεις, πόσοι τεθνᾶσιν;).
    a. In some cases there is no apparent reason (apart from desire for variety) for this use of the indicative and optative in the same sentence. Sometimes the indicative may ask for a statement of fact, the optative request an opinion of the person questioned.
  • 2680
    (Clearly needs modification for Hellenistic) Yes and No questions may be answered in various ways, e.g.:
    a. By repeating the verb or another emphatic word with or without one or more confirmative adverbs. Thus, ““φῂς σὺ ἀμείνω πολί_την εἶναι, ὃν σὺ ἐπαινεῖς, ἢ ὃν ἐγώ; φημὶ γὰρ οὖν” do you assert that the citizen whom you approve is better than the one I approve? I do say so” X. M. 4.6.14, ““οἶσθ᾽ οὖν ἂ λέξαι σοι . . . θέλω; οὐκ οἶδα” dost thou know what I fain would tell thee? No.” E. Hec. 999.

    b. By ἐγώ, ἔγωγε, οὐκ ἐγώ, οὐκ ἔγωγε, sometimes with νὴ Δία or μὰ Δία.

    c. Yes may be expressed by ναί, ναὶ μὰ τὸν Δία, μάλιστα, φημί, πάνυ γε, πάνυ μὲν οὖν, εὖ γε, ἔστι ταῦτα, ἔστιν οὕτως, ἀληθῆ λέγεις, ἀληθέστατα, ὀρθῶς γε, κομιδῇ, etc.

    No may be expressed by οὔ, οὐκ ἔστιν, οὐ δῆτα, οὐ μὰ Δία, οὐδαμῶς, οὔ φημι, μὴ γάρ, ἥκιστα, ἥκιστά γε, etc.

    d. In the form of a question: τί μήν; τί γάρ; ἀλλὰ τί; πῶς; πόθεν; πῶς γὰρ οὔ;
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Paul-Nitz
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Re: Great chapter on the syntax of questions

Post by Paul-Nitz » August 23rd, 2015, 2:47 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Giuseppe Celano pointed me to this excellent chapter in Kühner's Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache. As a bonus, it has links into Smyth, where material relevant to this matter is scattered.
Thank you for collecting those quotations about questioning from Smyth. Very useful. A wish would be to have these checked and illustrated by Koine period texts.

Do the quotations from Smyth represent most of the points made in the chapter in Kuhner?
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Great chapter on the syntax of questions

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 23rd, 2015, 3:58 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:Do the quotations from Smyth represent most of the points made in the chapter in Kuhner?
Most, yes, but there are definitely things in Kuehner that I don't see in Smyth.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Great chapter on the syntax of questions

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 24th, 2015, 1:51 pm

I'm beginning to wish this were the subject of my SBL 2015 presentation ... maybe for 2016 ;->

At any rate, I found a decent discussion of interrogative clauses and answering a question in An Historical Greek Grammar: Chiefly of the Attic Dialect as Written and Spoken from Classical Antiquity Down to the Present Time, Founded Upon the Ancient Texts, Inscriptions, Papyri and Present Popular Greek, by Jannaris. It's the best I've seen in English so far, and even though it is primarily about Attic, it gives lots of New Testament examples and indications of where Attic and New Testament usage differ.

I also found an interesting article on yes (and no) in ancient literary greek by Donna Shalev.

I'll attach the relevant parts of Jannaris to this post as an attachment.
Attachments
jannaris-questions.pdf
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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