τι and Context

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.
Post Reply
rail
Posts: 3
Joined: July 6th, 2017, 9:20 pm

τι and Context

Post by rail » July 27th, 2017, 5:01 pm

Τι ακουσομεν του διδασκαλου;

The above sentence in Duff's textbook is translated by Duff as, "Why should we listen to the teacher?"

But, stripped of context, couldn't the sentence also be translated as, "What should we listen to from the teacher?"

Given that the sentence has no context, could it be interpreted in more than one way? Or is Duff's translation the only proper one?

cwconrad
Posts: 2109
Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:52 pm
Location: Burnsville, NC 28714
Contact:

Re: τι and Context

Post by cwconrad » July 28th, 2017, 7:04 am

rail wrote:
July 27th, 2017, 5:01 pm
Τι ακουσομεν του διδασκαλου;

The above sentence in Duff's textbook is translated by Duff as, "Why should we listen to the teacher?"

But, stripped of context, couldn't the sentence also be translated as, "What should we listen to from the teacher?"

Given that the sentence has no context, could it be interpreted in more than one way? Or is Duff's translation the only proper one?
ἁκουειν means "hear"; it commonly construes with an accusative of the content heard and a genitive of a person from whom one hears the content. "Listen (to)" or "pay attention (to(" is commonly προσέχειν (with implicit νοῦν) and a dative of the person.

I would expect Duff's sentence, as it's written, to mean "What will we hear from the teacher?" It's true enough that τί can be used in the sense "why, for what reason", but if that's the intention, it would be clearer to use "διὰ τί".
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest