First Person Imperative

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RobertStump
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First Person Imperative

Post by RobertStump » September 17th, 2011, 11:30 pm

If the imperative tense has only second and third person forms then how does one give oneself a command?

For instance, I recall when I was kid that we would pull our trampoline up next to the elm tree in our side yard so that we could climb the tree and jump to the trampoline. Being afraid of heights I would climb to the crook of the tree and say to myself, "Jump." In English it doesn't matter given the form is the same for the imperative whomever you are speaking to, but in Greek would I say πήδαε or πηδαέτω? (or maybe ἐγώ πήδαε, or πήδαε με. . . is there a vocative for the first person pronoun?)

Propter Sanguinem Agni,
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Robert Stump
Seminarian
Orlando, FL

maior sum cui possit fortuna nocere -Cicero
quid ergo dicemus ad haec si Deus pro nobis quis contra nos? - St. Paul (Rom viii 31)

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: First Person Imperative

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 18th, 2011, 6:38 am

Greetings, Robert. I believe you would simply use the second person imperative -- in your English example, it's as though you are talking to yourself in the second person. Somewhere I have seen examples of this in Greek, but can't think of an example right now.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

cwconrad
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Re: First Person Imperative

Post by cwconrad » September 18th, 2011, 7:44 am

Ordinarily the subjunctive is used in the first-person; it's more common in the first-person plural than in the singular; this usage is called a "hortatory subjunctive." For English usage of a first-person singular imperative, what comes to my mind is the old pop song, Don't Fence Me In: " ... Let me ride through the wide open country that I love,Don't fence me in. Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees ... "

Of course, these "let-me" imperatives could well be understood as real imperatives calling on someone to allow an action, but it's ordinarily an idiomatic expression for an imperative.

In English we generally translate the first-person and third-person imperatives by using the imperative + pronoun + infinitive, as in the example, " ... let me ride ... " Actually, however, this usage is common in many languages, e.g. John Kennedy's Berlin speech refrain, "Let them come to Berlin" (and the German version, "Lass sie nach Berlin kommen"). And this usage is no less common in colloquial Greek, where there are examples in the GNT, e.g.

Matt. 27:49 οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ ἔλεγον· ἄφες ἴδωμεν εἰ ἔρχεται Ἠλίας σώσων αὐτόν. "Let's see if ... "

A first-person optative may also be used this way. Although we're told that the optative is archaic and rare in Koine Greek, Paul uses the first-person optative and follows it with a second person imperative in Philemon in what seems a srong, heartfelt appeal:

Philem. 20 ναὶ ἀδελφέ, ἐγώ σου ὀναίμην ἐν κυρίῳ· ἀνάπαυσόν μου τὰ σπλάγχνα ἐν Χριστῷ.

NET gives as a version of this: "Yes, brother, let me have some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ."
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

Mark Lightman
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Joined: May 6th, 2011, 6:30 pm

Re: First Person Imperative

Post by Mark Lightman » September 18th, 2011, 8:30 am

If the imperative tense has only second and third person forms then how does one give oneself a command?
Hi Robert,

You can also talk to your soul. Luke 12:19
καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου, Ψυχή, ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά: ἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου.
"I will say to my soul, Soul...relax, eat something, have a drink, be happy!"

Odysseus talks to his heart:
Homer wrote in Odyssey 20:18 τέτλαθι, δή, κραδίη
"Hang in there, o heart of mine!"

Did Carl mention deliberate questions? "Are we not men?" really means "Man up!" γράψω? "Am I to write" or οὐ γράψω? "Will I not write" really means γράφε, γράψον, "write!"
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cwconrad
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Re: First Person Imperative

Post by cwconrad » September 18th, 2011, 9:14 am

Mark Lightman wrote:Odysseus talks to his heart:
Homer wrote in Odyssey 20:18 τέτλαθι, δή, κραδίη
"Hang in there, o heart of mine!"

Did Carl mention deliberate questions? "Are we not men?" really means "Man up!" γράψω? "Am I to write" or οὐ γράψω? "Will I not write" really means γράφε, γράψον, "write!"
Well, now, in fact Odysseus talks repeatedly πρὸς ὃν μεγαλήτορα θυμόν, especially after Poseidon wrecks his raft and he is storm-tossed until he washes up on Phaeacia in Odyssey 5. But I'm surprised that Mark didn't cite the poem of Archilochus (67a) that I called his attention to a while back, the one that is clearly based upon Odysseus' self-exhortations to bear up under difficulties:

θυμέ, θύμ', ἀμηχάνοισι κήδεσιν κυκώμενε,
†ἀναδευ δυσμενῶν† δ' ἀλέξ<εο> προσβαλὼν ἐναντίον
στέρνον †ἐνδοκοισιν ἐχθρῶν πλησίον κατασταθεὶς
ἀσφαλ<έω>ς· καὶ μήτε νικ<έω>ν ἀμφάδην ἀγάλλεο,
μηδὲ νικηθεὶς ἐν οἴκωι καταπεσὼν ὀδύρεο, 5
ἀλλὰ χαρτοῖσίν τε χαῖρε καὶ κακοῖσιν ἀσχάλα
μὴ λίην, γίνωσκε δ' οἷος ῥυσμὸς ἀνθρώπους ἔχει.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

RobertStump
Posts: 11
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 2:06 pm
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: First Person Imperative

Post by RobertStump » September 18th, 2011, 9:48 pm

Thanks for all of the replies. That clears it up very nicely.
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Robert Stump
Seminarian
Orlando, FL

maior sum cui possit fortuna nocere -Cicero
quid ergo dicemus ad haec si Deus pro nobis quis contra nos? - St. Paul (Rom viii 31)

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