Re: meaning EAN

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue May 20 1997 - 07:31:49 EDT

At 11:27 PM -0400 5/19/97, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>What is needed here is a bit of perspective of the sort gained from
>awareness of the history of the language and the transformations it has
>gone through from the Homeric and Classical Attic to the many varieties of
>Koiné. Just as the hINA clauses have expanded beyond the original adverbial
>purpose function to encompass quite a variety of substantive clauses in
>Koiné, so EAN clauses have expanded beyond their original base as protasis
>of general and vivid future conditions. For one thing, many users of EAN
>are not even conscious of its original inclusion of an EI; in effect EAN
>has become a marker for subjunctive clauses in all kinds of conditions: EAN
>+ subj. = hOTAN + subj. = EAN TIS + subj. = hOSTIS AN + subj.--or you may
>find a hOS EAN. In short, "if-ever" comes to be equivalent to "whenever"
>and "whoever" when the clause is the apodosis of a condition calling for a
>subjunctive. Sometimes you'll find the "when" or "who" expressed, but it
>does occasinally happen that EAN simply by marking a conditional apodosis
>IMPLIES the temporal or relative element appropriate in the context. So
>it's not really that "when" is the meaning of EAN but rather that one must
>read the context carefully to determine the best way to convey EAN + subj.
>in any particular instance.

I'm appalled in the light of an overcast Carolina dawn to note that last
night (after watching the conclusion of NBC's rather befuddling dramatic
rewrite of Homer's Odyssey) I started out the above note talking about EAN
in the PROTASIS of conditional constructions, but then moved blithely
forward to talking about EAN in the "APODOSIS" of conditionals. Kind and
blind readers will have overlooked that goof, but I offer the correction

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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