Re: meaning EAN

From: James H. Vellenga (
Date: Tue May 20 1997 - 08:59:05 EDT

> From: "Carl W. Conrad" <>
> At 10:41 PM -0400 5/19/97, Andrew Kulikovsky wrote:
> >Filloi,
> >
> >While reading in 1 John last night I came across EAN in 1 John 2:28 which
> >the NIV translates as "when". I was confused by this because EAN is made
> >up of EI + AN and AN makes a definite statement contingent, yet the
> >context and translation as "when" seems to indicate certainty...
> >
> >I checked Louw & Nida and BAGD and sure enough "when" is given as a
> >possible meaning. But this goes against the indefiniteness introduced by
> >AN (EAN).
> >
> >Am I missing something here? I don't understand.
> 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
> Koin=E9. Just as the hINA clauses have expanded beyond the original adverbia=
> l
> purpose function to encompass quite a variety of substantive clauses in
> Koin=E9, 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. =3D hOTAN + subj. =3D EAN TIS + subj. =3D 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.
> It strikes me that Latin CUM + subjunctive clauses are very much like Koin=
> =E9
> EAN + subjunctive clauses: CUM marks dependency in a subjunctive clause in
> Latin, and one must determine from context whether in a given instance it
> should be understood as "when," "since," or "although." I don't mean to
> say that EAN functions just as does CUM but rather that as a particle of
> subordination it can assume a variety of functions, just as EAN can.


I seem to remember during one of my courses in some language
(perhaps Russian) that there was a particle that the professor
said meant basically "in the case that," "provided," or "when
ya got". From your description, it seems that perhaps EAN has
the same force. Would you agree?

Jim V.

James H. Vellenga |
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