Re: The syntax of

From: George Blaisdell (
Date: Sun Feb 21 1999 - 11:54:26 EST

>From: "Moon-Ryul Jung"

>"Kai ouk echousin ti phago^sin".
>"And they do not have what they might eat".
>My question is whether we should regard "ti phago^sin" as
>indirect question or "ti" + relative clause. If the statement
>were something like "they do not KNOW what they might eat".
>then the first option makes sense. But in this context,
>where the meaning is "they do not have anything to eat",
>the second option seems to make better sense. But from the
>viewpoint of syntax, I wonder whether "ti" + subjunctive clause
>can be considered a relative clause.

While this question has certainly been well addressed by Carl and
brought well to closure, there is one other syntatical perspective that
might prove helpful.

TI forms the center between ECOUSIN and FAGWSIN, and may be considered
to 'distribute' its force to both, in that it tells us 'what' they are
not having, as well as 'what' they might/should be eating.

Now because it is an indefinite term of the first order, it stands forth
in the center of this construction as a still unanswered question: What
does the author mean by TI??? And I would imagine that this
'distributed interrogative' is intended to be addressed in what follows
in the text. [Which I have not looked at!]

It would, on this approach, diagram as an hourglass: [omitting KAI]


This approach brings the focus into 'working outward from the center'
syntactically, and then moves forward DIA that center into the next
construction [thought/idea]. It has a chiastic resonance [A:B:A'] and
would appear to work well here.

A translational try might be: "...and they are not having what they
might be eating...", which is probably too literal for most...

I hope this helps...


George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

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