Re: Proleptic Accusatives in Indirect Questions

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Mar 03 1999 - 06:24:22 EST

At 2:01 AM -0500 3/3/99, wrote:
>In Gerry Wakker's Conditions and Conditionals, 380-381 she makes the following
>statement: "Indirect questions often involve a proleptic accusative stating
>the theme upon which the subordinate clause bears or the Topic about which the
>subordinate clause predicates something." What does she mean by "proleptic
>accusative." She gives the following example TOUTON OISQ' EI ZWN KUREI (As for
>him, do you know whether he is alive? S. Ph. 444) where TOUTON is the
>proleptic accusative. In Mark 15:44 there are two indirect questions: HO DE
>EPHRWTHSEN AUTON EI PALAI APEQANEN. But I do not see anything which could be
>considered a proleptic accusative. Could someone clarify this matter.

You've already had a good response from Mary Prendergast on this one. What
I would add is simply (a) to underscore the adverb "OFTEN" in the sentence
you cite from Walker's book--you're going to find indirect questions
without that proleptic accusative, as in that example you've cited from Mk
15:44. But look at Mk 1:24 for an instance of indirect question WITH the
proleptic accusative: OIDA SE TIS EI, hO hAGIOS TOU QEOU.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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