[b-greek] Questions about questions

From: Keith Thompson (keitht@kneptune.demon.co.uk)
Date: Mon Jun 11 2001 - 12:27:32 EDT

 After reading the recent messages written in Greek, I thought it would
be a good idea to practice writing in Greek. (By the way what does
KINHMATOGRAFW mean?) But I came across a problem that sometimes occurs
when reading Greek without punctuation. How would I ask a question in
Greek which is clearly a question and not a statement? Obviously certain
words imply a question is being asked: TIS, POU, etc. But sometimes
there seems to be no indication (even in context) that something is a
question and not a statement.
 In English the word order usually takes away this problem, e.g. 'is the
sun yellow' is clearly a question, and 'the sun is yellow' is probably a
statement. Likewise 'is not the sun yellow' is a question and 'the sun
is not yellow' is likely a statement (although with 'not' it's usually
pretty clear it's a question as the statement would be false - but that
doesn't mean it wasn't intended as a false statement rather than a
question). But in Greek the words could come in any order, so how would
a distinction be made between a question and a statement?
 Let me give an example - OUCI KAI TA EQNH TOUTO POIOUSIN
I can see two ways to translate this - 'Do not even the Gentiles do
this?' and 'Not even the Gentiles do this'. (The context suggests it's
probably a question expecting the answer 'yes', but this still isn't
definite to me.) So if I were writing in Greek how would I translate
this short conversation?
 John - 'Is not the sun white?'
 Peter - 'The sun is not white.'
 John - 'Is the sun yellow?'
 Peter - 'The sun is yellow.'
Or would both pairs of sentences be written in exactly the same way?

Thanks for any help on this,
Keith Thompson (Manchester, UK)

Keith Thompson

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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