Expressing a perfect continuous idea

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Daniel Semler
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Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

Expressing a perfect continuous idea

Post by Daniel Semler » May 30th, 2020, 1:42 pm

Hi ya,

I am writing more in Greek and came upon the need to express "Recently I have been trying to such and such". I wonder how to express the bold piece in Greek. The rest seems to be satisfied with a simple infinitive tacked on.

It appears similar things are expressed using an adverb of time and an present in the NT, LXX. I had been wondering about using a periphrastic but that doesn't seem to be supported by the grammars nor by cases I can find in the NT or LXX. So I'm leaning toward something like "προςφάτως πειράζω + inf".

Any thoughts ?

Thx
D
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RandallButh
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Re: Expressing a perfect continuous idea

Post by RandallButh » May 31st, 2020, 10:15 am

We tend to use πειρᾶσθαι πειραθῆναι for the 'attempt' notion, and προσφάτως is good for 'recently.'
However, the tenses are easier in Greek because the choice of πειρᾶσθαι is also conditioned by its hinted outcome. If the attempt was unsuccessful or on going then an imperfect or a continuous participle/infinitive is preferred.
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Daniel Semler
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Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

Re: Expressing a perfect continuous idea

Post by Daniel Semler » June 6th, 2020, 4:05 pm

Hi Randall,

Many thanx for this. Apologies for having taken so long to get back to this.

A couple of follow up questions I have are.

1. I assume you are indicating the middle rather than the passive here. Am I correct here ?

2. If I use this example then : "Recently I have been trying to learn to read Greek", and understanding that the attempt is ongoing as yet uncompleted as it were, here are several renderings.

a. Προσφάτως πειρᾶσθαι με μανθάνειν ἀναγινώσκειν τὴν κοινὴν διάλεκτον.

b. Προσφάτως μανθάνειν ἀναγινώσκειν τὴν κοινὴν διάλεκτον ἐπειρώμην.

c. Προσφάτως μανθάνων ἀναγινώσκειν τὴν κοινὴν διάλεκτον ἐπειρώμην.

d. Προςφάτως μαθεῖν ἀναγινώσκειν τὴν κοινὴν διάλεκτον ἐπειρώμην.

a. seems problematic to me lacking a finite verb but ...
b and c try out the infinitive vs participle, and though I tend to prefer b I would be interested in your opinion.
d might be the best given that my checks on usage suggest that the aorist μαθεῖν is much more common that the present.

My overall concern with the imperfect indicative in the thought I am trying to convey is the tendency to translate (hence think, or perhaps the other way around think hence translate) that the imperfect has a sense or "was attempting" which in English anyone tends to carry the sense of an attempt now stopped or not ongoing. Now I'm happy to accept that the aspect could carry the ongoing if that's how it would be read in Greek.

And if all the above are off base I'd be interested in alternatives.

Thanx
Daniel
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Expressing a perfect continuous idea

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 9th, 2020, 8:55 pm

The best way to express the English present perfective progressive (have been Xing) in Greek is generally with the present.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Daniel Semler
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Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

Re: Expressing a perfect continuous idea

Post by Daniel Semler » June 9th, 2020, 9:16 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 8:55 pm
The best way to express the English present perfective progressive (have been Xing) in Greek is generally with the present.
That's actually where I began. With

προσφάτως πειράζω μανθάνειν...

Would that be better then ?

Thx
D
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Expressing a perfect continuous idea

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 14th, 2020, 7:26 pm

Daniel Semler wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 9:16 pm
προσφάτως πειράζω μανθάνειν...

Would that be better then ?
Why πειράζω and not ζητῶ? It is for a conative? If so, why not the present μανθάνω directly ?
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Daniel Semler
Posts: 175
Joined: February 18th, 2019, 7:45 pm

Re: Expressing a perfect continuous idea

Post by Daniel Semler » June 15th, 2020, 9:03 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 14th, 2020, 7:26 pm
Daniel Semler wrote:
June 9th, 2020, 9:16 pm
προσφάτως πειράζω μανθάνειν...

Would that be better then ?
Why πειράζω and not ζητῶ? It is for a conative? If so, why not the present μανθάνω directly ?
ζητῶ would seem to cover the serious attempt to do something. I'm not sure μανθάνω quite captures the attempt sense that I want if used on its own. conative is not a word I've ever used but just checking the definition it appears to be associated also with attempt. Though Merriam Webster suggests "an inclination (such as an instinct, a drive, a wish, or a craving) to act purposefully". I think I mean a more conscious deliberate attempt than an instinctual desire or need. Perhaps you can clarify precisely your meaning here.

That aside, I think the thing I am trying to get across is the distinction between "Recently I have been trying to learn to read Greek" and "Recently I have been learning to read Greek", where the former might indicate a sense of greater difficulty in the task or uncertainty in the outcome compared to the latter. In that then a bit more focus on the struggle than on the simple fact of learning.

Thx
D
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