Ancient Greek sentence translation method?

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P A | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Feb 17 2018 10:10 AM

Hi

Just curious to know what method you use for translating a Greek sentence?

What do you look for first?

Do you identify the subject then the object?

Or do you identify the verbs first ?

Or do you look up the basic meanings of all the words and then worry about the grammar later?

Thanks

P A

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 17 2018 12:59 PM

P A:

Do you identify the subject then the object?

Or do you identify the verbs first ?

Or do you look up the basic meanings of all the words and then worry about the grammar later?

Was tempted to say, "All the above," but you made me think of how I really do this. Probably start with option 3, then the verbs. Need to take special note of word order to understand the writer's emphasis.

Posts 789
Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 17 2018 1:57 PM

That's a great question, and I agree with Jack that it forced me to think about it a bit. For anyone, I would guess how they would answer that depends on how fluent they are in the language. It wouldn't take long for a first year student, say, to read something like, "truly, truly I say to you" [in Greek] before they simply consume the entire clause in one gulp. So, at least for me, it's often not mechanical (as your selection of choices suggest) for simple stuff. But some of the classic writers push me into and "analytical mode" where I have to start ripping apart the writing for it to make sense to me. But by this time, I usually already know some of the clumps of words, so my focus while in "analytical mode" is usually upon the phrases that are not clear to me. I don't necessarily start on the verbs, but on the key words that puzzle me.

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 17 2018 4:03 PM

First, let me say that I don't actually do this.  I'm not sure why - it just hasn't become part of my process. But, having said that, Mounce has something he describes as "phrasing" that he highly recommends. He discusses it in his Graded Reader of Biblical Greek.

Here's how he introduces the idea:


Phrasing’s basic approach is to separate a passage into its phrases (main clause, relative clauses, prepositional phrases, etc.). It looks somewhat like an outline. It has only three basic principles.

  1.      The more dominant phrases are further to the left on the page.

  2.      Subordinate ideas are indented, placed under (or over) the concept to which they are related.

  3.      Parallel ideas are indented the same distance from the left.

  3:22
   δικαιοσύνη δὲ θεοῦ
        διὰ πίστεως
          Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
        εἰς πάντας τοὺς πιστεύοντας.
 
  3:22
   But the righteousness of God (is)
          through faith
             in Jesus Christ
          for all who are believing.


Bill Mounce, “Preface,” in A Graded Reader of Biblical Greek: Exegetical Discussion, ed. Verlyn D. Verbrugge (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), xv.


He has a lot more detail, but that might give you a flavor for it. To be fair, I think I'm doing something like this in my head, but I'm not as disciplined about it as Mounce describes and recommends.

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Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 18 2018 5:07 AM

I'm with Jack. Automatically I'll go for the verbs first but then go for word sequencing and their relationship to nearby words.

Good question,

mm.

mm.

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 18 2018 5:28 AM

EastTN:
Phrasing’s basic approach is to separate a passage into its phrases (main clause, relative clauses, prepositional phrases, etc.). It looks somewhat like an outline. It has only three basic principles.

  1.      The more dominant phrases are further to the left on the page.

  2.      Subordinate ideas are indented, placed under (or over) the concept to which they are related.

  3.      Parallel ideas are indented the same distance from the left.

  3:22
   δικαιοσύνη δὲ θεοῦ
        διὰ πίστεως
          Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
        εἰς πάντας τοὺς πιστεύοντας.

I haven't read Mounce, but that is the basic procedure I followed in preparing to teach Ephesians. That seems to work very well, and providing an English translation in that same format received an enthusiastic response from the students.

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