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zompist bboard • View topic - Scrambling/Hyperbaton in Classical Languages

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:51 pm 
Avisaru
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All my attempts at being able to read and translate Classical Greek and Latin texts have up until now been frustrated by the pervasive scrambling found in all of the "good" works of Classical literature. Stupidly, I didn't realize that really the only reason why Ancient Greek and Latin are so difficult (for me) is because in many cases the constituents are smashed to bits and the pieces removed from one another by several words. (I think I should've noticed this when I was reading the Septuagint and the Vulgate and finding them both very easy to decipher, probably because the original Hebrew does not have scrambling nearly as severe). For instance, Cicero writes...

De qua cum tam variae sint doctissimorum hominum tamque discrepantes sententiae, which *should* naturally be something like Cum doctissimorum hominum sententiae de qua tam variae tamque discrepantes sint, if I'm not totally mistaken. All in all, it means something like, "as the opinions of the most educated men on this matter are so varied and so discordant..."

For anybody who might know, how can anybody mentally reconstruct these sentences fast enough to understand a scrambled sentence spoken or read in real time? Is it just a matter of painstaking and repetitive practice, or is it simply easier to do when you speak a language as synthetic as Ancient Greek or Latin? Can speakers of synthetic languages really mentally hold onto all these broken pieces of sentences and effortlessly put them together correctly? Or is it that literature like this is simply meant to take a long time to read?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:55 pm 
Sumerul
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:21 pm 
Avisaru
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Coming from a Jewish family, I haven't been very interested in reading the NT, so I've stuck to the OT of the Vulgate, which Jerome indeed translated from Hebrew. I dunno what the NT looks like in its original Greek, but if anybody can argue that it was originally written in Aramaic, I doubt it has very much of a Classical Greek feel to it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:42 pm 
Sumerul
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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 8:59 am 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:52 pm 
Sanno
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Forgive me, but I'm mildly amused that the example given is only very slightly more discontinuous than English!
On this, so varied are the opinions of the most educated men, and so discordant
It's harder to split the opinions and the men, but still quite feasible:
On this, so varied are the opinions, and so discordant, of the most educated men
Flipping 'opinions' and 'men' is much trickier, but could be done in a very literary style
On this, among the most educated men so varied and discordant are the opinions (can be done with 'of', but is a lot more natural and clear with 'among')

You could even write:
On this, so varied among the most educated men, and discordant, are the opinions

Sure, it would be very literary indeed, but then Cicero was pretty literary himself!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:10 pm 
Boardlord
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At the opposite end from the literary, colloquial English also has ways to be almost as fragmented— shoehorning in nuances and afterthoughts.

About that... people's opinions are so varied— educated people I mean— and contradictory.

Opinions differ so much, even the most educated people's, and so vehemently.

The Polish examples are really interesting, and I wonder how much topic and comment help explain where, in practice, constituents will end up. I don't know how a Latin reader would take it, but to me Cicero seems to be summing up his position first ("Opinions are varied"), then adding clarifications and expansions, and finally dropping in whatever was missing syntactically (sententiae).


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:13 pm 
Smeric
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:51 pm 
Sanci
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