Tuesday, 8 January 2013

What if and Greek Questions.

What if ...

did you know you cant say that in Greek?

I suppose its possible one author directly combines ei and ti but usually Greek conditional statements follow an logical. If  (not) A ... THEN  B pattern.

What if Henry the Eight had more sons and then there was no Queen Elizabeth the First.

What if is a contraction really allowing one statement to replace two.

What would have happened to Elizabeth if Henry had conceived more sons?

Let's demonstrate this in a Hellenic context.

I can say What if the Persians won at Marathon?

A Greek historian or rhetorician would probably phrase this as

If the Persians had won at Marathon (then) what would have happened next?

OR

What (then) would have happened to hellas IF the Persians had won at Marathon.

English tends towards one clause rhetorical questions. Greek tends towards a balance of primary and secondary  or sentences with several clauses.

Something to think about when you're translating.

The differences between syntactical patterns.

What if a statement is technically grammatical in both languages  but just  doesnt sound or read "right" in the other language?