Module 22

The Relative Pronoun

© 2021 Philip S. Peek, CC BY 4.0 https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0264.26

The Relative Pronoun

The relative pronoun in Greek is defined in the same way as the relative pronoun is in English. The function of the Greek pronoun (ἀντωνυμία) differs from the English because it creates meaning through case endings much more extensively than the English pronoun does. Relative pronouns in both languages take the place of nouns. These pronouns are called relative because they are related to another word in the sentence. This related word is called the antecedent. Relative pronouns always introduce a clause. A clause has a subject and a verb. Relative clauses have a subject, a verb, and a relative pronoun.

The Relative Pronoun and Word Order

In English and in Greek the relative pronoun comes first in its relative clause unless it is the object of a preposition, in which case it comes second: whom I see and by whom I sit.

The Relative Pronoun in English

The Relative Pronoun in English is who, whom, whose; which; that and sometimes what. The English relative pronoun has the following case forms:

Subjective

who

which

that

what

Objective

whom

which

that

what

Possessive

whose

whose

whose

------

Relative clauses form part of a dependent clause because these clauses do not form a complete thought and therefore cannot stand on their own as complete sentences. Rather, relative clauses serve to describe some detail about their antecedent.

Consider the following passage from Moby Dick (1851). The relative pronouns are in bold and their antecedents are underlined. Parentheses are included to indicate the beginning and end of the relative clause.

It was a queer sort of place—a gable-ended old house, one side palsied as it were, and leaning over sadly. It stood on a sharp bleak corner, where that tempestuous wind Euroclydon kept up a worse howling than ever it did about poor Paul’s tossed craft. Euroclydon, nevertheless, is a mighty pleasant zephyr to any one in-doors, with his feet on the hob quietly toasting for bed. “In judging of that tempestuous wind called Euroclydon,” says an old writer—(of whose works I possess the only copy extant)—”it maketh a marvellous difference, whether thou lookest out at it from a glass window where the frost is all on the outside, or whether thou observest it from that sashless window, where the frost is on both sides, and (of which the wight Death is the only glazier).” True enough, thought I, as this passage occurred to my mind—old black-letter, thou reasonest well. Yes, these eyes are windows, and this body of mine is the house. What a pity they didn’t stop up the chinks and the crannies though, and thrust in a little lint here and there. But it’s too late to make any improvements now. The universe is finished; the copestone is on, and the chips were carted off a million years ago. Poor Lazarus there, chattering his teeth against the curbstone for his pillow, and shaking off his tatters with his shiverings, he might plug up both ears with rags, and put a corn-cob into his mouth, and yet (that would not keep out the tempestuous Euroclydon). Euroclydon! says old Dives, in his red silken wrapper—he had a redder one afterwards—pooh, pooh! What a fine frosty night; how Orion glitters; what northern lights! Let them talk of their oriental summer climes of everlasting conservatories; give me the privilege of making my own summer with my own coals.

In learning relative pronouns, you must memorize the definition of a relative pronoun and a relative clause. You must also memorize the forms of the relative pronoun. If you can pick out relative pronouns and relative clauses in English, you can transfer this knowledge to your understanding of the relative pronoun in Greek.

Practice Identifying the Relative Pronoun in English. Pick out the antecedents and the relative pronouns from this slightly adapted excerpt from Robin Kelley’s Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (2009). Check your answers with those in the Answer Key.

Coltrane had been playing Monk’s tunes as part of Miles Davis’ band but he wanted to learn more, in particular “Monk’s Mood.” So, one night at the Algonquin on 63rd, Nica’s house, a place at which they often practiced, Thelonious sat down with ‘Trane and taught him “Monk’s Mood.” Hungry to know more Coltrane made a trip which became an almost daily pilgrimage to West 63rd Street. He recounted these visits to critic August Blume with whom he met a year later: “I’d go by Monk’s house, you know. By his apartment, and get him out of bed, maybe. And he’d wake up and go over to the piano, which was in his bedroom, and start playing, you know. He’d play anything, like one of his tunes or whatever. He starts playing it, and he’d look at me. I’d get my horn and start trying to find the thing that he’s playing. And he tended to play over, and over, and over, and over, and I’d get this far. Next time we’d go over it, I’d get another part. He would stop when we came to parts that were pretty difficult. And if I had a lot of trouble, he’d get out his portfolio, which he always had with him, and I’d see the music, the music which he had written out. And I’d read it and learn. He believed a guy learned best without music. That way you feel it better. You feel it quicker when you memorize it and you learn it by heart, by ear. When I almost had the tune which he was teaching me down, then he would leave, leave me with it to fight with it alone. And he’d go out somewhere, maybe go to the store, or go to bed or something. And I’d just stay there and run over it until I had it pretty well and I’d call him and we’d put it down together. Sometimes we’d just get one tune a day.”

The Forms of the Relative Pronoun ὅς, ἥ, ὅ

Below are the forms for the relative pronoun in Greek. Note that like Greek nouns, pronouns have gender, number, and case, and so when you encounter them, you will often need to supply the appropriate preposition. Note also that the relative pronoun forms are nearly identical to the noun endings you have already memorized.

Singular

M

F

N

N

ὅς

A

ὅν

ἥν

G

οὗ

ἧς

οὗ

D

Plural

M

F

N

N

οἵ

αἵ

A

οὕς

ἅς ()

G

ὧν

ὧν

ὧν

D

οἷς

αἷς

οἷς

Singular

M

F

N

N

ὅς

G

οὗ

ἧς

οὗ

D

A

ὅν

ἥν

Plural

M

F

N

N

οἵ

αἵ

G

ὧν

ὧν

ὧν

D

οἷς

αἷς

οἷς

A

οὕς

ἅς ()

Consider the following sentences and note the relative pronouns (in bold) and their antecedents (underlined):

  1. ἀνέθηκε δὲ κρητῆρά τε ἀργύρεον μέγαν καὶ ὑποκρητηρίδιον σιδήρεον κολλητόν, θέης ἄξιον διὰ πάντων τῶν ἐν Δελφοῖσι ἀναθημάτων, Γλαύκου τοῦ Χίου ποίημα, ὃς μοῦνος δὴ πάντων ἀνθρώπων σιδήρου κόλλησιν ἐξεῦρε (Herodotos).

    He dedicated a large silver mixing bowl and a wrought iron stand. Of all the offerings in Delphi it is worth seeing the work of Glaukos from Khios, the person among all of humankind who invented the welding of iron.

  2. περ δὲ τῶν τοῦ Νείλου πηγέων οὐδεὶς ἔχει λέγειν· ἀοίκητός τε γὰρ καὶ ἔρημος ἐστὶ Λιβύη δι᾽ ἧς ῥέει (Herodotos).

    About the source of the Nile no one can say since Libya, through which it flows, is uninhabited and a desert.

  3. σὺ καὶ ἐμοὶ τολμᾷς συμβουλεύειν, ὃς χρηστῶς μὲν τὴν σεωυτοῦ πατρίδα ἐπετρόπευσας (Herodotos).

    You dare give me advice? You who so expertly governed your own country?

  4. ἐτύγχανον παιδὸς Φέρητος, ὃν θανεῖν ἐρρυσάμην Μοίρας δολώσας (Euripides).

    I met the child of Pheres, whom I saved from dying by tricking the Fates.

  5. ἀλλἣν ἔθαπτον, εἰσορῶ δάμαρτ ἐμήν (Euripides);

    But do I look upon my wife, whom I buried?

In each, the relative pronoun has a noun or pronoun in the sentence to which it is related. The noun or pronoun to which it is related is called the relative pronoun’s antecedent. The antecedent typically precedes the relative pronoun, as occurs in each example except the last. The relative pronoun agrees with its antecedent in gender and number but takes its case from its use in its own clause.

Practice Parsing in English. Consider these English sentences (the antecedent is underlined and the relative pronoun is in bold). For each sentence parse the words by specifying which case each word would be in if you translated it into Greek and by specifying what function the case has. It may be helpful to use the Case and Function Chart in Appendix I. Then check the Answer Key, making sure that you understand why each word is parsed as it is.

  1. He dedicated a silver bowl and an iron stand, the work of Glaukos, who discovered the welding of iron.
  2. Noone knows about the Nile’s source. Libya, through which it flows, is uninhabited and desolate.
  3. Discover the item which you deem of most value and about which, if lost, you will be most upset.
  4. You, who governed your own country so expertly, dare to give me advice?
  5. He goes to ask the oracle if he will capture the land against which he marches.
  6. Noone’s country has everything; the land that has the most is best.
  7. I share in any misfortune for which you suspect me responsible.
  8. Am I looking at the woman whom I married?
  9. He allowed me to stay for one day during which I will make three corpses of my enemies.
  10. I met Pheres’ son whom I saved from dying by tricking the fates.

Practice Parsing the Relative Pronoun. Translate the sentences. For each sentence, parse the words by specifying the case and function each noun, pronoun, and adjective has. For verbs and adverbs identify them as such. It may be helpful to use the Case and Function Chart in Appendix I. Check your answers with those in the Answer Key, making sure that you understand why each word is parsed as it is.

  1. ἀνὴρ σοφός.
  2. ἀνήρ, οὗ υἱὸς φεύγει, κακός.
  3. ἀνήρ, δῶρον δίδωμι, φίλος.
  4. ἀνήρ, ὃν φίλος παιδεύει, χαλεπός.
  5. ἄνερ, ς φεύγεις, μὴ φεῦγε.
  6. γυνὴ καλή.
  7. γυνή, ἧς δῶρα ὁράω, χαλεπή.
  8. γυνή, δῶρα πέμπω, φίλη.
  9. γυνή, ἣν υἱὸς φεύγει, κακή.
  10. γύναι, καλὰ ἔχεις, μὴ φεῦγε.

Vocabulary

*ἄνθρωπος, ἀνθρώπου human, person

*υἱός, υἱοῦ son, child

*γυνή, γυναικός woman, wife

*φεύγω, φεύξομαι flees; μὴ φεῦγε don’t flee

*δίδωμι give; δίκην δίδωμι I pay the penalty; δίδωμι χάριν I give thanks

*φίλος, φίλου friend

*ἔχω, ἕξω or σχήσω have, hold; be able + inf.; καλῶς ἔχειν to be well

δῶρον, δώρου τό gift

*κακός, κακή, κακόν bad, evil, cowardly

παιδεύω, παιδεύσω to educate, teach

*καλός, καλή, καλόν good

σοφός, σοφή, σοφόν wise

*ὁραω, ὄψομαι see

φιλέω, φιλήσω love

*πέμπω, πέμψω send

χαλεπός, χαλεπή, χαλεπόν difficult

The Relative Pronoun in Summary

In sum the relative pronoun takes the place of a noun and functions just as other Greek nouns and pronouns do. It has the special quality of being related to another noun in the sentence, called the antecedent. The relative pronoun agrees with its antecedent in gender and number but takes its case and function from its use in the relative clause.

Sophokles of Athens, Σοφοκλῆς ὁ Ἀθηναῖος c. 497–406 BCE. Sophokles wrote satyr plays and tragedies. He composed over 120 plays and seven have survived, the most famous being Oidipous Tyrannos (Oedipus Rex) Οἰδίπους Τύραννος, and Antigone Ἀντιγόνη. He is said to have won twenty-four of the thirty competitions he entered. In other contests he was placed second, but never third. His extant plays are seven: Oidipous Tyrannos, Oidipous at Kolonos, Antigone, Ajax, Philoktetes, Elektra, and Trakhiniae. Sophokles is said to have portrayed people as better than they are in reality. He was the son of Sophilos, a wealthy industrialist. In 443 he was imperial treasurer. He was elected general at least twice, once in 440 when he was a colleague of Perikles in the suppression of the Samian revolt, and again with Nikias. After the Sikilian disaster, he was one of the ten elected to deal with the crisis. He was priest of the healing deity Amynos and made his house a place of worship for Asklepios until the temple being built for the deity was completed. In recognition of this, Sophokles was worshipped as a hero after his death.

Practice Translating. Translate the sentences below, which have been adapted from Sophokles’ Philoktetes (Φιλοκτήτης). Remember the meanings and functions of the cases presented in Module 7. Use your memory to identify endings and their functions. If you forget an ending or a function, consult the Adjective, Adverb, Noun, and Pronoun Chart in Appendix VIII and the Case and Function Chart in Appendix I. Check your understanding with the translations in the Answer Key, making sure that you understand why each word translates as it does. Now go back and read each sentence two or three times, noticing with each rereading how much better your understanding of the sentence becomes. Make this a habit and you will improve quickly.

Νεοπτόλεμος: ἐγ μέν, τοὺς λόγους κλύων, ἀλγ φρένα, Λαερτίου παῖ· ταῦτα γὰρ πράσσειν στυγῶ καὶ φύω οὐδὲν κ τέχνης πράσσειν κακῆς, καὶ αὐτὸς καὶ πατήρ. ἀλλεἴμτοῖμος πρὸς βίαν τὸν ἄνδρʼ γειν καὶ μὴ δόλοις. οὐ γὰρ ξ ἑνὸς ποδὸς ἡμᾶς τοσούσδε πρὸς βίαν χειρώσεται. σοὶ ξυνεργάτης κνῶ προδότης καλεῖσθαι. βούλομαι δ’, ἄναξ, καλῶς δράων, καὶ ἐξαμαρτάνειν μᾶλλον νικάειν κακῶς.

Ὀδυσσεύς: ἐσθλοῦ πατρὸς παῖ, καὶ ὢν νέος ποτὲ γλῶσσαν μὲν ἀργόν, χεῖρα δἔχω ἐργάτιν. νῦν δὡς εἰς λεγχον ἐξέρχομαι, καὶ ὁρῶ ὅτι βροτοῖς γλῶσσα, οὐ τὰ ἔργα, πάνθγέεται.

Νεοπτόλεμος: τί οὐ με κελεύεις ἄλλο πλὴν ψευδὲς λέγειν;

Ὀδυσσεύς: κελεύω σἐγὼ δόλῳ Φιλoκτήτην λαβεῖν.

Νεοπτόλεμος: τί δἐν δόλῳ δεῖ λαβεῖν μᾶλλον πεῖσαι;

δυσσεύς: οὐ πείσεται καὶ πρὸς βίαν οὐκ ἔστιν ἄγειν αὐτόν.

Νεοπτόλεμος: δ’ οὕτως ἔχει δεινὸν ἰσχύος θράσος;

Ὀδυσσεύς: ἰούς γʼ ἀφύκτους ἔχει, οἳ προπέμπουσι φόνον.

Νεοπτόλεμος: οὐκ ἆρἐκείνῳ γοὐδὲ προσμῖξαι ἡμῖν θρασύ;

Ὀδυσσεύς: ἔστιν εἰ δόλῳ αὐτὸν λαμβάνομεν, ὡς ἐγὼ λέγω.

Adverbs, Prepositions, and Verbs

*ἄγω, ἄξω do, drive, lead

*λαμβάνω, λήψομαι take, receive; capture

ἀλγέω, ἀλγήσω feel pain, suffer

*λέγω, λέξω or ἐρέω say, tell, speak

ἆρα indicates a question, often expects the answer no; ἆρα οὐ expects a yes

νικάω, νικήσω win, conquer, prevail

*βούλομαι, βουλήσομαι want, prefer; wish, be willing

ὀκνέω, ὀκνήσω scruple, hesitate + inf.

*εἰμί, ἔσομαι be, be possible

*ὁράω, ὀψομαι see

ἐξαμαρτάνω, ἐξαμαρτήσομαι err, miss the mark, fail

*πείθω, πείσω persuade; (mid. or pass.) listen to, obey + dat. or gen.

ἐξέρχομαι, ἐξελεύσομαι go out, come out

πλήν except for + gen.

*ἔστι (ν) it is possible

*πράσσω (πράττω), πράξω do, make; fare; + κακῶς suffer

*ἔχω, ἕξω or σχήσω have, hold; be able + inf.; καλῶς ἔχειν to be well

προπέμπω, -πεμψω send first, send on

*ἡγέομαι, ἡγήσομαι lead; believe; lead, command + dat.

προσμῖξαι to approach + dat.

*καλέω, καλέω call

στυγέω, στυγήσω hate, abhor

*κελεύω, κελεύσω bid, order, command

φύω, φύσω be born; beget, produce; grow; by nature be born + inf.

*λαβεῖν to take, to capture

χειρόω, χειρώσω master, subdue

Adjectives, Nouns, Pronouns

*ἄλλος, ἄλλη, ἄλλο another, other

βία, βίας strength, force

ἄναξ, ἄνακτος prince, lord, king

βροτός, βροτοῦ mortal

*ἀνήρ, ἀνδρός man, husband

γλῶσσα (γλῶττα), γλώσσης tongue, language

ἀργός, ἀργή, ἀργόν (-ος, -ον) idle, lazy; not done

*δεινός, δεινή, δεινόν awesome, fearsome, terrible

ἄφυκτος, ἄφυκτον inescapable; unerring, inevitable

δόλος, δόλου bait, trap; cunning

δράων, δράοντος doing, accomplishing, acting

ξυνεργάτης, ξυνεργάτου accomplice, assistant

ἔλεγχος, ἐλέγχου testing, scrutiny

*παῖς, παιδός child

ἐργάτις, ἐργάτιδος laboring, industrious

*πάντα, πάντων τά all, each, whole

*ἔργον, ἔργου τό deed, task, work; building; ἔργον in truth, in deed

*πατήρ, πατρός father

ἐσθλός, ἐσθλή, ἐσθλόν noble, fine, good

πούς, ποδός foot

ἕτοιμος, ἑτοίμη, ἕτοιμον ready, at hand; able + inf.

προδότης, προδότεος (-ους) traitor, betrayer

θράσος, θράσεος (-ους) τό courage; rashness

τέχνη, τέχνης skill, art

θρασύ, θρασέος (-ους) τό bold; rash

τόξον, τόξου τό bow

ἰός, ἰοῦ arrow

τοσοίδε, τοσῶνδε οἱ so much, so many

ἰσχύς, ἰσχύος strength, force, might

Φιλoκτήτης, Φιλoκτήτου Philoktetes

*κακός, κακή, κακόν bad, evil, cowardly

φόνος, φόνου murder

κλύων, κλύοντος hearing, giving ear to, attending to; hearing ‘x’ in acc. from ‘y’ in gen.

φρήν, φρενός midriff, heart; mind

Λαέρτιος, Λαερτίου Laertes

*χείρ, χειρός (dat pl. χερσίν) hand; force, army

*λόγος, λόγου word, speech, story; reason, account

ψευδέα (-), ψευδέων τά false

*νέος, νέᾱ, νέον new, fresh, young; strange, unexpected

*ὤν, ὄντος being

  1. The asterisk indicates the top 250 most frequently occurring vocabulary, which you are to memorize.

Practice Parsing Greek Sentences. Parse each word of the sentence found below. For nouns and pronouns, give case and function. For verbs, give person, number, tense, mood, and voice. For adverbs and conjunctions, identify them. For prepositional phrases, give the preposition and the preposition’s object. For adjectives, specify the noun they agree with in gender, number, and case.

ἔστιν εἰ δόλῳ αὐτὸν λαμβάνομεν, ὡς ἐγὼ λέγω.

Check your answers with those in the Answer Key.

Module 22 Top 250 Vocabulary to be Memorized. Like learning the alphabet and endings, memorizing vocabulary is essential to acquiring language. The better you memorize the top 250 most frequently occurring vocabulary words, the greater mastery of the language you will have.

Adjectives and Pronouns

Ἀθηναῖος, Ἀθηναίᾱ, Ἀθηναῖον Athenian, of or from Athens

ἄξιος, ἀξίᾱ, ἄξιον worthy, deserving + gen.

ἀμφότερος, ἀμφοτέρᾱ, ἀμφότερον both

ἴδιος, ἰδίᾱ, ἴδιον one’s own; one’s self

ἱερός, ερά, ἱερόν holy; (n. in sg.) temple; (n. in pl.) sacrifices

κακός, κακή, κακόν bad, evil, cowardly

ὅς, , who, whose, whom; which, that; by which way, just as; ἐν while; ἐς until

ὅστις, ἥτις, τι whoever, whatever

Verbs

ἀξιόω, ἀξιώσω, ἠξίωσα, ἠξίωκα, ἠξίωμαι, ἠξιώθην deem worthy, think fit + ‘x’ in acc. + inf.; expect + ‘x’ in acc. + inf; deemx’ in acc. worthy ofy’ in gen.

ἀποθνῄσκω (θνῄσκω), ἀποθανέομαι, ἀπέθανον, τέθνηκα, ------, ------ die, perish

Powered by Epublius