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Vocative: appellation (as extra-clausal constituent)

Syntactical Level

νεανίσκε, ὁ πατήρ σε μεθύων ἔσπειρε

‘Young man, your father begot you while drunk.’ (Plut. )

The vocative signals the addressed person or god.


The vocative is often preceded by the particle ὦ, which can be left untranslated.


Appellation of oneself
In poetry one can address oneself by invoking one's own name or parts of one's own person or personality: θυμέ ‘my soul!’, ὦ γεραιὲ ποῦς ‘my old foot!’
Series of vocatives
Longer utterances in the vocative (or in the nominative of exclamation) signal astonishment.

Example Sentences: 

μῶρε μῶρε, μὴ θεῶν κίνει φρένας


Fool, fool, do not arouse the wrath of the gods, fearsome as it is. ֍

παῖ, ζήτει σεαυτῷ βασιλείαν ἴσην· Μακεδονία γάρ σε οὐ χωρεῖ.

Child, seek a kingdom with your measure. For Macedonia is too small for you.

Ζεῦ Ζεῦ, θεωρὸς τῶνδε πραγμάτων γενοῦ.

O Zeus, look at these matters.

πλοῦτον μὲν πλουτοῦντος ἔχεις, ψυχὴν δὲ πένητος,

ὦ τοῖς κληρονόμοις πλούσιε, σοὶ δὲ πένης

You have the wealth of a rich man, but the spirit of a poor man; you who are rich to your heirs, but poor to yourself.