από μέσα and μες απ[ό]

OssianX

Senior Member
English (USA)
I have come across almost an equal number of these two word-orders. As far as I can tell (though this is really why I'm asking), they both want to be translated as "inside" or "from inside" about equally often. (Or sometimes μέσα από seems best as "through.") Am I just wrong about this? Or is the order of the two words really a free choice (like "toward" and "towards" in English, or "till" and "until")?

Maybe there's something in the context that determines it, but from my samples I haven't been able to deduce one.
 
  • elliest_5

    Senior Member
    UK
    Greek
    I have come across almost an equal number of these two word-orders. As far as I can tell (though this is really why I'm asking), they both want to be translated as "inside" or "from inside" about equally often. (Or sometimes μέσα από seems best as "through.") Am I just wrong about this? Or is the order of the two words really a free choice (like "toward" and "towards" in English, or "till" and "until")?

    Maybe there's something in the context that determines it, but from my samples I haven't been able to deduce one.
    You re right at what you 've said: they are not the same. They can be totally different but there are also cases where their difference is more subtle and it can even disappear in the case that you add (or assume) another "από" phrase after "από μέσα". See examples below:

    "Το πεπόνι έχει σαπίσει από μέσα" (on the inside/from the inside) : nothing to do with the uses of "μέσα από"

    "Οι φωνές έρχονταν μέσα απ' το ανοιχτό παράθυρο" (through): από μέσα cannot be used to express through

    "Η Καλομοίρα πετάχτηκε μέσα από την τουρτα" (actual event :p)
    (from inside the cake : note that it expresses movement)

    "Έφεραν μια τούρτα και από μέσα
    [*] πετάχτηκε η Καλομοίρα" : Here the reader assumes that it is meant "from inside *of the cake* and that is why one can also explicitly express that in : " Από μέσα από την τούρτα πετάχτηκε η Καλομοίρα" (that, I guess is a blending of the two constructions you mention)
     
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    OssianX

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Thank you (and for the picture!). But I'm still confused. Your last two examples both seem to mean that she was inside the cake, and then she sprang out of it, or (out) from inside it. As someone thinking in English, I can't see a difference. Have we run into a real difference between Greek and English perceptions?

    If so, of course, it may mean that I don't have a practical problem because the two usages will be merged in any translation. But I'm curious anyway.
     

    elliest_5

    Senior Member
    UK
    Greek
    Thank you (and for the picture!). But I'm still confused. Your last two examples both seem to mean that she was inside the cake, and then she sprang out of it, or (out) from inside it. As someone thinking in English, I can't see a difference. Have we run into a real difference between Greek and English perceptions?

    If so, of course, it may mean that I don't have a practical problem because the two usages will be merged in any translation. But I'm curious anyway.

    Sorry, I wasn't very clear: I meant that the last two sentences precisely exemplify what I described as "their difference being more subtle and/or even disappearing". So, although in the first examples you can clearly see the difference, in cases where you have something moving/coming out of a place/container you can have both, but with the syntactic constraint that I described for "από μέσα" (it either follows the word that describes the "container" : "bla bla...τούρτα και από μέσα πετάχτηκε" or it is followed by another "από" phrase: "από μέσα από την τούρτα").
     

    OssianX

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Now I understand that what I needed to know is that it isn't a problem that the two sometimes do and sometimes don't come out as the same English; I can just let context (i.e., real-world knowledge) dictate the choice. That less common "through" possibility is good to keep in mind. And I've found that sometimes από στο, with no μέσα in sight, also has to be translated as "through."

    My dictionary (the Oxford Learner's) doesn't hint at this, unless I've missed it. I sure wish there were a truly compendious and up-to-date G-E/E-G dictionary available. Maybe I should invest in a really top-rate Νεοελληνικά dictionary, which by now I hope I could struggle through. Recommendations for the very best? Maybe this belongs in another thread, like one of the "sticky" ones up top.
     

    Apollodorus

    Member
    English UK
    Which of the following “μέσα από” sentences would be correct?

    βλέπω τον ουρανό μέσα από το παράθυρο

    κοιτάζω μέσα στο σπίτι μέσα από το παράθυρο

    ο κλέφτης μπήκε στο σπίτι μέσα από το παράθυρο

    η γάτα μπήκε στο σπίτι μέσα από την πόρτα

    And is there any other preposition that can be used instead of “μέσα από” in the sense of "through"?
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Which of the following “μέσα από” sentences would be correct?

    βλέπω τον ουρανό μέσα από το παράθυρο

    κοιτάζω μέσα στο σπίτι μέσα από το παράθυρο

    ο κλέφτης μπήκε στο σπίτι μέσα από το παράθυρο

    η γάτα μπήκε στο σπίτι μέσα από την πόρτα

    And is there any other preposition that can be used instead of “μέσα από” in the sense of "through"?
    The first two sentences are perfectly correct. There is perhaps an implication that that what you see is framed by the window
    The third and fourth ones would be better without the word μέσα. Μπαίνεις από την πόρτα, απ'το παράθυρο, από τη χαραμάδα.On the other hand, you could very well say η γάτα μπήκε μέσα στο σπίτι από την πόρτα. This is perhaps pleonastic, but perfectly normal usage.
    You can say that the usual equivalent of 'through' is simply από (in addition to all its other meanings...) If you want to insist upon that meaning, you can say διά μέσου + genitive, μέσω + genitive (which usually corresponds to English via), and in καθαρεύουσα simply διά + genitive («διά πυρός και σιδήρου», "through fire and the sword", is a frequent expression, as are «διά ξηράς» = 'by land' and «διά θαλάσσης» = 'by sea'. On the other hand, 'by air' is only αεροπορικώς!)
     
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