Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
RandallButh
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by RandallButh » March 19th, 2018, 3:19 am

Participles are adjectives, ἐπίθετα if you will. Build from there.
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Dan Ulrich
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by Dan Ulrich » March 20th, 2018, 9:03 am

Thank you, Stirling, for your response. Unfortunately, I still do not have a clear understanding of how I should update my way of analyzing the syntactical functions of participles. If you or others have reading suggestions, I would welcome them.

As I understand it currently, my approach does not require an exception for genitive absolute constructions (GACs), whereas Decker and Culy both name GACs as an exception to their approach. In every GAC I have seen so far, the participle is in predicate position. Consistent with that position, the participial phrase functions to report a circumstance related to the action of a verb. The main difference between a GAC and other circumstantial participial phrases is that in a GAC the participle's referent is stated within the participial phrase. Other circumstantial participial phrases link to a referent that has a syntactical function outside the participial phrase. My approach works with either of those possibilities.

Again, I welcome suggestions and corrections.

Dan Ulrich
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 20th, 2018, 4:25 pm

To start out, analyzing syntax I prefer to knock down the artificial walls around the clause. What sets the genitive absolute apart from the nominative participle is switched subject. When the nominative participle subject is coreferential with the subject of the finite verb; Why this justifies calling it "adverbial" is mystifying.

A genitive absolute construct introducing a narrative clause might be thought of as qualifying the entire clause, not just the verb. It establishes the time, setting or scenario in which the action takes place. I would avoid referring to this function as "adverbial" because of the confusion surrounding that term. It would be inaccurate since the genitive absolute establishes the framework for the following action which is different from modifying the finite verb.

I suppose my problem with the terminology is somehow rooted in basic assumptions about how texts should be analyzed. The preoccupation with the core clause in analysis gets in the way. The metalanguage is all based on the assumption that you're analyzing a microscopic chunk of text without reference to the larger picture.
Last edited by Stirling Bartholomew on March 20th, 2018, 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

RandallButh
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by RandallButh » March 20th, 2018, 4:35 pm

Stirling,
good post.
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Robert Crowe
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by Robert Crowe » March 20th, 2018, 6:16 pm

Those of us who have difficulty with participles may find consolation in the fact that the Greeks themselves appear to have had trouble with them. They are now obsolete in the modern language.
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RandallButh
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by RandallButh » March 21st, 2018, 5:14 am

Infinitives and even futures are gone in ModernGr. I'm not sure "trouble" would be related to analyzing "adjective" vs "adverbial" participles. Participles had clear adjectival morphology. The reason appears to be related to what could have been seen as excessive subordination/embedding within a main-verb clause. (The future dropped for a different reason vis-a-vis the subjunctive morphology and simplifying irregularities.)
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Robert Crowe
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by Robert Crowe » March 21st, 2018, 6:46 am

I have occasion to meet keen biblical students who are loath to learn Greek. They have it on hearsay the language is ambiguous. The reasoning appears to be that God spoke ambiguously in Greek and then invented English to speak more clearly. Participles are surely culprits here—they introduce concision at the expense of clarity.

I love them.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 21st, 2018, 8:23 am

Well... the problems is that it's a participle, and it does more than one thing. Adjectivally, it has a referent. That's where it gets it's number-gender-case. But it also expresses action, and the question is how the action relates to the overall syntax of the sentence. Traditionally, in the attributive position, that action functions as a verbal description of the referent. In the predicate position, it still modifies the referent, but the action expressed goes with the action of the clause, and hence "adverbial." My question then is in what sense is this model inadequate to describe what's going on with the syntax of the participle?

Oh, and to answer the original question more directly, the answer is no, they are not. I think that's been settled... How many "exceptions to the rule" do there need to be to prove that it's not a rule?
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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RandallButh
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by RandallButh » March 21st, 2018, 9:04 am

ὁ ἄνθρωπος περιεπάτει

ἐγὼ εἶδον ὅτι ὁ ἄνθρωπος περιεπάτει

ἐγὼ εἶδον τὸν ἄνθρωπον περιπατοῦντα

In the third line the adjective περιπατοῦντα is part of an embedded object phrase/clause and "in the predicate position," but it is not at adverb to εἶδον or adverbial. I find "adverbial participle" to be as enlightening as "deponent." :roll:

We can all agree that participles belong to a broad category called ἐπίθετα.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Are adverbial participles only nominative?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » March 21st, 2018, 11:00 pm

RandallButh wrote:
March 21st, 2018, 9:04 am
ὁ ἄνθρωπος περιεπάτει

ἐγὼ εἶδον ὅτι ὁ ἄνθρωπος περιεπάτει

ἐγὼ εἶδον τὸν ἄνθρωπον περιπατοῦντα

In the third line the adjective περιπατοῦντα is part of an embedded object phrase/clause and "in the predicate position," but it is not at adverb to εἶδον or adverbial. I find "adverbial participle" to be as enlightening as "deponent." :roll:

We can all agree that participles belong to a broad category called ἐπίθετα.
Interesting attempt, but I don't see the sentences as saying the same thing. They are significantly different, and would not be used the same way in terms of the syntactical relationship to the rest of the context. Of course, there is also the sense in which an object is adverbial, since it limits the action of the verb.

With regard to the third sentence, used by you to prove your point, I don't ever recall seeing such a usage absolutely in the way you have composed it. There would nearly always be something else, like a prepositional phrase, not simply the participle. I say nearly, but I don't recall ever seeing an exception.
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