σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby David Lim » May 25th, 2012, 11:14 pm

[John 4:9] λεγει ουν αυτω η γυνη η σαμαρειτις πως συ ιουδαιος ων παρ εμου πιειν αιτεις ουσης γυναικος σαμαρειτιδος ου γαρ συγχρωνται ιουδαιοι σαμαρειταις
LSJ says that "σαμαρειτης" is a noun, but "γυναικος σαμαρειτιδος" seems to imply that it must be an adjective. And "η γυνη η σαμαρειτις" would have to be taken as two nouns in apposition if it was not an adjective. So is it sometimes an adjective like in these two cases? It does not seem to fit the adjective declension patterns I know, but it sure seems to functions like one.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 26th, 2012, 12:01 am

Adjectives are a lot like nouns except they also inflect for gender and have comparative and superlative degrees. Neither feature seems to be true for Σαμαρῖτις.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby David Lim » May 26th, 2012, 5:29 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Adjectives are a lot like nouns except they also inflect for gender and have comparative and superlative degrees. Neither feature seems to be true for Σαμαρῖτις.


"σαμαρειτης" is the masculine form declined according to the first declension, and "σαμαρειτις" is the feminine form declined according to the third declension. And I thought not all adjectives have comparatives or superlatives? For example "ιουδαιος" means either "Jew (noun)" or "Jewish (adj.)" depending on the context. Also, "ψευστης" and "στρατιωτης" have just the same declension (masc: ης, ην, η, ου, αι, ας, αις, ων; fem: ις, ιν, ιδι, ιδος, ιδες, ιδας, ισιν, ιδων) and both seem to be either noun or adjective depending on the context, such as in "χρασθαι ως ανδρι ψευστη" = "deal with me as a lying man" and in "μια των στρατιωτιδων τεχνων εγεγονει" = "came to be one of the military arts" (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon).

If, however, "σαμαρειτης" is never an adjective, how is John 4:9 supposed to be understood? Clearly it still functions as one.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 26th, 2012, 11:41 am

David Lim wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Adjectives are a lot like nouns except they also inflect for gender and have comparative and superlative degrees. Neither feature seems to be true for Σαμαρῖτις.


"σαμαρειτης" is the masculine form declined according to the first declension, and "σαμαρειτις" is the feminine form declined according to the third declension. And I thought not all adjectives have comparatives or superlatives?


The difference between Σαμαρίτης and Σαμαρτῖτις is derivational, not inflectional. In fact, BDAG lists them in separate lexical entries. True, not all adjectives have degree, but the prototypical adjective does. It is clear that Σαμαρτῖτις lacks the characteristics of a prototypical adjective.

David Lim wrote:For example "ιουδαιος" means either "Jew (noun)" or "Jewish (adj.)" depending on the context. Also, "ψευστης" and "στρατιωτης" have just the same declension (masc: ης, ην, η, ου, αι, ας, αις, ων; fem: ις, ιν, ιδι, ιδος, ιδες, ιδας, ισιν, ιδων) and both seem to be either noun or adjective depending on the context, such as in "χρασθαι ως ανδρι ψευστη" = "deal with me as a lying man" and in "μια των στρατιωτιδων τεχνων εγεγονει" = "came to be one of the military arts" (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon).


Well, I think you're worried too much about making a distinction here that the Greeks didn't really care about. The ancient Greek grammarians did not consider adjectives to be a separate part of speech, but a particular kind of ὄνομα (noun). That's why some Greek nouns seem to correspond to adjectives when translated into English. But, unlike English, Greek isn't the kind of language where nouns and adjectives have strongly different syntactic properties.

The main features of the prototypical Greek adjective is inflection--not derivation--for gender and degree. Of course, not all adjectives have these features, but those which lack both prototypical features would be such untypical adjectives that I wonder what the point of classifying them as adjectives would be. To put it another way, your question sounds like you're trying to distinguish whether something on the dinner plate is a carrot or a vegetable.

David Lim wrote:If, however, "σαμαρειτης" is never an adjective, how is John 4:9 supposed to be understood? Clearly it still functions as one.


The quotation marks around σαμαρειτης (using Hort's spelling) throws me because that form is not in the verse. If a reference to the lexical form, a masculine noun, then it is only found in the final word Σαμαρίταις, which is clearly acting as a substantive. As for the forms of ἡ Σαμαρῖτις, they are both in apposition to γυνή.

Stephen

P.S. Your posts would be easier to read if you copied and pasted from a properly accented, contemporary critical text.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby David Lim » May 27th, 2012, 12:11 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:If, however, "σαμαρειτης" is never an adjective, how is John 4:9 supposed to be understood? Clearly it still functions as one.


The quotation marks around σαμαρειτης (using Hort's spelling) throws me because that form is not in the verse. If a reference to the lexical form, a masculine noun, then it is only found in the final word Σαμαρίταις, which is clearly acting as a substantive. As for the forms of ἡ Σαμαρῖτις, they are both in apposition to γυνή.


Yes I was referring to "η σαμαρειτις" and "σαμαρειτιδος". You say that they are both in apposition to "η γυνη" and "γυναικος" respectively, but why should it be understood that way? Just as LSJ does concerning the examples I gave, I consider them adjectives here and not as nouns. Even if you say that "σαμαρειτις" is always a noun, it is used as an adjective, but I do not think nouns can ever function as adjectives.

Well, I think you're worried too much about making a distinction here that the Greeks didn't really care about. The ancient Greek grammarians did not consider adjectives to be a separate part of speech, but a particular kind of ὄνομα (noun). That's why some Greek nouns seem to correspond to adjectives when translated into English. But, unlike English, Greek isn't the kind of language where nouns and adjectives have strongly different syntactic properties.


Just because ancient Greek grammarians classified nouns and adjectives under "ονοματα" does not mean that there was no such distinction, and that there was is clear from the grammatical syntax. For example, "N T A" is one pattern that shows a clear difference between the noun and the adjective that modifies it. The adjective is not in apposition to the noun. Therefore adjectives and nouns cannot be said to have the same syntactic properties. (Dionysios Thrax classifies "τίς", "ποῖος" and "πόσος" under "ονοματα ερωτηματικα" and "ὅστις", "ὁποῖος", "ὁπόσος" under "ονοματα αοριστα". This shows that what he considered "ονοματα" is far larger than what we call nouns, thus we cannot bring his classification to bear on this topic.)

The main features of the prototypical Greek adjective is inflection--not derivation--for gender and degree. Of course, not all adjectives have these features, but those which lack both prototypical features would be such untypical adjectives that I wonder what the point of classifying them as adjectives would be.


Also, I do not think that Greek adjectives lacking what you call "prototypical features" are untypical at all. Why does LSJ classify "ιουδαιος" as sometimes a noun and sometimes an adjective? Because it clearly functions in two different ways depending on the context. I am merely drawing the same conclusions for "σαμαρειτης" and "σαμαρειτις", which I consider essentially the same, though I know that the latter is derived from the former, but both have exactly the same meaning but different gender. If you look closely at my examples, and at "ιουδαικοις μυθοις" = "Jewish fables", it cannot be argued that these words are not adjectives in those places. Therefore I likewise conclude that "σαμαρειτις" is an adjective in John 4:9.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » May 27th, 2012, 12:30 am

David, I'm wondering why this makes such a difference to you. It's obvious what the word means in the context. Whether it's a noun or an adjective doesn't affect the sense. Who cares how a dictionary parses it?
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 27th, 2012, 2:06 am

David Lim wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:If, however, "σαμαρειτης" is never an adjective, how is John 4:9 supposed to be understood? Clearly it still functions as one.


The quotation marks around σαμαρειτης (using Hort's spelling) throws me because that form is not in the verse. If a reference to the lexical form, a masculine noun, then it is only found in the final word Σαμαρίταις, which is clearly acting as a substantive. As for the forms of ἡ Σαμαρῖτις, they are both in apposition to γυνή.


Yes I was referring to "η σαμαρειτις" and "σαμαρειτιδος". You say that they are both in apposition to "η γυνη" and "γυναικος" respectively, but why should it be understood that way? Just as LSJ does concerning the examples I gave, I consider them adjectives here and not as nouns. Even if you say that "σαμαρειτις" is always a noun, it is used as an adjective, but I do not think nouns can ever function as adjectives.


Both LSJ and BDAG consider ὁ Σαμαρίτης and ἡ Σαμαρῖτις to be different nouns, referring to a Samaritan man and woman, respectively. Derivationally, they are formed just like other gentilic nouns (Smyth § 844), which is why they don't "fit the adjective declension patterns [you] know," as you admitted in the original post. Moreover, Σαμαρῖτις lacks syntactic criteria for prototypical adjectives, which is inflection for gender and degree. (The example of Ἰουδαῖος, -α is beside the point because it is derivationally a gentilic adjective and it inflects for gender.)

As for John 4:9, the notion of attributive apposition (Smyth § 986) adequately accounts for the uses of Σαμαρῖτις as a noun in that verse. Of course, gentilic nouns in attributive apposition happen to function semantically just like its corresponding gentilic adjective, so, as far as the sense of this verse is concerned, nothing depends on what box you want to put it in.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby David Lim » May 27th, 2012, 5:38 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:David, I'm wondering why this makes such a difference to you. It's obvious what the word means in the context. Whether it's a noun or an adjective doesn't affect the sense. Who cares how a dictionary parses it?


I know that what this particular word means in this context is obvious, but I would like to have an accurate description of the grammatical syntax. That is why I asked in the Linguistics sub-forum.

Stephen Carlson wrote:Both LSJ and BDAG consider ὁ Σαμαρίτης and ἡ Σαμαρῖτις to be different nouns, referring to a Samaritan man and woman, respectively. Derivationally, they are formed just like other gentilic nouns (Smyth § 844), which is why they don't "fit the adjective declension patterns [you] know," as you admitted in the original post. Moreover, Σαμαρῖτις lacks syntactic criteria for prototypical adjectives, which is inflection for gender and degree. (The example of Ἰουδαῖος, -α is beside the point because it is derivationally a gentilic adjective and it inflects for gender.)

As for John 4:9, the notion of attributive apposition (Smyth § 986) adequately accounts for the uses of Σαμαρῖτις as a noun in that verse. Of course, gentilic nouns in attributive apposition happen to function semantically just like its corresponding gentilic adjective, so, as far as the sense of this verse is concerned, nothing depends on what box you want to put it in.


Thanks for the references, but I think they still do not answer my question adequately. As I said, I am not concerned with the meaning of John 4:7 but with the more general question of why it is not considered to be an adjective there. I mentioned that adjective "ιουδαιος" simply as an example of a word that seems to function as either adjective or noun, and also because it does not have what you consider criteria for typical adjectives. Also, the word that Smyth mentioned, "ρητωρ" is used as an adjective in "ρητωρ λογος" according to LSJ. So why should I not also classify other words as adjectives when their context demands? Why is it not possible that these words are actually somewhat like adjectives in the minds of the speakers? And must they really follow the regular declension patterns? What about "αιωνιος"? What is its comparative and superlative? I do think that whether an adjective has the comparative and superlative degrees depends on its semantic meaning and is not an underlying feature of adjectives.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 27th, 2012, 10:00 am

David Lim wrote:Thanks for the references, but I think they still do not answer my question adequately. As I said, I am not concerned with the meaning of John 4:7 but with the more general question of why it is not considered to be an adjective there. I mentioned that adjective "ιουδαιος" simply as an example of a word that seems to function as either adjective or noun, and also because it does not have what you consider criteria for typical adjectives. Also, the word that Smyth mentioned, "ρητωρ" is used as an adjective in "ρητωρ λογος" according to LSJ. So why should I not also classify other words as adjectives when their context demands? Why is it not possible that these words are actually somewhat like adjectives in the minds of the speakers? And must they really follow the regular declension patterns? What about "αιωνιος"? What is its comparative and superlative? I do think that whether an adjective has the comparative and superlative degrees depends on its semantic meaning and is not an underlying feature of adjectives.


It is fruitless to use semantic criteria to distinguish between Greek nouns and adjectives. Adjectives can act as noun when they take an article, and noun can act as adjectives when they are used in attributive apposition. You have to use syntactic criteria, and the prototypical adjective inflects for gender and degree. Not all adjectives have degree, of course, but if it doesn't inflect for either gender or degree, then you don't really have a reason to call it an adjective -- and how you translate into English is irrelevant.

To get to your specific examples, you've misread LSJ on ῥήτωρ. It merely says there is a sense where it is used "as adj." That doesn't mean it is an adjective, since nouns can be used as adjectives when in attributive apposition. LSJ is a guide to meaning, not grammar, and in fact its grammatical theory is about a century and half old.

Your other example αἰώνιος is inflected for gender, so it's an adjective, though it can be used substantively like a noun. In addition, contrary to your intuition, its comparative form, αἰωνιώτερον, is attested in Greek literature, so there's no issue there. But, even if they weren't, it doesn't need to have every distinctive syntactic feature of the prototypical adjective to be an adjective under linguistic prototype theory, just enough of them to distinguish them from nouns. In the case of Σαμαρῖτις, you have not given any syntactic reason that it is not a noun.
Last edited by Stephen Carlson on May 27th, 2012, 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: αἰωνιότητος isn't a superlative form
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Scott Lawson » May 27th, 2012, 10:05 am

Aren't such misbehaving adjectives identified as "peripheral adjectives" in English grammar?

David, what does it mean to you that a Greek noun can occupy either a predicate or attributive position?
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