σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby David Lim » May 27th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote: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. [...]


Since you say that nouns can function as adjectives when in attributive position, I will take it, but will you then say that only context can distinguish between appositive and attributive use of a noun? That is one reason I thought nouns and adjectives should not be interchangeable. In my view adjectives only modify explicit or implicit nouns, and therefore substantive use of adjectives are actually simply normal use of an adjective with an implicit noun. And if a word can function as an adjective in attributive position, then I would rather say that it is indeed an adjective there. Otherwise, how will you distinguish between these two possible meanings of "T X T Y" where X and Y are both nouns and T is the article:
(1) "the X, which is also the Y," (apposition of "the X" and "the Y"; "the X" and "the Y" uniquely refer to the same entity)
(2) "the X that is a Y" ("Y" qualifies "the X"; "T X T Y" merely refers to a specific "X" that is a "Y" but there may be other "X"s)

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.


Okay thanks for finding it for me. I could not find it on LSJ so I had guessed, wrongly, that it might not exist. Anyway, my reason for considering "σαμαρειτις" in John 4:9 is precisely as above, that "T N T N" and "T N T A" are different syntactic patterns with different meanings. "T A N" is the correct order and not "T N A", which means that nouns and adjectives are syntactically different classes. Thus I did use semantic meaning to identify which class "σαμαρειτις" in John 4:9 is under. Anyway, to clarify what I mean, I am trying to describe what actual grammatical functions a word has based on its usage, syntactically and semantically, and I do not consider inflection for gender a criterion, though there must be corresponding words for the applicable genders. I never once said that "σαμαρειτις" is not a noun but an adjective. Rather I said that it is functioning exactly as an adjective in John 4:9 and exactly as a noun in other places.

Now my last question is, can every single noun function as an adjective? My answer is, no, because I believe each word's possible grammatical functions with their associated possible semantic meanings are inherent. So if a noun is never used adjectivally, I will conclude that it cannot function as an adjective, unless it later acquires such a meaning. The examples I mentioned and the references you quoted from Smyth suggest that such nouns typically have certain semantic meanings, such as denoting nationality and occupation, while other nouns cannot be used in attributive position. Would you agree?
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 27th, 2012, 1:28 pm

David, you're making this much harder than it has to be. Greek, like other early Indo-European languages, has a weak noun-adjective distinction. There is a spectrum of behavior between the prototypical noun and the prototypical adjective, and gentilic adjectives and nouns fall somewhere in the gray area.

To the extent that there is a need to categorize these words in the gray area, the most salient distinction for linguists has been inflection for gender. I'm sorry you don't consider it a valid criterion, but linguists do. For example, the linguist Silvia Luraghi in her chapter in The Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics (2010) writes: "Indo-Europeanists have long pointed out that the distinction between nouns and adjectives was weak in PIE, the only difference being that adjectives inflect for gender." This is pretty standard stuff, but even here, things get messy in Greek.

David Lim wrote:Since you say that nouns can function as adjectives when in attributive position, I will take it, but will you then say that only context can distinguish between appositive and attributive use of a noun?


Well, Smyth's notion of an "attributive apposition" already challenges the assumption in your question that there is a hard distinction between the two. ;-) Don't get too hung up on the distinctions when the category boundaries are fuzzy.

In any event, the use of ἡ Σαμαρῖτις in v.9 is appositive, because the first part ἡ γυνή is sufficient on its own in this context to identify uniquely who the referent is: the woman at the well. After all, the only woman mentioned in this context is the one already introduced in v.7: "γυνὴ ἐκ τῆς Σαμαρείας". The apposition of ἡ Σαμαρῖτις to ἡ γυνή performs a discourse function that Steve Runge terms "overspecification" and it helps to provide an interpretative context for the statement she is about to make.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Ken M. Penner » May 27th, 2012, 6:03 pm

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've been following this thread because it makes a difference to those of us who make tagged texts and lexical entries.
My inclination has been to take gentilic words like Ἰουδαιος and Μωαβιτης as adjectives. The feminine form is used for the land: Ἰουδαια and Μωαβιτις [sc. γη].
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Scott Lawson » May 27th, 2012, 6:50 pm

David Lim wrote: "T A N" is the correct order and not "T N A", which means that nouns and adjectives are syntactically different classes.


David, if you would please, help me understand what you mean by the above statement. I would agree that the above is correct for English but not for Greek.

There are three attributive positions for the Greek adjective:

1.) T A N
2.) T N T A
3.) N T A

The predicate position of a Greek adjective is:

T N A

You will not find:

T A T N

You seem to be prohibiting the predicate position of an adjective (T N A) as a proper adjectival construction and from this drawing the conlcusion that nouns and adjectives are syntactically different classes. This doesn't seem correct. What am I missing?
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby cwconrad » May 27th, 2012, 7:07 pm

Ken M. Penner wrote:
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've been following this thread because it makes a difference to those of us who make tagged texts and lexical entries.
My inclination has been to take gentilic words like Ἰουδαιος and Μωαβιτης as adjectives. The feminine form is used for the land: Ἰουδαια and Μωαβιτις [sc. γη].


I don't really want to start a new discussion here so much as I want to inject a comment. I do think the matter of lexical entries really does deserve a fuller discussion of its own and there have been beginnings of such a discussion in the "guild." On the other hand, there's something phony about the whole business of precise parsing: in some cases such as this (adjective or noun?) the decision can be arbitrary. Some parsing guides and text-taggers want to mark whether middle-passive forms are semantically middle or semantically passive, and that too is often arbitrary. My own view is that parsing guides or tagged texts are not really that much help to one who still has no solid grounding in Greek, while those who do have a solid grounding in Greek don't need the help of the parsing guides and tags. The tagging is more useful in developing statistical data on usage, but even such data can be skewed -- at least slightly -- by arbitrary tagging.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby David Lim » May 27th, 2012, 11:31 pm

Scott Lawson wrote:
David Lim wrote: "T A N" is the correct order and not "T N A", which means that nouns and adjectives are syntactically different classes.


David, if you would please, help me understand what you mean by the above statement. I would agree that the above is correct for English but not for Greek.

[...]

You seem to be prohibiting the predicate position of an adjective (T N A) as a proper adjectival construction and from this drawing the conlcusion that nouns and adjectives are syntactically different classes. This doesn't seem correct. What am I missing?


You will not find an adjective modifying a definite noun in the structure "T N A". For example, "ο νομος αγαθος" cannot mean "the good law" but must mean "the law [is] good". I listed the valid structures before at http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/vie ... 1118#p5401. Even the ancient grammarians distinguished between nouns and adjectives and also stated the rule that the "T A N" and not "T N A" is the correct order.

Stephen Carlson wrote:David, you're making this much harder than it has to be. Greek, like other early Indo-European languages, has a weak noun-adjective distinction. There is a spectrum of behavior between the prototypical noun and the prototypical adjective, and gentilic adjectives and nouns fall somewhere in the gray area.

To the extent that there is a need to categorize these words in the gray area, the most salient distinction for linguists has been inflection for gender. I'm sorry you don't consider it a valid criterion, but linguists do. For example, the linguist Silvia Luraghi in her chapter in The Continuum Companion to Historical Linguistics (2010) writes: "Indo-Europeanists have long pointed out that the distinction between nouns and adjectives was weak in PIE, the only difference being that adjectives inflect for gender." This is pretty standard stuff, but even here, things get messy in Greek.


I am sorry but I am trying to figure out just what was in the minds of speakers when they used these words in ways that are indistinguishable from those of adjectives. Instead of calling it a spectrum, I would rather say that some words are inherently purely adjectives and always modify an explicit or implicit noun, and other words are inherently purely nouns and are always never used as adjectives, and other words have two or more inherent meanings, each of which having a specific grammatical function, thus the same word may be used in two different ways, in one, as a noun with a certain meaning, in another, as an adjective with a different meaning. This in my opinion should be listed in a lexicon just as in an English lexicon. The fact that adjectives are declined for gender does not really help because there is more than one declension pattern, so why is the one involving "ης" and "ις" not another? I am not arguing for it, but from observation many words I have found that can be used as adjectives ending with "ης" in the masculine consistently either are also used for the feminine or have a feminine counterpart ending with "ις". It makes me wonder whether users of the language in fact considered them the same word, whether or not they were derived separately or one from the other.

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:Since you say that nouns can function as adjectives when in attributive position, I will take it, but will you then say that only context can distinguish between appositive and attributive use of a noun?


Well, Smyth's notion of an "attributive apposition" already challenges the assumption in your question that there is a hard distinction between the two. ;-) Don't get too hung up on the distinctions when the category boundaries are fuzzy.


Sure, so now I am challenging Smyth's identification of such a "construction" called "attributive apposition". ;) Even English grammar recognises that some nouns can function as adjectives and some cannot. Incidentally, there will be no ambiguity between attributive and appositive usage in English mainly because of punctuation and word order.

Stephen Carlson wrote:In any event, the use of ἡ Σαμαρῖτις in v.9 is appositive, because the first part ἡ γυνή is sufficient on its own in this context to identify uniquely who the referent is: the woman at the well. After all, the only woman mentioned in this context is the one already introduced in v.7: "γυνὴ ἐκ τῆς Σαμαρείας". The apposition of ἡ Σαμαρῖτις to ἡ γυνή performs a discourse function that Steve Runge terms "overspecification" and it helps to provide an interpretative context for the statement she is about to make.


I agree that this is one interpretation, in fact at first I thought the same, but I disagree that it is the correct one, because the second use of the same word "σαμαρειτιδος" is in a place where it cannot be appositive. Therefore from that I conclude that "σαμαρειτις" can indeed function as an adjective, and thus it has essentially two meanings: "Samaritan woman (noun)" and "Samaritan (feminine adjective)". Then this means that the most natural meaning of the first occurrence in John 4:9 is really attributive.
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Scott Lawson » May 28th, 2012, 2:12 am

David Lim wrote:You will not find an adjective modifying a definite noun in the structure "T N A". For example, "ο νομος αγαθος" cannot mean "the good law" but must mean "the law [is] good". I listed the valid structures before at...( )... Even the ancient grammarians distinguished between nouns and adjectives and also stated the rule that the "T A N" and not "T N A" is the correct order.


I'm sorry, but this sounds like gobbledygook and double speak in my ears, and I'm having a tough time understanding what you are asserting. It seems to me that you are saying that the only valid use of an adjective is as a modifier (attributive use) and that a predicate adjective, which does not modify a noun but rather makes an assertion about a noun is ... what? If I will not find an adjective modifying a definite noun in the T N A construction what will it be? Is it to be viewed as a predicate noun? Or are you just stating the obvious? that the adjective is predicating something about the definite noun and not modifying it.

David Lim wrote:"T A N" and not "T N A" is the correct order.


Correct order for what? I understand that T A N is one of three possible attributive positions of an adjective and that T N A is the order one would expect for a predicate adjective.

David, I would very much appreciate your efforts in clarifying this matter for me. Sorry to be such a dullard.

Thanks,
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby David Lim » May 28th, 2012, 5:15 am

Scott Lawson wrote:
David Lim wrote:You will not find an adjective modifying a definite noun in the structure "T N A". For example, "ο νομος αγαθος" cannot mean "the good law" but must mean "the law [is] good". I listed the valid structures before at...( )... Even the ancient grammarians distinguished between nouns and adjectives and also stated the rule that the "T A N" and not "T N A" is the correct order.


I'm sorry, but this sounds like gobbledygook and double speak in my ears, and I'm having a tough time understanding what you are asserting. It seems to me that you are saying that the only valid use of an adjective is as a modifier (attributive use) and that a predicate adjective, which does not modify a noun but rather makes an assertion about a noun is ... what? If I will not find an adjective modifying a definite noun in the T N A construction what will it be? Is it to be viewed as a predicate noun? Or are you just stating the obvious? that the adjective is predicating something about the definite noun and not modifying it.


Yes. An adjective can only be used as a modifier in attributive position (others will say that it can also be substantivised by an article). Look carefully at the example I gave. "ο νομος αγαθος" never means "the good law" = "the law that is good". Rather it states "the law [is] good", which is a complete clause. (See Rom 7:12 for an example of such statements.) The noun phrase "the good law" must be expressed using either "ο αγαθος νομος" or "ο νομος ο αγαθος".

Scott Lawson wrote:
David Lim wrote:"T A N" and not "T N A" is the correct order.


Correct order for what? I understand that T A N is one of three possible attributive positions of an adjective and that T N A is the order one would expect for a predicate adjective.


Correct order for attributive usage. I would not call the "A" in "T N A" a predicate adjective. It is just the entire predicate itself, just as the "N" in "T N N" is not a predicate noun but just the entire predicate itself (if it is not appositive).
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 28th, 2012, 6:17 am

David Lim wrote:I am sorry but I am trying to figure out just what was in the minds of speakers when they used these words in ways that are indistinguishable from those of adjectives. Instead of calling it a spectrum, I would rather say that some words are inherently purely adjectives and always modify an explicit or implicit noun, and other words are inherently purely nouns and are always never used as adjectives, and other words have two or more inherent meanings, each of which having a specific grammatical function, thus the same word may be used in two different ways, in one, as a noun with a certain meaning, in another, as an adjective with a different meaning. This in my opinion should be listed in a lexicon just as in an English lexicon.


What you're describing is a category-based approach to semantics that attempts to deal with apparent categorical misfits by an appeal to massive homonymity. Though some scholars have used this approach in the past (and you can see aspects of it in the old reference works), it has been rejected by linguists at least since the 1980s in favor of a linguistic prototype approach that recognizes and accounts for the existence of a spectrum of meaning in some cases. No wonder why my explanations seem to have made no sense--you simply lack the theoretical basis to understand them. All I can do on that score is to recommend works like John R. Taylor's Linguistic Categorization. In my opinion, you're trying to make sense of John 4:9 now using a theoretically inferior and outdated approach and it's just not working.

David Lim wrote:The fact that adjectives are declined for gender does not really help because there is more than one declension pattern, so why is the one involving "ης" and "ις" not another? I am not arguing for it, but from observation many words I have found that can be used as adjectives ending with "ης" in the masculine consistently either are also used for the feminine or have a feminine counterpart ending with "ις". It makes me wonder whether users of the language in fact considered them the same word, whether or not they were derived separately or one from the other.


My explanation assumed that the difference between derivation and inflection was understood.

David Lim wrote:Even English grammar recognises that some nouns can function as adjectives and some cannot.


Well, not the leading English grammars. For example, the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, p. 537, explicitly rejects this claim:
Traditional school grammar (though not scholarly traditional grammar) tends to analyse the underlined nouns [e.g. as in a government inquiry, the Clinton administration, a London park, the Caroline factor, etc.] here as adjectives -- or to say that they are 'nouns used as adjectives'. From our perspective, this latter formulation represents a confusion between categories and functions: they are not nouns used as adjectives, but nouns used as attributive modifiers. Apart from pronouns, just about any noun can appear in this function -- including proper nouns as in the London, Clinton, and Caroline examples. The words can all appear as head of an NP in subject or object function, where they are uncontroversially nouns; to analyse them as adjectives when they are functioning attributively would make the adjective category far too heterogeneous, and require an unwarranted and massive overlap between the adjective and noun categories.


It seems to me that the notion of grammar you're trying to apply here is akin to a "traditional school grammar." I don't recommend that approach.

David Lim wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:In any event, the use of ἡ Σαμαρῖτις in v.9 is appositive, because the first part ἡ γυνή is sufficient on its own in this context to identify uniquely who the referent is: the woman at the well. After all, the only woman mentioned in this context is the one already introduced in v.7: "γυνὴ ἐκ τῆς Σαμαρείας". The apposition of ἡ Σαμαρῖτις to ἡ γυνή performs a discourse function that Steve Runge terms "overspecification" and it helps to provide an interpretative context for the statement she is about to make.


I agree that this is one interpretation, in fact at first I thought the same, but I disagree that it is the correct one, because the second use of the same word "σαμαρειτιδος" is in a place where it cannot be appositive. Therefore from that I conclude that "σαμαρειτις" can indeed function as an adjective, and thus it has essentially two meanings: "Samaritan woman (noun)" and "Samaritan (feminine adjective)". Then this means that the most natural meaning of the first occurrence in John 4:9 is really attributive.


The second use actually looks like a predicative usage: "a woman who's a Samaritan." But even if it were attributive (or Smyth's notion of an "attributive appositive" which you reject for some reason), your approach confuses categories (nouns and adjectives) and functions (apposition, being attributive).
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Re: σαμαρειτης - Noun / Adjective

Postby David Lim » May 28th, 2012, 10:02 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:I am sorry but I am trying to figure out just what was in the minds of speakers when they used these words in ways that are indistinguishable from those of adjectives. Instead of calling it a spectrum, I would rather say that some words are inherently purely adjectives and always modify an explicit or implicit noun, and other words are inherently purely nouns and are always never used as adjectives, and other words have two or more inherent meanings, each of which having a specific grammatical function, thus the same word may be used in two different ways, in one, as a noun with a certain meaning, in another, as an adjective with a different meaning. This in my opinion should be listed in a lexicon just as in an English lexicon.


What you're describing is a category-based approach to semantics that attempts to deal with apparent categorical misfits by an appeal to massive homonymity. Though some scholars have used this approach in the past (and you can see aspects of it in the old reference works), it has been rejected by linguists at least since the 1980s in favor of a linguistic prototype approach that recognizes and accounts for the existence of a spectrum of meaning in some cases. No wonder why my explanations seem to have made no sense--you simply lack the theoretical basis to understand them. All I can do on that score is to recommend works like John R. Taylor's Linguistic Categorization. In my opinion, you're trying to make sense of John 4:9 now using a theoretically inferior and outdated approach and it's just not working.


Okay. Thanks for your recommendations. I would, however, like to ask you how you would explain the following:
"wind chill" (low temperature on skin due to wind)
"wind farm" (group of wind turbines)
"wind harp" (harp played by the wind)
"wind instrument" (instrument played by blowing)
"wind orchestra" (orchestra with mainly wind instruments)
"wind shear" (difference in wind velocity)
"wind tunnel" (tunnel for measuring air flow)
"wind turbine" (turbine moved by the wind)
"wind vane" (vane for measuring wind direction)
In each case the manner in which "wind" modifies the other noun, whether under prototype theory or not, cannot be derived from any "prototypes" but must be individually learnt. This ultimately means that a comprehensive lexicon must have these separately listed. For example, a wind harp is a harp that is literally played by the wind blowing across it, but even if one is aware of that, he is unable to deduce the meaning of "wind instrument" even though a harp is an instrument. Likewise, one cannot know that a wind orchestra includes some percussion instruments based on any prototypes. Thus I see no value in considering "wind" here as a noun in attributive position. Rather, these are functioning as separate nouns, each of which is inseparable. Prototype theory can only explain the relationship after the meaning is known and not before. Then, to me it is better to treat each meaning separately yet within appropriate categories, as I vaguely describe above. If so, then grammar would also be part of the meaning, because the meanings of a word used as a noun often differ somewhat from those when used as an adjective. I do not separate grammatical and semantic function but consider the pair of them as the attributes of each meaning. Each word has a set of possible meanings and each of these meanings has both grammatical and semantic function. This framework easily accounts for some words with all sorts of related yet with disparate meanings across various grammatical functions, such as "first" and "such" and "very". At the same time, I do not dismiss prototypes, but they cannot serve the purpose of classification or identification of meaning.

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:Even English grammar recognises that some nouns can function as adjectives and some cannot.


Well, not the leading English grammars. For example, the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, p. 537, explicitly rejects this claim:
Traditional school grammar (though not scholarly traditional grammar) tends to analyse the underlined nouns [e.g. as in a government inquiry, the Clinton administration, a London park, the Caroline factor, etc.] here as adjectives -- or to say that they are 'nouns used as adjectives'. From our perspective, this latter formulation represents a confusion between categories and functions: they are not nouns used as adjectives, but nouns used as attributive modifiers. Apart from pronouns, just about any noun can appear in this function -- including proper nouns as in the London, Clinton, and Caroline examples. The words can all appear as head of an NP in subject or object function, where they are uncontroversially nouns; to analyse them as adjectives when they are functioning attributively would make the adjective category far too heterogeneous, and require an unwarranted and massive overlap between the adjective and noun categories.


All these show that these words can function as nouns or adjectives. None of them need to be classified as "fundamentally" nouns or adjectives or anything else, just as words like "first" and "such". But in the above examples of their usage they are indeed adjectives.

Stephen Carlson wrote:The second use actually looks like a predicative usage: "a woman who's a Samaritan." But even if it were attributive (or Smyth's notion of an "attributive appositive" which you reject for some reason), your approach confuses categories (nouns and adjectives) and functions (apposition, being attributive).


Actually "a woman who is a Samaritan" implies that "σαμαρειτις" is functioning as an adjective, whether you want to call it such or "attributive appositive" (which I reject because it is just an attempt to keep its classification as a noun). If instead it functions truly in apposition, "γυνη σαμαρειτις" would mean "[a] woman, [a] Samaritan woman," where "γυνη" by itself is a sufficient reference to the entity, which is obviously not true. So it is not true apposition. Rather it is the exact syntax that adjectives must be used in, "T N T A" in the first occurrence and "N A" in the second. To test my hypothesis, I will need to search for "T A N" or "N T A" where "A" is a word that you consider a noun. In both cases we cannot interpret "T A" to be in apposition to "N". I found one accidentally when I saw "ο καρδιογνωστης θεος" in Acts 15:8. I consider "καρδιογνωστης" to function exactly as an adjective there, not a noun. This may not be good evidence because it involves the word "θεος", but I have no means to search TLG. (My ISP has some problem with them.) If anyone does it, I will be glad to look at the results!
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