Theoretical Nature of Prepositional Phrases

Theoretical Nature of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Alan Patterson » August 8th, 2012, 1:12 pm

If you ask me, all prepositional phrases are ultimately adverbial. What may seem uncomfortable is that we have to supply the words that are "ellipsised." And the words to be supplied are meant to clarify that more (not too much more) ambiguous prep phrase. But this is only the case at the surface level.

I really am not quite following the idea that a prep phrase can function as an adjective. This is quite foreign to my thinking. When we see a prep phrase as adjectival, I think we are looking at the surface level, rather than revealing the deep level structure.

Is there a "sure enough" prep phrase in the GNT that functions adjectivally? I just don't believe one can be produced at the deep structure level.

Am I looney?
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby Stephen Carlson » August 8th, 2012, 7:03 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, Alan. I'm not familiar with the view that all prepositional phrases are adverbial, and in fact that theory seems dubious to me (at least for Indo-European languages).
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby David Lim » August 9th, 2012, 2:42 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Thanks for your thoughts, Alan. I'm not familiar with the view that all prepositional phrases are adverbial, and in fact that theory seems dubious to me (at least for Indo-European languages).


Actually I share Alan's opinion, not because I read it anywhere but because I observed that linguistically it is easy to explain prepositional phrases as intrinsically adverbial, and then see the so-called attributive use of it as that the article forces it to be embedded in an adjectival phrase.
For example "τα επι της γης" is actually:
"(noun){ the (adj.){ [which is] (adv.){ on the earth } } }"
I don't know any other Indo-European languages, so do you mind explaining a little why such a proposition is dubious?
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby Stephen Carlson » August 9th, 2012, 10:46 am

David Lim wrote:Actually I share Alan's opinion, not because I read it anywhere but because I observed that linguistically it is easy to explain prepositional phrases as intrinsically adverbial, and then see the so-called attributive use of it as that the article forces it to be embedded in an adjectival phrase.
For example "τα επι της γης" is actually:
"(noun){ the (adj.){ [which is] (adv.){ on the earth } } }"


It's still adjectival to me. Unless you've begged the question that ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς is adverbial in this rewritten construction, it appears to me that you can do the same thing with adjectives and, by your logic, convert them to adverbs.

For example "τὰ ἐπίγεια" is actually:
"(noun){ the (adj.){ [which is] (adv.){ earthly } } }"
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby David Lim » August 9th, 2012, 12:21 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:Actually I share Alan's opinion, not because I read it anywhere but because I observed that linguistically it is easy to explain prepositional phrases as intrinsically adverbial, and then see the so-called attributive use of it as that the article forces it to be embedded in an adjectival phrase.
For example "τα επι της γης" is actually:
"(noun){ the (adj.){ [which is] (adv.){ on the earth } } }"


It's still adjectival to me. Unless you've begged the question that ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς is adverbial in this rewritten construction, it appears to me that you can do the same thing with adjectives and, by your logic, convert them to adverbs.

For example "τὰ ἐπίγεια" is actually:
"(noun){ the (adj.){ [which is] (adv.){ earthly } } }"


I don't understand your example. Assuming you meant to interchange "adj." and "adv.", it is not correct. I was not begging the question because the prepositional phrase is used just like ordinary adverbs to modify a verb. Adjectives do not do that. Your example is actually:
"(noun){ the (adj.){ earthly } }"
Anyway I don't want to argue about this. It is fundamentally dependent on our opinion of which formal system best describes natural language.
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby Stephen Carlson » August 9th, 2012, 12:51 pm

David Lim wrote:I don't understand your example


I'm just substituting ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς with ἐπίγεια in your example and showing that it does not make sense. That you don't understand it confirms that the logic does not work.
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby Alan Patterson » August 9th, 2012, 3:30 pm

The Definite Article makes both the Adv and Adj function substantivally. That a Definite Article can convert anything into a Substantive is nothing more than a particular language's idioms. For example, the adverb nun surely means now, but with the article it becomes "the now (time)." It seems to me we are stating nothing more than a function of the DA, not the adverb.
At times a prep phrase/adverbial expression can look like an adjective, but it is, as I said at the beginning, ULTIMATELY an adverb. If you translate a prep phrase as an adjective, there must be an ellipsis. And this ellipsis, when surfaced from the deep structure, will show that this indeed is an adverbial expression. I would not translate any prep phrase as an adjective simply because it hides the deep structure's adverbial expression.
I must admit this can appear as being nitpicky, but I have yet to find any justification for translating an adverbial adjectivally. [See, that adjective even functions adverbially :o )

At work, above not edited.
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby Stephen Carlson » August 9th, 2012, 5:33 pm

Alan Patterson wrote:At times a prep phrase/adverbial expression can look like an adjective, but it is, as I said at the beginning, ULTIMATELY an adverb. If you translate a prep phrase as an adjective, there must be an ellipsis. And this ellipsis, when surfaced from the deep structure, will show that this indeed is an adverbial expression. I would not translate any prep phrase as an adjective simply because it hides the deep structure's adverbial expression.
I must admit this can appear as being nitpicky, but I have yet to find any justification for translating an adverbial adjectivally. [See, that adjective even functions adverbially :o )


Thanks for your comment, Alan. I'd like to keep the focus on my original question, which is whether the PP ἐν χάριτι construes with ἡ δορεά (as in most if not all translations) or with the verb ἐπερίσσευσεν. True, I called the former "adjectival" and the second "adverbial," because the former construes with the noun and the latter with the verb. So an answer that there's no such thing as an adjectival PP, because they are actually adverbial PPs with a some ellipsed verb, doesn't really address the question I asked. Sorry for letting my personal skepticism for explanations that involve unfalsifiable appeals to (a) deep structure, (b) ellipsis, and (c) an over-reliance on the category adverb get the better of me.

ETA: { Mod note: Now this is it's own thread. }
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby David Lim » August 9th, 2012, 11:09 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:I don't understand your example


I'm just substituting ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς with ἐπίγεια in your example and showing that it does not make sense. That you don't understand it confirms that the logic does not work.


No it is you who don't understand; you were not substituting correctly. I believe you wanted to say:
For example "τὰ ἐπίγεια" is actually:
"(noun){ the (adv.){ [which is] (adj.){ earthly } } }"

To which my last post was a response, and which Alan was also trying to say. But as I said it depends on which formal system we think underlies natural language, because the true "deep structure" cannot easily be demonstrated. Just because there are alternative opinions does not necessarily mean that "my logic does not work".
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby MAubrey » August 10th, 2012, 12:11 am

David Lim wrote:But as I said it depends on which formal system we think underlies natural language


No, a formal system does not underlie natural language.
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