Theoretical Nature of Prepositional Phrases

Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby MAubrey » August 11th, 2012, 4:18 pm

David Lim wrote:
MAubrey wrote:If you were more familiar with the literature for both Categorial Grammar and LFG, you would already know that neither framework makes psychological claims on the basis of their formal architecture. That is, they do not view the formal representation itself as even remotely being connected to what is going on in the brain (See, for example, Joan Bresnan, Lexical-functional syntax, pages 43ff.).


I know that! What I am saying is two separate things. One, that I believe there is a formal system that best describes natural languages. Two, that people innately learn languages by unconsciously constructing formal rules, which may be inaccurate or incorrect, but which approximate the actual formal system. This explains why native speakers can often tell immediately which phrases are invalid even without being immediately able to explain why. Anyway never mind if you still disagree.


Okay, well, then, if you know that, then I'll assume that you also know that both Categorial Grammar and LFG disagree with you then on language acquisition, too...

David Lim wrote:By the way, I always acknowledge my mistakes once I know them, and you should not say that I have a history of doing otherwise. Thanks for suggesting that chapter in Herodotus. I have read it and don't see anything relevant to this discussion. Perhaps you should point out where you are referring to? If perhaps you were referring to the following:
[Hdt.2.120.5] "ὡς τῶν μεγάλων ἀδικημάτων μεγάλαι εἰσὶ καὶ αἱ τιμωρίαι παρὰ τῶν θεῶν"
"παρα των θεων" modifies "εισι", even as LSJ also implies: "of persons in authority, “αἱ τ. εἰσὶ παρὰ τῶν θεῶν” Hdt.2.120".


Yes, that is the clause in question. Unfortunately, for your purposes, though, LSJ implies nothing of the kind. And I'm at a complete loss as to how in the world you think that it could even remotely do so. Perhaps you didn't notice that LSJ puts this PP in the lexical entry for the noun τιμωρία and not in the one for the verb εἴμι?

I hope you can understand that when I see you do something like this (or, for example, your "alternative explanations" for Stirling's examples), why I might develop the impression that you make the text jump through some simply amazing hoops to make it fit your pre-understanding. Perhaps it is true that you're good at acknowledging your mistakes when you know them. However, over and over again you seemed determined to avoid knowing them at all cost. You force examples into your system a priori.

Let's do this visually. If I understand you correctly, you're claiming the structure of μεγάλαι εἰσὶ καὶ αἱ τιμωρίαι παρὰ τῶν θεῶν is as follows (ignoring any bickering over labels, there is no agreed upon approach to phrase structure--the point is that you want the PP at the clause level rather than in the NP):
Image

Whereas I say that it should look like this with the PP as a daughter of the NP.:
Image

From my perspective viewing this prepositional phrase as modifying anything other than the noun phrase makes this clause semantically incoherent.

So, why isn't it?
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Re: Rom 5:15 ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἕνὸς ἄνθρωπου

Postby David Lim » August 11th, 2012, 10:13 pm

MAubrey wrote:Okay, well, then, if you know that, then I'll assume that you also know that both Categorial Grammar and LFG disagree with you then on language acquisition, too...


Yes, in some ways, and not only on language acquisition.

MAubrey wrote:
David Lim wrote:If perhaps you were referring to the following:
[Hdt.2.120.5] "ὡς τῶν μεγάλων ἀδικημάτων μεγάλαι εἰσὶ καὶ αἱ τιμωρίαι παρὰ τῶν θεῶν"
"παρα των θεων" modifies "εισι", even as LSJ also implies: "of persons in authority, “αἱ τ. εἰσὶ παρὰ τῶν θεῶν” Hdt.2.120".


Yes, that is the clause in question. Unfortunately, for your purposes, though, LSJ implies nothing of the kind. And I'm at a complete loss as to how in the world you think that it could even remotely do so. Perhaps you didn't notice that LSJ puts this PP in the lexical entry for the noun τιμωρία and not in the one for the verb εἴμι?


I know of course. Well I noticed that LSJ tends to rearrange clauses into a "normal" order, besides other alterations like omitting irrelevant words. Anyway since you don't think so, assume that I am wrong about that.

MAubrey wrote:Let's do this visually. If I understand you correctly, you're claiming the structure of μεγάλαι εἰσὶ καὶ αἱ τιμωρίαι παρὰ τῶν θεῶν is as follows (ignoring any bickering over labels, there is no agreed upon approach to phrase structure--the point is that you want the PP at the clause level rather than in the NP):


Not quite what I mean. (As I said before my view is different from both Categorial grammar and Lexical Functional Grammar so please don't expect me to conform to their structures.) Here is a short-form of how I view the structure of the phrase as well as a parse tree with the correct word order and a top-down derivation without the correct word order. I omitted "ὡς τῶν μεγάλων ἀδικημάτων".

{ μεγάλαι } { εἰσὶ ( παρὰ { τῶν { θεῶν } } ) } { καὶ { αἱ τιμωρίαι } }

{ S
- { A μεγάλαι }
- E εἰσὶ
- { N
- - καὶ
- - { N
- - - D αἱ
- - - { N τιμωρίαι }
- - }
- }
- ( Adv
- - Prep παρὰ
- - { N
- - - D τῶν
- - - { N θεῶν }
- - }
- )
}

S
> { A } { E } { N }
> { A } { E } { N }
> { A } { E ( Adv ) } { N }
> { A } { E ( Prep { N } ) } { N }
> { A } { E ( Prep { D { N } } ) } { N }
> { A } { E ( Prep { D { N } } ) } { C { N } }
> { A } { E ( Prep { D { N } } ) } { C { D { N } } }
> { μεγάλαι } { εἰσὶ ( παρὰ { τῶν { θεῶν } } ) } { καὶ { αἱ { τιμωρίαι } } }

(S = sentence; E = equative verb; D = determiner; N = noun phrase; A = adjectival phrase; C = Conjunction; Adv = adverb; Prep = preposition; {} = required; () = optional)

In other words, "παρα των θεων" modifies "εισι", resulting in a more specific equative verb. So the sentence in my view is comparing between great unrighteous acts and the great retributions of them, the latter of which "are from the gods". You however take it to be comparing between great unrighteous acts and the great retributions from the gods. In my view, it is grammatically not the case; it does not specify only "the retributions from the gods", but rather states that the retributions come "from the gods".
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Re: Theoretical Nature of Prepositional Phrases

Postby MAubrey » August 12th, 2012, 12:00 am

Well, we're getting somewhere.

...I think...

David Lim wrote:In other words, "παρα των θεων" modifies "εισι", resulting in a more specific equative verb. So the sentence in my view is comparing between great unrighteous acts and the great retributions of them, the latter of which "are from the gods".

Okay...
David Lim wrote:You however take it to be comparing between great unrighteous acts and the great retributions from the gods.

No, I don't.
David Lim wrote:In my view, it is grammatically not the case; it does not specify only "the retributions from the gods", but rather states that the retributions come "from the gods".

I'm try to understand exactly what you're claiming. Looking at what you've written here and also at your interpretation of Sterling's examples, you either:

(1) Pretend a noun is a verb because it has a verbal cognate.
(2) Insert an "implied" copula (and perhaps also an implied relativizer).

In your world, can prepositional phrases modify NPs in English? Or you have made this a language universal?

You implicitly make a clear distinction above between the English "the retributions of the gods" and "the retributions [are] from the gods." Is that distinction real? Or does the former phrase also have an implied verb? And if it does, then why did you make the distinction at all?
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Re: Theoretical Nature of Prepositional Phrases

Postby David Lim » August 12th, 2012, 2:52 am

MAubrey wrote:I'm try to understand exactly what you're claiming. Looking at what you've written here and also at your interpretation of Sterling's examples, you either:

(1) Pretend a noun is a verb because it has a verbal cognate.
(2) Insert an "implied" copula (and perhaps also an implied relativizer).

[...]

You implicitly make a clear distinction above between the English "the retributions of the gods" and "the retributions [are] from the gods." Is that distinction real? Or does the former phrase also have an implied verb? And if it does, then why did you make the distinction at all?


Sorry if I was not clear enough. I claim neither (1) nor (2). If you look at my top-down derivation (and in this case a context-free grammar suffices), the prepositional phrase adverbially modifies the verb before the resulting verb takes its arguments, which are an adjective for its predicate and a noun phrase for its subject. Let me use a paraphrase to explain:
"ὡς τῶν μεγάλων ἀδικημάτων μεγάλαι εἰσὶ καὶ αἱ τιμωρίαι παρὰ τῶν θεῶν"
"like how great the unrighteous acts are, their retributions are also great, and these retributions are from the gods."
In contrast I had presumed your interpretation is (correct me if I am wrong):
"like how great the unrighteous acts are, their retributions that are from the gods are also great."
In my interpretation, "from the gods" are unrestrictive, not defining which retributions are being referred to, whereas in what I thought your interpretation is, "from the gods" is restrictive, specifying which retributions are being referred to.

Thus if you accept my interpretation as valid, this example would be counted ambiguous, as neither interpretation can be excluded without already knowing the answer to our inquiry into whether prepositional phrases are adjectival.

MAubrey wrote:In your world, can prepositional phrases modify NPs in English? [...]


My short answer is yes, on the surface, but no, on a more fundamental level. English prepositional phrases can easily be ambiguous as it does not have a syntactical rule for specifying whether it is adverbial or adjectival, unlike Greek according to my hypothesis. "I read the book on the floor." could mean "I read the book that was on the floor." or "I was on the floor and I read the book there.". However I still claim that prepositional phrases are always adverbial. Thus in the English example we see an implicit "that was" for the first interpretation. This ambiguity of course only applies to written English because we can disambiguate the two in spoken speech by varying the pauses and to some extent our emphasis. I presume that the shorter version came about to reduce the sentence length, and if so, the longer version shows the original adverbial meaning of the prepositional phrase. Here is my view of Chinese adpositional phrases also:
"I finished reading that book that was on the floor." = ”我看完了[在]地上的那本书。”
"On the floor I finished reading that book." = "我在地上看完了那本书。“
We see that "地上“ / "on the floor" here is an adpositional phrase which is an adverbial phrase for location.
This adverbial phrase is preceded by "在“ / "at" when used to modify the verb "看完了“ / "finished reading" adverbially to specify location of action. The resulting verb is "在地上看完了“ / "finished reading on the floor", which only then takes its subject "我“ / "I" and its object "那本书“ / "that book".
But the adverbial phrase must be in the construction "[在] adv. of locationnoun" when used adjectivally. Here "在“ means "is/was at", and "V (imperfective verb) [ O (object) ]* 的 N (noun)“ means "the N that V [ O ]*". "的“ is used and the relative clause is put in front because there is no relative pronoun in Chinese. The optional use of "在“ somewhat mirrors the long and short version in English, but in Chinese the relative clause is always made explicit by the "的", at least in formal writing.
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Re: Theoretical Nature of Prepositional Phrases

Postby David Lim » August 12th, 2012, 3:08 am

David Lim wrote:
MAubrey wrote:(1) Pretend a noun is a verb because it has a verbal cognate.
(2) Insert an "implied" copula (and perhaps also an implied relativizer).


Sorry if I was not clear enough. I claim neither (1) nor (2).


I realize this is ambiguous. I meant that I claim neither (1) nor (2) for the Herodotus example. But yes I claim (2) for the case where a prepositional phrase apparently functions adjectivally. However, this is just an explanation of a mechanism for what I claimed earlier, that an anarthous prepositional phrase cannot modify a noun. Being adverbial, the hearer associates it to the nearest verb that fits the context. But the prepositional phrase is preceded by the article, and there is no succeeding verb to modify, then it modifies an implicit equative participle (or equative verb in a relative clause), the result being equivalent to an adjectival phrase.
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Re: Theoretical Nature of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Stephen Carlson » August 12th, 2012, 10:50 am

MOD note: since some posts here mentioned Stirling's examples, I moved them from the specific Rom 5:15 thread to here.
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Re: Theoretical Nature of Prepositional Phrases

Postby MAubrey » August 12th, 2012, 12:48 pm

David,

We have a huge problem here. Well, we have a number of huge problems here, but one at a time.

First of all, your view of NP internal prepositional phrases is dependent entirely upon your theoretical presuppositions. It isn't derived from language data. It's derived from the theory itself on the basis making other part of your framework simpler. That's bad linguistics---regardless of the framework you're working in. You don't get to get away with nonsense like that until you're in your late 70s and everyone respects you too much from your decades of quality work that they can't say anything bad about what you're doing in old age.

Secondly, there's a massive problem with assuming a linguistic framework (and a complex one at that) and then running around the forums arguing very specific analyses of grammatical phenomena when those very specific analyses are 100% dependent upon the framework rather than the data. This is not a linguistics forum. Discussion of Greek data itself need to be as theory neutral as possible for the sake of both those who approach Greek from a different theoretical perspective and even more so for those who have no interest in linguistic theory at all. I don't see anything wrong with discussions that layout broad theoretical ideas for discussion in the grammar sub-forums or a comparison discussion of how two or more different frameworks deal with the same Greek phenomenon--though its perhaps overly hopeful that such a discussion would ever take place. It is rude and inconsiderate to assume a framework and argue with when nobody else even knows what it is. Even if you've given small hints about the derivation nature of what you've come up with in a variety of threads and discussions, there are simply too many other variables, presuppositions and broad theoretical questions that don't get explained.

As the linguistics moderator of the forums, I'll be working on a solution for this problem because it's an issue not just for you, but for anyone who is more generally interested in linguistic theory and participates on this forum. That includes myself, Stephen Carlson, Steve Runge, Randall Buth, and a number of other participants. But I should probably warn you ahead of time, I'm inclined toward a policy that would discourage that use of any sort framework that does not limit itself to the surface text. No syntactic derivation. But that's a discussion that I'll be having with the other moderators first.

Lastly, I would suggest that you need to take an actual class in linguistics before you start working on creating your own framework. You're too inexperienced, not well read enough, and simply don't have a sufficient grasp of the theoretical landscape to be doing thing kinds of things you're trying here. In short, if this were a linguistics forum instead of a Greek forum, as a moderator, I'd be sending you back to the beginners section until you had a better grasp of the basics of grammatical analysis. And to be honest, I'm still not entirely convinced that you should be out of the beginner's forum for Greek, either. Only a year ago you were saying that you were saying that you have been learning on your own in the beginners forum. You regularly make parsing mistakes that suggest you're not as far along in your learning as you think you are.

I think we're at and end here. I'll be closing this thread.
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