Various Types of Pronouns

Re: Various Types of Pronouns

Postby Stephen Carlson » October 22nd, 2012, 7:54 am

cwconrad wrote:I'm disturbed by the tone that this thread has taken most recently: peevishness, subversive irony, pseudo-theological subterfuge -- assorted snide ways of putting on a show of civility in a discussion that is not really civil. Not least disturbing is the threat to require adherence to "terms that are standard." Does this imply a standard glossary of linguistic terms or some prerequisite coursework in linguistics for admission to the forum? While the expectation that we should all use words and phrases that communicate precisely what we want to say is doubtless wholly reasonable, there's a hint here at an esoteric technical language to be spoken by an inner circle of initiates.


No, I'm not asking people to adopt a bunch of jargon, but I do think that it is reasonable to ask to use terminology in a conversation with meanings that are well-accepted instead of idiosyncratic meanings that only the poster knows. In no way am I asking for perfect English, even if that's attainable, just an awareness that the use of language is a social activity and there are other people involved, who cannot read our minds.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: Various Types of Pronouns

Postby Paul-Nitz » October 22nd, 2012, 10:13 am

Thanks much. I have been using αυτος in my classroom frequently assuming it was just "he".
Now I wonder if I've led my students astray. What would Classical Greek use when they just wanted to indicate "he"?
Secondly, is there really much of a difference in understanding αυτος as "he himself" and understanding it as HE (stressed just as εγω λαμβανω Is stressing the actor? This, I suppose is a question about English.
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Re: Various Types of Pronouns

Postby MAubrey » October 22nd, 2012, 11:54 am

David Lim wrote:
MAubrey wrote:
David Lim wrote:Both have the same syntactical position as that of an adverb, so to me it is more complicated to take words in such usage to be part of the subject noun phrase.

Every time someone uses the word syntactical when they mean syntactic a puppy dies.


I'll assume you're joking, because "syntactical" is a valid word which means exactly the same thing as "syntactic". I don't mind jokes, however, I don't appreciate people linking what I say to when lovely creatures in the creation of God dies. Do keep such words out of this forum. :)


Perhaps on Tuesdays from 4PM to 7PM GMT?
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Re: Various Types of Pronouns

Postby cwconrad » October 22nd, 2012, 2:52 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:Thanks much. I have been using αυτος in my classroom frequently assuming it was just "he".
Now I wonder if I've led my students astray. What would Classical Greek use when they just wanted to indicate "he"?
Secondly, is there really much of a difference in understanding αυτος as "he himself" and understanding it as HE (stressed just as εγω λαμβανω Is stressing the actor? This, I suppose is a question about English.


Well, this gets into idiomatic usage; I'm not sure that I'm quite competent to answer this, but a couple thoughts come to mind:
(1) ὁ -- what we know commonly as the article or "determiner" used with a noun in various ways, was originally a third-person pronoun; it was commonly used as a third-person pronoun in Homer; in Classical Attic it retained that usage particularly in combination with a δὲ in a number of forumalic or continuative statements, and it's still commonly used that way in NT Koine, e.g.
Matt 2:14 ὁ δὲ ἐγερθεὶς παρέλαβεν τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ ...
Mark 14:52 ὁ δὲ καταλιπὼν τὴν σινδόνα γυμνὸς ἔφυγεν.
Luke 18:23 ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας ταῦτα περίλυπος ἐγενήθη·
(2) οὗτος and ἐκεῖνος were used as third-person pronouns in contexts where we translate them as "he." This is rather emphatic; I'm reminded of one of the presidential debates in 2008 when John McCain referred to Barack Obama as "that one" -- a usage that ran the humor circuits for a week or so afterwards.

The question is whether αὐτός in the nominative is ever used, even in Hellenistic Greek, without some sort of emphatic force involved. The phrase, αὐτὸς ἔφη is sometimes associated with the self-authenticating validity of assertions attributed to Pythagoras, venerably Englished in the lyrics of Gilbert & Sullivan, "For he himself hath said it (and it's greatly to is credit) ... "

I'm not sure whether the question can be resolved to everyone's satisfaction, whether or not αὐτός is ever anything like the simple unempatic third-person English pronoun "he."
Carl W. Conrad
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Re: Various Types of Pronouns

Postby cwconrad » October 22nd, 2012, 3:02 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
cwconrad wrote:I'm disturbed by the tone that this thread has taken most recently: peevishness, subversive irony, pseudo-theological subterfuge -- assorted snide ways of putting on a show of civility in a discussion that is not really civil. Not least disturbing is the threat to require adherence to "terms that are standard." Does this imply a standard glossary of linguistic terms or some prerequisite coursework in linguistics for admission to the forum? While the expectation that we should all use words and phrases that communicate precisely what we want to say is doubtless wholly reasonable, there's a hint here at an esoteric technical language to be spoken by an inner circle of initiates.


No, I'm not asking people to adopt a bunch of jargon, but I do think that it is reasonable to ask to use terminology in a conversation with meanings that are well-accepted instead of idiosyncratic meanings that only the poster knows. In no way am I asking for perfect English, even if that's attainable, just an awareness that the use of language is a social activity and there are other people involved, who cannot read our minds.


There's a laudable aim here, that of discussing linguistic usage in language that is itself clear, not idiosyncratic, and also not the esoteric lingo of initiates into a cult. I'm going to initiate a new thread here on acceptable terminology, in hopes that a little discussion will lead to something of a consensus on these matters. I'm going to entitle it, "Acceptable language about language."
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