Attributives

Re: Attributives

Postby Scott Lawson » November 21st, 2013, 5:44 pm

Carl, you help make my point. Ο ανηρ ο σοφος is attributive and therefore is not a complete sentence. So again, it seems to me that the defining difference between predicate adjectives and attributive adjectives is that predicate adjectives and their nouns form a complete sentence and attributive adjectives and their nouns do not. Or do I misunderstand your point?
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Re: Attributives

Postby cwconrad » November 21st, 2013, 6:11 pm

Scott Lawson wrote:Carl, you help make my point. Ο ανηρ ο σοφος is attributive and therefore is not a complete sentence. So again, it seems to me that the defining difference between predicate adjectives and attributive adjectives is that predicate adjectives and their nouns form a complete sentence and attributive adjectives and their nouns do not. Or do I misunderstand your point?

That's right on the mark, but it doesn't seem particularly remarkable to me, because in this instance, at least, our traditional grammatical terminology is really quite precise: The very word predicate used adjectivally with adjective signifies "belonging to the predicate" or "asserting something about" the noun that it qualifies. An attributive simply characterizes a noun without making an assertion. Metalanguage here seems almsot to overcomplicate the simple difference between "a red book" and "The book is red."
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Re: Attributives

Postby Scott Lawson » November 21st, 2013, 6:33 pm

The prescriptive rules and meta-language have in the past caused my eyes to glaze over and so I gave little thought to the matter until just recently. As I have pointed out a few posts back my observation may seem obvious. The complicated fashion in which this matter his handled by the grammars seems to cause confusion. At least it has for me. These grammars assume I'm better educated than I am.
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Re: Attributives

Postby cwconrad » November 21st, 2013, 8:58 pm

Scott Lawson wrote:The prescriptive rules and meta-language have in the past caused my eyes to glaze over and so I gave little thought to the matter until just recently. As I have pointed out a few posts back my observation may seem obvious. The complicated fashion in which this matter his handled by the grammars seems to cause confusion. At least it has for me. These grammars assume I'm better educated than I am.

What you say here is perhaps considerably more worth taking note of than it may appear on the surface. I think we're talking about descriptive rather than prescriptive rules. What we find set forth in Smyth or in BDF or in ATR is not rules about how Greek must be spoken and/or written, but rather about how it ordinarily is spoken or written.

I suspect that when we've taught Greek by the old grammar-translation methodology, we've introduced grammatical rules and vocabulary at the outset without ever doing any preliminary explanations of the nature of grammar as a metalanguage for discussion or explanation of how a language ordinarily works. We've thrown paradigms of declensions of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives and conjugations of verbs at students, and we've loaded them down with terms such as attributive and predicative without ever talking about our choices of terminology and how apt they are for indicating what we meant to talk about. Insofar as grammar is a system or a framework or a systematic framework of interaction of linguistic elements, we probably ought to have spent some time talking about the categories and terms, perhaps even questioning the adequacy of the names we've applied to categories. The fact of the matter is that grammar is something we don't get involved with for our native language until we are well along in school; it really is a bit strange that we should start with the grammar of a new language before students even seriously begin to become familiar with it.

The all-too-obvious point here is that grammar is a metalanguage. It's a language not so much underlying a language but rather imposed on top of a language to enable discussing the language being explained. And the metalanguage of grammar is really every bit as much a foreign language -- a καινὴ γλῶσσα -- as is Greek. In fact, it is even more foreign than Greek because it isn't a natural language at all, but a sort of jerry-built framework upon which to hang various placards and connect links from one to another as we try to make sense of how the phrases of Greek hang together and relate to other elements of speech. I think we sometimes forget just how unnatural the language of grammar actually is. It is no wonder that students so often find it much easier to learn a language, if possible, without ever having to speak the language of grammar. For all my complaints about the "jargon" of academic Linguistic terminology, the truth is that the terminology of traditional grammar, including the terms "predicative" and "attributive" -- these too, are "jargon."
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Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
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Re: Attributives

Postby Stephen Hughes » November 22nd, 2013, 12:28 am

cwconrad wrote:An attributive simply characterizes a noun without making an assertion.

I think this rule holds for Scott's adjective examples, but would break down when the attributive is a participle. Does that seem right?

cwconrad wrote:The very word predicate used adjectivally with adjective signifies "belonging to the predicate" or "asserting something about" the noun that it qualifies.

I think that this can be true for all cases except the vocative. Is that right?
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Re: Attributives

Postby David Lim » November 22nd, 2013, 2:08 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:In the three examples that you have composed, all of your attibutives are adjectives. As far as I understand the distincition, an adjective expresses something about the noun that is true not only in the context that we see it now, but in other contexts as well. That is different from using a participle as an attributive - which would only be true for the situation that is being expressed. An adjective is found in the dictionary by itself so it seems to exist by itself, but actually, when used attributively it relies on the noun, and doesn't really have any sense on its own.

I'd like to ask about this, as I don't think this point was discussed so far. I don't see a distinction between the way an adjective modifies a noun phrase and the way a participle used adjectivally does. I would say that in both cases the resulting combined noun phrase refers to some (contextually dependent) entity that is described by the noun phrase and the adjective/participle, and hence it is not true that an adjective expresses something about the noun phrase that is true in other contexts.
Some examples are:
[Mark 1:27] και εθαμβηθησαν παντες ωστε συζητειν προς εαυτους λεγοντας τι εστιν τουτο τις η διδαχη η καινη αυτη οτι κατ εξουσιαν και τοις πνευμασιν τοις ακαθαρτοις επιτασσει και υπακουουσιν αυτω (the teaching is "new" to them at that time)
[Mark 2:22] και ουδεις βαλλει οινον νεον εις ασκους παλαιους ει δε μη ρησσει ο οινος ο νεος τους ασκους και ο οινος εκχειται και οι ασκοι απολουνται αλλα οινον νεον εις ασκους καινους βλητεον (it refers to wine when it is new/old; the wine doesn't remain new)
[Luke 18:33] και μαστιγωσαντες αποκτενουσιν αυτον και τη ημερα τη τριτη αναστησεται ("the third day" counts from the point determined by the context)
[Luke 21:3] και ειπεν αληθως λεγω υμιν οτι η χηρα η πτωχη αυτη πλειον παντων εβαλεν (it doesn't mean that she had always been and will always be poor)
[John 18:16] ο δε πετρος ειστηκει προς τη θυρα εξω εξηλθεν ουν ο μαθητης ο αλλος ος ην γνωστος τω αρχιερει και ειπεν τη θυρωρω και εισηγαγεν τον πετρον (again, it is a contextually dependent referent)
[Acts 6:1] εν δε ταις ημεραις ταυταις πληθυνοντων των μαθητων εγενετο γογγυσμος των ελληνιστων προς τους εβραιους οτι παρεθεωρουντο εν τη διακονια τη καθημερινη αι χηραι αυτων (this is another contextually constrained referent)
[1 Cor 7:14] ηγιασται γαρ ο ανηρ ο απιστος εν τη γυναικι και ηγιασται η γυνη η απιστος εν τω ανδρι επει αρα τα τεκνα υμων ακαθαρτα εστιν νυν δε αγια εστιν ("for what do you know, o wife, whether you will save [your] husband?" And off-topic, this is an unambiguous instance of "εν" with a person as a dative of means.)
[1 John 2:7-8] αδελφοι ουκ εντολην καινην γραφω υμιν αλλ εντολην παλαιαν ην ειχετε απ αρχης η εντολη η παλαια εστιν ο λογος ον ηκουσατε απ αρχης παλιν εντολην καινην γραφω υμιν ο εστιν αληθες εν αυτω και εν υμιν οτι η σκοτια παραγεται και το φως το αληθινον ηδη φαινει (the commandment is old in the context because "you had it from the beginning", but also new in the sense that it is given again now that "the true light already shines")

Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:An attributive simply characterizes a noun without making an assertion.

I think this rule holds for Scott's adjective examples, but would break down when the attributive is a participle. Does that seem right?

As above, I don't think there's any difference. To take Matt 23:17 as an example, "ο ναος ο αγιαζων τον χρυσον" means "the temple that sanctifies the gold" rather than "the temple, which sanctifies the gold", and to say the latter in Greek we need to use a relative pronoun as in "ο ναος ος αγιαζει τον χρυσον".

Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:The very word predicate used adjectivally with adjective signifies "belonging to the predicate" or "asserting something about" the noun that it qualifies.

I think that this can be true for all cases except the vocative. Is that right?

Hmm doesn't the definition of "predicate" mean that only a nominative adjective can be a predicate (or accusative if we include things like "το ειναι καλον")? I think Carl simply means that an attributive adjective just modifies a noun phrase like "red" in "the red book", and does not intrinsically assert anything unlike "the book is red". For instance I can say "No red book is on the table", which doesn't assert anything about the colour of any book.
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Re: Attributives

Postby Scott Lawson » November 22nd, 2013, 4:48 am

Stephen, I'd say that a participial adjective has two functions, attributive (if it functions as an adjective) and substantival (if it functions as a noun). Ο άνθρωπος ο λεγων τω οχλω εστιν ο διδάσκαλος μου. Here the participial adjective fits in the pattern of the 2nd attributive position. The substantival participle can be used just as any noun and may or may be used predicativally. So my observation seems to hold true for adjectival participles since they are only found in the attributive position.
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Re: Attributives

Postby David Lim » November 22nd, 2013, 10:15 am

Scott Lawson wrote:Stephen, I'd say that a participial adjective has two functions, attributive (if it functions as an adjective) and substantival (if it functions as a noun). Ο άνθρωπος ο λεγων τω οχλω εστιν ο διδάσκαλος μου. Here the participial adjective fits in the pattern of the 2nd attributive position. The substantival participle can be used just as any noun and may or may be used predicativally. So my observation seems to hold true for adjectival participles since they are only found in the attributive position.

Scott, where did you get your "example" above from? It seems incorrect. I expected a speech to come after "λεγων" but found none, so should you have used "λαλων"?
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Re: Attributives

Postby Stephen Hughes » November 22nd, 2013, 10:50 am

David Lim wrote:I'd like to ask about this,

What do you want to ask? I can't isolate something that you wanted a response to.

David Lim wrote:or accusative if we include things like "το ειναι καλον"

Could you explain this statement - how you see the structure of these three words.
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Re: Attributives

Postby Scott Lawson » November 22nd, 2013, 11:03 am

David Lim wrote:Scott, where did you get your "example" above from? It seems incorrect. I expected a speech to come after "λεγων" but found none, so should you have used "λαλων"?


David, I pulled it directly from Mounce at section 29.6-7.

"The man speaking to the crowd is my teacher."

My Middle Liddell indicates that in the late Greek both words can both be used synonymously. (See λαλεω 1 (3))
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