Imperatives and encouragement

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Imperatives and encouragement

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » October 4th, 2018, 1:45 pm

a contemporary example,

The following command/instruction:

"Put your hands behind your head and walk backwards ... "

Has a different meaning if it is spoken by:

A: A ballet instructor.

B: A police officer with a Glock in his hand.

No fussing over the code will resolve this difference because it isn't in the code.

Postscript:
Had the opportunity to observe at close hand scenario "B" on the eve of the Seattle WTO riots 1999. I wasn't the subject of the command.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Imperatives and encouragement

Post by Matthew Longhorn » October 4th, 2018, 1:52 pm

Stirling, I am puzzled as to why we seem to be talking past each other here. I couldn't agree more with that example, my whole post was trying to show examples (which that could well be one) of contexts of situation where the imperative has to be modified in its meaning by the hearer. A similar example that I could list would be the last man in England to be hanged was a man with learning difficulties and a low IQ who told his accomplice to "let him have it" when the police officer arresting them to him to drop the gun. The prosecution argued he meant "shoot", the defence argued that he meant "hand it over/drop it". I clearly need to make my intended post more carefully worded to convey this, perhaps I could send you a revised version when I get to it via pm to see if I have been able to make it clearer?
I haven't been exhaustive, because I don't expect my target audience to want to be exhaustive. It isn't meant to be a grammatical treatise, it is simply meant to help people understand that "imperative = command" does not work like they think it does.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Imperatives and encouragement

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 4th, 2018, 3:24 pm

Matthew Longhorn wrote:
October 3rd, 2018, 4:15 pm
Hi all, just a quick question on whether it is acceptable to read imperatives such as those in Philippians 4:4 (Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε) and 1 Thess 5:16 (Πάντοτε χαίρετε)to rejoice as encouragements and not as commands.
Let's ignore all the fancy grammatical vocabulary for a second. Let's even ignore Greek. If I say "Smile! It's a great day!" is that a command? I'm not sure, it depends on what you mean by a command, but I do think "Smile!" is an imperative. It's not like a general commanding his troops to do something.

Sometimes this kind of thing is clearer if you don't overthink it.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Imperatives and encouragement

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 4th, 2018, 6:03 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
October 4th, 2018, 3:24 pm
Matthew Longhorn wrote:
October 3rd, 2018, 4:15 pm
Hi all, just a quick question on whether it is acceptable to read imperatives such as those in Philippians 4:4 (Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε) and 1 Thess 5:16 (Πάντοτε χαίρετε)to rejoice as encouragements and not as commands.
Let's ignore all the fancy grammatical vocabulary for a second. Let's even ignore Greek. If I say "Smile! It's a great day!" is that a command? I'm not sure, it depends on what you mean by a command, but I do think "Smile!" is an imperative. It's not like a general commanding his troops to do something.

Sometimes this kind of thing is clearer if you don't overthink it.
Amen. As traditional grammars like to point out, rather helpfully I should think, the imperative can be used of actual commands, polite requests, and existential wishes (stop raining! is an imperative form, but the rain likely will not heed the command... :) ) As for always rejoicing, I think that's a command, but it really depends on what specifically is meant by "rejoice." Regardless of the locus of meaning the imperative has a range of uses, and as pointed out context dependent.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Imperatives and encouragement

Post by Matthew Longhorn » October 5th, 2018, 4:01 am

Thanks both. Jonathan, great example. Thank you
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Devenios Doulenios
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Re: Imperatives and encouragement

Post by Devenios Doulenios » October 5th, 2018, 9:03 am

If it helps any, Matthew, I found your examples and explanations clear and helpful. I am not as well read in current linguistic theory that is applicable to Greek as I would like. I have read a little in lexical semantics (Silva) and discourse theory.

I would like to look at additional Greek examples in various contexts. That would be helpful.

Δεβένιος Δουλένιος
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"τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὸν θάνατον δέδωκα πρὸ προσώπου ὑμῶν τὴν εὐλογίαν καὶ τὴν κατάραν ἔκλεξαι τὴν ζωήν ἵνα ζῇς σὺ καὶ τὸ σπέρμα σου"-Δευτερονόμιον 30:19

"Ὁδοὶ δύο εἰσί, μία τῆς ζωῆς καὶ μία τοῦ θανάτου."--Διδαχή Α, α'

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Imperatives and encouragement

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 5th, 2018, 9:22 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
October 4th, 2018, 12:35 pm
By exploring multiple semantic/pragmatic categories for the NT Greek Imperative you are following the path most traveled by "traditional grammar" which is now obsolete.
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
October 4th, 2018, 12:45 pm
I hate the expression but what were talking about is a genuine "paradigm shift" it isn't trivial.
I'm not sure this is true. I'm not deeply into cognitive linguistics, and I very much appreciate the preference to assign one fundamental meaning to each linguistic phenomenon, but I note that Takahashi's A Cognitive Linguistic Analysis of the English Imperative: With Special Reference to Japanese Imperatives explores categories of usage similar to those found in traditional grammars.

I am not deeply into cognitive linguistics, but the presentations I have seen often provide a unified explanation for the kinds of explanations found in traditional grammars, starting by acknowledging these usages, then looking for a simpler explanation of them.

I don't think it's helpful to allude to explanations without providing them. Simple explanations are very much appreciated here, from any linguistic perspective, traditional or modern. We can compare multiple explanations to see the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Is there a good cognitive-linguistic paper on Greek imperatives? Any pointers from the linguists? @MAubrey? @Stephen Carlson? @serunge?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Imperatives and encouragement

Post by Stephen Carlson » October 8th, 2018, 9:22 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
October 5th, 2018, 9:22 am
Is there a good cognitive-linguistic paper on Greek imperatives? Any pointers from the linguists? @MAubrey? @Stephen Carlson? @serunge?
(This ping feature didn't send me a notification.) I'm not aware of any. I just know that the simple first-year Greek explanation that imperatives are commands is a vast oversimplification. Every language has a large set of means at its disposal for making requests of various urgencies and politenesses.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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