Funk and Goetchius

Funk and Goetchius

Postby Louis L Sorenson » May 10th, 2011, 7:49 am

I picked up a copy of Goetchius' The Language of the New Testament' (1965, Charles Scribner's Sons ) a few months ago. In the introduction he writes

This book is not intended to serve as a textbook in linguistic analysis, as any scientific linguist will readily see. The author has attempted to use linguistic analysis as a means of helping beginning students to acquire a knowledge of New Testament Greek


After introducing the alphabet and pronunciation, he begins to discuss linguistics. In Chapter 3 'Linguistic Structure' , Chapter 4 Grammatical Analysis, Chapter 5 Parts of Speech, Chapter Nouns, Gender, The definite Article. Then in Chapter 7, Sentence Structure. When describing sentences, he uses something similar to Funk (Nn - V - Nd - Na) to describe the dative sentence in Greek (§85) saying it equals S-V-IO-O in English. He also uses this kind of notation to talk about the conversion of the Active to the Passive §117).

While the linguistic terminology may seem overboard and unneeded to many students, what impresses me is that Goetchius is very sensitive to word order and has many Greek examples (all with corresponding translations). There are some parts of his book which imoho are lacking, such as a good discussion of the middle voice, the meaning of the aorist aspect. But what I have found that no one has a better description of phrases. He has a whole chapter on questions (Chapter 39 Questions). His description of πᾶς is the best out there. He gives many examples of how it is used with and without the article, before and after its noun. He has Chapter 41 Coordinating Conjuctions and Chapter 42 Subordinating Conjunctions. He has a great description with examples of how οὗτος and ἐκεῖνος are used with / without the article and their various patters (before/after).

His book, like Funk's A Beginning-Intermediate Grammar of Hellenistic Greek http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/funk-grammar/pre-alpha/, which can be found on the B-Greek website, has a separate workbook.

Funk also starts out talking about sentence structure, and about Structure words (semantically lacking) words versus Content words (semantically rich). It seems these two authors are from the same school of thought on many areas (Structural linguists - which was disproved by Chomsky - or Phrase-based grammar? or some other similar school). But what I find what I get from both of them is a good number of examples (especially in Goetchius). They focus on the sentence structure and patterns which seems to be lacking in many first year grammars.

I've found them both very useful
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Re: Funk and Goetchius

Postby Jonathan Robie » May 12th, 2011, 10:58 am

For those who do not know, Funk is available here:

http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/project/funk-grammar/pre-alpha/

This version of the text has some errors, but it's useful even in its pre-alpha state.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Funk and Goetchius

Postby Jeremy Spencer » June 2nd, 2011, 7:59 pm

As a Greek learner many years ago I found the textbook by Goetchius to be very helpful. The workbook that was originally sold with the text was designed to give students lots of practice with precisely the sentence patterns you mentioned. As a student, too, I thought that the idea of breaking a verb apart into its constituent linguistic markers--I'm not sure of the right term here--was quite helpful, and made the entire verbal system a lot less intimidating. (It wasn't the just-learn-it approach.) I was a freshman in college then and had no background whatsoever in linguistics, so I'm not sure I quite understood the linguistic aspects of the text, but I can say this: that textbook succeeded in giving me a lifelong appreciation for Biblical Greek and opened up many doors as well. I really think the "be not afraid" approach worked, at least with me.

One other point: the Goetchius text had an attractive, contemporary cover. I can recall seeing the book in the college bookstore and being intrigued even before registering for my first Biblical Greek class. I still have my copy. To be sure, I don't use it that much these days, but it's there, on the shelf--an old friend.

A question, though: were you saying that Goetchius and Funk used a structural linguistic approach disproved by Chomsky and others, and yet, though the approach in general may have been invalidated in some way, this particular book is, nevertheless, still useful? It's a reminder, isn't it, that something may be misconceived but nevertheless pragmatically valuable?
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Re: Funk and Goetchius

Postby MAubrey » June 2nd, 2011, 10:02 pm

Jeremy wrote:A question, though: were you saying that Goetchius and Funk used a structural linguistic approach disproved by Chomsky and others, and yet, though the approach in general may have been invalidated in some way, this particular book is, nevertheless, still useful? It's a reminder, isn't it, that something may be misconceived but nevertheless pragmatically valuable?


No. Chomsky never "disproved" structuralism. And those aspects of structuralism that have been rejected are irrelevant for these particular books--P. H. Matthew's book Grammatical Theory in the United States: From Bloomfield to Chomsky is useful book in understanding how Chomsky differs from the structuralists and how he continued their work. It's also really cheap used on amazon. Both Goetchius and Funk continue to be quite useful.
Mike Aubrey
Canada Institute of Linguistics & Trinity Western University Graduate School
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Re: Funk and Goetchius

Postby Jeremy Spencer » June 7th, 2011, 4:41 pm

7 June 2011

Thanks for the reply on a topic I know little about having to do with linguistics--and "disproved" was probably the wrong word anyway. Sometime perhaps I'll get a chance to look into the linguistic situation a bit more. It's helpful to know that others have found Funk and Goetchius' approach helpful or still valuable.

Best wishes,
Jeremy Spencer
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