Obscure jargon or unfamiliar disciplines?

Questions and discussion about B-Greek policies or the B-Greek forum.
Stephen Carlson
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Re: Obscure jargon or unfamiliar disciplines?

Post by Stephen Carlson » November 17th, 2013, 5:11 pm

Perhaps the sub-forums ought to be taken into account. Some are devoted to Greek linguistics; some are devoted to teaching; some are devoted to basic questions. Some people find linguistics intimidating; some are bored stiff by pedagogy, and some just want to understand a verse.

That means that writing for the reader needs to take the focus of the sub-forums into account, and the discussion can be more specialized. In other words, some of the forums may have a greater level of expertise or passion about a topic and the level of discourse ought to reflect it. Thus, it makes perfect sense that one should not by whipping out terms like polyexponence to explain something in the beginner's forums, and it is equally appropriate that in the linguistics sub-forums people should not have to re-explain the basics of linguistics 101 in every post or eschew the most appropriate and precise terminology available. Different audiences have different norms.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Re: Obscure jargon or unfamiliar disciplines?

Post by cwconrad » November 17th, 2013, 6:45 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:Perhaps the sub-forums ought to be taken into account. Some are devoted to Greek linguistics; some are devoted to teaching; some are devoted to basic questions. Some people find linguistics intimidating; some are bored stiff by pedagogy, and some just want to understand a verse.

That means that writing for the reader needs to take the focus of the sub-forums into account, and the discussion can be more specialized. In other words, some of the forums may have a greater level of expertise or passion about a topic and the level of discourse ought to reflect it. Thus, it makes perfect sense that one should not by whipping out terms like polyexponence to explain something in the beginner's forums, and it is equally appropriate that in the linguistics sub-forums people should not have to re-explain the basics of linguistics 101 in every post or eschew the most appropriate and precise terminology available. Different audiences have different norms.
The focal arena of concern here is the "Grammar and Linguistics" Forum, where discussions are fueled and sustained by those whose understanding of how Greek works is constructed on tradiitonal Greek grammatical lore as well as by those who prefer to discuss how Greek works in terms of a variety of theoretical stances and alternative terminologies. Are we supposed to assume that Linguistics 101 is a prerequisitte for any member of the forum who wants to participate -- or even read and understand -- discussions in "Grammar and Linguistics"? There have been times when such an assumption has seemed to me to in effect..However woeful it may be, I suspect that there are several members of the B-Greek community who are reasonably competent in Greek but nevertheless lack the equivalent of a Linguistics 101 grasp of the discipline.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Obscure jargon or unfamiliar disciplines?

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 17th, 2013, 7:40 pm

cwconrad wrote: Are we supposed to assume that Linguistics 101 is a prerequisitte for any member of the forum who wants to participate -- or even read and understand -- discussions in "Grammar and Linguistics"? There have been times when such an assumption has seemed to me to in effect..However woeful it may be, I suspect that there are several members of the B-Greek community who are reasonably competent in Greek but nevertheless lack the equivalent of a Linguistics 101 grasp of the discipline.
I can see from reading the archives that as a list, the structure was basically amorphous, which was on the one hand extremely flexible and on the other required greater discipline to "stay on topic". In moving to this form, the topics of B-Greek were set out acording to reasonable expectations at the time of its going over, but now with some experience, there are two structural failings that are emerging.

The first one was discussed several months ago, that NT is becoming unweildy and I suggest that indexing of previous posts in the forum (and of the archive) would solve the problem that has arisen, and by division of the NT threads into sub-forums along recognised lines, and a means for posters to self-index their submissions from a drop-down list to a verse or a number of verses, which will then become a dynamically generated index of B-Greek by verse.

This thread was started to highlight the second one that "Greek language and lingusitics" are grouped together in a way that is taken in different ways by different people. It is logical that the discussion would reach this point without my stating it obviously at first. Does the grouping mean that linguistics must always be accessible to those who know only language, does it equate the two and imply that traditional language understanding will be superceeded by linguistics "the new way", or does it mean that some threads there are for one and some for the other? In my opinion linguistics is a valuable asset to understanding language, but it is not language itself.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Obscure jargon or unfamiliar disciplines?

Post by Stephen Carlson » November 19th, 2013, 3:56 am

cwconrad wrote:The focal arena of concern here is the "Grammar and Linguistics" Forum, where discussions are fueled and sustained by those whose understanding of how Greek works is constructed on tradiitonal Greek grammatical lore as well as by those who prefer to discuss how Greek works in terms of a variety of theoretical stances and alternative terminologies. Are we supposed to assume that Linguistics 101 is a prerequisitte for any member of the forum who wants to participate -- or even read and understand -- discussions in "Grammar and Linguistics"? There have been times when such an assumption has seemed to me to in effect..However woeful it may be, I suspect that there are several members of the B-Greek community who are reasonably competent in Greek but nevertheless lack the equivalent of a Linguistics 101 grasp of the discipline.
I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that even basic linguistic terminology is out-of-order on a lingustics sub-forum?
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Re: Obscure jargon or unfamiliar disciplines?

Post by cwconrad » November 19th, 2013, 7:40 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
cwconrad wrote:The focal arena of concern here is the "Grammar and Linguistics" Forum, where discussions are fueled and sustained by those whose understanding of how Greek works is constructed on tradiitonal Greek grammatical lore as well as by those who prefer to discuss how Greek works in terms of a variety of theoretical stances and alternative terminologies. Are we supposed to assume that Linguistics 101 is a prerequisitte for any member of the forum who wants to participate -- or even read and understand -- discussions in "Grammar and Linguistics"? There have been times when such an assumption has seemed to me to in effect..However woeful it may be, I suspect that there are several members of the B-Greek community who are reasonably competent in Greek but nevertheless lack the equivalent of a Linguistics 101 grasp of the discipline.
I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that even basic linguistic terminology is out-of-order on a lingustics sub-forum?
I guess this is a judgment call. What should a Forum member who is reasonably competent in Greek but has not taken a course in Linguistics be expected to understand without explanation? I ask this as a result of personal frustration at the attempt to understand some of what has been posted in the "Language and Linguistics" forum; I've read some books and articles in Linguistics but I have certainly not studied the equivalent of Linguistics 101. So I guess the question that a poster ought seriously to consider is, "How basic is this stuff that I'm writing about here?" Or are we saying to Forum members that the "Language and Linguistics" forum is restricted to those who are competent in both the Greek language and in Linguistics?

I am really not trying to be obtuse here. I've had difficulty on occasion with traditional grammars also. We've commented ad nauseam about some of Wallace's categories; I've had to struggle with terms that are quite common to some, such as "First Class" and "Second Class" conditionals, but I learned terms like "protasis" and "apodosis" and "counterfactual". On the other hand, I don't think I'm alone in having found much of the discussion about verbal aspect confusing -- indeed, I'm inclined to think that some of the concepts discussed regarding verbal aspect are rather fuzzy. I'd like to think there's a common-sense way to understand how Jonathan's rule will apply to Linguistic concepts and terminology, but some judgment and tact will be required of those who post. Avoid being esoteric or arcane -- that, I think, is what Jonathan means by, "Be merciful. If you are writing about a topic that mere mortals can grasp, write something mere mortals can read."
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

cwconrad
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Re: Obscure jargon or unfamiliar disciplines?

Post by cwconrad » November 19th, 2013, 9:02 am

cwconrad wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
cwconrad wrote:The focal arena of concern here is the "Grammar and Linguistics" Forum, where discussions are fueled and sustained by those whose understanding of how Greek works is constructed on tradiitonal Greek grammatical lore as well as by those who prefer to discuss how Greek works in terms of a variety of theoretical stances and alternative terminologies. Are we supposed to assume that Linguistics 101 is a prerequisitte for any member of the forum who wants to participate -- or even read and understand -- discussions in "Grammar and Linguistics"? There have been times when such an assumption has seemed to me to in effect..However woeful it may be, I suspect that there are several members of the B-Greek community who are reasonably competent in Greek but nevertheless lack the equivalent of a Linguistics 101 grasp of the discipline.
I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that even basic linguistic terminology is out-of-order on a lingustics sub-forum?
I guess this is a judgment call. What should a Forum member who is reasonably competent in Greek but has not taken a course in Linguistics be expected to understand without explanation? I ask this as a result of personal frustration at the attempt to understand some of what has been posted in the "Language and Linguistics" forum; I've read some books and articles in Linguistics but I have certainly not studied the equivalent of Linguistics 101. So I guess the question that a poster ought seriously to consider is, "How basic is this stuff that I'm writing about here?" Or are we saying to Forum members that the "Language and Linguistics" forum is restricted to those who are competent in both the Greek language and in Linguistics?
.
I am really not trying to be obtuse here. I've had difficulty on occasion with traditional grammars also. We've commented ad nauseam about some of Wallace's categories; I've had to struggle with terms that are quite common to some, such as "First Class" and "Second Class" conditionals, but I learned terms like "protasis" and "apodosis" and "counterfactual". On the other hand, I don't think I'm alone in having found much of the discussion about verbal aspect confusing -- indeed, I'm inclined to think that some of the concepts discussed regarding verbal aspect are rather fuzzy. I'd like to think there's a common-sense way to understand how Jonathan's rule will apply to Linguistic concepts and terminology, but some judgment and tact will be required of those who post. Avoid being esoteric or arcane -- that, I think, is what Jonathan means by, "Be merciful. If you are writing about a topic that mere mortals can grasp, write something mere mortals can read."
δεύτεραι φροντίδες ... (Upon further reflection): I realize that my previous response to Stephen (Carlson's) question was little more than a reformulation of Stephen (Hughes') original question. It's now occurred to me that there may well be a practical solution to the difficulty that Jonathan's rule seems to impose upon trigger-happy unloaders of pidgin and jargon (need I define those terms? I mean "metalanguage" and esoteric terminology).

Both traditional grammar and academic Linguistics are endeavors to explain the forms and usages of languages -- here, of course, we're talking specifically about ancient Greek or, more specifically, Biblical Koine Greek. Both traditional grammar and academic Linguistics employ metalanguage -- a specialized set of nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc. employed to describe and explain the formal elements and the ways in which those elements are interrelated with each other to communicate meanings.

For traditional Greek grammar we have been accustomed in this Forum to cite "chapter and verse" of several standard reference works (e.g. Smyth, BDF or BDR, BDAG, LSJ, Louw & Nida, Funk's BIGHG, Wallace's GGBB, to name some of the standard works cited. Most of these are either accessible online or part of machine-readable software packages readily avalable to many of us. I would suppose that those reference works in traditional grammar and lexicology ought to have some comparable readily-accessible reference works in Academic Linguistics. What are they? Are there online accessible documents/reference works, glossaries, etc. in academic Linguistics that Forum members may employ in order to ascertain with just a little effort what needs to be understood about the frame of reference of a Linguistically-technical discussion? Even Wikipedia articles that have been vetted might be helpful, provided that they aren't formulated with some bias that only the conscenti will recognize. In sum, what I'm suggesting is that we compile two lists here of readily-accessible resources in traditional Greek grammar and in "Linguistics 101" that may be consulted by Forum members -- with the understanding that, linguistic notions, grammatical ideas, and idiosyncratic terminology that can't be found in those standard reference works requires a clear and intelligible explanation for the reader in the "Language and Linguistics" forum.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 2734
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
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Re: Obscure jargon or unfamiliar disciplines?

Post by Stephen Carlson » November 19th, 2013, 9:26 am

There are a couple of online resources:

SIL has a glossary at Glossary of linguistic terms.

Another such resource is the Glossary of Linguistic Terms & Bibliography. It will even handle German and French terms.

There's also a Lexicon of linguistics but I haven't used that much.

An unfortunately incomplete one is Glottopedia. What it has is explained in some detail, but it doesn't have everything.

A more typological collection is found at the World Atlas of Language Structures.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Stephen Hughes
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Hyperlinking rather than explaining in situ.

Post by Stephen Hughes » November 20th, 2013, 3:10 am

How about just hyperlinking difficult words to one of the definitions that the writer of a post thinks best expresses their understanding of term or concept. And writing a bit circumlocutiously when the term has a context so as to allow a hyperlink to an explanation of a field. For the sake of example, and I realise that I probably don't understand the passage enough to do this competently, let me make a mock example. Now, in this paragraph from MAK Halliday, An Introduction to Functional Grammar (Second Edition), that I originally read when my mum was doing her MA in linguistics back in the late 90's,
Halliday wrote:Parataxis and hypotaxis are general relationships which are not restricted to the rank of the clause.
which is difficult enough to understand without reading the rest of the book. If that were hyperlinked to reputable sites, then readers who wanted to could follow the links to get a sense of it. Thus;
Halliday wrote:Parataxis and hypotaxis are general relationships which are not restricted to the rank of the clause.
The same way of dealing with generally unknown things, could be applied not only of linguistics, but also of any other disciplines that people want to bring to the table to aid everybody's understanding of Greek.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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