The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby cwconrad » December 30th, 2013, 8:11 am

Ordinarily web-sightings are posted elsewhere, but this subforum seems more appropriate. Micheal Palmer in a blog article calls attention to a study of changing basic clause-order patterns in ancient Greek: http://greek-language.com/grklinguist/?p=1559
Carl W. Conrad
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Re: The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby Louis L Sorenson » December 31st, 2013, 8:01 pm

To read the article, you either
(1) Need access the e-journal Language Variation and Change by Cambridge University via subscription or library subscription
(2) Can rent the article for 24 hours for $6 US
(3) Buy the article for $30

It may be also in a print edition. Here is the WorldCat link:
Language Variation and Change / Volume 6 / Issue 01 / March 1994, pp 1-37

http://www.worldcat.org/title/language-variation-and-change/oclc/474579909?referer=di&ht=edition
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Re: The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby RandallButh » January 1st, 2014, 3:52 am

It would be nice if someone would review the article.

Most people working in Greek discourse in the 70's and 80's, myself included, came to a conclusion that Greek from the classical and koine periods was VSO. Helma Dik came to the same conclusion in her work based on Herodotus (1995).

If Taylor's perspective is true, then there should be many cases of XSV, where a Focal "X" has been fronted, with the core template SV then continuing, and no pragmatic focus on the Subject. Lacking such XSV examples, I would suspect that her analysis will have been skewed by a factor to be determined from reading the article.

We had something like that happen in Hebrew studies when someone depended a little too strongly on various theoretical frames and then added an 'ad-hoc' flipping rule to correct his SVO theory to match the data (thus an XVS data piece would be flipped out of an *X(S)V phantom into XVS without any motivation other than correcting the theory to the data). Hebrew regularly produces XVS when there is a fronted focal X constituent, which transparently reveals its VSX core. That also means that SVO examples need to have the fronted "S" interpreted for its pragmatics, so that the VSO theory has better practical results and application for reading texts.
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Re: The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 1st, 2014, 6:45 am

I have access to this paper. The paper has a lot of descriptive statistics of various word orders (curiously in which the position of X in S X V and X S V is ignored, where X is not a subject or verb) and a lot of generative, "Government and Binding" theory, which Stirling would call "middle Chomsky." Its basic argument is that, according to her statistics, Homer is SOV and Koine is SVO and that the numbers for Herodotus fall somewhere in between. On the theory side, she argues that certain surface orders can correspond to different syntactic structures. There isn't any real look at pragmatics or information structure or focus.
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Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala
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Re: The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby RandallButh » January 1st, 2014, 7:51 am

Thank you for that brief survey. It actually is along the lines that I anticipated. That is how the Hebrew got off track, too.
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Re: The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » January 1st, 2014, 10:20 pm

Louis L Sorenson wrote:To read the article, you either
(1) Need access the e-journal Language Variation and Change by Cambridge University via subscription or library subscription
(2) Can rent the article for 24 hours for $6 US
(3) Buy the article for $30

I didn't have any problem grabbing M. Palmer's photo copy pdf directly from his post. It is more or less readable on a large monitor.

The article has certain deja-vu flavor. been here before.
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Re: The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby RandallButh » January 2nd, 2014, 6:43 am

Thank you, Clay. I was able to get the PDF from the comment, too.

yes, the 'deja-vu' is correct. It's all statistics, adjustments, and Chomsky, with zero pragmatics and zero real language fit of data to context. Taylor assumes that the pragmatics will just 'factor out', which is a bad assumption for real language data, especially across genre.

Bottom line for students: stay with the V-S-O/X of Dik 1995 and most who have done discourse work on the Koine. Non-functional, non-cognitive theories are not good models for dealing with word order. Maybe I'll get around to writing up a blog next week.
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Re: The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » January 2nd, 2014, 5:39 pm

RandallButh wrote:Thank you, Clay. I was able to get the PDF from the comment, too.

yes, the 'deja-vu' is correct. It's all statistics, adjustments, and Chomsky, with zero pragmatics and zero real language fit of data to context. Taylor assumes that the pragmatics will just 'factor out', which is a bad assumption for real language data, especially across genre.

Bottom line for students: stay with the V-S-O/X of Dik 1995 and most who have done discourse work on the Koine. Non-functional, non-cognitive theories are not good models for dealing with word order. .


Randall,

I am currently using a four vol. commentary on Acts in Codex Bezae which implements a variant of the framework found in Helma Dik 1995, 2007,

Josep Rius-Camps, Jenny Read-Heimerdinger, The Message of Acts in Codex Bezae: A Comparison with the ..., Volumes 1-4


Rius-Camps and Read-Heimerdinger probably lean more S. Levinsohn than H. Dik but it is the same framework, more or less. It is the ONLY commentary I have ever seen on the New Testament that uses this framework but I am not up to date on SIL publications so there may be dozens of them for all I know. Before anyone rushes out and orders all four volumes The Message of Acts in Codex Bezae better look one over first. This work is advocating Codex Bezae so it is a little bit off center from mainstream NT scholarship on Luke-Acts. However, keeping that in mind it certainly is detailed treatment of the textual issues. Makes C.K. Barrett (Acts ICC, two vols.) pale by comparison. I am getting it through InterLibLoan. No way do I have the funds for monographs.

It is intriguing to look over an extended exegetical application of the whole S. Levinsohn and/or H. Dik thing on 20 some chapters of Acts (where ever Bezae is found).


 
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Re: The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby RandallButh » January 3rd, 2014, 4:05 am

I don't even want to know how much money the four volumes would cost. :shock:
Us folk of limited means are able to read Acts in "Swanson". That is fairly satisfying because all of the differences between B and D are highlighted and one gets to see the original spellings and all of the other witnesses too.
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Re: The Change from SOV to SVO in Ancient Greek

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » January 4th, 2014, 12:29 pm

RandallButh wrote:I don't even want to know how much money the four volumes would cost. :shock:
Us folk of limited means are able to read Acts in "Swanson". That is fairly satisfying because all of the differences between B and D are highlighted and one gets to see the original spellings and all of the other witnesses too.


Randall

You have borrowing privileges at Hebrew U lib? They have it as an e-book.

http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Search/Results ... image.y=12

Swanson is at my right hand, nearly worn out from use after a decade or so.
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