Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

RandallButh
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by RandallButh » June 12th, 2013, 4:20 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Phillip Trees wrote:New to forum! Not too advanced but eager to learn.
Discovered you by searching for any info on why the word order of mou in John 11:21, 32 differs while most translations render it the same. But the context sure seems to imply that Martha and Mary would not say the identical thing. Thoughts? Is this an example of fronting?
Welcome to the forum, Phillip! We have a practice of quoting the Greek text under discussion, so I'll do it now:
John 11:21, 31 wrote:21 εἶπεν οὖν ἡ Μάρθα πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν· κύριε, εἰ ἧς οὐκ ἂν ἀπέθανον ὁ ἀδελφός μου·

32 Ἡ οὖν Μαριὰμ ὡς ἦλθεν ὅπου ἦν Ἰησοῦς ἰδοῦσα αὒτὸν ἔπεσεν αὐτοῦ πρὸς πόδας λέγουσα αὐτῷ· κύριε, εἰ ἦς οὐκ ἄν μου ἀπέθανον ὁ άδελφός.
This is a very nice minimal pair. Thanks for pointing this example out.

In my view, μου is a clitic and has little phonological weight of its own and tends to be pulled out of its canonical (or default) position to follow a highly phonologically prominent constituent. The further it has to move, the more prominent its host has to be. So v. 21 shows the default order, and Mary's statement in v.32 shows μου being attracted to an emphasized (and focal) οὔκ. In other words, Mary's statement has a stronger sense of denial that her brother would have died if Jesus had been there.

If I understand Iver's theory that all leftward movement of a constituent indicates additional prominence on that constituent, even if (or notwithstanding) it is an unaccented enclitic, then his theory (to the extent I understand it) would predict additional prominence on μου. (This would have to create an exception to the general rule that unaccented constituents are not prominent, and so in the big picture his theory is not really simple.) But I'm baffled why Mary would emphasize that Lazarus is her brother, when he is also Martha's brother and there's no other brother around in the context.

As you would expect, Stephen, I read this sentence with you. And like you ["attracted to an emphasized (and focal) οὔκ"], I must confess that the accentuation of οὐκ looks like it should be changed from its default "no accent". This could be similar, I would argue, to grave accents on pre-verb Focal words where I would assume the high tone (acute accent) was kept/added, but the medieval mechanical application of accent rules covered over the actual and natural reading by writing a grave (no tone). E.g. John 1:14 καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο should probably be read καὶ ὁ λόγος σάρξ ἐγένετο

On the otherhand, we might preserve the accent system of οὐκ ἄν by assuming a fusion with ἄν where both the negative and the hypothetical particle receive Focus as a unit. Since I would want to minimally alter the received system, I would argue for a fused ουκ-άν. This also explains, among other reasons, why we don't have *οὔκ μου ἄν. Of course, the change of accent of οὐκ would not be a big deal, since we do the same when οὐ is alone: οὔ !
So in sum, I would leave the accent and reading of this verse as it is, οὐκ ἄν μου, and would say that the negative hypothetical οὐκ-ἄν has received heightened prominence, and should be read with Focal intonation.

PS: Oh yes, and the Focal οὐκ ἄν attracts the μου, not with any Focus on μου, just like this PS is not the focus of my posting.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 12th, 2013, 5:20 am

All good stuff, Randy. Yes, the main wrinkle is that the accenting tradition treats ἄν as an orthotone when it behaves like a clitic. I don't know why they do. Note that the Epic κε is accented like a clitic. Maybe it is related to the fact that ἐάν came to be spelled (and presumably pronounced) as ἄν?

I also wouldn't worry too much about the relative order of clitics. There tends to be a fairly strict order when they all end up in P2, with ἄν preceeding pronominals.
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MAubrey
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by MAubrey » June 12th, 2013, 1:41 pm

Iver Larsen wrote:I do not think it matters for pragmatic word order prominence whether the pronoun is considered by some to be clitic or not.
You may want to change "some" to "most"--or even better, "all, minus one."

While you may not think it matter, I certainly think it matters that you have decided to ignore centuries of consensus in order to force your principle upon the data set. Again, you say you're primarily interested in looking at data, but all I can see is you ignoring the data without justification while providing no data-based justification for doing so.

In any case, your principle still stands even with the recognition of the clitic data the moment you recognize that it does not apply to syntactic words or constituents, but to phonological ones.
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by Iver Larsen » June 13th, 2013, 3:34 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Phillip Trees wrote:New to forum! Not too advanced but eager to learn.
Discovered you by searching for any info on why the word order of mou in John 11:21, 32 differs while most translations render it the same. But the context sure seems to imply that Martha and Mary would not say the identical thing. Thoughts? Is this an example of fronting?
Welcome to the forum, Phillip! We have a practice of quoting the Greek text under discussion, so I'll do it now:
John 11:21, 31 wrote:21 εἶπεν οὖν ἡ Μάρθα πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν· κύριε, εἰ ἧς οὐκ ἂν ἀπέθανον ὁ ἀδελφός μου·

32 Ἡ οὖν Μαριὰμ ὡς ἦλθεν ὅπου ἦν Ἰησοῦς ἰδοῦσα αὒτὸν ἔπεσεν αὐτοῦ πρὸς πόδας λέγουσα αὐτῷ· κύριε, εἰ ἦς οὐκ ἄν μου ἀπέθανον ὁ άδελφός.
This is a very nice minimal pair. Thanks for pointing this example out.

In my view, μου is a clitic and has little phonological weight of its own and tends to be pulled out of its canonical (or default) position to follow a highly phonologically prominent constituent. The further it has to move, the more prominent its host has to be. So v. 21 shows the default order, and Mary's statement in v.32 shows μου being attracted to an emphasized (and focal) οὔκ. In other words, Mary's statement has a stronger sense of denial that her brother would have died if Jesus had been there.

If I understand Iver's theory that all leftward movement of a constituent indicates additional prominence on that constituent, even if (or notwithstanding) it is an unaccented enclitic, then his theory (to the extent I understand it) would predict additional prominence on μου. (This would have to create an exception to the general rule that unaccented constituents are not prominent, and so in the big picture his theory is not really simple.) But I'm baffled why Mary would emphasize that Lazarus is her brother, when he is also Martha's brother and there's no other brother around in the context.
I would be baffled, too. A personal pronoun in a prominent position does not necessarily imply contrast. It cannot do that in this context, and it rarely does so in John's writings. Is it not interesting that John very often makes these personal pronouns prominent, while Luke rarely does the same? These personal preferences must in some way reflect the character of the writer. What I am suggesting is that a prominent personal pronoun, even when used as a "possessive" constituent in a noun phrase, may emphasize the feelings of the person the pronoun refers to. I think John in a subtle way is indicating the difference in temperament and character between Martha and Mary. Of course, both were mourning the loss of their brother, but Martha seems rather matter-of-fact about it. Martha went to Jesus and almost reprimanded him. Jesus called for Mary to come, since she was too grief-stricken to come to him. John tells us that Mary was weeping both before she went to Jesus and as she was with him.

I could ask a similar question: What is the difference in English between: "If you had been here, my brother would not have died" (No stress on my and natural stress on brother. I have indicated with italics where I expect the stressed words are in English) and "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." The last one spoken in tears. Or would you say that the second one is impossible?

By the way, I have no qualms about questioning centuries of opinions. How else can science and knowledge make progress?
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RandallButh
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by RandallButh » June 13th, 2013, 7:55 am

Iver Larsen wrote:
...
I could ask a similar question: What is the difference in English between: "If you had been here, my brother would not have died" (No stress on my and natural stress on brother. I have indicated with italics where I expect the stressed words are in English) and "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." The last one spoken in tears. Or would you say that the second one is impossible?

By the way, I have no qualms about questioning centuries of opinions. How else can science and knowledge make progress?
The English sentence appears to have so many focal points that it is very difficult to construct a scenario where it would fit.

As for opinions and knowledge, the notes about enclitics are in a special category because they come from the language users themselves. They are more like data to be accounted for than opinions.
Likewise, the distinction between more presupposed information and salient information is part of general information structure theory. Since that is part of crosslinguistic and theoretical frameworks it can certainly be questioned. However, it is not part of one theory, and most theorectical models in linguistics need to interact with this at one level or another. Some, like the various "transformational" models tended to focus on the mechanical 'nuts and bolts' without any inclusion of pragmatics and minimalized semantics. Those theories did not include various uses of information by pushing them outside of "grammar" into "pragmatics". But the distinction within discussions on information structure is so central that I've never reading anything in the field that didn't make use of such differences (presupposed vs. salient). I don't think that a meaningful writeup of Greek can be done without it.

Sometimes I think that people looking at a written language can be led astray by the deficiences of the writing system. E.g. in Hebrew one sometimes sees people ignore vowels on the grounds that vowels were not written and suggest therefore "scientific" descriptions cannot rely on vowels. (They sometimes end up suggesting something about as valid as "dividing by zero".) Something similar may be occuring here in Greek. Greek, in common with most languages, does not record intonational distinctions. But that does not mean that such distinctions did not exist. In fact, we can assume that they did. If we allow that some fronted items in Greek had a default/presupposed intonation, and others had a marked salient intonation, then more insightful readings may be achieved. Earlier here, or on another thread, I mentioned John 1.14 καὶ ὁ λόγος ΣΑΡΞ ἐγένετο. We can read 'flesh' as marked salient information vs. 'word' as marked presupposed information. While both are "fronted" to the verb, the most emphatic word is σάρξ and the function of both words is different. The λογος orients to the larger context and σαρξ brings the new point. There were six options:
1. καὶ ὁ λόγος σάρξ ἐγένετο. (Probable contextualization of λογος, Focus on σάρξ)
2. καὶ ὁ λόγος ἐγένετο σάρξ. (probable setting up λογος as a contextualization, σάρξ default saliency. Possible marked saliecy on λογος.)
3. καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ λόγος σάρξ. (simple statement, default)
4. καὶ σάρξ ὁ λόγος ἐγένετο. (unexpected, though pragmatically close to #1. Possible marked sliency on λογος.)
5. καὶ σάρξ ἐγένετο ὁ λόγος . (focus on σάρξ, default λογος)
6. καὶ ἐγένετο σάρξ ὁ λόγος. (demoted σάρξ, default/salient λογος.)

coming back to fronted enclitics, these are regularly candidates for "secondarily marked presupposed information" and do not need to be grouped together with other kinds of fronting under single label "prominent" or "emphasis". The Greeks put the enclitics in a special category and we would be wise to start there and then work out inconsistencies rather than wiping the board of the data and restarting from outside the language with a minimalist information theory.
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Iver Larsen
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by Iver Larsen » June 13th, 2013, 10:27 am

RandallButh wrote:
Iver Larsen wrote:
...
I could ask a similar question: What is the difference in English between: "If you had been here, my brother would not have died" (No stress on my and natural stress on brother. I have indicated with italics where I expect the stressed words are in English) and "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." The last one spoken in tears. Or would you say that the second one is impossible?
...
The English sentence appears to have so many focal points that it is very difficult to construct a scenario where it would fit.
...
Does anyone wish to respond to my question?
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 13th, 2013, 12:26 pm

Iver Larsen wrote:I could ask a similar question: What is the difference in English between: "If you had been here, my brother would not have died" (No stress on my and natural stress on brother. I have indicated with italics where I expect the stressed words are in English) and "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." The last one spoken in tears. Or would you say that the second one is impossible?
RandallButh wrote:The English sentence appears to have so many focal points that it is very difficult to construct a scenario where it would fit.
Iver Larsen wrote:Does anyone wish to respond to my question?
I agree with Randy that there are too many accents in the examples. It seems like every full word plus not is given an accent. That's just normal word stress, not the kind of pitch accent that represents information structure..
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RandallButh
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by RandallButh » June 13th, 2013, 12:28 pm

Iver, we can discuss differences in your English sentences, but I would restructure them.
Neither one would have a focal intonation on 'my':

if you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died.

this contrasts two events, causality implied.

alternatively

if you had been here, my brother wouldn't have died.

this focuses on a participant as having a causually significant character related to the outcome.
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Iver Larsen
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by Iver Larsen » June 13th, 2013, 1:44 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Iver Larsen wrote:I could ask a similar question: What is the difference in English between: "If you had been here, my brother would not have died" (No stress on my and natural stress on brother. I have indicated with italics where I expect the stressed words are in English) and "If you had been here, my brother would not have died." The last one spoken in tears. Or would you say that the second one is impossible?
RandallButh wrote:The English sentence appears to have so many focal points that it is very difficult to construct a scenario where it would fit.
Iver Larsen wrote:Does anyone wish to respond to my question?
I agree with Randy that there are too many accents in the examples. It seems like every full word plus not is given an accent. That's just normal word stress, not the kind of pitch accent that represents information structure..
Maybe I need to ask the question in a different forum? For this exercise I am not interested in the difference between word stress and pitch accent. English is a stress language, but stress is not marked in the writing system, so I tried to put italics on the words that I would expect to be stressed. I am not a native speaker of English, but I expect the first sentence to have a normal word stress pattern. Maybe I needed to mark both secondary and primary stress, but that is more difficult to type, and I am not sure I am competent in English to do that. I am interested in hearing how a native speaker who has not studied linguistic theories would understand the difference between the two. Let me add one more sentence to highlight the differences I am interested in:

1. If you had been here, my brother would not have died
2. If you had been here, my brother would not have died.
3. If you had been here, my brother would not have died

My focus is not on the parts that are the same, but those that are different. I know how I would describe the differences in meaning, but I would like to hear from a non-linguist. Only one of these three fits with how I interpret the Greek sentence.
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Re: Word Order of Genitive (Enclitic) Pronouns

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 13th, 2013, 2:42 pm

Iver Larsen wrote:Maybe I need to ask the question in a different forum? For this exercise I am not interested in the difference between word stress and pitch accent. English is a stress language, but stress is not marked in the writing system, so I tried to put italics on the words that I would expect to be stressed. I am not a native speaker of English, but I expect the first sentence to have a normal word stress pattern. Maybe I needed to mark both secondary and primary stress, but that is more difficult to type, and I am not sure I am competent in English to do that.
Here's the deal. English has both word stress and a pitch accent. The word stress is lexical, but the pitch accent is supra-segmental (Swedish has a lexical pitch accent, by the way). The English pitch accent is always aligned on a word stress (with one rare exception). There is usually one, but sometimes two, pitch accents within an intonation contour (basically a simple clause). Since word stress is lexical, it does not convey emphasis. Rather, English speakers sense "emphasis" wherever the pitch accent occurs, and it will occur where the word stress is.

So the the difference between word stress and pitch accents is important, regardless of your interest in them.
Iver Larsen wrote: I am interested in hearing how a native speaker who has not studied linguistic theories would understand the difference between the two.
I realize that I've probably studied too much of this topic for you to be interested in my opinion, but, if you are sincerely interested in the naive intuitions about the English sentences, you would need to forget the word stresses and just mark the pitch accents, just one (or possibly two) per clause. We have an actor in the States by the name of William Shatner, who is parodied for emphasizing too many words in a sentence. That's how your sentences sound to this native English speaker.
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