Stirling Bartholomew wrote:[καὶ] λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου.
Jesus' reply ends with a simple predication: οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου. How would you "parse" it terms of topic-focus, topic-comment.
I'll give this a try, but I have to say that I use a different system (based on the ideas of Manfred Krifka and to a lesser extent, of Nomi Erteschik‑Shir) in which I view topic and focus as belonging to two different dimensions, which are superimposed on each other for each intonation unit. Usually, topic and focus are complementary but sometimes they are not.
is what the assertion is about. Its complement is comment
.Not all assertions have expressed topic; these are all-comment
is the most informative part of the intonation unit; it signals the presence of alternatives (per Rooth). Its comment is background
. I hold the position that Greek is a left-edge language in the focus typology of Daniel Büring. This is probably so because the first full non-grave accent has the highest pitch of an intonation unit, and so it phonologically the most prominent position. Because focus needs to be maximally prominent, there is a strong tendency for focus to be found at the left This means the focus of an intonation unit will be found first. There's also a notion of "broad focus" vs. "narrow focus," reflecting the size of the focus domain. A good sign of broad focus is putting a verb in the left position.
I also hold to Wackernagel's Law wherein clausal clitics are hosted by the most prominent element, which is usually at the left edge of the intonation unit. Their placement is not governed by their information structural status (though by their de-accented nature they are going to be background, given, and usually topical). On the other hand, they are a great guide to finding the left edges of intonation units and therefore focus.
There are probably a host of other concepts and qualifications that don't fit in a forum post. As you can see, I don't follow the template approach of Helma Dik and Stephen Levinsohn (both adapting Simon Dik's approach, I think). though in practice, the elements tend to line up that way on the left periphery.
OK, with this out of the way, onto the text, οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου. The whole thing fits into an intonation unit, so no need to worry those complications. A fronted adverbial element is a good candidate for a narrow focus, and I see no reason here to think otherwise. [Focus οὔπω] [Background ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου].
The topic-comment division here is complementary, a common configuration, and so it is comment-topic. (The newness of ἡ ὥρα μου in this context is pretty interesting: the hearer is expected to accommodate as if was background. This is probably easier for the evangelist's audience than for Jesus's audience.)
I think in the template approach you have οὔπω as Focus, and the rest as Remainder.
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
what about the placement of ὥρα in
Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus
ὥρα νιν ἀελλάδων / ἵππων σθεναρώτερον / φυγᾷ πόδα νωμᾶν.
It is time that he ply in flight a foot stronger than the feet of storm-swift steeds.
Poetry is trickier because you have more places of prominence (e.g, at the beginning of lines) and so constituents don't have to move around so much to be in focus.
There's no main verb (vωμᾶν is a complementary infinitive), so it doesn't have the usual diagnostic for a broad focus but all of it seems new to me, so I'd say it is a broad focus (i.e., the focus domain it the whole thing). It is also all-comment except for the clitic νιν. The words ἵππων and φυγᾷ probably also have some additional prominence relative to the rest of the sentence.
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:I guess what I am after is an answer to the question, what if we saw in John 2:4 ἡ ὥρα μου in front of the verb.
You mean, like ἡ ὥρα μου οὔπω ἥκει? I'd say this would set up a contrastive topic ἡ ὥρα μου - narrow focus οὔπω, leading one to wonder about someone else's hour (maybe John the Baptist's?). In the template approach, ἡ ὥρα μου is Topic, οὔπω is Focus, and ἥκει is Remainder.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.