Word Order in Matt 21:33

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1026
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Word Order in Matt 21:33

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 12th, 2016, 10:25 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:I'm saying that the saliency we see may not be what the author saw. Sometimes speakers of a language say something in a particular way not because of any special emphasis or meaning on the exegetical or even perceptible level, but because it sounds right to them.
Do you have a theory of what "sounds right" or is this just completely circular?
Nope, no theory, just completely subjective, intuitive and anecdotal. If I have a framework, it's how I use English. When you sit down to write or when you start speaking, how conscious are you of features like saliency? How does it work in your head? Discourse analysis is an attempt to supply the connect between meaning and the communication of that meaning, and that's a valuable exercise. In the case of Matt 21:33, the fact that really smart people who are good at the languages can't see clearly why φραγμόν is salient may mean that there is no communicable reason that would have what we think of as exegetical significance. The guy was putting up a fence. It's hard to see how fronting it makes it special or contributes anything more to the narrative than what it means for that narrative.

Now, believe it or not, I revised what I was saying several times above, on the fly, so to speak. Because I wanted to to make sure that I was writing rhetorically balanced statements and that everything was properly fronted to get the right emphasis (so as not to be on the wrong syllable)? No... because I actually thought of better ways to communicate what I wanted to say. For me, a helpful exercise is to treat our own language like we treat the target text in the other language, and see what happens.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
ἐγὼ δὲ διδάσκω τε καὶ γράφω ἵνα τὰ ἀξιώτερα μανθάνω

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3332
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Word Order in Matt 21:33

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 12th, 2016, 11:51 am

I think that περιτιθέναι is the only verb in that list that can not stand my itself as a complete statement, so it has the same importance as the things that can be individually listed.

Look at Luke 7:28 Ὁμοίως καὶ ὡς ἐγένετο ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Λώτ· ἤσθιον, ἔπινον, ἠγόραζον, ἐπώλουν, ἐφύτευον, ᾠκοδόμουν· We are not told what they ate, drank, etc., the verbs can stand alone and still have meaning. περιτιθέναι can not, it needs to have another element in the sentence to make any sense. As for the (-)άγω / -αγωγέω pair, an element like φραγμο- could theoretically been added to the -θετεῖν option of the (-)τιθέναι / -θετεῖν pair. in Modern Greek τίθημι has been replaced by θέτω (while still retaining -θετώ in words like υιοθετώ as per what we expect from the Koine and Classical period).

The strongest part (most noticeable and meaningful part of the meaning) is usually in the front part of a compound. What has happened here, seems to be the word moved to the position that it would have to be in before it docked with the space station.

I think they are all in a simple list, and he planted, hedged, dug,and built.

[φράσσειν - seems to have become quite restricted in its meaning to "stop", "stop up", rather than the sense of "fence around". Therefore to use φραγμός in the list of verbs it needs to be combined almost periphrastically with the more all-purpose verb τιθέναι.]
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

MAubrey
Posts: 858
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: Word Order in Matt 21:33

Post by MAubrey » February 12th, 2016, 7:38 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:Yes, more examples would be great.
This is me eating some humble pie after Steve Runge pointed out to me that fronted =/= argument focus, inherently, that determining sentence articulation of the proposition needs to take precedence. The nature of the articulation needs to be determine on the basis of what is presupposed already and what is asserted.

There's plenty of data in chapter three of Levinsohn's Discourse Features, the title of which is "Constituent Order in the Comment"--that is to say, everything Levinsohn says about marked word orders in section 3.6 "Preverbal Focus" of chapter three (and the sections that continue through the end of the chapter) is predicated on the assumption that he is still talking about Topic-Comment constructions.
Stephen Carlson wrote:As for the relative clause, I read the relative clause as continuing through the end of the verse, so I don't quite get the "anchor" talk. Is the argument that the verse is mispunctuated and we should have a full stop after ἀμπελῶνα? If so, the καί bothers me.
Anchor isn't a technical term here. The relative clause may very well continue through. I don't really have a stake in that. It's a separate issue from the information structure.I'm just saying that the steps building of the vineyard is initiated by the clause with the καἰ rather than with the relative clause. The first clause in those steps is inherently more salient as the first step and gets a marked DFE in the comment.
Stephen Carlson wrote:The Markan introduction of ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπον ἐφύτεθσεν is its own level of interestingness. Thanks for pointing that out. Where can I read more about anchoring procedures?
Well, that was a guess off the top of my head. You'd have to go find some and see how they're structured. Procedures are a genre that doesn't get talked about in a lot of grammars. I can say that the thought came to me because when I first took Field Methods and Second Language & Culture Acquisition (and also later when I TA'd them), one of the expected exercises for minority language analysis was to determine how that particular language organized and structured procedurals. That involved eliciting the steps of, say, making a salad in the language: how the event was initiated, how the individual steps were introduced, etc. Languages do these things different. I could see if I could find my old notes and see what literature was referred to on the subject, but off hand, I can't think of anything in particular...sorry.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 2590
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: Word Order in Matt 21:33

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 13th, 2016, 1:44 am

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:Yes, more examples would be great.
This is me eating some humble pie after Steve Runge pointed out to me that fronted =/= argument focus, inherently, that determining sentence articulation of the proposition needs to take precedence. The nature of the articulation needs to be determine on the basis of what is presupposed already and what is asserted.
The point that fronted element != argument focus seems very helpful. I had basically assumed that predicate focus was diagnosed by the lack of a preverbal focus element, so non-topics found before the verb were indicative of argument focus. (This is basically the claim of Matic 2003's "broad" and "narrow" focus respectively.) Though this heuristic mostly works, it does not always work, and I think Matt 21:33 may be an exception. The context calls for predicate focus but the verb is final in its clause. Nevertheless, the exceptions to this heuristic seem to be quite infrequent and I don't quite have a handle on them (yet). I wonder if Steve's talk of a "dominant focal element of the larger focus structure", my stray thought of (pseudo) noun incorporation, and Stephen's notion of "stand-alone" may all be grasping at a similar goal: perhaps in certain predicates the verb is too (semantically?) light to come first.

I'm not sure what to make of your suggestion of anchoring procedurals, however; I'd need to read up about the concept. (As for Barry's "move along: there's nothing to see here" approach, well, there can't be progress if you give up too soon.)
MAubrey wrote:There's plenty of data in chapter three of Levinsohn's Discourse Features, the title of which is "Constituent Order in the Comment"--that is to say, everything Levinsohn says about marked word orders in section 3.6 "Preverbal Focus" of chapter three (and the sections that continue through the end of the chapter) is predicated on the assumption that he is still talking about Topic-Comment constructions.
My copy of Levinsohn is at the office, so I'll have to consult it later. My recollection, however, was not that topic-comment constructions continued through the end of the chapter. Nevertheless, the examples may still be worth consulting. I did come across 1 Pet 1:21 τοὺς δι’ αὐτοῦ πιστοὺς εἰς θεὸν τὸν ἐγείραντα αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶ δόξαν αὐτῷ δόντα, ὥστε τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν καὶ ἐλπίδα εἶναι εἰς θεόν, where the context also suggests a predicate focus (cf. ἐγείραντα αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν) but with the verb in final position.
MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:As for the relative clause, I read the relative clause as continuing through the end of the verse, so I don't quite get the "anchor" talk. Is the argument that the verse is mispunctuated and we should have a full stop after ἀμπελῶνα? If so, the καί bothers me.
Anchor isn't a technical term here. The relative clause may very well continue through. I don't really have a stake in that. It's a separate issue from the information structure.I'm just saying that the steps building of the vineyard is initiated by the clause with the καἰ rather than with the relative clause. The first clause in those steps is inherently more salient as the first step and gets a marked DFE in the comment.
My point about the extent of the relative clause is that I read the step of fencing the vineyard as the second step, after planting the vineyard.
MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:The Markan introduction of ἀμπελῶνα ἄνθρωπον ἐφύτεθσεν is its own level of interestingness. Thanks for pointing that out. Where can I read more about anchoring procedures?
Well, that was a guess off the top of my head. You'd have to go find some and see how they're structured. Procedures are a genre that doesn't get talked about in a lot of grammars. I can say that the thought came to me because when I first took Field Methods and Second Language & Culture Acquisition (and also later when I TA'd them), one of the expected exercises for minority language analysis was to determine how that particular language organized and structured procedurals. That involved eliciting the steps of, say, making a salad in the language: how the event was initiated, how the individual steps were introduced, etc. Languages do these things different. I could see if I could find my old notes and see what literature was referred to on the subject, but off hand, I can't think of anything in particular...sorry.
Well, if something comes to mind, please share!
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest