Word Order: Our God. The position of ἡμῶν

Word Order: Our God. The position of ἡμῶν

Postby Louis L Sorenson » January 13th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Reading through the recent discussion on Luke 1:13 http://www-test.ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=964 on the position of the pronoun σοι gave me some thought today. Can we really tell if any given placement of a pronoun is enclitic or emphatic? I'm sure there are studies on this sort of thing. But how much traction can be gotten out of word order? If an author is emphasizing something, does that really come into play (i.e., are we able to determine that it actually is emphatic if the rest of the passage really does not talk about that emphasized noun/pronoun, or restate it any more further down the text? And then there are the limitations of word order which make it impossible to 'front' a certain word or pronoun. I may have run up against that in the phrase "our God."

Here is an example of what I'm talking about. One of the things I try to do is to translate English songs into Greek, I try to get phrases to match actual Greek phrases found in Greek literature via a Diogenes search of TLG. So what is the phrase for Our God? (Song: Our God is Greater) I've only searched for the nominative strings, but I think they are representative of the oblique usages. ἡμῶν is not an enclitic, so I suppose Wackernagel-Fraenkel's Law does not apply (probably would not apply anyways?). The phrases and their frequencies are listed below. Examples c and d below would be a good test to determine whether ἡμῶν is an emphatic or stylistic variation. I have not searched for other nouns used with ἡμῶν, but with κύριος and θεός, it almost acts like a post-positive. And in such cases, how would you emphasize "OUR God" if our is almost always after the noun? I suppose with a particle? Here are the phrases I searched for and their frequencies:

a. ὁ θεός ἡμῶν 592x ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν (500+)
b. ὁ ἡμῶν θεός 0x ὁ ἡμῶν κύριος 0x
c. ὁ ἡμέτερος θεός 6x ὁ ἡμέτερος κύριος 16x
d. ἡμῶν ὁ θεός / ἡμων ὁ κύριος 1x

b. Note 1. The sequence ὁ ἡμῶν only occurs 8 times in all of Greek literature. For two such common words, this is obviously a pattern that did not sound "nice". Is there an explanation for this?
d. Note 1. The sequence ἡμῶν ὁ κύριος (occurs once), and there it follows an emphatic αὐτός.

Olympiodorus Diaconus Scr. Eccl., Commentarii in Ecclesiasten
Volume 93, page 625, line 6

Οὕτω καὶ
τὰ τῶν θείων Γραφῶν βιβλία πολύστιχα τυγχάνοντα,
οὐ πολλὰ λέγονται, ἀλλὰ νόμος Κυρίου· ἐπειδὴ εἷς
ἀμφοτέρων τῶν Διαθηκῶν ὁ νομοθέτης, καὶ πρὸς
ἕνα σκοπὸν ἅπαντα βλέπουσιν, ὡς καὶ αὐτὸς ἡμῶν ὁ
Κύριος ἐδίδαξε,
ὁ μέγας Ἐκκλησιαστὴς, ἡ σοφία
τοῦ Πατρὸς, Ἀγαπήσεις, λέγουσα, Κύριον τὸν Θεόν
σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου, καὶ τὸν πλησίον
σου ὡς ἑαυτόν.


Steve Runge's book "Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament" made a lot of sense on work order in Greek, but it does not deal with the order of specific words (i.e. "What you cannot do with Greek word order"). Mike Aubrey listed some individual resources on his post at Ἐν Ἐφέσῳ http://evepheso.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/filologa-neotestamentaria/ that I intend to look into. I'm starting to come to the conclusion that while sentence order (clause order) can be very variable, the composite elements of noun phrases (especially the use of the article, prepositional phrases, article with infinitives, etc.) are fairly stable and can be relied on predictably to segment clauses and phrases. And unless you get a lot of training this area - which I think is lacking (not enough grammars really teach you by frequency of word order - the best may be Dobson's "Learn New Testament Greek") or do a lot of reading, many of these 'set constructions' are not recognized as such, or are not recognized as emphatic.
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Re: Word Order: Our God. The position of ἡμῶν

Postby MAubrey » January 13th, 2012, 1:20 pm

Hi Louis,

Ἡμῶν is an interesting animal. The old grammarians basically say that despite its form and invariant accentuation, sometimes it is enclitic and sometimes it is not, depending on the context of the clause. Because the accentuation is invariant, I have, thus far, avoided looking at the plurals because of this added layer of complexity, but I can make a few observations from your distribution:

Louis L Sorenson wrote:a. ὁ θεός ἡμῶν 592x ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν (500+)
b. ὁ ἡμῶν θεός 0x ὁ ἡμῶν κύριος 0x
c. ὁ ἡμέτερος θεός 6x ὁ ἡμέτερος κύριος 16x
d. ἡμῶν ὁ θεός / ἡμων ὁ κύριος 1x


Distribution A is most probably enclitic. This is the standard attachment position for enclitic pronouns in the noun phrase and I also would never expect an accented singular pronoun in such a position either.
Distribution B and C are definitely not enclitic.
Distribution D is definitely enclitic. The cause of this position prosodically/syntactically is where Stephen and I disagree in our explanations of the data (much of my explanation is available here). I hold that enclitic pronouns are pulled forward in this manner to attach to the sentence stress of a given clause, which in this case, is the "emphatic" pronouns preceding it.

The vast majority of words follow the word order principles established by people like Stephen Levinsohn and Steve Runge. Phonologically deficient words like proclitics and enclitics do not. They are first and foremost drive by phonological structure and prosody and then only secondarily by the other word order principles. This is very simply a result that clitics are phonological entities before they are syntactic entities, unlike nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Some of the scholars you may want to look at for clitics are:

Mark Janse
David Golstein

They've both done quite a bit of work on enclitics, though they don't agree--in a similar way that Stephen Carlson and I don't agree. Janse's dissertation is, thus far, unobtainable. Hopefully that will change next month when I'm in the Netherlands.
Mike Aubrey
Canada Institute of Linguistics & Trinity Western University Graduate School
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Re: Word Order: Our God. The position of ἡμῶν

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 13th, 2012, 3:47 pm

MAubrey wrote:Distribution D is definitely enclitic. The cause of this position prosodically/syntactically is where Stephen and I disagree in our explanations of the data (much of my explanation is available here). I hold that enclitic pronouns are pulled forward in this manner to attach to the sentence stress of a given clause, which in this case, is the "emphatic" pronouns preceding it.


We're actually pretty close. It's that I'm not convinced (yet?) that sentence stress is as mobile as Mike thinks it, but where we agree on the placement of the sentence stress, we agree that the enclitic possessives can be pulled forward. (As for ἡμῶν, I also think there's an ambiguity whether it is orthotonic or clitic, and the writing conventions unfortunately don't reflect this difference in tonality.)

Stephen
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: Word Order: Our God. The position of ἡμῶν

Postby David Lim » January 14th, 2012, 12:07 am

Louis L Sorenson wrote:Here is an example of what I'm talking about. One of the things I try to do is to translate English songs into Greek, I try to get phrases to match actual Greek phrases found in Greek literature via a Diogenes search of TLG. So what is the phrase for Our God? (Song: Our God is Greater) I've only searched for the nominative strings, but I think they are representative of the oblique usages. ἡμῶν is not an enclitic, so I suppose Wackernagel-Fraenkel's Law does not apply (probably would not apply anyways?). The phrases and their frequencies are listed below. Examples c and d below would be a good test to determine whether ἡμῶν is an emphatic or stylistic variation. I have not searched for other nouns used with ἡμῶν, but with κύριος and θεός, it almost acts like a post-positive. And in such cases, how would you emphasize "OUR God" if our is almost always after the noun? I suppose with a particle? Here are the phrases I searched for and their frequencies:

a. ὁ θεός ἡμῶν 592x ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν (500+)
b. ὁ ἡμῶν θεός 0x ὁ ἡμῶν κύριος 0x
c. ὁ ἡμέτερος θεός 6x ὁ ἡμέτερος κύριος 16x
d. ἡμῶν ὁ θεός / ἡμων ὁ κύριος 1x

b. Note 1. The sequence ὁ ἡμῶν only occurs 8 times in all of Greek literature. For two such common words, this is obviously a pattern that did not sound "nice". Is there an explanation for this?
d. Note 1. The sequence ἡμῶν ὁ κύριος (occurs once), and there it follows an emphatic αὐτός.


I always thought that the genitive pronoun was a determiner and thus should not be preceded by an article. In contrast I thought that "ημετερος" / "υμετερος" was an adjective and thus should be in the expected position of an adjective. Wouldn't this explain both (b) and (c)? Also, I felt that the possessives "εμος" / "σος" / "ημετερος" / "υμετερος" are how the emphasis is made on the referent. So it seems to me that "ο ημετερος θεος" is the way to say "*our* God", although it seems these possessives are not used in the LXX or NT, presumably because the writers always want to emphasize "God". Moreover the emphasis seems to be usually apparent in the context itself and the choice of the possessives is then a natural consequence rather than a deliberate selection.
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