Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby Peter Streitenberger » June 15th, 2013, 9:00 am

Dear Friends,

>'eben' feels like it does something else, it seems to focus more than to defocus.
Perfectly right ! I put it in a wrong semantic category ! "Eben" makes Information more prominent, if I can describe it properly.
The Grammar you named is very insightful - it's interesting how non-native speaker see and interpret our customs.

An German equivalent to "I'm just kidding" would be: "Ich mache nur/halt/mal Spaß". In my Impression "just" is the functional equvivalent to these German particles making a referent or Action less prominent.

David, you make a good point, by bringing MONON into our discussion. I've thought on this word as well. But I can't interpret it properly. Does the writer want to express, that he is stating just/only this and no more or does he intend to de-focus the Information? This seems not to be the same intention, let's say: "I want to say just this". "This" can then be prominent and the only point adressed. I

Any further help of you is highly appreciated !
Yours
Peter
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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 15th, 2013, 9:30 am

Peter Streitenberger wrote:An German equivalent to "I'm just kidding" would be: "Ich mache nur/halt/mal Spaß". In my Impression "just" is the functional equivalent to these German particles making a referent or Action less prominent.


I'm not sure how much of that is due to the word "kidding" and how much of that is due to the word "just", or how the two combine to create that meaning.

These are all tricky little words whose lexical meaning does little to describe how they are actually used. I suspect halt/mal are both informal, most common in informal speech? Sometimes 'mal' seems to almost mean please ("ich möchte mal ..."), making a request less direct, sometimes 'halt' feels like 'you know' ("ich bin halt völlig verknallt in meine Frau").

I'm having a hard time coming up with exact equivalents even between English and German for these kinds of words, I'm not sure if they are particularly helpful in explaining how γε functions.

And γε generally has an emphatic function, no?

Smyth:

[*] 2821. γέ (postpositive and enclitic) is an intensive and restrictive particle with the force of at least, at any rate, even, certainly, indeed; but often to be rendered by intonation. γέ may indicate assent, concession, banter, scorn, deprecation, irony, etc. γέ emphasizes single words or whole phrases or clauses.


A paper on the use of γέ in Menander calls it a "focus particle", and suggests it's best to understand it in terms of what it does, its function in a sentence, rather than what it means:

As the examples above have shown, the particle can be stringently considered in terms of function rather than meaning. It provides particular focus in utterances where such is needed, and thus structures and links related elements of speech.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby David Lim » June 15th, 2013, 10:59 am

Peter Streitenberger wrote:David, you make a good point, by bringing MONON into our discussion. I've thought on this word as well. But I can't interpret it properly. Does the writer want to express, that he is stating just/only this and no more or does he intend to de-focus the Information? This seems not to be the same intention, let's say: "I want to say just this". "This" can then be prominent and the only point adressed.

I believe that "μονον" can be used in both ways, either when specifying something not so important, or when emphasizing the uniqueness of something. A check through the instances in the NT at least agrees with this. I also think that prominence is not usually encoded in words but is in the entire arrangement within the larger context. "ου μονον A αλλα B" almost certainly indicates the importance of B compared to A.
δαυιδ λιμ
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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 15th, 2013, 11:27 am

Peter Streitenberger wrote:Perfectly right ! I put it in a wrong semantic category ! "Eben" makes Information more prominent, if I can describe it properly.


Hi Peter,

Thinking about this further, I am not sure that 'halt' defocuses either. Can you give me an example of a sentence using 'eben', where replacing 'eben' with 'halt' changes it from focused to defocused?

Ich bin eben skeptisch.
Ich bin halt skeptisch.

To my non-native ears, it feels like you can often (usually?) replace 'eben' with 'halt', it makes it less formal and maybe a little less in-your-face, but does not greatly change the meaning. Or am I just wrong on this?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby Peter Streitenberger » June 15th, 2013, 11:42 am

Dear Jonathan,
You wrote:
Thinking about this further, I am not sure that 'halt' defocuses either. Can you give me an example of a sentence using 'eben', where replacing 'eben' with 'halt' changes it from focused to defocused?

Ich bin eben skeptisch.
Ich bin halt skeptisch.

To my non-native ears, it feels like you can often (usually?) replace 'eben' with 'halt', it makes it less formal and maybe a little less in-your-face, but does not greatly change the meaning. Or am I just wrong on this?

One observation first: "halt" is definetly colloquial speach, it's commonly not found in written texts, at least not in serious motivated texts (exceptions: Internet talks). "Halt" is not to be confused with "Stop" (Halt).
But observing the usage of this particle and reading some research papers on it, I can say, that "halt" is downshifting the following Information and makes it less prominent. "Ich bin eben skeptisch" is a counter example to the sentence with "halt". "Eben" focuses on the Attribute of being sceptical. "Halt" makes it the opposite. "It's just the case that I'm a bit sceptical, but not very much.". A Speaker wants to downgrade the importance of the Attribute of being sceptical. "It's not so important that I'm sceptical".
The most important issue is context here and it can be very different. German native speakers make heavily use of these particles and have a pragmatical intend by using them, but it's hard to put it into words. That's the problem.
Yours
Peter, Germany
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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 15th, 2013, 11:47 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Two examples from Luke listed in BDAG are:
Luke 11:8 wrote:λέγω ὑμῖν, εἰ καὶ οὐ δώσει αὐτῷ ἀναστὰς διὰ τὸ εἶναι φίλον αὐτοῦ, διά γε τὴν ἀναίδειαν αὐτοῦ ἐγερθεὶς δώσει αὐτῷ ὅσων χρῄζει.

Luke 18:5 wrote:διά γε τὸ παρέχειν μοι κόπον τὴν χήραν ταύτην ἐκδικήσω αὐτήν, ἵνα μὴ εἰς τέλος ἐρχομένη ὑπωπιάζῃ με.


In the main definition, BDAG quotes Denniston, saying that γε serves to "focus the attention upon a single idea, and place it, as it were, in the limelight: differing thus from δή, which emphasizes the reality of a concept (though in certain respects the usages of the two particles are similar)". That feels like the opposite of 'defocusing'.

Danker uses these two verses as examples of limiting force. ESV translates both of these with something like "yet because of".
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 15th, 2013, 11:56 am

Peter Streitenberger wrote:But observing the usage of this particle and reading some research papers on it, I can say, that "halt" is downshifting the following Information and makes it less prominent. "Ich bin eben skeptisch" is a counter example to the sentence with "halt". "Eben" focuses on the Attribute of being sceptical. "Halt" makes it the opposite. "It's just the case that I'm a bit sceptical, but not very much.". A Speaker wants to downgrade the importance of the Attribute of being sceptical. "It's not so important that I'm sceptical".


Ah yes, that feels about right, thanks for helping put words to this. I lived in Germany for 8 years, so I have some intuition, but I'm neither a native speaker nor someone who has studied the language from a linguistics perspective.

It's always great to have a native informant.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby Peter Streitenberger » June 15th, 2013, 12:11 pm

Dear Jonathan,

in front of the Proposition "living in" and "leaving Germany" we would place the conjunction "although", especially here in Bavara :-)

So the entrance question remains: how would Koine-Speakers downshift the following Information. Is it agreed to consider GE depending on context? Or MONON ?

Yours
Peter, Germany
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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby RandallButh » June 15th, 2013, 2:10 pm

Peter Streitenberger wrote:Dear friends,
ok so far, but how would Koine-Greek speakers or writers express sentences like these:
"I'm just kidding - it's not serious".
"It's just a promoter on the phone - not an important person"

Would GE in each cases do it ?
Yours
Peter


I wouldn't use simple γε in the first case. I've said things like

μόνον (γε) σκῶμμα (εστιν) -- παιδειὰν ποιῶ
(of course I would pronounce this παιδειάν ποιῶ. full accent on fronted παιδειά. ΝΒ: this is not παιδεία ! )

Perhaps in the latter case:

πωλητήρ γε ἐτελεφώνει--οὐδὲν ἀξιόλογον
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Re: Words/Particles with De-Focusing force ?

Postby Jonathan Robie » June 15th, 2013, 2:21 pm

RandallButh wrote:Perhaps in the latter case:

πωλητήρ γε ἐτελεφώνει--οὐδὲν ἀξιόλογον


And here it seems to put the focus on πωλητήρ, it doesn't seem to defocus πωλητήρ, right?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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