John Brainard wrote:What is the proper understanding of the term "Emphasis" as is used in Koine when emphasis is being placed by word order?
There never has been a "proper understanding" for the term. It has been used to mean just about anything and everything. That's why Steve says its been abused.
John Brainard wrote:How does that idea impact the argument that word order establishes elevated thought? Does this mean that word order does not absolutely establish emphasis? I realize that Greek can be very random in its order unlike English but people are creatures of habit and there is normally a word order used to convey an idea.
The short answer is that word order in Greek is not random. That's a misconception based on fact that its order rules are different than those of English. Word order in Greek, involves the structuring of information, which is described in detail in chapters 9 of Steve's grammar. He gives a number of very useful principles for understand word order in Greek.
If there's a "proper" way to use the word "emphasis" then, its the way Steve uses it in his book, though I would have preferred he had used a different term. The standard term in linguistics is Focus, which maybe defined (briefly) as "that which is either new or asserted in a given clause" not prominent, emphatic, etc.
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