Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » January 2nd, 2013, 3:01 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:
RandallButh wrote:Stephen, that is generally true, both in Greek and across languages. However, Greek is something of a rare bird in this because it sometimes has things 'against the grain', that is, a Focal constituent will precede a 'frame of reference'. Maybe Steve R has a tagged text that can spit out a half dozen examples to illustrate this.


Thanks, Randy. I would love to see some examples of this. I'm not aware of any, but I don't any theoretical objection to it either.



preverbal focus & setting constituents

Towards the beginning of his discussion of Points of Departure Levinsohn 2000:9 cites Matt. 6:2a Ὅταν οὖν ποιῇς ἐλεημοσύνην, μὴ σαλπίσῃς ἔμπροσθέν σου. The conditional Ὅταν clause is according to Levinsohn a point of departure. Helma Dik 2007:36-37 in her discussion of preverbal Setting constituents[1] chooses to exclude from her her definition of Settings anything which could be considered a clause in its own right, e.g., genitive absolutes, adverbial clauses, etc.

In his discussion of preverbal focus constituents Levinsohn 2000:37 cites James 1:2 Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις. He marks Πᾶσαν χαρὰν as the focus constituent but does not consider the conditional ὅταν clause a Point of Departure. I would assume that the position of the ὅταν clause is the reason for not calling it a Point of Departure.

I have not found an example of a focus constituent followed by a point of departure both in front of the main verb in the same clause. I am not saying this does not happen. However, Levinsohn 2000:37 states "Any point of departure that is present will preceed any preverbal focal constituent" (italics in original). So perhaps we have a disagreement between Levinsohn and Buth?

I am tempted to depart both from Levinsohn and Helma Dik and suggest that the James 1:2b ὅταν clause functions as a contextualizer. My notion of a contextualizer includes clauses and does not depend on position relative to the clause being contextualized. So my contextualizer is not equal to Levinsohn's point of departure or Helma Dik's Setting.



[1] Helma Dik’s framework is only vaguely similar to Levinsohn’s, differences abound. Setting constituents are similar in some respects to Points of Departure, contextualizers, whatever.



A point of departure for Levinsohn (2000:8) is by definition clause initial. This is also true for Settings in Helma Dik (2007:38). In other words, this isn't a matter of observation. Yesterday I did some thinking about this. The point of departure serves to attach a new clause to the immediately preceding co-text. The metaphor is spacial and linear. If you want to glue a new clause to the clause the precedes it you need to apply the glue to the left hand side of the new clause since that is the mating surface between the new and the preceding clauses.
C. Stirling Bartholomew
Stirling Bartholomew
 
Posts: 207
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » January 2nd, 2013, 4:09 pm

I now see that ὅταν clause in James 1:2 does not integrate Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε with precceding co-text. The ὅταν clause activates a scenario from the external context and might be considered in that sense a contextualizer.

James 1:2 Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις.

The ὅταν clause in Matt 6:2 does integrate the following clause with the co-text.

Matt. 6:1 Προσέχετε [δὲ] τὴν δικαιοσύνην ὑμῶν μὴ ποιεῖν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι αὐτοῖς· εἰ δὲ μή γε, μισθὸν οὐκ ἔχετε παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ ὑμῶν τῷ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. 2 Ὅταν οὖν ποιῇς ἐλεημοσύνην, μὴ σαλπίσῃς ἔμπροσθέν σου, ὥσπερ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ ποιοῦσιν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ ἐν ταῖς ῥύμαις, ὅπως δοξασθῶσιν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.

So the difference between the James 1:2 ὅταν clause and Matt 6:2 isn't just one of clause initial position. My question: If Matthew had placed the ὅταν clause after μὴ σαλπίσῃς ἔμπροσθέν σου would it cease to fuction as a contextualizer? The presence of οὖν complicates the issue.
C. Stirling Bartholomew
Stirling Bartholomew
 
Posts: 207
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby KimmoHuovila » January 3rd, 2013, 4:36 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:A point of departure for Levinsohn (2000:8) is by definition clause initial. This is also true for Settings in Helma Dik (2007:38). In other words, this isn't a matter of observation. Yesterday I did some thinking about this. The point of departure serves to attach a new clause to the immediately preceding co-text. The metaphor is spacial and linear. If you want to glue a new clause to the clause the precedes it you need to apply the glue to the left hand side of the new clause since that is the mating surface between the new and the preceding clauses.


I think your definition is somewhat narrow as requiring a co-text (instead of a context). My attempt (not necessarily compatible with Levinsohn or Dik): the point of departure serves to activate some contextual element(s) as relevant background information for interpreting the utterance. It makes functional sense to have it clause-initial, since it (iconically) provides context for the interpretation of the rest. Yet this allows for the point of departure at rare cases to follow a focus, as has been discussed, so far without examples.
Kimmo Huovila
KimmoHuovila
 
Posts: 43
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 8:57 am

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby serunge » January 3rd, 2013, 10:08 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:I now see that ὅταν clause in James 1:2 does not integrate Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε with precceding co-text. The ὅταν clause activates a scenario from the external context and might be considered in that sense a contextualizer.

James 1:2 Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις.

The ὅταν clause in Matt 6:2 does integrate the following clause with the co-text.

Matt. 6:1 Προσέχετε [δὲ] τὴν δικαιοσύνην ὑμῶν μὴ ποιεῖν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι αὐτοῖς· εἰ δὲ μή γε, μισθὸν οὐκ ἔχετε παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ ὑμῶν τῷ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. 2 Ὅταν οὖν ποιῇς ἐλεημοσύνην, μὴ σαλπίσῃς ἔμπροσθέν σου, ὥσπερ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ ποιοῦσιν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ ἐν ταῖς ῥύμαις, ὅπως δοξασθῶσιν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσιν τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.

So the difference between the James 1:2 ὅταν clause and Matt 6:2 isn't just one of clause initial position. My question: If Matthew had placed the ὅταν clause after μὴ σαλπίσῃς ἔμπροσθέν σου would it cease to function as a contextualizer? The presence of οὖν complicates the issue.


You raise a good question, Stirling. The challenge with understanding information structure is that the effects are scalar rather than present/absent. Both ὅταν clauses convey temporal information, but they differ in their function. The placement in the clause also affects the role that information plays in processing the clause. Prototypically sentence information moves from most know to least known. This would mean that the info following the verb will tend to be more salient--the purpose of the utterance--than what precedes the verb. This tendency gets complicated, in that different kinds of adverbial info (temporal, spatial, conditional, causal, etc.) differ in their distribution. Some are nearly always preverbal (e.g. conditionals or comparatives), some are split (e.g. temporal and spatial), while other are nearly always post-verbal (e.g. causatives and resultatives). These distributional differences is what leads folks like Stan Porter and Ivan Kwong to wrongly make judgements about what is default based on frequency (see http://www.ntdiscourse.org/2009/01/intr ... arkedness/ and my review of Kwong http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=5903).

Holger Diessel has compellingly demonstrated that regardless of the tendency of certain adverbials to occur preverbally, postverbally, or both, ALL have the same contextualizing effect when placed before the verb. This is a typological phenomenon, not idiosyncratic. Here are some suggested articles to read:

Diessel, Holger. “Competing Motivations for the Ordering of Main and Adverbial Clauses.”
———. “The Ordering Distribution of Main and Adverbial Clauses: A Typological Study.”
_____. Holger Diessel. 2008. Iconicity of sequence. A corpus-based analysis of the positioning of temporal adverbial clauses in English. Cognitive Linguistics 19: 457–482.
All are available here as PDFs: http://www.personal.uni-jena.de/~x4diho/publi.html

I provide a summary of his conclusions in Discourse Grammar of the GNT, p. 208-10, and then work through examples for the text.

Let's go back to the examples now. You have likely experienced the confusion associated with losing track of where a speaker was going with a story, asking the speaker to stop and help you “catch up.” One of the ways of making sure that changes and transitions are not missed is to make them stand out more. This is not a requirement but a choice. If there is going to be a change of some sort, I could use the default way of communicating it or I could make it stand out more by preverbal placement of the information to achieve the contextualizing effect we've been discussing. Using the default method risks the reader missing the transition. In your James example, there really is no transition, the temporal information is more of a caveat explaining when the preceding should be applied. Your Matthew example, on the other hand, indeed marks a transition. This is corroborated by the presence of οὖν, which you have noted complicates the situation. Matthew was not required to have placed this information before the verb; it could have been postverbal. However, doing so would have reduced the likelihood of the reader perceiving the transition to a new temporal context. Points of departure play a significant role in marking these kinds of changes, making the framing information stand out more. Generally speaking, the bigger the change or transition, the more marking it will receive (i.e. PoD + οὖν).

Again, the challenge with information structure is that it is scalar rather than black and white. Although the differences may seem subtle, they are nevertheless present. I hope this helps.
Steve Runge
Logos Bible Software
serunge
 
Posts: 16
Joined: May 23rd, 2011, 11:07 am
Location: Bellingham, WA

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » January 3rd, 2013, 2:55 pm

KimmoHuovila wrote:
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:A point of departure for Levinsohn (2000:8) is by definition clause initial. This is also true for Settings in Helma Dik (2007:38). In other words, this isn't a matter of observation. Yesterday I did some thinking about this. The point of departure serves to attach a new clause to the immediately preceding co-text. The metaphor is spacial and linear. If you want to glue a new clause to the clause the precedes it you need to apply the glue to the left hand side of the new clause since that is the mating surface between the new and the preceding clauses.


I think your definition is somewhat narrow as requiring a co-text (instead of a context). My attempt (not necessarily compatible with Levinsohn or Dik): the point of departure serves to activate some contextual element(s) as relevant background information for interpreting the utterance. It makes functional sense to have it clause-initial, since it (iconically) provides context for the interpretation of the rest. Yet this allows for the point of departure at rare cases to follow a focus, as has been discussed, so far without examples.


Kimmo,

James 1:2 Πᾶσαν χαρὰν ἡγήσασθε, ἀδελφοί μου, ὅταν πειρασμοῖς περιπέσητε ποικίλοις,

RE:context & co-text, contextualizers

Personally, I do not habitually make this distinction. Context and co-text are both accessed by textual features we might refer to collectively as contextualizers. In the case of the ὅταν clause of James 1:2 it is clearly a reference to some scenario assumed to be part of the cognitive universe shared between the author and his intended audience. On the other hand, when we are talking about information-structure building within the text, a scenario from the cognitive universe assumed to be shared with the audience does not constitute a structure building element within the text proper. Note however, Levinsohn (2000:10) appears to consider anything “cognitively accessible” suitable for a point of departure and he cites (p.10) an example Περὶ δὲ τῶν εἰδωλοθύτων from:

1Cor. 8:1 Περὶ δὲ τῶν εἰδωλοθύτων, οἴδαμεν ὅτι πάντες γνῶσιν ἔχομεν. ἡ γνῶσις φυσιοῖ, ἡ δὲ ἀγάπη οἰκοδομεῖ·

Περὶ δὲ τῶν εἰδωλοθύτων is a reference to something Paul assumes his audience will be familiar with but not previously mentioned in the co-text.

Background might be a better term to refer to contextualizers which fall after the main verb. That is assuming we accept the linear spatial metaphor left-right old-new topic-comment as the unmarked pattern. Left-hand disassociation of a focus constituent being a major deviation from this pattern which makes it a means of marking the focus constituent.
C. Stirling Bartholomew
Stirling Bartholomew
 
Posts: 207
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » January 3rd, 2013, 5:21 pm

serunge wrote:

Prototypically sentence information moves from most know to least known. This would mean that the info following the verb will tend to be more salient--the purpose of the utterance--than what precedes the verb ...


Steve,

I understand and appreciate your post. I am not quite as enamored with this framework as I was a decade ago. When I see it applied to poetry and Attic Tragedy it seems at times to be strained beyond what it can bear. On the other hand, there are plenty of samples that appear to work. I just grabbed one randomly from a text currently under discussion elsewhere (Textkit).

Aeschylus Trag., Agamemnon 655-666a

ναῦς γὰρ πρὸς ἀλλήλῃσι Θρῄκιαι πνοαὶ
ἤρεικον·

(preserving the word order)
for [the] ships against each other by the Thracian winds were smashed up

A member of the ναῦς (ship) word group has not appeared for 20 lines[1] but it is a global “participant” in the text so always active. It is referred two by inference on line 653 Ἀργείων στρατόν “Argive army” which is being destroyed by the fire and the sea on their return journey from Troy. The ships are a constituent of the return-from-Troy scenario. Even if the ships had not been mentioned previously, they would be consider active since the are part of the an active scenario.

I would suggest that ναῦς is both a topic and a contextualizer. It does not introduce a change so perhaps doesn’t qualify as a point of departure. The focus constituent is the verb ἤρεικον in clause final position. If the focus constituent was moved forward, clause initial or after ναῦς, would it be marked for extra salience? I don’t think so. Would be interested in hearing some opinions about that.

Postscript:
re: ἤρεικον enjambment
I seem to remember Helma Dik discusses enjambment a form of salience marking but I don't recall off hand what her conclusions were.


[1]A.Ag 634
{Χο.} πῶς γὰρ λέγεις χειμῶνα ναυτικῷ στρατῷ


[2]Aeschylus Trag., Agamemnon
650
ξυνώμοσαν γάρ, ὄντες ἔχθιστοι τὸ πρίν,
πῦρ καὶ θάλασσα, καὶ τὰ πίστ' ἐδειξάτην
φθείροντε τὸν δύστηνον Ἀργείων στρατόν·
ἐν νυκτὶ δυσκύμαντα δ' ὠρώρει κακά.
ναῦς γὰρ πρὸς ἀλλήλῃσι Θρῄκιαι πνοαὶ
655
ἤρεικον· αἱ δὲ κεροτυπούμεναι βίᾳ
χειμῶνι τυφῶ σὺν ζάλῃ τ' ὀμβροκτύπῳ
ᾤχοντ' ἄφαντοι, ποιμένος κακοῦ στρόβῳ.

Trans. H. W. Smyth (Perseus Tufts)
[650] For fire and sea, beforehand bitterest of foes, swore alliance and as proof destroyed the unhappy Argive army. In the night-time arose the mischief from the cruel swells. Beneath blasts from Thrace ship dashed against ship; [655] and they, gored violently by the furious hurricane and rush of pelting rain, were swept out of sight by the whirling gust of an evil shepherd.[650] For fire and sea, beforehand bitterest of foes, swore alliance and as proof destroyed the unhappy Argive army. In the night-time arose the mischief from the cruel swells. Beneath blasts from Thrace ship dashed against ship; [655] and they, gored violently by the furious hurricane and rush of pelting rain, were swept out of sight by the whirling gust of an evil shepherd.
C. Stirling Bartholomew
Stirling Bartholomew
 
Posts: 207
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby Stephen Carlson » January 3rd, 2013, 5:57 pm

Stirling, if I recall correctly (mainly from Dik and Goldstein), the use of enjambment and caesura provide phonologically prominent landing places (presumably a stress accent after an intonation break) for focused constituents, devices which are not available in prose. Unlike in prose, with poetry you can get a stress accent on the last word of the sentence, simply having it start off the next line. So I think you're right to suspect that the enjambment is playing a role here.

ETA: The biggest difference for me between Koine and Classical is the shift from an SOV type to a VO type. It has to affect to the information structure, but I have not fully grasped how.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Faculty of Theology, Uppsala
Stephen Carlson
 
Posts: 1845
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Uppsala University

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » January 4th, 2013, 2:46 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:ETA: The biggest difference for me between Koine and Classical is the shift from an SOV type to a VO type. It has to affect to the information structure, but I have not fully grasped how.

Stephen,
Is this a feature of Koine or a reflection of the LXX in NT word order?
C. Stirling Bartholomew
Stirling Bartholomew
 
Posts: 207
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby MAubrey » January 4th, 2013, 4:08 pm

It's a feature of the Koine.

Horrock's history of the language covers the shift rather nicely.
Mike Aubrey
Canada Institute of Linguistics & Trinity Western University Graduate School
MAubrey
 
Posts: 628
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: British Columbia

Re: Word order and emphasis in Acts 2:39

Postby Stirling Bartholomew » January 4th, 2013, 4:14 pm

Returning to Acts 2:38-39, the clause initial ὑμῖν might also be understood as indicating ὑμῖν is the primary basis for relating the following sentence to its context (Levinsohn 2000:14).

Acts 2:38 Πέτρος δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς· μετανοήσατε, [φησίν,] καὶ βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν καὶ λήμψεσθε τὴν δωρεὰν τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος. 39 ὑμῖν γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ἐπαγγελία καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν καὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς εἰς μακράν, ὅσους ἂν προσκαλέσηται κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν.

As Randall Buth has already pointed out

Or it may be contextual and organizational, providing a framework for relating to the context and then a different piece of the sentence will carry the main point, salient information.


I would agree that in this case, ὑμῖν is probably in focus. But this isn't the only way this could be understood. The addition of καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν adds some "weight" to the focus constituent, rhetorical underlining by means of more elaborate encoding.
C. Stirling Bartholomew
Stirling Bartholomew
 
Posts: 207
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Pragmatics and Discourse

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests