The term "Emphasis"

Semantic Range, Lexicography, and other approaches to word meaning - in general, or for particular words.

The term "Emphasis"

Postby John Brainard » March 2nd, 2013, 6:39 pm

On page 191 of Steve Runge's work "Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament" he has a foot note (#31).

He quotes"

"The term "Emphasis" has been much abused, being used to justify virtually any thing that a commentator thinks is special or important. .

What is the proper understanding of the term "Emphasis" as is used in Koine when emphasis is being placed by word order?

Thanks in advance

John
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Re: The term "Emphasis"

Postby MAubrey » March 2nd, 2013, 8:00 pm

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.
Mike Aubrey
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Re: The term "Emphasis"

Postby John Brainard » March 2nd, 2013, 8:10 pm

MAubrey wrote:
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.


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.

Thanks for your thoughts

John
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Re: The term "Emphasis"

Postby MAubrey » March 2nd, 2013, 10:06 pm

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.
Mike Aubrey
Canada Institute of Linguistics & Trinity Western University Graduate School
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Re: The term "Emphasis"

Postby John Brainard » March 2nd, 2013, 10:45 pm

MAubrey wrote:
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.



I agree.
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Re: The term "Emphasis"

Postby Hefin J. Jones » July 6th, 2013, 2:14 am

I'm not sure that Mike Aubrey has got that quite right. I'm a bit of a newbie to Discourse Grammar (though many many years ago was partially inducted into a particular school of pragmatics that gets passing mention in Steve Runge's book, namely Relevance Theory) but on my reading I think Steve would say that emphasis is focal material that has been placed in what he (following Stephen Dik?) calls the P2 position - i.e. focal material in the Preverbal position. See p. 272. He does go on to widen that somewhat by discussing point/counterpoint sets. I'm impressed by, but not fully satisfied by Steve Runge's presentation. It's enormously helpful though I feel his book is still 1.0 rather than 2.0.
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