Re: Attraction or Assimilation?

Randy Leedy (
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 08:17:29 -0500

Stephen C. Carlson wrote:

>>>I think the reason you didn't find it (attraction from the
nominative) in Goodwin's grammar is that he distinguishes attraction
from assimilation. For Goodwin, as I understand it, attaction is a
syntactical modification -- the word order changes. Goodwin states
"1037. The antecedent is often *attracted* into the relative clause,
and agrees with the relative. [Example omitted due to length]"

The morphological modification under discussion, in which the case is
converted, is termed by Goodwin as "assimiliation." And he does cite
that "1033 .... [e]ven the nominative may be assimilated; as
BLAPTESQAI AF' hWN hHMIN PARESKEUASTAI, to be injured by what has
been prepared by us (for AP' EKEINWN hA), T[hucydides].7,67."

I vaguely recall having seen this discussion in Goodwin. It's been
several months, and the memory is a bit dim. Goodwin's distinction is
valid, and this, of course, is a good Greek sentence. The pronoun hWN
is serving double-duty, in a manner of speaking; it can't be in both
cases at once. I have no difficulty with such a sentence, and I
rather expect that we could find NT examples of the same sort.

Perhaps this assimilation is what Carl was talking about; if so, I
have no problem with it. The idea that is so jarring to me is that
you can have what would have been a nominative case pronoun attracted
to an oblique case in order to agree with an explicit antecedent. If
Carl didn't intend to intimate that such a construction is possible,
then I owe him an apology for misunderstanding him TWICE and I'll be
happy imitate Dan Wallace (I think it was) by crawling back into my

In Love to God and Neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC