Re: Memorising vocabulary -Reply -Reply

Randy Leedy (
Fri, 01 Nov 1996 09:46:42 -0500

For some reason I'm not receiving internet email at the moment. I
hope this message goes out. A colleague relayed Carl Conrad's poetic
response to one of my recent posts. I'm glad I provided him an
opportunity to call for his muse and that she seems to have obliged
him so willingly and delightfully.

I've reviewed this thread, and I've got everything sorted out to my
satisfaction now. Of particular importance was Stephen Carlson's post
referring to both Goodwin and Smyth. I read it too quickly at the
time and only now have grasped what Stephen was actually pointing
out. Later I misrepresented Goodwin's use of the terms "attraction"
and "assimilation." I understood the distinction properly, but I
reversed his terms. Stephen, I had Goodwin figured out several months
ago when this topic first arose, but in the meanwhile I forgot that
his terminology differs from what I was taught. Thanks for the
reminder; sorry I didn't pay closer attention to your message.

I've made such a muddle in this discussion that I'll do better simply
to apologize for it than to write my way back out of it. I can see
how some good Greek constructions could be explained as "attraction
from the nominative to an oblique case." So I won't fault Carl any
more for using such language.

Leaving aside the terminology about attraction and the exact
definition of it, there's still a point I hope I can maintain: that
the examples I offered as bad Greek are, in fact, bad Greek, and that
THAT SORT of attraction does not occur.

Carl's citation of Acts 22:10, KAKEI SOI LALHQHSETAI PERI PANTWN hWN
TETAKTAI SOI POIHSAI, is the nearest thing I've seen to the
construction that I've called impossible Greek. In fact, Carl seems
to take it as EXACTLY the kind of construction whose existence I'm
doubting. My position can't be maintained without answering this
point. I take the view Carl acknowledged as possible, that hWN is the
object of POIHSAI and is therefore attracted from the accusative, not
from the nominative. Carl prefers to take hWN as the subject of
TETAKTAI, but I would argue that the subject of TETAKTAI is the
infinitive phrase, not the pronoun.

Most people won't buy that explanation immediately, because English
usage makes it so natural to read the relative clause as "the things
which have been appointed (or commanded) for you to do," making the
pronoun the subject (neuter plural subject with a singular verb). But
we can replace our English lens with a Greek one by looking at some
examples of similar constructions in which the subject is
unquestionably an infinitive phrase. It's also helpful to recast Acts
22:10 using the active voice of TASSW and see what the pronoun's
function would be in that construction; the transformation to the
passive doesn't change that function. I won't trouble the list with
further support for taking the infinitive as subject unless someone
else wants to pursue it.

Randy Leedy