Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics

Bruce McKinnon
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Bruce McKinnon » June 3rd, 2020, 3:29 pm

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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 3rd, 2020, 8:06 pm

Bruce McKinnon wrote:
June 3rd, 2020, 1:29 pm
Does anyone have a list of the table of contents of the book edited by King? It looks interesting. I was hoping the T of C would be available via Amazon but no luck.
The table of contents is here: https://koine-greek.com/2019/09/20/tabl ... cal-greek/

ETA: I was ninja'ed by Steve, but I'll just leave this post here.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 3rd, 2020, 8:13 pm

Maria Napoli's contribution to the volume is available on Academia here: https://www.academia.edu/42013651/Funct ... ment_Greek
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Stephen Carlson
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Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne
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Re: Peters' Thesis: The Greek Article

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 4th, 2020, 1:56 am

I suppose I should quote Peters' definition of the article from p. 227 of his monograph:
Peters 2014:227 wrote:The presence of the article indicates the speaker or writer’s subjective presentation of a noun, which is presented as something concrete, in that it is characterized as belonging to immediate experience as an actual thing or event, or is associated with a specific instance.

The characterization of a noun as concrete is based solely on the fact of the speaker or writer’s provision of the information necessary for identification. It gives no indication to the listener or reader of how or where to locate the identity of the noun, or that the identity is proximate in such a way as to be immediately recoverable. The Greek article orients the identification of the head term to the speaker or writer, not the recipient.

The absence of the article indicates the speaker or writer’s subjective characterization of a noun, which is presented as abstract, in that it is characterized as not belonging to immediate experience as an actual thing or event, or is not associated with a specific instance. The noun has no referent in terms of a class whose identifying characteristic is grammaticalized by the noun. It is an abstraction.
The middle paragraph basically attempts to deny identifiability as the basis for the article, which is the modern approach. But I would say that identifiability also does not tell the reader/listener how to identify the referent, only that she can. The latter is consistent with Steve's "cognitively accessible" and Bakker's "relatable to a cognitive structure".

Somewhat oddly, the definition of both the concrete and the abstract notions incorporates a disjunction with what appears to me the traditional (in)definiteness: "(not) associated with a specific instance." In other words, the article marks that it is concrete or definite while the absence of the article marks abstract or indefinite. Because he claims that arthrous abstract nouns like ἡ ἀγάπη are actually concrete, I suspect also that the left part of his concrete-abstract distinction is really referential and non-referential (i.e., predicative), so his proposal basically devolves to a referential or definite vs. predicative or indefinite scheme. Since definiteness is a subset of referentiality, we find ourselves back to the traditional position that the article marks definiteness, and its absence predicativeness or indefiniteness.

This result is basically the beginner's introduction to the article, and the hard part is the host of exceptions involving prepositions and proper names. Particularly interesting to me is the usage of the article where the referent could be marked as definite but is not. His attempt to explain this with SFL's prominence theory only begins to make a modicum of sense if, as with the verb, their background and foreground are reversed.

There's no Kuhnian paradigm shift here, just a bunch of terms used in non-standard or at least non-traditional ways.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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