Word order in Koine composition

How can I learn to express my ideas in clear and intelligible Greek?

Word order in Koine composition

Postby Charlie Johnson » August 17th, 2011, 6:13 pm

I'm looking for a resource that will help me compose Koine Greek with acceptable word order. I have skimmed several resources on word order in Herodotus and in the Tragedians, but I am not sure that they are of great use to me in this endeavor. I realize that there is no one way to write a sentence correctly, but there must be many ways to write it incorrectly, and I would like to avoid them. I would appreciate any resource that would grant me greater insight into this aspect of Greek. (In fact, I'd be ok with a resource that focused on Attic Greek as long as it pointed out differences with Koine.)
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Re: Word order in Koine composition

Postby Stephen Carlson » August 17th, 2011, 7:33 pm

Though it's not a compositional book per se, Stephen H. Levinsohn, Discourse Features of New Testament Greek: A Coursebook on the Information Structure of New Testament Greek. (2d ed.; Dallas: SIL International, 2000), has quite a lot on word order and how Greek sentences are put together pragmatically.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia
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Re: Word order in Koine composition

Postby Paul-Nitz » March 17th, 2012, 5:42 am

Charlie Johnson wrote:I'm looking for a resource that will help me compose Koine Greek with acceptable word order.

I'm interested in learning word order, too. I did a little research.

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Re: Word order in Koine composition

Postby Louis L Sorenson » March 17th, 2012, 5:01 pm

The last sections of Blass and DeBrunner's A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature also has sections on (12) Sentence Structure, (13) Word and Clause Order, (14) Ellipsis, Brachylogy, Pleonasm, (15) The Arrangement of Word: Figures of Speech. The Logos version (which I don't have would be a wonderful way to peruse the various sentence patterns.
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Re: Word order in Koine composition

Postby Jonathan Robie » March 17th, 2012, 5:52 pm

Micheal Palmer's bibliography lists quite a few articles with titles containing the phrase "word order".

ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Word order in Koine composition

Postby Paul-Nitz » May 3rd, 2012, 3:15 pm

If you want to know about word order in plain terms,

And, here's a cross link to a related post and some more from Iver:

Tusen takk, Iver!
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Re: Word order in Koine composition

Postby RandallButh » September 17th, 2012, 3:44 am

There are two different systems at work in the citations of Runge versus Larsen.

Larsen has a simple scaler: the more to the left the more prominent.

Runge, Levinsohn, H. Dik, S. Dik, myself, and many functionally oriented linguists differentiate fronted constituents as Topical/Contextualizing vs Focal.
If the left-placed constituent is the most salient piece of information, then it is called "Focus" (or synonym), while a left-placed item that is not the most salient (important, reason for statement of the clause) is viewed as marked for contextual/relational reasons, to set up a topic/context span, name an entity for comparison/contrast, break the default foregrounded chaining.

The differentiated, multi-reason is the majority view in linguistics. In terms of signal, it is assumed that left-placed constitutents will also interact with the intonation/tonal system of a language so that a differentiated signal is possible in a language for a left-placed item.

Of course, this does not answer all questions for readers where texts do not have intonational/stress/tone differences marked in a text. The reader must supply their own reading and interpret left-placed constituents as either normal-left-placed (contextualizing contstituents) or marked left-placed (focus constituents).

For those working with Greek it is recognized that multiple frontings may occur, and relatively frequently in comparison with other languages. The default order ends up Verb-Subject-Other, with various options available for fronting and interlacing between Verb and Subject or Other.
[PS: a constituent may be more than one word, a whole phrase, or sometimes a partial constituent, a word from a phrase.)
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