Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Postby Stephen Baldwin » April 17th, 2012, 10:11 pm

Ladies and Gentlemen:
In my little Greek group, we have been going through the Graded Reader and doing 1Tim4.
A question arose about verse 5 where it is written:
καλὸς ἔσῃ διάκονος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
[hope this appears correctly. KALOS ESHi XRISTOU IHSOU].
What struck us was the placement of the verb between the adjective and the noun; given that Greek is fairly "fluid", nonetheless, what is the text doing here? How common is this type of construction? [i.e the noun and its adjective[s] being separated by a verb?]
Any references, thoughts etc. welcomed!

Rgds
Steve

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Last edited by Stephen Carlson on April 17th, 2012, 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed citation
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Re: Word Order: [1Tim4:5]

Postby Jeremy Spencer » April 17th, 2012, 10:38 pm

Steve,

The reference seems to be 1 Timothy 4:6. Anyway, I'm thinking that the word KALOS is placed forward and prior to the verb for emphasis. Just my guess.

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Re: Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 17th, 2012, 11:13 pm

Jeremy wrote:Anyway, I'm thinking that the word KALOS is placed forward and prior to the verb for emphasis. Just my guess.


That's what I think is going on too. And the kind of emphasis from this fronting of the adjective is known as "focus."

Stephen
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Re: Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Postby Eeli Kaikkonen » April 18th, 2012, 3:01 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:[
That's what I think is going on too. And the kind of emphasis from this fronting of the adjective is known as "focus."


+1. But the question was specifically about the verb. It could be καλὸς διάκονος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἔσῃ, but it's not. I feel (I don't 'know'!) that the verb is between the adjective and the noun exactly because it makes the adjective to stand out. Otherwise the word order would be either neutral (SV) or would emphasize the whole "καλὸς διάκονος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ".
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Re: Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 18th, 2012, 8:08 am

To give a little more detail, the position of the verb is crucial for identifying what constituent is in focus.

According to work of Simon Dik, Helma Dik (no relation), and Stephen Levinsohn, the basic template for a Greek sentence is:

(Topical Frame/Setting/Theme) # (Switch Topic) (Narrow Focus) Verb (Remainder) # (Tail)

In 1 Tim 4:6 we have a topical frame: ταῦτα ὑποτιθέμενος τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς, and a tail: ἐντρεφόμενος τοῖς λόγοις τῆς πίστεως κτλ.

This leaves: καλὸς ἔσῃ διάκονος Χριστοῦ Ἰησου. Here, the position of καλός before the verb ἔσῃ indicates that it is the narrow focus (it is not a topic), which indicates that Timothy is already presupposed to be a servant of Jesus Christ and in this context the advice is about how to be a good one.

I have found in my research over the past two years that the template approach to the structure of a Greek sentence explains a lot, but unfortunately not all, of the sentences in the NT. Getting to 100% is one of my areas of interest, but I don't think anyone quite has a robust theory of it yet.

Stephen
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Re: Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Postby Stephen Baldwin » April 19th, 2012, 9:59 pm

Chaps:
Thanks for your replies.
Appreciated.
Yes -- Hr. Kaikkonen is correct. The object of our interest is the position of ESHi.
I did pull a book out of the local university library "Greek Word Order" / K.J. Dover (1960). Curiously, the opening words of the book bemoan that "the problem of Greek word order is so seldom discussed...that it is still possible to treat it as a fresh problem". ;-)
I haven't got far enough into the book to figure out whether it will help unlock the mysteries of 1Tim4:6. But from the tone of the opening pages, the flexibility of Greek word order is considerable and trying to formulate "normal" forms/templates seems to be a non-trivial task.

Incidentally a couple of others that also use EIMI also splitting a noun-adjective pair:
Mat 1:20 EK PNEUMASTOS ESTIN hAGIOU
Lk2:25: KAI PNEUMA HN hAGION EP AUTON

Matt1:20
0τταῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐνθυμηθέντος ἰδοὺ ἄγγελος κυρίου κατ' ὄναρ ἐφάνη αὐτῷ λέγων, Ἰωσὴφ υἱὸς Δαυίδ, μὴ φοβηθῇς παραλαβεῖν Μαρίαν τὴν γυναῖκά σου, τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἁγίου:

Lk2
25Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος ἦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλὴμ ᾧ ὄνομα Συμεών, καὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος οὗτος δίκαιος καὶ εὐλαβής, προσδεχόμενος παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, καὶ πνεῦμα ἦν ἅγιον ἐπ' αὐτόν:
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Re: Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Postby Paul-Nitz » April 20th, 2012, 2:22 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:the basic template for a Greek sentence is:
(Topical Frame/Setting/Theme) # (Switch Topic) (Narrow Focus) Verb (Remainder) # (Tail)


Do you know of a web resource that explains the above?
Does Funk explain default word order (that is, ordering of the thoughts)?
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Re: Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 20th, 2012, 8:06 am

Stephen Baldwin wrote:I did pull a book out of the local university library "Greek Word Order" / K.J. Dover (1960). Curiously, the opening words of the book bemoan that "the problem of Greek word order is so seldom discussed...that it is still possible to treat it as a fresh problem". ;-)


Dover was a bit ahead of time. His chapter 4 on logical determinants of word order roughly anticipates the modern treatment of word order, but, beware, his terminology is completely different, and his notation is virtually impenetrable. I found it really tough going. Nevertheless, Dover's work has importance as a historical matter because he provides one of the few, early attempts to account for Greek word order in terms of information structure (as the concept is now known).

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Re: Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Postby John Kendall » April 20th, 2012, 2:32 pm

Paul asked:

Do you know of a web resource that explains the above?


You might find some help from the relevant parts of Nicholas Bailey's dissertation. See the first half of chapter 2 and the material in chapter 3.
http://dare.ubvu.vu.nl/bitstream/1871/15504/4/4727.pdf

You can also find relevant material at various points in Stephen Levinsohn's materials on narrative and non-narrative discourse here:
http://www.sil.org/~levinsohns/discourse.htm

In terms of printed resources, Stephen's Discourse Features of New Testament Greek might be a good place to start.

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Re: Word Order: [1Tim4:6]

Postby Iver Larsen » April 22nd, 2012, 3:35 am

Hi, Steve,

Most languages have fairly strict syntactic rules for the relative placement of words, but Greek has very few of these. One reason is that the affixes on the words show which words go together to form a unit, being it a phrase or clause. So, for Greek the word order is primarily based on semantic and pragmatic considerations. The basic rule is that the more to the left a word occurs within its scope (phrase or clause) the greater is its prominence compared to the other words in its scope. Some words have an inherent semantic prominence (words like all, and the demonstratives), so these are placed before what they modify, unless something else is more prominent in a particular context. When a demonstrative is used to contrast two items it comes further to the left than when it is used as a back reference to something already known.

I wrote a brief introduction to word order in Greek in the paper “Word order and relative prominence in New Testament Greek.” It can be found among other papers here: http://sil.academia.edu/IverLarsen/Papers.

The main clause in 1 Tim 4:6 is: καλὸς ἔσῃ διάκονος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ.

The word “praiseworthy/good” comes before the noun it modifies because there is a contrast between a good and implicit bad servant. A good servant is one who teaches τοῖς λόγοις … τῆς καλῆς διδασκαλίας – the words of the good teaching.

For the verb εἰμί it depends partly on semantics, i.e. does the verb indicate existence or does it only function to describe or identify an entity. The more semantic weight a word carries the more to the left it occurs. The other aspect is the relative prominence of the verb compared to the other elements.
If ἔσῃ had been placed last, the meaning would have been: ”you will be a good servant of Anointed Jesus.” However, when it is placed in the more prominent position as here, the meaning changes slightly to: “then you will really/truly be a good servant of Anointed Jesus.” English indicates prominence mainly by stress but also by adverbs and to a much lesser extent by word order. Greek prominence is usually lost in traditional translations of the Bible, which is an incentive to study this crucial topic. It is complex but in my view simpler than Dik and Levinsohn make it out to be. It is governed by principles rather than fixed rules that can be put in a formula.

You may want to look at other places, e.g.
Mark 12:28 Ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων; - Which commandment is really first of all? It was a common discussion topic among rabbis which commandment was the most important. So, what Is Jesus’ take on this discussion? Which do you say is really the most important? If ἐστὶν had been placed last, the meaning would be: Which commandment is first of all? As if the person is simply asking for information about what he does not know rather than wanting an opinion on a controversial topic.

Matt 21:10 Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος; - Who is this man? The order Τίς οὗτος ἐστιν; would give a slightly different meaning: Who is this man?
Mark 4:41: Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν...; Who then is this man
Mark 1:27 Τί ἐστιν τοῦτο – What is this (teaching)?
Matt 22:20 Τίνος ἡ εἰκὼν αὕτη καὶ ἡ ἐπιγραφή; Of whom is this picture and writing? Notice that αὕτη comes after its noun, because there is no contrast between this picture and another picture. It is simply a reference to an entity in the environment (which linguists call deixis). It could have been repeated at the end, but Greek prefers ellipsis in such cases. There is no ἐστιν in the sentence. It is pushed so far to the right that it is pushed over the edge and do not appear, since it is not needed. It carries no semantic weight. Notice also that question words come first because theya re inherently prominent, and normally has stress in English.
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