discourse topics integrated into basic grammar

Post Reply
Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 726
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

discourse topics integrated into basic grammar

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 30th, 2016, 4:42 pm

Bently Layton's 20 lessons[1] integrates discourse and information structure into a basic introduction to Sahidic Coptic. I am impressed. There are no trumpets sounded announcing "We are now entering the etherial zone of dreaded late 20th century linguistics" sending traditional-grammar students running for cover. Layton weaves themes that sound somewhat like R. E. Longacre into his presentation without calling undue attention. This happens throughout the 20 Lessons.Two examples:

the precursive ... speaks of an immediately preceding event, as completed and past ... where it supplies background information ...

p. 99


The ordinary way to tell a story is the past tense ... In contrast, preterit is a literary device that expresses information in a descriptive, static (durative) way, which provides a background for the ordinary story line ...

The literary value of the preterit, indeed its meaning, is to switch out of the main line of discourse... into a descriptive or slow-motion mode ... and then back again ...

pp. 119-120


[1] Bently Layton, COPTIC IN 20 LESSONS Introduction to Sahidic Coptic with Exercises & Vocabularies
Peeters 2007 (available for download as a pdf).
C. Stirling Bartholomew

MAubrey
Posts: 896
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: discourse topics integrated into basic grammar

Post by MAubrey » May 30th, 2016, 7:10 pm

If I may push back a little bit. I'm not sure that such a sounding of trumpets was ever necessary. Such statements go back a few more decades:
From the 1825 translation of Winer, page 102 wrote:the aorist marks simply past time, and is the usual tense of narration; the imperfect and pluperfect are always used in reference to a secondary or subsidiary action or event, which is past, but which stands connected in respect to time with the main action or event; while the perfect expresses past time in connexion with the present.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 726
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: discourse topics integrated into basic grammar

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 30th, 2016, 11:02 pm

MAubrey wrote:If I may push back a little bit. I'm not sure that such a sounding of trumpets was ever necessary. Such statements go back a few more decades:
From the 1825 translation of Winer, page 102 wrote:the aorist marks simply past time, and is the usual tense of narration; the imperfect and pluperfect are always used in reference to a secondary or subsidiary action or event, which is past, but which stands connected in respect to time with the main action or event; while the perfect expresses past time in connexion with the present.
The specific language used by Bently Layton is different from Winer and reflects the language used by students of R. E. Longacre, see The Routledge Linguistics Encyclopedia
edited by Kirsten Malmkjaer, (no page #) try google: "main line" narrative longacre, should get you there. Also over 3,000 hits on textlinguitics related sources.

Another search: "jesus is on the main line" longacre, produces only one hit, Full text of "Minutes of the Seventy-Seventh Annual Assembly of the Disciples of Christ of the Washington-Norfolk District in Eastern North Carolina and Virginia"

My point: Bently Layton is introducing concepts (topic marking, main line, background) into his presentation that are standard fare in the textlinguistic literature of the last three decades of the 20th century. I am not claiming that these ideas were never addressed before that. But the specific terminology used sounded familiar. I read Longacre's Grammar of Discourse, 2nd Ed several times in the '90s and then gave away to David Gray (who didn't want it) I assume it is somewhere in the world of SIL-UK. C. Westfall and I used to talk about people like Longacre when she was working on her dissertation.

another search worth trying: "main line" narrative niccacci
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Paul-Nitz
Posts: 428
Joined: June 1st, 2011, 4:19 am
Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Re: discourse topics integrated into basic grammar

Post by Paul-Nitz » May 31st, 2016, 5:56 am

Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

MAubrey
Posts: 896
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 8:52 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: discourse topics integrated into basic grammar

Post by MAubrey » May 31st, 2016, 12:40 pm

I know the terms. I don't need to google them. I've taught this stuff to students myself.

I'm just saying that terminology doesn't make things new.

Information structure, on the other hand, yeah, that's some good stuff. I just didn't see it in the quote you gave. Does Layton discuss topic and focus, too? Now that would definitely be something to see in an intro text.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest