Information structure and adjectives

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Matthew Longhorn
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Information structure and adjectives

Post by Matthew Longhorn » June 4th, 2019, 1:09 pm

I have a session coming up on adjectives in Mounce’s Grammar with my group and am considering discussing the different attributive adjective positions beyond what Mounce does. Largely this is to get the group thinking of the text as a wider thing than just the sentences that they will be translating in his workbook.
I don’t expect to need to discuss much but it made me dust off my copy of Levinsohn’s discussions of information structure and adjective positions (e.g. https://scholars.sil.org/sites/scholars ... dering.pdf
Is this approach generally accepted? Does anyone have any suggestions as to other approaches I could look into for this?
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Information structure and adjectives

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 6th, 2019, 8:43 am

First, let me confess that I am on very thin ice answering this. I am still not as deep into discourse and information flow as I want to become, even though I now work for an organization where many people are very deep into this.

I think you have to pick a school to follow. Levinsohn / Runge is a very good choice, that's what I am trying to learn, and there is a community that understands this approach for Greek. This paper makes sense to me, I wouldn't say that I have heard this argument repeated by others, but I could be wrong. My guess is that most Greek language classes simply don't get into discourse grammar much and even most professors who teach Greek are not deeply into it.

Stephen Carlson, Mike Aubrey, and Steven Runge are three people whose opinions I would really want to hear on this particular question.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Information structure and adjectives

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 6th, 2019, 8:50 am

In general, I suspect that a discourse account for adjectives that come after a noun make more sense than the traditional account of 2nd Attributive position. I am on extremely thin ice here - this is a guess, not informed opinion - but let me throw this out and see what people think. I'll use examples to illustrate a bunch of questions I have, but I am basically asking whether adjectives are special in this position.

Some constructs that do not involve adjectives seem structurally and semantically similar to 2nd Attributive Position. Does the second noun phrase below function much differently than an adjective in 2nd Attributive position?

ἡ ἀδελφὴ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ

For that matter, how different is 2nd Attributive Position from simple apposition, e.g.

οἱ ἐπιδημοῦντες Ῥωμαῖοι, Ἰουδαῖοί τε καὶ προσήλυτοι
Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ υἱοῦ Δαυεὶδ
Ἠρῴδου βασιλέως τῆς Ἰουδαίας

Or from a prepositional phrase with an article?

καὶ ἀποστείλας ἀνεῖλεν πάντας τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς ἐν Βηθλέεμ
εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ τὴν παραθαλασσίαν ἐν ὁρίοις Ζαβουλὼν καὶ Νεφθαλείμ

In the following phrases, do σου and ὁ δεξιὸς function in similar ways?

ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου ὁ δεξιὸς
ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος

According to Wallace, these still count as 2nd Attributive Position:

Art N (Poss) Art Adj.

But which of these are 2nd Attributive Position?

τῇ γενεᾷ ταύτῃ τῇ πονηρᾷ
αἴρει τὸ πλήρωμα ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ τὸ καινὸν τοῦ παλαιοῦ
τὸν ἄρτον ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὸν ἀληθινόν

And adjectives can occur in more than one position in the same phrase:

ὁ πιστὸς οἰκονόμος ὁ φρόνιμος

These kinds of examples make me suspect that the rigid definition of 2nd Attributive Position may not be sufficient. I suspect there might be a more useful account based on:

- The function of a phrase that follows a noun phrase
- The function of the article
- Information flow
- The similarity of constructs like these

Thinking out loud here. What do you think?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Information structure and adjectives

Post by Matthew Longhorn » June 6th, 2019, 9:33 am

Thanks for those thoughts Jonathan, I will need to think through them a bit more.
Just thought I would note that I have found Mike Aubrey’s brief comments on adjective position to be interesting and something worth throwing into the discussion here https://koine-greek.com/2008/11/08/disc ... t-part-ii/
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Information structure and adjectives

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 6th, 2019, 7:44 pm

It's hard to say more than Stephanie Bakker's The Noun Phrase in Ancient Greek. Here is the first of Mike's reviews: https://koine-greek.com/2010/10/13/revi ... eekpart-i/
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Matthew Longhorn
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Re: Information structure and adjectives

Post by Matthew Longhorn » June 7th, 2019, 4:13 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
June 6th, 2019, 7:44 pm
It's hard to say more than Stephanie Bakker's The Noun Phrase in Ancient Greek. Here is the first of Mike's reviews: https://koine-greek.com/2010/10/13/revi ... eekpart-i/
For once in my life I am trying the experiment of buying clothes and other things rather than books. Can’t say I am enjoying it but suggestions like that make me wonder if clothes are really that necessary after all!
I have stuck that one firmly on my wish list for next month, thanks for the suggestion. That and “Discontinuous Syntax” should keep my going for a bit
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