Re: Grammatical Tense, LEGW,

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Tue Nov 14 1995 - 21:55:20 EST

Carl, thanks for your quibble. I certainly wouldn't "bleed and die"
acadmeically for the identification of DE as a conjunction--though I
obviously prefer that classification. Whether one should work from
etymological relatinships of syntactical function in such definitions is
certainly debatable.
>My quibble is to take issue with Edgar's insistence that "DE is not a
>particle but a conjunction." I would say that DE is, in fact, a particle, a
>weak adverb used like several others to mark linkage of thought to previous
>clauses. Of course, to define it like that is practically to admit that it
>is a conjunction. I don't know, however, whether the quibble is altogether
>worth my effort, as adverbs are so often used this way in Greek. Come to
>think of it, it strikes me that "particle" is itself not a very useful
>word. But consider, in the three sentences preceding the one you're
>reading, the phrases, "in fact," "of course," and "however": are they
>adverbial or conjunctive? or both?
>I have to admit to being one of those nuts who lays all too much store by
>etymology and word-history. In fact, DE is a short-vowel form of the same
>word that we spell as DH, just as MEN is a short-vowel form of the same
>word that we spell as MHN. And while MEN and DE do in fact have an
>honorable specialized correlative function in parallel or antithetical
>clauses in Greek, their basic meanings are "to be sure" (Ger. "zwar"?) and
>"in fact." What comes hard to the English speaker is that Greek has a
>horror of a clause without a link of some sort to an antecedent clause or
>sentence; DE is one of a great number of Greek words, many of which are
>called "particles," that serve this linking function and indicate what kind
>of a link it may be, even if it's nothing more than a "In fact, ..."
>Carl W. Conrad

I do like your comments in that last paragraph. In fact, I would piggy-back
on it to respond to your sumission to the Classics list: "Read, Read,
Read." I also agreed with that, with the addition that I urge students to
analyze compound words and then guess at the meaning in context [checking
it out in the lexicon]. A little attention to basic "Wortbildungslehre" can
increase vocabulary rapidly.

Peace, Ed Krentz

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel.: 312-256-0752; (H) 312-947-8105

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