Re: Architecture of NT Greek

From: Clayton Bartholomew (
Date: Tue May 20 1997 - 08:48:40 EDT

Micheal wrote:

 You use 'marked' in two different ways in posing your question. Iota
stem third declension nouns are marked in the sense that they do not
represent the usual way of marking case (they have a different set of
forms). They *always* have these forms, however. They do not have them
in certain contexts and not have them in others. Augmented verbs are
'marked' in a very different sense. The same verb does appear in some
contexts with the augment and in others without it. The augment
indicates that something is different from those contexts in which the
same verb appears without the augment. For this reason, the grammars
must attempt to state what that 'difference' is. In the case of iota
stem third declension nouns, there is no variation of this sort. Some
nouns are iota stem third declension nouns, while others are not, but
no verb is a iota stem third declension noun in some contexts and an
alpha stem first declension noun in others. For this reason it is not
immediately obvious that there should be a specific semantic value
attached to iota stem third declension nouns (although there *could*

Two seconds after e-mailing that question it dawned on me that *marked
form* was a slippery term that needed clarifying. Micheal has
clarified it well. I have a further problem in this same area.

I would suggest that markedness probably can be divided into three
components or more. There are morphological markings which are a
physical aspect of the text. There are functional markings which a
scholar can extract from the morphological markings by studying the
system of oppositions. This is the kind of analysis that Micheal did
above. I think that there are also perhaps semantic markings that are
a third level abstraction from the physical text. The semantic
markings are discovered by studying the system of oppositions in the
functional markings. There are doubtless more levels but this is
enough for the purpose of illustration.

I think what makes life a little difficult is that these three systems
are self contained and internally coherent, but the connections
between the three systems are rather complex and difficult to

I think a lot of exegetical discussions come to grief precisely
because these issues are not clear. We jump willy nilly from
morphology to semantics to function and back again without any clear
picture of what we are doing.

A couple of specific, related (perhaps?) questions:

Elimination of Anachronisms

The pluperfect generally looses it's augment in NT Greek. Is this
simply because the pluperfect has adequate morphological marking to
sustain it without the augment?

Which Kind of Marking

A few verbs have both first and second aorists. Are these forms always
distinguished semantically (lexical semantics)? If not, which kind of
marking according to Micheal's definition would this opposition

Clay Bartholomew
Three Tree Point

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