Re: Fw: Sentence structure or construction!

From: Don Wilkins (
Date: Fri Oct 24 1997 - 15:27:05 EDT

At 01:05 PM 10/24/97 +1000, Ward Powers wrote:

>I reaffirm three things I said previously:
>1. A noun subject is often found after its verb, and an object in front of
>its verb (how frequently this occurs is subject to verification on the
>basis of objective data, when such becomes available).
>2. The basic structure of a Greek sentence consists of Conjunction,
>Object/Complement, Verb, and Subject (wheresoever these may happen to be
>located), and it is important for a student to be able to identify these
>and rearrange them as necessary to produce the English order of
>Conjunction, Subject, Verb, Direct Object/Complement, Indirect Object.
>(Some further modification of the English order may then be desirable in
>particular circumstances, to make it more idiomatic, but first of all
>getting it into this order is a very helpful starting point for arriving at
>a final translation.)
>3. These grammatical units are the basic building blocks of a sentence, and
>can helpfully be thought of as building boxes which may be empty or may
>contain certain grammatical structures (as I set out previously); when
>these "building boxes" have been identified in the Greek, rearranged into
>English order as necessary, and translated, then whatever is still left in
>the Greek sentence can now be brought over into the English sentence and
>inserted "in the cracks" between the building boxes, taking account
>initially of where that material is found in the Greek sentence, and then
>where English idiom would put it in your translation.
>I look forward to seeing the fruits of further work on the vexed question
>of Greek word order; but I doubt that anything yet to come to light will
>call in question what I have said in these three points.

Interesting comments, Ward. My own anecdotal experiences have all suggested
that the Greek word order is generally the same as English, and I have
actually used this inference in my former Greek classes as a gauge to help
my students pick out points of emphasis and deemphasis. I also use this
inference in doing Bible translation, though of course I take into account
the myriad specific minor differences between Greek and English. As to your
closing statement, I wouldn't expect any new, or at any rate interesting,
material to come out on word order, period. If that proves to be the case,
then your statement will stand by default. Otherwise, while I'll keep your
experiences in mind, I have no reason to take a different approach from the
one I have taken so far.

Don Wilkins

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