Re: Machen & "the language of the street."

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Sun Oct 26 1997 - 19:51:07 EST

At 03:21 PM 10/26/97 -0500, Jim West wrote:
>At 03:00 PM 10/26/97 -0500, you wrote:
>>The precision and completeness with which the Koine Greek is analyzed on this
>>list amazes me. (As a matter of personal faith I believe the scriptures are
>>capable of such analysis.) Now help me here, Machen described Koine Greek as
>>"the language of the street." English "street talk" is not very gramatical.
>Neither is Koine. Especially if you compare it to Attic.

It depends a lot on what you mean by grammatical. When I was in grad school,
one of my linguistics classes spent some time analyzing inner city black
English, which has grammatical forms not found in college white English, but
uses those forms with precision. These days, most people feel free to boldly
split their infinitives, but this does not mean that they are using language
imprecisely, it means that they do not subscribe to that particular rule.

>> And how do we know this grammar. Did the writers know and use excellent
>>grammar, or did we create a grammar to explain what they wrote?
>As in any language, grammar is deductive. When we learned to speak our
>mother tongue we learned inductively and then when we got to school we
>learned the rules which had been set out deductively. So it is with koine.

But you will notice that we often search for examples of how a construction
was used in Koine in order to understand its usage and meaning. That's how
we discover the rules that make up the grammar.


Jonathan Robie

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