Re: (phonemes) Particle Construction of (Greek) Words

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Sun Mar 22 1998 - 04:59:18 EST

At 10:15 AM -0600 3/21/98, wrote:
>This is a topic that I would like to see expanded upon. When I went
>to translate PROWRISEN in Romans 8:30 from this perspective
>[phonemes], a lot of fun things started happening. The basic root,
>hOR, surrounded by sounds, seems to maintain its integrity through a
>lot of differing surroundings! 'See', in the very physical, limited
>sense, runs through them all.

I have also been intrigued by "threads" that seemed to tie words together
semantically. But every time I start contemplating on of these threads I hear
the voice of James Barr whispering in my ear and I see the face of Donald
Carson frowning before me, I see Moises Silva pointing to a huge diagram of
Saussure's linguistic sign. It seems at times that we can detect semantic
connections between words, but I am a little skeptical about these

There are at least two kinds of threads that people get caught up in
contemplating. There are the threads that "appear" to connect words of a
common root and there are threads "appear" to connect the different semantic
values of a given lexical token (the dictionary form of a word). For the
purposes of lexical semantics, I think these threads are best ignored. I think
that the first kind of thread is a less popular object of contemplation than
the second kind of thread. For that reason I think the second kind of thread
is more dangerous because it seems like such and innocent activity, connecting
the different possible meanings of a give lexical token (word).

An example here will make this more clear. Take the word LOGOS. One of the
semantic values that LOGOS can point to is translated by the English word
"thing". So we say that "thing" is a member of LOGOS' semantic domain. It is a
serious procedural error to assume that when LOGOS means "thing" that the rest
of LOGOS' semantic domain is hovering in the background just out of sight. A
second semantic value of LOGOS is "word". When LOGOS is used in a context
where it's semantic value is "thing" , the semantic value "word" is not
active. In that particular context, it is as if LOGOS always and only had the
value "thing". There are no echoes of the meaning "word" hovering in the background.

Now wait before you post a screeching protest over this. There is an exception
to this rule. When an author intentionally uses a play on words (a pun) then
multiple semantic values can be seen simultaneously in a single use of the
word. This is the exception that proves the rule. If a discourse was put
together with nothing but puns it would be unintelligible.

I think perhaps, the approach I am advocating has been called semantic
minimalism, for what that is worth.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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