Re: DE: Marked and Unmarked

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon May 18 1998 - 19:25:46 EDT

At 10:03 AM -0400 5/18/98, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>Silva* in his discussion of discourse analysis talks about Paul's use of DE
>both alone and in combination with other conjunctions in Galatians. He points
>out in this discussion that the markedness or unmarkedness of a word or
>construction cannot be determined by an uncritical use of it's statistical
>distribution within a document or corpus.
>This is a point worth pondering. DE may be the most common conjunction in the
>book of Galatians but that alone does not make DE "unmarked". DE may appear in
>a context where it's position within the semantic structure indicates an
>adversative sense which is a "marked" usage of the word in Galatians.

Not having read the book, I have absolutely no clue what you mean by
"marked" and "unmarked" uses of DE in Galatians. Could you elucidate.

>I bring this up because I keep reading the statement that the "aorist" is the
>unmarked tense. I think statements like this are misleading because they imply
>that the form of the word alone determines it's marked/unmarked status. The
>aorist can be used in contexts where it is "unexpected" by the experience
>reader and in these contexts the aorist would be semantically marked.

Now, now ... I'm beginnng to play with a model of the Aorist as an unmarked
tense. Tell me, Clay, how many grammarians have you heard/read saying
that--and who are they?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

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