Re: Queries

From: Don Wilkins (
Date: Sat May 23 1998 - 16:54:01 EDT

At 02:56 PM 5/23/98 -0400, you wrote:
>At 8:37 AM -0400 5/20/98, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
>>Silva*, in his chapter on Syntax is moving toward but has not arrived at an
>>invariant meaning for the genitive case. How does he accomplish this? By
>>dividing the sense of the grammatical form and the semantic function the
>>genitive adopts in a given context. He focuses on the "nominal" genitive,
>>i.e., the genitive case used with nouns. He states that genitive form has a
>>grammatical meaning that is quite vague; it indicates that there is some sort
>>of relationship between two nouns. He claims that all the rest of the meaning
>>comes from the context and should not be confused with the grammatical meaning
>>of the genitive.
>There has been no discussion of this on the list, but I think it is
>fundamentally right. I'd say that apart from partitive and ablatival
>genitives, almost all instances of the genitive are indeed "nominal" or
>"adnominal." Almost all of these can be translated with an "of" in English,
>and although grammarians (especially Koine grammarians) are addicted to
>multiplying categories, they don't really accomplish much be inventing new
>names for an adnominal genitive that relates to its modified noun in a
>slightly different way from any other. In sum, "epexegetical" is just
>someone's preferrred name for a garden-variety genitive that qualifies a
>noun by defining it more precisely--but that's pretty much what all
>adnominal genitives do.
>Carl W. Conrad
>Department of Classics, Washington University
>Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
> OR

Carl, a bit of clarification is called for, I think. I agree with you, but
from Clayton's comment above I get the impression that Silva would not even
go so far as to assume the "of" idea or that of defining another noun. If
that is true, it seems very different from what you are saying and I think
we both would be inclined to disagree with Silva, who would allow far too
much latitude for the genitive.

Don Wilkins

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