Re: Sentence Adverbs

Date: Sat Aug 15 1998 - 11:03:52 EDT

clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:

> I wonder however,
> if the kind of EVIDENCE that can be mustered to defend the idea of a "sentence
> adverb" will be substantial enough to convince someone who is skeptical. I
> would like to see how this would be done.

Actually, so would I. :-)

> Any adverbial that can be seen as limiting the whole clause, can
> most likely also be seen as limiting the main verb or in the absence of the a
> main verb it can probably be seen as limiting some other element in the
> clause.

The more I thought about this, the more daunting it became. Forget
the Greek, for a moment ~ Can it be proven in English? If I say to
you: "Incidentally, your brother did stop by the post office this
morning," the entire sentence following 'Incidentally' would seem to
be modified/limited by it. Can it be proven? How?

As well, the sentence: "Theoretically you are correct but practically
you cannot succeed," carries two of them. Place them in a little
different order and they shift gears. ["You are correct
theoretically... etc.] And Greek word order does not work according
to the same rules as English. So word order in English might/could be
determinative, whereas in Greek it would fail... arguably...

> I just cannot picture how someone could come up with argument proving
> the existence of a sentence adverb in a NT Greek clause which would pass the
> test of being falsifiable.

Actually, the test of falsifiability, so crucial to engineering, may
be a tad misplaced when applied to our efforts to try to understand
what another human being or culture means with their usage of words.
We like to link A to B, then B to C, then C to D, but we hesitate to
apply X to the linkage of A, B, C and D, which is what the sentence
adverb idea would like us to do. X[A:B::B:C::C:D] We would rather
modify one of the terms, say B, rather than the whole [enclosed in
brackets] as a modifiable unit of discourse. And a writer perhaps
COULD mean it either way...
> Willing to be proven wrong, but I need to see an example in NT Greek which
> must be a sentence adverb and cannot be a regular adverb.

I'm not sure if I've proven anything, but I've sure got my nose and
paws in the pile ~

Thanks Clay!!


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George Blaisdell

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