Adjective-noun word order

From: Paul Zellmer (
Date: Sat Nov 28 1998 - 04:10:28 EST

Here's a very basic question that is causing me a bit of pause. Is
there a subtle difference between the adjective-noun word order and
the noun-adjective word order. I realize both are common and
acceptable, but does one put a slightly different slant on the

Take, for example, the first part of James 1:14, the part that is EI
DE ZHLON PIKRON EXETE. Does the fact that ZHLON, which is the noun,
precedes PIKRON, the adjective, give the term any slight difference
in meaning than if PIKRON preceded ZHLON? In some languages, it
does. For example, in the Ibanag language of the Philippines, the
adjective-noun word order generally results in the phrase being
treated as a whole unit. It is the "unmarked" word order. On the
other hand, a noun-adjective word order is marked, putting the focus
(for this language, anyway) on the noun.

My question probably stems from the fact that word order is so
important in English, but I haven't really gotten a good feel for
the Greek. It would not surprise me if there were a bit of
difference of meaning in word order even in that language with its
much looser structure.


Paul and Dee Zellmer, Jimmy Guingab, Geoffrey Beltran
Ibanag Translation Project
Cabagan, Philippines

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