Re: Adjective-noun word order

From: John M. Tait (
Date: Sat Nov 28 1998 - 19:37:08 EST

Paul Zellmer wrote:

>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
This raises an interesting wider question which I have felt for some time -
the fact that those of us who have studied the Biblical languages (and,
indeed, any others which we might happen to have learned) through
conventional channels lack the insights that modern linguistic concepts -
such as marking - can bring to bear. For example, in spite of having
"studied" (mainly = read texts in) Hebrew for a couple of years, I had
never _consciously_ noticed that it prefers the verb initial position until
I came across this as an example in a general linguistics book on syntax -
presumably because, even though Hebrew grammar books do point this out, the
emphasis of the learning environment tended to be on accidence and
semantics rather than syntax. I wonder whether there are any convenient
studies which analyse the syntax of KOINE Greek, or ancient Greek in
general, in terms of modern syntactic insights.

John M. Tait.

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