From: clayton stirling bartholomew (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Feb 27 1999 - 17:51:42 EST
My last attempt at discourse analysis (Ecclesiastes in the LXX/MT) was a
qualified failure, that is, not a total failure but almost. I think the
source of my troubles was looking for discourse boundary markers
exclusively in the realm of lexical and syntactic markers.
I have been reviewing the subject of discourse analysis in Stanley
Porter (Idioms) Richard Young (intermediate NT Greek) and J. T. Reed
(Discourse Analysis as NT Hermeneutic).
The text I have chosen to analyze is Luke's Sermon on the Plain (Luke
6). I have discovered already that I am running into problems finding a
workable set of discourse boundary markers using lexical and syntactic
Luke has some really obvious markers like clause initial EGENETO. He
also uses verbs of speaking. There are some more subtle issues like the
patterns KAI EGENETO and EGENETO DE. I have started compiling a list of
these markers without any attempt to attach any hierarchical
significance to them. That will come later.
Having detected a number of Luke's techniques for marking transitions I
am now wondering if there is possibly a class of discourse boundary
marker which transcends lexical and syntactic data. I am beginning to
see a pattern in Luke which I will call for lack of a better term a
semantic discourse boundary marker. Let me illustrate.
Luke introduces a new SCENE using several conventions. He records
geographical movement of the main character and/or the time or location,
people present. The actual words and syntax used to give this
information changes from time to time but the semantic elements do not.
Luke nearly always starts out a new SCENE with some statement about the
location, movement, time or people involved. This is just good narrative
What I am proposing is that a one might make more headway looking for
discourse boundary markers by looking for semantic patterns first and
then looking at the means by which the semantic information is encoded
in the lexical and syntactic structure. The lexical and syntactic
structure my not be as constant and predictable as the semantic
I understand that all of this is just stating the obvious to those who
have studied text linguistics. But I assume there are others on this
list like me who have not studied this and are just digging this stuff
out on their own however slowly.
-- Clayton Stirling Bartholomew Three Tree Point P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062
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